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  1. #1
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    1 set vs. multiple set

    been reading alot of info on this topic and most of it states that 1 very intense set to failure has just as much growth potential as multiple sets. what do you guys think?

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    4U2NV is offline Associate Member
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    True there is research that proves this. However I look at it this way. Bodybuilders have been doing multiple sets for many many years thus it has stood the test of time. So though like I said there is research to back it up I still feel multi is better.
    Last edited by 4U2NV; 06-07-2005 at 01:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4U2NV
    True there is research that proves this. However I look at it this way. Bodybuilders have been doing multiple sets for many many years thus it has stood the test of time. So though like I said there is research to back it up I still feel multi is better.
    true but when you think about like this the biggest guys of their time have all used the 1 set to failure or HIT training, IE coleman, yates etc...

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    Not real familar with HIT? Am I right in saying that it deals with time under tension? In ronnie's video he does more than one set per exercise.

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    yes but mainly one to failure

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    i also feel that when you're only doing 1 main set to absolute failure, the lift is much more intense and ussually much more effective than the first set of say three or four. much easier to focus mentally on that one set and devote alll your energy to break through barriers..

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    Ideally every set should be to preceived failure. Like when I do a workout Ill do a weight that allows me to get the specific number of reps I am shooting for. If I can do more next time I will increase the weight.(principal of overload) However you do have some good points, I guess it would be something you would just have to try for yourself.

  8. #8
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    actually i think i figured out, plan and simple as long as you're making progress in the gym with whatever style training you're doing, growth will soon follow.

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    I grow off one working set. Works for me. Never went back to multiple sets. I seem to overtrain easily

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReX357
    I grow off one working set. Works for me. Never went back to multiple sets. I seem to overtrain easily
    are you naturally an ectomorph?

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    I think so... Before starting to workout and check my diet I was 6'2" 155lbs

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReX357
    I grow off one working set. Works for me. Never went back to multiple sets. I seem to overtrain easily
    exactly with multiple sets u have a higher tendency to overtrain.
    one set to failure is just enough for muscle growth or hypertrophy, there is even an ongoing debate between scientists that one does not need to actually reach failure to create muscle hypertrophy.
    u see the advantage of only one set opposed to multiple is that u will be able to recuperate much quicker given the volume is obviously much lower.
    and therefore train that bodypart more frequent without running the risk of overtraining...imo the biggest fallacy amonst bodybuilders is overtraining and undereating which happen to go hand in hand.
    most people forget one very important factor in training: progressive overloading...i keep repeating this over and over...how many guys do you at your gym that look exactly the same this that they did last year...plenty right. sometimes most of the gym...these are also the same guys that were benching 225 last and this year are still benching 225. not so much worrie3d about putting more weight, but they are worried about what cable crossover exercise they will be doing next...cause they need to hit the muscle form "different angles".
    you can't possibly do 4 exercises, with 4 sets and go to failure on all 16 sets...cause that would just not be failure...when one reaches true failure. will not be able to lift another weight.

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    ya you for sure were, thats y you probs overtrain easily, ectomoph's CNS cant handle alot of training, i also an ecto

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    Single versus multiple sets in long-term recreational weightlifters.

    Hass CJ, Garzarella L, de Hoyos D, Pollock ML.

    Center for Exercise Science, Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.

    PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of increasing training volume from one set to three sets on muscular strength, muscular endurance, and body composition in adult recreational weight lifters. METHODS: Forty-two adults (age 39.7 +/- 6.2 yr; 6.2 +/- 4.6 yr weight training experience) who had been performing one set using a nine-exercise resistance training circuit (RTC) for a minimum of 1 yr participated in this study. Subjects continued to perform one set (EX-1; N = 21) or performed three sets (EX-3; N = 21) of 8-12 repetitions to muscular failure 3 d x wk(-1) for 13 wk using RTC. One repetition maximums (1-RM) were measured for leg extension (LE), leg curl (LC), chest press (CP), overhead press (OP), and biceps curl (BC). Muscular endurance was evaluated for the CP and LE as the number of repetitions to failure using 75% of pretraining 1-RM. Body composition was estimated using the sum of seven skinfold measures. RESULTS: Both groups significantly improved muscular endurance and 1 RM strength (EX-1 by: 13.6% LE; 9.2% LC; 11.9% CP; 8.7% OP; 8.3% BC; and EX-3 by: 12.8% LE; 12.0% LC; 13.5% CP; 12.4% OP; 10.3% BC) (P < 0.05). Both groups significantly improved lean body mass (P < 0.05). No significant differences between groups were found for any of the test variables (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Both groups significantly improved muscular fitness and body composition as a result of the 13 wk of training. The results show that one-set programs are still effective even after a year of training and that increasing training volume over 13 wk does not lead to significantly greater improvements in fitness for adult recreational weight lifters.


    Single- vs. multiple-set resistance training: recent developments in the controversy.

    Galvao DA, Taaffe DR.

    School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

    The number of sets in a resistance training program remains a major point of discussion and controversy. Studies prior to 1998 demonstrated inconsistent findings between single-set and multiple-set programs; however, recent evidence suggests that multiple sets promote additional benefits following short- and long-term training. The rationale supporting multiple sets is that the number of sets is part of the exercise volume equation, and the volume of exercise is crucial in producing the stimulus necessary to elicit specific physiological adaptations. The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of recent resistance training studies comparing single and multiple sets. However, it should be noted that studies to date have been conducted in young and middle-aged adults, and it remains to be determined if the additional benefits accrued with multiple-set training also occurs for older adults, especially the frail elderly.

    Effects of single- vs. multiple-set resistance training on maximum strength and body composition in trained postmenopausal women.

    Kemmler WK, Lauber D, Engelke K, Weineck J.

    Institute of Medical Physics, University of Erlangen, Germany. wolfgang.kemmler@imp.uni-erlangen.de

    The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a single- vs. a multiple-set resistance training protocol in well-trained early postmenopausal women. Subjects (N = 71) were randomly assigned to begin either with 12 weeks of the single-set or 12 weeks of the multiple-set protocol. After another 5 weeks of regenerational resistance training, the subgroup performing the single-set protocol during the first 12 weeks crossed over to the 12-week multiple-set protocol and vice versa. Neither exercise type nor exercise intensity, degree of fatigue, rest periods, speed of movement, training sessions per week, compliance and attendance, or periodization strategy differed between exercise protocols. Body mass, body composition, and 1 repetition maximum (1RM) values for leg press, bench press, rowing, and leg adduction were measured at baseline and after each period. Multiple-set training resulted in significant increases (3.5-5.5%) for all 4 strength measurements, whereas single-set training resulted in significant decreases (-1.1 to -2.0%). Body mass and body composition did not change during the study. The results show that, in pretrained subjects, multiple-set protocols are superior to single-set protocols in increasing maximum strength.


    Single- vs. multiple-set strength training in women.


    Schlumberger A, Stec J, Schmidtbleicher D.

    Institute of Sport Sciences, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

    The aim of this study was to compare the effects of single-set and multiple-set strength training in women. Twenty-seven women (aged 20-40 years) with basic experience in strength training were randomly allocated to either a single-set group (n = 9), a 3-set group (n = 9), or a nontraining control group (n = 9). Both training groups underwent a whole-body strengthening program, exercising 2 days a week for 6 weeks. Exercises included bilateral leg extension, bilateral leg curl, abdominal crunch, seated hip adduction/abduction, seated bench press, and lateral pull-down. The single-set group's program consisted of only 1 set of 6-9 repetitions until failure, whereas the multiple-set group trained with 3 sets of 6-9 repetitions until failure (rest interval between sets, 2 minutes). Two times before and 3 days after termination of the training program, subjects were tested for their 1 repetition maximum strength on the bilateral leg extension and the seated bench press machine. Data were analyzed using a repeated-measures analysis of variance, Scheffe tests, t-tests, and calculation of effect sizes. Both training groups made significant strength improvements in leg extension (multiple-set group, 15%; single-set group, 6%; p 0.05). However, in the seated bench press only the 3-set group showed a significant increase in maximal strength (10%). Calculation of effect sizes and percentage gains revealed higher strength gains in the multiple-set group. No significant differences were found in the control group. These findings suggest superior strength gains occurred following 3-set strength training compared with single-set strength training in women with basic experience in resistance training.

  15. #15
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    hmmmm why would women gain from multiple sets but not the men???

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    Quote Originally Posted by juicyr6
    exactly with multiple sets u have a higher tendency to overtrain.
    one set to failure is just enough for muscle growth or hypertrophy, there is even an ongoing debate between scientists that one does not need to actually reach failure to create muscle hypertrophy.
    u see the advantage of only one set opposed to multiple is that u will be able to recuperate much quicker given the volume is obviously much lower.
    and therefore train that bodypart more frequent without running the risk of overtraining...imo the biggest fallacy amonst bodybuilders is overtraining and undereating which happen to go hand in hand.
    most people forget one very important factor in training: progressive overloading...i keep repeating this over and over...how many guys do you at your gym that look exactly the same this that they did last year...plenty right. sometimes most of the gym...these are also the same guys that were benching 225 last and this year are still benching 225. not so much worrie3d about putting more weight, but they are worried about what cable crossover exercise they will be doing next...cause they need to hit the muscle form "different angles".
    you can't possibly do 4 exercises, with 4 sets and go to failure on all 16 sets...cause that would just not be failure...when one reaches true failure. will not be able to lift another weight.

    so are you saying that you should really only do one exercise for 1 set to failure for the specific body part being trained but up the frequency?

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    I used HST/HIT principles and developed a three day a week full body routine around it. I think it was the fastest size and strength gains I've ever acheived. The most sets I would do per bodypart was 2. The routine would be something like this.

    M/W/F

    Squats 1X6-8
    Deadlifts 1X6-8
    Bench 1X6-8
    Military 1X6-8
    Dips 1X10
    Curls 1X10
    Rows 1x6-8
    Leg curls 1x10
    Calves 1x20

    Something always draws me back to using a multiple set routine though. I think you get much better pump. May just be a mental thing.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdspinna
    I used HST/HIT principles and developed a three day a week full body routine around it. I think it was the fastest size and strength gains I've ever acheived. The most sets I would do per bodypart was 2. The routine would be something like this.

    M/W/F

    Squats 1X6-8
    Deadlifts 1X6-8
    Bench 1X6-8
    Military 1X6-8
    Dips 1X10
    Curls 1X10
    Rows 1x6-8
    Leg curls 1x10
    Calves 1x20

    Something always draws me back to using a multiple set routine though. I think you get much better pump. May just be a mental thing.
    how much rest in between? can you go to failure on bench and then go right to military?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdspinna
    I used HST/HIT principles and developed a three day a week full body routine around it. I think it was the fastest size and strength gains I've ever acheived. The most sets I would do per bodypart was 2. The routine would be something like this.

    M/W/F

    Squats 1X6-8
    Deadlifts 1X6-8
    Bench 1X6-8
    Military 1X6-8
    Dips 1X10
    Curls 1X10
    Rows 1x6-8
    Leg curls 1x10
    Calves 1x20

    Something always draws me back to using a multiple set routine though. I think you get much better pump. May just be a mental thing.
    really eh ... thats interesting

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1819
    how much rest in between? can you go to failure on bench and then go right to military?
    No kidding that would kill me. I would have to alternate between push/pull movements.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOLLYWOOD
    so are you saying that you should really only do one exercise for 1 set to failure for the specific body part being trained but up the frequency?
    as hooker confirmed in the fisrt study both groups improved muscular fitness and body composition.
    so in turn ANY training protocol WILL WORK for anyone FOR A GIVEN time.
    however, i believe volume training will lead u to overtrain much quicker, while with 1 set to failure one could train that body part more frequent through the whole year and therefore have more "growth phases", therefore growing at a quicker rate.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by juicyr6
    as hooker confirmed in the fisrt study both groups improved muscular fitness and body composition.
    so in turn ANY training protocol WILL WORK for anyone FOR A GIVEN time.
    however, i believe volume training will lead u to overtrain much quicker, while with 1 set to failure one could train that body part more frequent through the whole year and therefore have more "growth phases", therefore growing at a quicker rate.
    would you mind posting your routine for an example??? thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1819
    how much rest in between? can you go to failure on bench and then go right to military?
    I like to use between 1 to 2 minutes rest between sets. I never had a problem going to failure on bench then moving to military. I would mix the order of the exercises up to make sure I didn't have any lagging parts from keeping them at the end of my routine all the time.

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    in a nutshell:
    i train 3 times a week.
    divided into: press, pull, legs
    3-4 warmups with 1 set to failure, most of time with a rest-pause method
    i do what some may call it: (extreme strecthing) after i train the muscle group (parrilo was a big advocate of this)
    my biggest focus at the gym is to put up at least 5 more lbs that last week or do 2 more reps with the same weight...
    no science here. simple and effective!

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    Quote Originally Posted by juicyr6
    in a nutshell:
    i train 3 times a week.

    Sometimes with a girl....

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by juicyr6
    in a nutshell:
    i train 3 times a week.
    divided into: press, pull, legs
    3-4 warmups with 1 set to failure, most of time with a rest-pause method
    i do what some may call it: (extreme strecthing) after i train the muscle group (parrilo was a big advocate of this)
    my biggest focus at the gym is to put up at least 5 more lbs that last week or do 2 more reps with the same weight...
    no science here. simple and effective!
    so 1x/week?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by hooker
    Sometimes with a girl....
    u wouldnt know would u, cause u never meet them...

  28. #28
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    jdspinna i used the same split myself and trained twice a week every 4 days.

    I started at 204 pounds and when i ended that training 6 months later i was a very solid 225 pounder, no steroids nothing.

    I ate 6 meals a day, high protein around 250 to 300g a day coming from whey, eggs and dairy products.

    My waiste size was still 36 inches.

    I was doing HIT training

    Squat 1 X failure
    Bench press 1 X failure
    Standing military press 1 X failure
    T bar rows 1 X failure
    Chin ups 1 X failure
    Dips 1 X failure
    and for good mesure bb curls sometimes 1 X failure

    My rest time was longer then yours tought 3 to 5 minutes between each exercices.

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4U2NV
    True there is research that proves this. However I look at it this way. Bodybuilders have been doing multiple sets for many many years thus it has stood the test of time. So though like I said there is research to back it up I still feel multi is better.
    the test of time? hahahahaha. Take a look around your gym. Tell me how many guys are not significantly bigger and stronger then they were the previous year. Multiple sets is why many many non genetically elite guys never change or change very little.

    Second, like in the thread by hooker, if their is no difference in results, the lower volume guys can workout much more frequently becuase recovery will be that much faster

  31. #31
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    i think its all BS... most of the 1set things, have like 4 warm ups.... well when u warm up with 4 sets...those are sets... DUH

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    Quote Originally Posted by IronReload04
    the test of time? hahahahaha. Take a look around your gym. Tell me how many guys are not significantly bigger and stronger then they were the previous year. Multiple sets is why many many non genetically elite guys never change or change very little.
    yup ..;.i just said that in my previous post

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    Quote Originally Posted by Decadbal
    i think its all BS... most of the 1set things, have like 4 warm ups.... well when u warm up with 4 sets...those are sets... DUH
    no they are not...warm ups are just that..warmups!
    to get ur blood flowing to that part of the muscle, to get ur tendons somewhat used to the weight...
    i never set a rep range for my warmups...it could either be 6 reps or 26 reps, as long as i feel the muscle getting warmed that all it matters, if i see that the muscle is starting to do the work then i just stop the warm up...
    there are warmups and then there are working sets...
    as a matter of fact i know people do 3 warmups and 3-4 working sets, i supposed u wouldn't like to say that 7 sets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Decadbal
    i think its all BS... most of the 1set things, have like 4 warm ups.... well when u warm up with 4 sets...those are sets... DUH
    These are my typical warm up setss for the bench

    135
    185
    205
    225-2 reps

    my main work set is 275 for 6-8 reps

    You cant really say that 225 is that taxxing if am reppin 275. In no way is that a workset

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    I got a question about bicep curl to failure.
    Well for example standing curls with dumbbells.
    1 warmup 15 x 25LBs Each Arm
    2 warmup 5x30Lbs Each Arm
    3 warmup 5x45Lbs Each Arm
    And now.. the question comes up if this is a REAL failure
    1 set 55Lbs I can do 7 times on each arm and than... if Im going for last 8th time my arm will just stop in just about half way up there and wont go any higher.. just cant lift the 8th rep. BUT.. what do I do now ? just drop it right down because I cant lift anymore .. or do I hold the weight till my muscle totally gives up and I wont be able even to hold it half way up there ? What would be the REAL failure than.. letting in go just cuz I cant do any more rep.. or actually hold it till it burns like hell and totally gives up ?

    Thanks

    -Lucas

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by LUKA
    I got a question about bicep curl to failure.
    Well for example standing curls with dumbbells.
    1 warmup 15 x 25LBs Each Arm
    2 warmup 5x30Lbs Each Arm
    3 warmup 5x45Lbs Each Arm
    And now.. the question comes up if this is a REAL failure
    1 set 55Lbs I can do 7 times on each arm and than... if Im going for last 8th time my arm will just stop in just about half way up there and wont go any higher.. just cant lift the 8th rep. BUT.. what do I do now ? just drop it right down because I cant lift anymore .. or do I hold the weight till my muscle totally gives up and I wont be able even to hold it half way up there ? What would be the REAL failure than.. letting in go just cuz I cant do any more rep.. or actually hold it till it burns like hell and totally gives up ?

    Thanks

    -Lucas
    there are 3 ways ur muscle could reach failure...1 is concentric, 2 is eccentric
    and 3 is static.
    your muscle will reach concentric (positive)failure 1st, then static failure and the last one is eccentric (negative)failure...if the weight doesnt go up any more then u reached concentric failure.
    if u can't hold it still then u reached static...and if u can't control it descending then u reached eccentric failure...
    people will argue, that one needs to reach eccentric failure to achieve total muscle growth, some people say that reaching concentric failure will do just fine, heck there are even some people that will tell you u dont need to train your muscle to failure for growth...i personally try to reach static failure ...i hope i didnt get u confused...lol

  37. #37
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    hey juicyr6, are you Dante?

    Anyway, for those of you who didn't know, what juicy described as his workout is part of a method called dogg crapp training. I'm using it right now and I'm seeing really good results.

  38. #38
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    lol...no i'm not dante, but its kool u though so.

    and yes i do train dc style. after some years of trial and error and many different training styles, dc seems to fit me better. not saying its the best training routine out there, its just the best for ME!

  39. #39
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    Thanks a lot Juicy for the answer I was looking for !
    Now I know what kind of failure Im reaching.. not one..but two ..
    And personally I am raching static too.. just wanted to make sure its not gonna mess up my muscle..overtrain it or something.. So far its been totally fine. It burns like a mother***** but no pain and it feels good afterwards.
    Take care man.

  40. #40
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    welcome...

    keeping the volume low, and making sure u get a good pow meal along with plenty of rest, and keeping the frequency in which u train the muscle monitored , you should not overtrain!

    good luck

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