I Bloody Love Three Sets of Ten!

Physiotherapists and allied health professionals attending my courses still want to know more about exercise prescription and effective programme design (looks as though it's still not a regular part of formal education pathways). 3 sets of 10 still seems to be the protocol of choice!

'Tailoring exercise parameters to meet specific goals.'


'Application of strength and conditioning principles to aid effective exercise prescription ranging from sporty patients to older age groups >60 yrs old.'

Trish Anderson - MSK Physiotherapist - NHS

Learn more about the principles of strengthening to ensure exercise programmes are as effective as possible.


'Develop an understanding of appropriate levels of exercise prescription for goals (strength, hypertrophy etc)'

Gareth McCoy

When I first started delivering the course to physiotherapists and allied health professionals, more than a decade ago, I had a real bee in my bonnet about three sets of ten reps being prescribed ad nausea!

I'm still a little baffled that this protocol still remains the 'go to' option for most working in injury rehabilitation but I've mellowed and I may even go as far to say that there are times when I bloody love 3 sets of 10!

Here's why...it works!

1. It's an obvious choice for anyone needing to increase muscle mass following injury as it ticks many of the boxes (multiple sets, multiple reps, moderate to heavy load, incomplete recovery) that drive the specific adaptations you'll be chasing.

2. Most of the patients that hobble through the doors of an NHS department are deconditioned. Sure, a fancy programme could be optimal but chances are that their just body won't be that fussy during the early stages of rehab. Just giving them something (3x10), which lets face it is embedded in pretty much everyones mind (even the patients), will work. They'll get stronger from simply following a programme. Any old programme!

Let me be clear. I'm not saying just do 3x10 for every problem you're faced with, but if your patient either needs to slap on some muscle mass or they've never followed any sort of strength programme in the past, you could do a lot worse.

Keep it simple. Give them something they will understand and that you know will tick a lot of boxes. Of course you'll eventually need to consider developing a programme that meets the specific rehabilitation purpose (have a look at this post) but don't beat yourself up if you've been using 3x10 and it's been working!

If you want to explore life beyond 3x10 and find out how to write programmes that meed the specific strength requirements of your patients, then you can always get yourself along to one of my 2-Day courses or learn from the comfort of you sofa and sign up for my online course.

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