THE STRENGTH, LOCAL MUCULAR ENDURANCE AND HYPERTROPHY DOSE RESPONSE TO 1, 3 AND 5 SETS OF RESISTANCE TRAINING
S. FLECK Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research VOLUME 27 | SUPPLEMENT 4 | APRIL 2013 | S60
The number of sets that results in optimal strength gains is
not completely elucidated. Purpose: Therefore the purpose
of the project was to compare strength (5RM), local muscular
endurance (20RM) and hypertrophy responses to 1, 3 and 5
sets of resistance training exercise due to 6 months of training.
Methods: Forty-eight male navy lieutenants were randomly
assigned to one of three training groups or a control
group (CG, n = 10) performing no exercise. The training
groups performed 1 set (n = 12), 3 sets (n = 13) and 5 sets
(n =13) of 8–12 repetitions per set to concentric failure of 9
different exercises 3 days per week. The rest period between
sets and exercises for all training groups was 1–2 minutes. In
addition to the resistance training performed all groups,
including the CG, performed normal naval physical training
3 days per week. For at least 1 year prior to initiation of the
study all subjects had performed resistance training 3 days
per week. Pre and post of training 5RMs for the bench press
(BP), leg press (LP), front lat pull-down (LPD) and the military
press (MP); 20 RMs for the BP and LP; and muscle thickness
(MT) using ultra-sound of the triceps and biceps were determined.
Two (pre-posttest) by four (groups) -way ANOVAs
(time [baseline vs. 6 months training] x group [1 set vs. 3 set
vs. 5 set vs. CG) were used to analyze differences between the
groups in 5RM, 20RM, and MT. When appropriate, follow-up
analyses were performed using Tuckey post hoc tests. Effect
sizes (ES) were calculated for all variables determined.
The subject’s adherence to the training program was at least
95% in all training groups. Pretraining there were no significant
differences in any variable determined. In all exercises tested for
5RM the training groups demonstrated significantly greater
increases than the CG. In the BP, LPD and MP a significant dose
response was shown (1 set , 3 sets , 5 sets). For the LP 5RM
no significant difference in increases was shown between training
groups. The BP 20RM increase in the 3 and 5 sets groups
but not the 1 set group and followed a dose response pattern
(1 set , 3 sets , 5 sets). The LP 20RM increased significantly in
all training groups with the only significant difference due to
training being 1 set less than 5 sets. Right biceps MT of the
5 set group showed a significantly greater increase than the
CG, 1 set and 3 set groups, while the left biceps MT of both
the 3 and 5 set groups showed a significant increase greater than
the CG with the 5 set group having a significantly greater increase
than both the 1 and 3 set groups. Right and left triceps MT was
only increased in the 5 set group. Right triceps MT of the 5 set
group showed a greater increase than the CG and the 1 set
group. Left triceps MT of the 5 set group showed a greater
increase than the CG, 1 set and 3 set groups. Although ES varied
among variables it always followed the pattern of 1 set , 3 sets ,
5 sets in all variables measured.
Conclusions: Five RM of the upper body exercises and the 20RM BP showed a dose response
to training. MT of the 1 set group did not show an increase at any
of the sites measured. While MT of the 5 set group showed
a consistent pattern of increase and a general pattern of dose
response was shown.
Practical Applications: There is a dose
response to the number of sets, especially of the upper body,
therefore in general greater numbers of sets result in greater
strength and hypertrophy gains.
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