Junyoung, H., Trevino, T., Smith, J. D., Ross, C. N. & Lee, S. (2015). Comparison of multiple sets and single set of resistance training on muscle strength and power. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 47(5), Supplement abstract number 1508.

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This study compared the effects of multiple-sets (70% of 1-RM, 3 sets/10 reps) and a single-set (50-100% of 1-RM, 1 set/8 reps) of resistance training on muscular strength and power in healthy male college students. Ss were randomly assigned to either a single-set (N = 6), multiple sets (N = 7), or control group (N = 6). The single-set (every third day) and multiple-set (3x/week) groups trained for eight weeks using an inclined leg-press. The single-set training protocol consisted of 50%, 75%, 90%, and 100% of previous maximal loads. During the additional training repetitions (up to eight reps), 10 lb was added to each rep until a new maximal load was achieved. Total volume of single-set training was 168 reps (8 reps x 21 days), and multiple-set training was 720 reps (30 reps x 24 days). One-repetition maximum, muscle maximal voluntary contraction, peak power, and electromyography were measured at baseline and after eight weeks of training.

1-RM was significantly increased in both training groups compared to the baseline. There was no significant difference on 1-RM between the two training groups after eight weeks of training. Muscle maximal voluntary contraction and electromyography were significantly increased in the multiple-set group after eight weeks of training compared to baseline but not in the single-set group. There was no significant increase of peak power in either training group compared to baseline.

Implication. The single-set protocol is as effective as traditional multiple-sets of resistance-training for increasing muscle strength with less total volume of training compared to the multiple sets protocol.

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