The hypotheses of the study was that multiple sets would result in greater changes in training outcomes than single sets and that there would be a dose response for training outcomes.
In view of the fact that the subjects were 48 men from the Brazilian Navy School of Lieutenants (mean ± SD age = 24.4 ± 0.9 yrs; body mass = 79.3 ± 9.1 kg; height = 174.5 ± 5.5 cm) who were familiar with all sorts of body weight "strength training" drills, but had not trained on any of the Life Fitness machines that were used in the study, it's not unlikely, though, that even one set of bench presses, leg presses, lat pulldowns, leg extensions, leg curls, biceps curls, ab crunches and triceps extensions, which were performed thrice a week, would suffice to produce significant results (also compared to the regular military training the men in the control group performed).
|Figure 1: Overview of the 6-week resistance training protocol used in the study at hand.|
|Remember? A 2012 study by Robins et al. suggested that experienced strength trainees need 8, not 4 or 1 set for legs | more|Figure 2: Changes in body composition (top) and bench press & lat pulldown 5RM (Radelli. 2014).
- In the 20RM (maximal weight with 20 reps) bench press tests both the 3- and 5-SETS groups saw significantly greater strength increases than the 1- SET group, with the 5-SETS protocol also producing significantly greater increases in strength, than the 3-SETS group (p≤0.05).
- In the 20RM leg press tests only the 5-SETS protocol yielded significantly greater strength gains than the 1-SET protocol.
- For the 3- and 5-SETS groups the scientists also observed significant increases in elbow flexor muscle (biceps) thickness (MT) with the 5-SETS increase being significantly greater than the other two training groups (p≤0.05).
- Bottaro, M., et al. "Resistance training for strength and muscle thickness: effect of number of sets and muscle group trained." Science & Sports 26.5 (2011): 259-264.
- Hanssen, K. E., et al. "The effect of strength training volume on satellite cells, myogenic regulatory factors, and growth factors." Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports 23.6 (2013): 728-739.
- Radaelli, Regis; Fleck, Steven J.; Leite, Thalita; Leite, Richard Diego; Pinto, Ronei S.; Fernandes, Liliam; Simão, Roberto. "Dose Response of 1, 3 and 5 Sets of Resistance Exercise on Strength, Local Muscular Endurance and Hypertrophy." Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: Post Acceptance: December 24, 2014. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000758
- Rønnestad, Bent R., et al. "Dissimilar effects of one-and three-set strength training on strength and muscle mass gains in upper and lower body in untrained subjects." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 21.1 (2007): 157-163.