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You build up more strength with 6 sets than with 1 set

If you are new to bodybuilding you'll notice more effect if you do several sets of each exercise in your strength training sessions than by using the single-set principle. Sports scientists at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse wrote an article about this 7 years ago in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

You build up more strength with 6 sets than with 1 set
Scientists have been arguing for years about the optimal number of sets per exercise for strength training. For every article that says 1 set is enough, you'll find another that claims doing several sets will have a better effect. So what is it? To answer this question the researchers set up an experiment in which they got 28 subjects to train for 12 weeks, doing either 1 or 6 sets per exercise.

The test subjects trained twice a week, and did leg-presses and biceps-curls. The S1 group did 1 set; the M6 group did 6 sets. The researchers measured the subjects' 1RM before, during and after the 12-week period.

You build up more strength with 6 sets than with 1 set

The subjects' 1RM for the biceps curl increased by 10 percent in the 1-set group and by 20 percent in the 6-sets group. This was a statistically significant difference. For the leg-press, the difference in 1RM was not quite statistically significant. This increased by 33 percent in the 1-set group and by 53 percent in the 6-sets group. If they'd had two more test subjects, the effect would probably have been statistically significant.

There were no real effects observed on muscle mass. Muscle mass in the legs only increased by 5 percent in the 6-sets group, but this was not statistically significant.

You build up more strength with 6 sets than with 1 set

"A greater volume of resistance exercise produces optimal gains in strength even for relatively untrained persons, especially in simple exercise movements", the researchers conclude. "It is clear that prescription of resistance exercise for general fitness should most likely include multiple sets design philosophy."

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003 Nov; 90(5-6): 626-32.

Three sets builds more muscle than one set 15.07.2010