Multiple sets. Yes or No?

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that it is not scentifically proven that many sets yields better results than 1-2. Is this correct? Both proven facts and personal opinions are welcome.

very very little of what we do is scientifically 'proven.'

I've done it both ways, both ways work. The best workout is the one you do.

I have seen better results using multiple sets. My best gains have come using 2-3 heavy sets of 3-6 reps followed by 1-2 lighter sets of 10+ reps.

All sets close to failure. I don't have any scientific evidence to support that method, and I changed a number of other factors along with the set/rep scheme. I agree with jonwell that the scientific evidence out there doesn't allow us to draw many concrete conclusions.

Try various things and see what works for you. Never miss a workout because you were too busy trying to figure out the best possible routine.


Every body is different, but the best workout is the one you actually do.

There are so many factors that could possibly weigh on that question that i would say it is completely unanswerable.

However, i will say this. In the majority of cases, i would (and do) prefer multiple sets.


I prefer it as well. Single sets do have the benefit of time economy tho :P 20 minute workouts are killer :)

Thanks all!

Scientifically proven by personal trainers at the elite training centers usually open all day and night.

I'm serious!


Can't remember if it was Mr Tate or Mr Simmons that said that the Westside System wasn't scientifically proven. Somebody who believes in "science-only" better go to WSB and tell them they are bunk.

For as long as it takes to read a book, just read. All time before and after reading that book should be spent in training. Application thru education or is it Education thru application.

I have tried a bunch of different set and rep schemes, and I never got better results than when I got locked up and was introduced to the "prison workout."

10 x 10 with one minute rest periods in between sets. I'm serious.

Pick like three exercises and do one bodypart a day, five days a week M-F. (M)Biceps, (T)Triceps, (W)Back,
(R)Chest, (F)Legs. Whatever!

The prison workout sounds a bit like a simplified version of German volume training.

Note to self: when in prison, do 10x10.
Another note to self: stay out of prison.


Yeah, you got it. I was locked up for just under two years and I went from 200 and change to 230-235, and that was on prison food.

BTW, I have kept on this routine ever since, and I weigh like 250 now.

I read some german research that showed that the number of set doesn´t matter much if you are a beginner but multiple sets are better for trained folks.

Another thing is movement skill. We pretty much know that 1. Lifting requires coordination skills 2. Coordination is best trained by many repetitions. 3. Loaded and unloaded movements require different coordination skills. So if you want to become a weightlifter, single sets aren´t enough.

i am interested in single set training cuz it seems to be less time consuming.

"Were you able to eat enough protein in prison? Your results might reveal some realities about nutrition.
Did your workout make you stronger in addition to getting bigger?"

Oh yeah, I have got a lot stronger. Where I was no dumbells were allowed only barbells, 45 pound plates (no collars), flat benches, cheap squat racks, dip bars and pull-up bars.

With weights, I use sets as a warm up. For example, in the bench press do 5x10 135 and 5x10 225 or 135 for 3x10 throw in a set of 315, as many sets as you can with 225 then back down, whatever.

In regards to food, I would just eat everything they gave us no matter how bad it was. Sometimes I would eat other guys food too if they didn't want it. Milk and tuna fish were biggies among inmates, we could buy them from the kitchen.

I like 3 sets of 3-5 reps.

dorian yates was a big pusher of just doing one set. i think he typically just did one major drop set. he said that if you do that one set to the fullest (pushing past your limit) every other set means nothing. he also said that if you put out fully on that one set you will not be able to do any future sets.

Dont get to caught up or worried about hearing things like that.

What you need to do is look at your goals.

If your goals are maximal muscular strength one set will not be enough, because your reps in those sets will be low like below 5. Only do 5 reps of an exercise will not be enough.

To maximize hypertorphy or muscule growth you need a high volume. And it will be difficult to obtain a high volume of work will only one set per exercise.

The main people that push the one set deal are HIT advocates. They believe in the one set to muscular failure bit.

I would say one set insn't enough in most cases.

i cant tell enough people

go to

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When I started out, I found doing one HEAVY set of Deads was the best thing I could do. Now, I do the 2-5x3-6 deal and I'm very happy.


I need multiple sets. No matter how much I loosen up, I am never as flexible as after the first set.