What To Do If You Can’t Finish A Set: Should You Worry? 

It’s a heavenly feeling when you finish a gym session or even a set, isn’t it? But sometimes many gym-goers face a problem. That they can not finish a set, sometimes even a rep. 

In that case, what to do if you can’t finish a set?

Well, if you think you can’t finish a set, you should stop there. It happens for many reasons. Check if you are lifting overweight. Or, maybe you still haven’t healed from any previous injury. Take rest between the sets. Sometimes, lack of strength can be the reason. You have to work on that too. 

Don’t get confused by the abundance of information. These are just a preview. I am going to go through every detail you should know about. So, keep reading. 

What To Do If You Can’t Finish A Set? 

It is frustrating when we fail to finish a set in the gym. Sometimes it’s just because of ego. But sometimes it’s concerning. Is there something wrong, as you might imagine? Or what should you do? Should you stop? 

First of all, if you can’t finish a set, just leave it. Don’t overdrive yourself. There is some reason why you can’t finish the set. Let’s discuss them. 

Reason 1: Lifting Overweight

This is the most common reason behind failing to finish a set. When you lift weight more than your capacity, your body protests. If you continue the exercise you end up getting an injury. 


Lower the weight according to your capacity. Then give it another shot. You will probably be able to do it now. Don’t give up even if you have to put a little more pressure. 

But even after lowering the weight, it is still may impossible for you to finish. In that case, there are other reasons.

Lifting Overweight

Reason 2: Previous Injury

Finishing a set can occasionally be challenging if you are still healing from an injury. Have you ever experienced an injury that hurts while doing a set?

Such as, you have pain in your forearm from bodybuilding. In that case, a wrist roller can be tough for you.  

If that’s the case, don’t keep going with the exercise. Stressing yourself can make the injury worse. 


At the very first make sure you have consulted with your doctor and trainer. If they both have given you permission for doing what exercises you are doing, then okay. 

Suppose you were doing 4 sets before the injury. It doesn’t mean while recovering you can do the same. Even if you can, you still should start slow. Do 2-3 sets. A little pressure is okay, but don’t try too hard. 

There are some exercises that are suitable during an injury. You can try them. 

Reason 3: Not Taking Rest Between Sets

If you go from one set to another immediately, sometimes your body protests. Not taking a rest between sets can be a problem for some people. 


After a set, if you feel too worn out, take a break before beginning another. Now you must be thinking, about how long to rest during sets.  Well, it depends. According to your bodybuilding goal, the interval time between two sets varies. 

Let’s see the suitable break time between sets

[su_table responsive=”yes”]

Goal Resting Time between sets
Increasing power and strength2-5 minutes
Increasing hypertrophy (muscle growth)30-90 seconds
increase muscular endurance30 seconds or less


These are the standard time. But if you think you need a little more time, take it. 

Reason 4: Not Matching Your Advancement Level

Sometimes you try exercises that are more advanced than your current level. Or try more reps and sets than your capacity. You are likely to fail to finish it. In these cases, injury is also common. 

Such as sled push, one arm rope cable, etc are pro-level exercises. If you try to perform them at an intermediate level, you are likely to fail. Also, while it is perfect for some others, 15 reps can be excessive for you. 


Perform exercises according to your level. If you wanna try a new one or wanna increase the set, consult with your trainer. 

Reason 5: Lack Of Breathing

Sometimes you can’t finish a set in a workout if you have a breathing problem. Or simply if your lung capacity is lower. You will get breathless and tired after a few reps. 


Increasing lung capacity will not only help exercise better but also will keep you healthier. There are some natural ways by which you can increase your lung capacity. Such as, 

  • Avoid smoking. Also, try to maintain distance from secondhand smoking. 
  • Exercise regularly. If you can’t do a longer set, lower the reps. But maintain the regularity. 
  • Eat food that is rich in antioxidants. Such as cruciferous vegetables, carrots, spinach, potatoes, etc.
  • Get a vaccination for lung infections.
  • Stay in enough ventilation. Living in a congested, moldy, and dusty room can hamper your lungs.

This is how you can increase your lung capacity and finishing sets will be easier. 

Reason 6: Lack of Muscle Strength

Is none of the above is a reason for you not able to finish a set? And, even if you have a good lunger capacity, does your body feel tired while exercising? Then maybe it’s because of a lack of muscle strength. 


Here is some things you can do to increase your muscle strength. 

  • Always warm up before exercising. You can do arms circles, light aerobic activity, leg kicks, etc. It will help build up your muscle strength. 
  • For building upper body strength, try compound exercises like bench press, overhead press, etc. Also, try planks and deadlifts. 
  • For building your leg muscle strength, try square, lunges, stationary cycling, etc. 
  • Stay consistent on your exercise. giving a long gap in between your session can waste all your hard work. 

Also, you can try this supplement for getting instant energy.  

[su_table responsive=”yes”]

UP N GO ENERGYYou get full-spectrum vitamins, minerals from the ocean, and antioxidants from this combination. Additionally, you will get a huge variety of nutrients.


By following these you can build your muscle strength. 

Reason 7: You Are Having A Bad Day

You can struggle to finish a set on some particular day. Even though everything is fine. Sometimes you are too distracted to properly do your workout. 

Maybe you are stressed because of work or personal problems. Maybe You didn’t have enough food or sleep. Maybe you are just not in the mood. 


Working out with distractions won’t be a good idea. You can even end up hurting yourself if try hard. Just go home, take some rest. Sometimes a break isn’t bad. 

So, these are some things you can do if you can’t finish a set. 

Tips To Make The Workout More Effective

Here are some other tips you can follow. By which, you can get an effective workout session

  • Always be well rested and well fed before exercising.
  • Never forget to warm up before exercise. 
  • Don’t push your capacity all at once. If you wanna increase the weight and set, do it slowly. 
  • Always consider safety issues.
  • If you feel the exercise unnaturally hard, or feel pain, stop immediately. 
  • Do your upper body and lower body exercises on alternative days. It will give you more time to heal. 
  • Eliminate distractions. If you are too stressed or tired, take a day off. 
  • Always talk to your trainer before attempting a new exercise. Or even increasing the weight. 


Can I Finish My Workout Later?

If you are totally unable to finish the workout now, finish it later. However, it would be preferable if you could complete that on the same day. Even then you news to warm up again. But if you are unable to finish a workout that day, do it the day after. 

What rep range is best for beginners?

As a beginner, you can perform 8-10 reps in a set of low-intensity exercises. And perform 6-8 for high-intensity ones. Try to do it for 3-4 sets. Always maintain the weight limit as per your capacity. And consult with the trainer before taking up any exercise. 

Can Anxiety Make It Hard To Exercise?

Anxiety especially in the gym and workout-related ones can make it hard to exercise. When you fear injuries and pain, you can’t give the pressure or intensity you need to. Also, if you are anxious about working out in front of others, your performance will decrease. 


what to do if you can’t finish a set is not the real concern. The real focus should be on listening to your body and not giving up. 

Obviously, sometimes you deserve a break. But this should be within the limit. Always be careful while exercising. That’s all for now. Have a good day.

Leave a Comment