Repeated sets or single set of resistance training – A systematic review

Sofia BÃ¥genhammar ; Eva Ekvall Hansson

The aim of the study was to review studies concerning single-set and multiple-set resistance training. Twenty-six articles were found, 19 randomized controlled trials and seven studies without randomization process. Out of the 26 articles, 11 showed similar increases in strength when comparing number of sets, mostly one set compared with three sets. Eight of the articles showed a greater increase when training with multiple sets. In four of the articles, the comparison was made between single-set training programmes, multiple-set programmes and periodized multiple-set programmes, showing superior results with periodized training. None of the articles reported superior strength gain in the single-set training group. There was no difference in outcome when comparing articles with trained subjects to articles with untrained subjects. It seems that in order to be physically active and staying fit, the use of single-set training is sufficient. However, to gain the greatest possible strength, the use of multiple-set training seems to be appropriate.

Advances in Physiotherapy, August 2007, online article ahead of print.

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