My experiment with Triple Add Sets
by Jim Vaglica
My friend Hugo Rivera told me about an intensity technique called the Triple Add Set. It was developed by his friend Nick Nilsson. I was intrigued so I decided to give it a try. It’s basically the opposite of a Triple Drop Set, which I’ve used for years as one of my favorite intensity techniques.
Here’s the theory behind Nilsson’s Triple Add Set. You start with your lightest weight for a high rep set of 20 – 30 reps. This set is intended to fatigue the type 1 muscle fibers designed for endurance. For your second set you’ll add weight for a set of 6-8 reps. This set hits the type 2A fibers built for heavy loads. Finally you’ll grab yet more weight and grind out 1-3 reps to hit your type 2B muscle fibers made for very heavy loads. This is all one giant set and it should take you about 10 seconds for each weight change.
I decided to try this technique with a triceps workout. For the sake of research I would do four Triple Add Sets with one of my favorite tricep exercises. I used the seated behind the head single dumbbell press using both hands. After the four sets I would end my tricep workout so no other exercises would interfere with the results.
I generally do 4-5 working sets of 8-12 reps finishing with an 80 lb bell. For this workout I started with a 40 lb bell for 25 full reps. I quickly grabbed a 60 lb bell and failed at 8 reps. I then picked up a 70 lb bell and squeezed out 5 tough reps. My tris were pumped already. I used the same weights for my next 3 sets but the reps declined.
Be advised: this technique is not for the faint of heart. After that first rep with the 60 lb bell the pain started and it increased with each rep. The pain and pump was greater than I was used to feeling with straight sets or even triple drop sets. I was impressed!
Like I stated earlier, the behind the head DB press is one the tricep exercises I use regularly and I would normally feel some DOMS the next day but the day after this workout, when I flexed my tris, it felt like wolverines were biting the back of my arms (and we all know how painful that can be) On the second day after that the pain had decreased and I would have to equate it to the bite of a Large Mouth Bass. I was very surprised that an exercise that I use on a regular basis could cause me this much muscle soreness.
This is only the beginning of my experience with Triple Add Sets and I’d like to thank Nick Nilsson for adding so much more pain to my life and hopefully more muscle will accompany it. Stay tuned!
About the Author
Jim Vaglica is a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Team Labrada Athlete, Jim competed on the Reality TV shows American Grit, hosted by John Cena, and Mark Burnett’s Expedition Impossible. He is a Police Sergeant with 16 yrs on SWAT and the Owner of JimVaglica.com