Background: A paucity of research exists examining whether resistance training with a greater number of sets per exercise enhances the development of muscular endurance. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of ten sets versus five sets of resistance training on muscle endurance.
Methods: Fifteen healthy males (age 23.7±4.6 y) with at least 1 year resistance training experience were randomly assigned to 6 weeks of 10 sets (10-SET) or 5 sets (5-SET) of 10 repetitions at 60-80% one-repetition maximum (1RM) for specific compound resistance exercises with rest intervals between sets of 60-90 s and 60 s between exercises, performed 3 times per week. Relative muscle endurance was assessed via maximal repetitions using 70% 1RM for the bench press, lat pulldown and leg press.
Results: There was a significant increase in the number of repetitions to failure in the muscle endurance test for the leg press in 10-SET (40.9%, P=0.04) and 5-SET (27.9%; P=0.03), although no statistical differences between groups in the post-intervention results. Both groups increased volume-load in the muscle endurance test for the bench press (≥14.3%, P<0.05) and leg press (≥36.7%, P<0.05), but there were no statistical differences between groups in the post-intervention results.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that performing 10 sets compared to 5 sets of resistance training does not enhance the development of relative muscle endurance. The volume-load accrued within an individual set rather than across sets may be of greater importance when targeting muscular endurance.