The effects of traditional, superset, and tri-set resistance training structures on perceived intensity and physiological responses

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017 Sep;117(9):1877-1889. doi: 10.1007/s00421-017-3680-3. Epub 2017 Jul 11.


Purpose: Investigate the acute and short-term (i.e., 24 h) effects of traditional (TRAD), superset (SS), and tri-set (TRI) resistance training protocols on perceptions of intensity and physiological responses.

Methods: Fourteen male participants completed a familiarisation session and three resistance training protocols (i.e., TRAD, SS, and TRI) in a randomised-crossover design. Rating of perceived exertion, lactate concentration ([Lac]), creatine kinase concentration ([CK]), countermovement jump (CMJ), testosterone, and cortisol concentrations was measured pre, immediately, and 24-h post the resistance training sessions with magnitude-based inferences assessing changes/differences within/between protocols.

Results: TRI reported possible to almost certainly greater efficiency and rate of perceived exertion, although session perceived load was very likely lower. SS and TRI had very likely to almost certainly greater lactate responses during the protocols, with changes in [CK] being very likely and likely increased at 24 h, respectively. At 24-h post-training, CMJ variables in the TRAD protocol had returned to baseline; however, SS and TRI were still possibly to likely reduced. Possible increases in testosterone immediately post SS and TRI protocols were reported, with SS showing possible increases at 24-h post-training. TRAD and SS showed almost certain and likely decreases in cortisol immediately post, respectively, with TRAD reporting likely decreases at 24-h post-training.

Conclusions: SS and TRI can enhance training efficiency and reduce training time. However, acute and short-term physiological responses differ between protocols. Athletes can utilise SS and TRI resistance training, but may require additional recovery post-training to minimise effects of fatigue.

Keywords: Cortisol; Countermovement jump; Efficiency; Lactate; Resistance training; Testosterone.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobic Threshold*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Perception
  • Recovery of Function
  • Resistance Training / adverse effects
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Lactic Acid
  • Testosterone
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Hydrocortisone