Upgrade Your Workout: Benefits of Tri-sets
You have been on your fitness journey for a while now. You’ve lost the initial weight, gained five pounds of muscle, you can fit back into your college jeans. Now what? How do you avoid the plateau? How do you push your workouts to the next level? The answer for many of us is Tri-sets!
Benefits of Tri-sets
Tri-sets are three exercises done in a circuit fashion (completing one exercise after the other with minimal rest in between). I would highly recommend doing each tri-set three times per workout.
Trisets can target a particular muscle group or target the whole body. A comprehensive workout includes two tri-sets. Do one three times through and then the other three times through. Rest periods can vary based on the individual, fitness goal(s), weight, reps, etc. However, rest time should be kept minimal between exercises. Rest periods in between tri-sets should stay within 60-90 seconds.
An example of a tri-set combining lower body and upper body could be:
- Squat to press
- Deadlift to row
- Bench lunges with curl
Tri-sets are an amazing way to tone, shape and avoid over-training. They are also great for folks that only have 30 minutes to an hour to workout daily. One could easily have a specific tri-set for each major muscle group during the week.
Why Tri-sets Work
Tri-sets increase how long one’s muscles are under tension. The longer muscles are under this kind of pressure, the more they are able to grow. It’s kind of like the longer you run the more calories you’ll burn.
Single sets and supersets place the body under tension for a shorter period of time since there are less exercises to complete. Single sets and supersets are a completely valid way to workout, but for the sake of this article will not be our focus.
Along with putting the body under a decent, healthy amount of tension, one could also focus on completing tri-sets that are heavily loaded. What I mean here is that an individual could be completing exercises within a tri-set that have a rep range of 3-7 (which would be considered moderate-heavy), which will help produce muscle growth as well.
In short, heavily loaded + increased amount of tension= muscle growth
One quick thing to note: By tension I do not mean strain. Tension is healthy, sustainable muscle engagement. If you feel like a particular weight becomes unsustainable and/or dangerous ask your spotter for help, and try the exercise with a lighter weight.
Make sure when lifting heavy that you have a trusted spotter. I do not recommend trying to lift heavy by yourself. An example of a heavily loaded tri-set could be:
- Chest press-5 reps
- Bench rows- 5 reps
- Skull crushers-5 reps
Tri-sets can also help increase endurance, stamina, and improve one’s cardiorespiratory system. One could devise a tri-set focused on conditioning and increased work capacity. Work capacity is the body’s ability to tolerate high intensity movements over a period of time.
This type of tri-set can greatly help with weight loss and maintaining one’s overall heart health. These types of tri-sets fall in the 20-25 rep range. An example of a conditioning tri-set could be:
- Mountain climbers
- Ice skaters
One could also complete a hybrid of these two types of tri-sets throughout the week or on the same day. One could also incorporate a moderate (weight) tri-set that has a rep range of 15 reps.
Please note: if a particular muscle group is sore avoid working out those muscles. Soreness comes from your muscle repairing and rebuilding stronger. It’s wise not to mess with this process to achieve the most gains.
Compound movements are great for tri-sets too such as lunge to press, curl to kickback, squat to curl, side plank to oblique reach.
Tri-sets for Your Goals
I encourage everyone to think of their fitness goals. If you want to build muscle, I would have at least a back/bicep day, chest/tricep day, and leg day weekly, and base your tri-sets around these muscle groups.
If you want to lose weight and increase endurance, I would devise higher rep cardio tri-sets for your weekly workouts.
If you just want to be in shape and live your best life, I would combine the two. Perhaps one tri-set is dedicated to lifting and the second tri-set is dedicated to cardio.
Side Note: If one wants to train for fitness/bodybuilding competitions, one will need to do more than I am prescribing here. This article is geared towards the general public. I also feel it’s important for most folks to have a decent amount of cardio, lifting, and corework throughout the week.
The repetition of the tri-set (3 times through each tri-set) gives the individual a chance to move up or down in weight as well. One could create a mini pyramid – going from lighter to heavier or heavier to lighter.
Furthermore, repetition enables people to work on their form and make corrections as needed. It always feels good to have another shot to do better!
Practicing proper form will reduce the risk of injury, which will allow for a higher success rate regarding one’s fitness goals.
Tri-sets allow one to organize their workouts in a succinct and comprehensive fashion. Supersets are totally cool, but you would have to do a decent amount of them to complete a full workout.
Circuits (4-8 workouts) can often seem daunting and too time-consuming. I feel that for most folks tri-sets are a great way to go!