Volume Load and Neuromuscular Fatigue During an Acute Bout of Agonist-Antagonist Paired-Set vs. Traditional-Set Training

J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Oct;31(10):2777-2784. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001059.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the acute effects of performing paired-set (PS) vs. traditional-set (TS) training over 3 consecutive sets, on volume load and electromyographic fatigue parameters of the latissimus dorsi, biceps brachii, pectoralis major, and triceps brachii muscles. Fifteen trained men performed 2 testing protocols (TS and PS) using 10 repetition maximum loads. The TS protocol consisted of 3 sets of bench press (BP) followed by 3 sets of wide-grip seated row (SR). The PS consisted of 3 sets of BP and 3 sets of SR performed in an alternating manner. Volume load was calculated as load × repetitions. The electromyographic signal, time (CRMS) and frequency (Cf5) domain, parameters were recorded during SR. Under the PS protocol, sets of SR were performed immediately after the sets of BP. A 2-minute rest interval between the completion of the set of SR and the subsequent set of BP was implemented (e.g., between PSs). Under the TS protocol, 2-minute rest intervals were implemented between all sets. BP and SR volume loads decreased significantly from set 1 to set 2 and from set 2 to set 3 under both conditions. Volume load was greater for all sets of both exercises under PS as compared with TS. Muscle fatigue indices were greater under PS as compared with TS. In general, these results indicate that as compared with TS, PS produced a greater training volume in less time and may induce greater fatigue and thereby provide an enhanced training stimulus.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Rest / physiology
  • Weight Lifting / physiology
  • Young Adult