3×5 Vs 4×6: Know The Difference!

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Written By Philethia Thomas

For beginners it is quite confusing to understand the number of sets and reps. I’ve gone through the same problem. 

A single exercise execution is referred to as a “rep,” which is short for “repetition.” Ten pushups equal one rep, and one pushup equals one rep. 

Reps are grouped together into sets. You might divide your training into two sets of 10 reps if your objective is to perform 20 pushups.

So, 3×5 vs 4×6, what are the difference?

3×5 is that it’s simple to recover from and excellent for increasing strength. With 4×6, you’ll grow muscle a little bit more quickly and have more time to perfect your form. Younger lifters who recover more quickly should try to milk 4×8 as long as they can. Older lifters ought to stick to 3×5. 

Let’s dig in.

3×5 vs 4×6: Quick Comparison

Stronglifts and starting strength are two very comparable routines. You alternate between two workouts on days other than consecutive ones in these full-body regimens, which are done three times a week. 

The set and rep system used on compound exercises is the only meaningful distinction between the two. Besides you can also try these sets and reps 5×5 or 3×8.

3×54×6
Gain Strength FasterGain Muscle Faster
Fastest RecoveryMake You Stronger
For The BeginnersFor The Intermediates

3×5 For Starting Strength

Starting Strength is a beginner full-body program that makes you alternate between two workouts (exercise A & B) on days other than Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

  • Exercise A: Squat, bench press, and deadlift
  • Exercise B: Power cleans, overhead presses, and squats (optional)

As you can see, the program is quite “bare bones,” and there aren’t many exercises to choose from. But if you’d like, you can also do triceps and biceps isolation exercises (at the end of the workout).

You should perform 3 sets of 5 repetitions for the “big 3” (squat, bench press, and deadlift). Every workout, more weight should be added to the bar (known as “linear progression”).

Generally, you’ll include

  • On upper body exercises, 2.5 to 5 lbs.
  • Using lower body workouts, 5–10 lbs.
Workout 1Workout 2
ExerciseSets/RepsExerciseSets/Reps
Squat3×5Squat3×5
Bench Press3×5Bench Press3×5
Deadlift1×5Deadlift5×3

4×6 For Stronglifts

Two workouts make up the strength training program called Stronglifts (workout A & B).

Similar to starting strength, these are alternated on days other than consecutive days, i.e. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

  • Exercise A: Squat, bench press, and barbell row 
  • Exercise B: Deadlift, overhead press, and squat

With one difference, the exercise selection is nearly identical to that of Starting Strength. You should perform barbell rows in place of power cleans (most people do this on SS anyway). This makes a lot more sense, in my opinion, for the typical Joe trying to get in shape.

On all of the major complex exercises, 4 sets of 6 repetitions are performed (apart from the deadlift).

However, you have the option of converting to 3×5 once progression slows.

Workout 1Workout 2
ExerciseSets/RepsExerciseSets/Reps
Squat4×6Squat3×5
Bench Press4×6Over Head Press3×5
Barbell Row4×6Deadlift1×6

Benefits Of 3×5

We will be getting a detailed look into the benefits of the 3×5 workout plan. Let’s take a look. 

Faster Strength Gain

The biggest advantage of performing 3×5 over 4×6 is that you can increase the proportion of your training. This is significant since research indicates that “intensity” is the most crucial element in developing strength.

muscle

Recovery is at its best

For maximum strength increases, research has indicated that only 5–10 sets per week (for each muscle group) are required. Due to the added weariness from each set, doing more than this can impede your progress. 

Therefore, if strength is your main concern, 3×5 is a superior choice. You can continue linear progression for a longer period of time before having to “reset” or take a deload because it is much simpler to recover from.

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Benefits Of 4×6

We will be getting a detailed look into the benefits of the 4×6 workout plan. Let’s take a look. 

Faster muscle gains

According to research, 4-6 sets of each exercise result in the greatest muscular gain. But not every set is made equally. During the first three sets of a workout, you get around 80% of the overall benefit, and the benefits go progressively worse with each additional set. 

For instance, you might receive 40% of the overall benefit from Set 1, 25% from Set 2, 15% from Set 3, etc., until you receive 100% from Set 6. As a result, 4×6 should help you grow muscle more quickly. The trade-off is that you have to perform 4-6 additional sets per session for only a slight (20%) improvement in results.

You Can Get Proficient At Exercises Faster

You get to spend more time under the bar when you perform more sets and reps. This enables you to perfect your form on the “big 3” compound workouts and accelerates the process of wearing down your neural adaptations (so you can start building muscle).

Who Should Use 3×5?

The targetted workout plan can be easier for beginners. But there are various factors depending on it. Let’s take a look into them. 

If Getting Strong, Is Your Major Objective

Strength and hypertrophy have a high correlation, but that doesn’t mean they are incompatible. You don’t need to perform as many sets of each exercise if your primary goal is a strength rather than size. In fact, if you have to lower the weight on the bar, performing additional sets may hinder the development of your strength.

If You Have Poor Recovery

Be truthful. Eat enough calories to gain weight, or not? Do you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night? And when bulking, how much cardio do you do? If the answer to any of those questions was “no,” you should generally avoid using 4×6.

Casual Lifters With Little Time For Training

Rest for three to five minutes in between each session to maximize your strength performance. When you perform 5 sets of 5 repetitions for 2 or 3 exercises per workout, this soon adds up. If you only have a short amount of time to train, such as 60 minutes at lunch, you might do better to continue with 3×5.

Who Should use 4×6?

Unline the 3×5 workout plan, the targetted 4×6 workout plan is for the intermediates. There are various factors depending on it. Let’s take a look into them. 

If Your 3×5 Results Have Plateaued

If your gains have slowed down after using 3×5 for a while, you can benefit from performing more sets.

Hardgainers Who Battle To Grow Muscle

According to research, some people respond less favorably to weight training and require greater volume to advance. Try switching to 4×6 if you’re confident in your recovery but still having trouble gaining ground.

Young Weightlifters That Desire To Increase Their Muscle Mass

4×6 is the best option if you want to gain muscle as quickly as possible and don’t mind hard workouts.

FAQs

Is 3×3 or 5×5 stronger, and why?

You will become quite strong during the 3X3 program, and the 5X5 program will work better for you as you get stronger.

Is 3×5 equivalent to 5×3?

Supporters of the teacher claim that 5×3 refers to “five lots of 3,” whilst critics claim that because “times” is commutative (reversible), the distinction between 5×3 and 3×5 is meaningless. That not all equations are commutative is unquestionably true.

Is 5×3 good for strength?

In general, sets of less than 5 reps are ideal for developing power and/or testing strength, sets of 4–8 reps are good for developing strength, sets of 8–12 reps are good for developing hypertrophy (muscle size growth), and sets of 12+ are good for developing and testing muscular endurance.

Conclusion

In the end, whether you employ 3×5 vs 4×6, you’re going to make insane “newbie gains” as a beginner.

Therefore, maintaining consistency is crucial.

You’ve already won half the battle if you continue to attend the gym without being “burned out.”

Each time you exercise, you make a modest deposit into your bank account, which over time builds up and earns interest.

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