Strength and body composition changes in recreationally strength-trained individuals: comparison of one versus three sets resistance-training programmes

Biomed Res Int. 2013:2013:615901. doi: 10.1155/2013/615901. Epub 2013 Sep 8.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of increasing the volume of weight-training from one to three sets upon body composition and muscular strength.

Methods: Sixteen male weight-trainers volunteered to act as subjects and were randomly assigned to one of two training groups. Supervised weight-training targeting the upper body was conducted three times per week for eight weeks using one set (n = 8) or three sets (n = 8) of six repetitions to fatigue. Subjects were measured before and after the training intervention for (1) strength performance (N and kg) and (2) adiposity (sum of seven skinfold thicknesses in mm).

Results: Both training groups improved significantly (20.7%) in terms of muscular strength (P < 0.05) with no differences being observed between the one set (21.98% increase) and three set group (20.71% increase) after the training interventions (P > 0.05). Significant decreases were also observed for skinfold measures in the one set group (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: One set of high intensity resistance training was as effective as three sets for increasing the strength of muscle groups in the upper body. The one set protocol also produced significantly greater decreases in adiposity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Recreation*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult