Three sets of weight training superior to 1 set with equal intensity for eliciting strength

J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Nov;16(4):525-9.


The purpose of this study was to compare single and multiple sets of weight training for strength gains in recreationally trained individuals. Sixteen men (age = 21 +/- 2.0) were randomly assigned to 1 set (S-1; n = 8) or 3 set (S-3; n = 8) groups and trained 3 days per week for 12 weeks. One repetition maximum (1RM) was recorded for bench press and leg press at pre-, mid-, and posttest. Subjects trained according to daily undulating periodization (DUP), involving the bench press and leg press exercises between 4RM and 8RM. Training intensity was equated for both groups. Analysis of variance with repeated measures revealed statistically significant differences favoring S-3 in the leg press (p < 0.05, effect size [ES] = 6.5) and differences approaching significance in the bench press (p = 0.07, ES = 2.3). The results demonstrate that for recreationally trained individuals using DUP training, 3 sets of training are superior to 1 set for eliciting maximal strength gains.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Probability
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*