Agonist-antagonist paired set resistance training: a brief review

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):2873-82. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181f00bfc.


Agonist-antagonist paired set (APS) training refers to the coupling of agonist and antagonist exercises, performed in an alternating manner with rest intervals between each set. The purpose of this review is to identify the proposed benefits and possible underlying mechanisms of APS training and to suggest how APS training may be exploited. Furthermore, areas deserving of further research attention will be presented. This review will also suggest a common terminology (i.e., APS training) for describing training modalities that alternate agonist and antagonist exercises. Although somewhat equivocal, evidence exists supporting the use of APS as a means of enhancing short-term power measures. Evidence also exists suggesting APS training is an efficacious and efficient means of developing strength and power. Time-efficient methods of developing strength and power would have benefits for athletes and the general population. Athletes able to spend less time developing strength and power would have more time to devote to other aspects of performance or other unrelated tasks. The general population may be more willing to adhere to less time-consuming resistance training programs that offer similar results, as compared to more time-consuming programs. This review concludes that the practical applicability of APS training in terms of acute performance enhancement is limited. However, the use of APS training as an efficacious and time-effective method for developing strength and power may hold some merit.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Resistance Training / methods*