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Old 03-26-2010, 06:00 PM   #1
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Default Single versus multiple sets: which is best for increasing muscle size?

Traditional bodybuilding training involves using several exercises with multiple sets to increase muscular size and strength. The majority of successful bodybuilding champions, both past and present, trained in this manner. On the other hand, some consider the usual style of bodybuilding training gross overtraining. This group is known as the “HIT” or high intensity advocates. [...]

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Old 03-26-2010, 07:06 PM   #2
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A recent meta-analysis looked at this very question: which works better to increase muscle size: single sets or multiple sets? A meta-analysis involves looking at previous studies and coming to a conclusion based on the trends shown by past studies. The new analysis compared various set schemes, ranging from one set to six or more sets per exercise.The major finding of the analysis was that multiple sets produce a significantly greater level of muscle size gains compared to doing only a single set per exercise. This held true for both novice and more experienced subjects.There was a also a trend shown in which increased number of sets produced greater muscle gains. Thus, 4 to 6 sets per exercise produced better results compared to doing 2 to 3 sets per exercise. The effect levels off, however, when doing more than 4 sets per exercise. In other words, doing 6 sets rather than 4 wonít produce significantly better muscle gains. I doubt that all the studies analyzed included a true HIT style of training to utter failure. If that had been the case, I believe that the ideal number of sets would be no more than three. Doing one set per exercise is certainly better than nothing, but considering that most of those who think they are using a true HIT style of training are not, then the conclusions of this analysis make sense. Most bodybuilders would be better off doing multiple sets per exercise if added muscle size is their goal.

Krieger JW. Single vs.multiple sets of resistance exercise for muscle hypertrophy: a meta-analysis.J Strength Cond Res 2010: in press.
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:19 PM   #3
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one problem i have with HIT is that it requires a very specific mentality to work, i've known and seen people claim failure when they still had another rep or two, and without the drive to push through the pain hit wont work well at all, also due to the multiple variables that may be present in each of the studies it could be flawed
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:22 PM   #4
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HIT is very difficult to execute. I have a hard time reaching failure on certain exercises.

And studies...well...they are often performed on machines only with newbs at the helm. Researchers don't like scary free weights.
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:25 PM   #5
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HIT is very difficult to execute. I have a hard time reaching failure on certain exercises.

And studies...well...they are often performed on machines only with newbs at the helm. Researchers don't like scary free weights.
you have that, and also other variables, like diet, tut, reps per set, frequency, and what not that makes it harder to get a good consensus, also not to mention what was the progression schemes
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:01 PM   #6
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So the HIT Routine works best if you work to absolute failure. So you have 4 sets and each set in worked until failure then a rest the another set to failure. Is this right?
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:08 PM   #7
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So the HIT Routine works best if you work to absolute failure. So you have 4 sets and each set in worked until failure then a rest the another set to failure. Is this right?
no HIT is a single set to failure, and thats it you warm up and go for broke
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:12 PM   #8
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no HIT is a single set to failure, and thats it you warm up and go for broke
No warm up. One set until you fail. There as to be a minimum number of sets. I mean I could be doing a 1 rep max day. I hit my 1 rep max on all my major lifts and that technically is a HIT routine. I don't see how something like that could be very effective.
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:14 PM   #9
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No warm up. One set until you fail. There as to be a minimum number of sets. I mean I could be doing a 1 rep max day. I hit my 1 rep max on all my major lifts and that technically is a HIT routine. I don't see how something like that could be very effective.
you do warm up, but then like i said you have one workset and you just go for broke, but i dont recommend it unless you have a really good spotter, when i did it, i did forced reps or negatives almost everytime and went until i pretty much couldn't lift the weight at all
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:18 PM   #10
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you do warm up, but then like i said you have one workset and you just go for broke, but i dont recommend it unless you have a really good spotter, when i did it, i did forced reps or negatives almost everytime and went until i pretty much couldn't lift the weight at all
okay I see now. I can see how hard it would be to have a routine like this. I would have to do this on a friday a give my body time to heal over the weekend so that it didn't effect the rest of my workout.
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