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One-set vs. multi-set training

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:19 pm
by Jungledoc
A friend of my son's passed this article to me. It's great to know that Sam is lifting with guys who know how to read!

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/strengt ... rategy-105

This addresses the old one-set vs. multi-set training controversy, and cites some articles that seem to favor multi-set.

Re: One-set vs. multi-set training

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:46 pm
by FitJackJoe
What about the latest(is it?) meta-analysis from Kreiger JW. with the conclusion that 2-3 sets produced 46% greater increases in strength (1) and 40% higher increases in muscle hypertrophy (2).

I am really confused, is it only 0-10% gain (which wouldn't be relevant for me) or there is significant improvement with the added set/s?

(1) Kreiger JW., Single versus multiple sets of resistance exercise: a meta-regression. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Sep; 23(6): 1890-901

(2) Kreiger JW., Single vs. multiple sets of resistance exercise for muscle hypertrophy: a meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr; 24(4): 1150-9

Re: One-set vs. multi-set training

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:00 pm
by stuward
In the article Doc offered, they talked about one study that found no difference but offered no numbers and no link to the study. Then it offered contrary evidence that showed a benefit of multi sets, and concluded there was a significant advantage. Your articles agree with that. I don't see anywhere a reference to "0-10% gain". The first study mentioned found no difference but didn't explain furtehr. The only reference to 10% was this "maximal strength in the bench press increased by 10% in the three-set group but did not increase significantly in either the one-set lifters or the controls." That was a 6 week study. I don't know about you but if I had a choice between no progress and 10% improvement in 6 weeks, I would consider that huge.

I think that you're comparing relative increases with absolute increases. The 10% in the first article was an absolute increase. I assume the numbers in your example were relative.

Re: One-set vs. multi-set training

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:11 pm
by FitJackJoe
Oh, my bad. Not 10, but 5%.

I'm talking about "Low-Volume, Progressive-Intensity Training" article on this (ExRx) site.
"By performing an additional set (50% to 100% more sets) only 0 to 5% more progress will be observed. Each additional set yields even less progress to a point of diminishing return. The time saved with an abbreviated weight training program can often be used more wisely elsewhere in a program."
I just don't understand. Was Doc sarcastic and he (and others on this site/forum) are in favor of 1 set training or he was serious and doesn't approve 1 set?

Re: One-set vs. multi-set training

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:41 pm
by stuward
The information in that article came from a 1995 paper by ACSM. Perhaps newer studies are improving our knowledge base. Doc has been known to be sarcastic from time to time. If you check his log, he is not opposed to multiple sets.

Re: One-set vs. multi-set training

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:10 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
Doc's use of sarcasm often offends me

Re: One-set vs. multi-set training

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:35 pm
by stuward
Oscar_Actuary wrote:Doc's use of sarcasm often offends me
Yah, but you're thin skinned.

Re: One-set vs. multi-set training

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:48 pm
by Jungledoc
1. In my original post, I was not being sarcastic about anything. I don't see anything there that you might have taken as sarcasm, but if you follow what I write I can see how you'd come to expect it.

2. In my original post I wasn't expressing a preference either way, just stating that here was a review of articles on the topic.

3. I favor multi-set routines, but would train single-set if I had very limited time.

4. My use of sarcasm is often intended to offend Oscar. It's one of my few sources of pleasure in life.