Effects of training volume on strength and hypertrophy in young men

J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Jan;27(1):8-13. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182679215.


Knowledge of the effects of training volume on upper limb muscular strength and hypertrophy is rather limited. In this study, both arms of the same subject were trained in a crossover-like design with different training volumes (1 or 3 sets) to eliminate the effects of genetic variation and other individual differences. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of training volume on muscular strength and hypertrophy in sedentary, untrained young Japanese men. Eight subjects (age, 25.0 ± 2.1 years; body mass, 64.2 ± 7.9 kg; height, 171.7 ± 5.1 cm) were recruited. The subjects trained their elbow flexor muscles twice per week for 12 consecutive weeks using a seated dumbbell preacher curl. The arms were randomly assigned to training with 1 or 3 sets. The training weight was set at 80% of 1 repetition maximum for all sets. The 3-set protocol increased cross-sectional area significantly more than did 1 set (1 set, 8.0 ± 3.7%; 3 sets, 13.3 ± 3.6%, p < 0.05). Furthermore, gains in strength with the 3-set protocol tended to be greater than those with 1 set (1 set, 20.4 ± 21.6%; 3 sets, 31.7 ± 22.0%, p = 0.076). Based on the results, the authors recommend 3 sets for sedentary untrained individuals. However, this population should incorporate light training days of 1 set into their training program to prevent overtraining and ensure adherence. The findings are relevant for the sedentary, untrained young male population and must be interpreted within the context of this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Japan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Upper Extremity / physiology*