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one vs. multiple set training question


luckylondon
(@luckylondon)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

Hi everyone,

I am new to the site and have found some helpful information. thanks!

I do have a training related question and would love some insight.

I have fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis which cause extreme fatigue and chronic pain. I feel much better when I consistently weight train. I have been working with a personal trainer for 2 years. About 8 years ago I worked with a personal trainer that believed in doing 1 set to failure (this was on nautilus machines). This went against everything I had ever read about weight training, but gave me the best results in creating a lean, muscular look.
My current trainer believes in multiple sets. I find this to really tire me out without much result. I have convinced her to work with me on one set to exhaustion, and she agrees it is effective for me. But she believes in performing many many reps (at least 20), if we do 1 set only. I have read that any reps after 12-15 are not building muscle. She is reluctant to do one set to exhaustion with 12-15 reps without a warm up set and I can tell she doesn't "buy into" the 1 set with lower reps. I notice that if I push too hard (especially with multiple sets) I get extremely dizzy and I think it affects my adrenal system because I am completely worn out for days.

Does anyone have any experience with one set to exhaustion or other methods to build lean muscle effectively.

Thank you so much for your help! I look forward to your feedback.

London


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BadOldBear
(@badoldbear)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 5
 

Hello,
After many many studies 90% + show no significant statistical difference between 1 set to failure and 3 sets or more. Most find any more than 3 sets are actually counterproductive.
The problem with all of these studies is that they are much too short (all but 13 ended in 6 weeks or less, and only 1 lasted beyond 12 weeks and it was extremely flawed) and much too dependant upon nontrained individuals judging what "failure" means.
In truth though, if you do it in the manner described by mentzer, lyon, or Jones , 1 set of each exercise will leave you exhausted for up to 96 hours.

This makes the nutritional aspects of your regimen very important.

I am unable to assess just what load or level of training you are at because you have only partially described your exercise regimen. Accordingly i am not in the position to give you my personal perspective of what you might do to accomplish your goals.

However, Mentzer, in the last 2 years before his death was convinced that just 2 exercises done with 1 set to failure every 7 to 10 days were sufficient to build mass, strength, and lean muscle at the same time. I have to take the word of others what those 2 exercise were but it is as close as I can come at the present time.

Allegedly he had 4 exercises divided over 2 sessions 7 to 10 days apart. They are :
session 1: Parallel bar dips
back squat

session 2: pullups
wide grip dead lift

I can see why you would not do dead lifts and squats at same session. Do not see why the other 2 can't be done at each session.
I also do not see where the shoulders get a sufficient work out.

My self am doing a metabolic enhancing workout of 5 exercise 2x a week to failure with warmup sets.


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luckylondon
(@luckylondon)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

Thank you so much for your help!

I am not sure what information you need on my exercise regime.

Basically, I work out as much as I can given my work, grad school, energy level restraints.

Usually 2x week strength training with trainer. We use machines and free weights. She varies which muscle groups we work. We recently have changed to 2 sets of heavy weight to failure, shooting for 6-12 reps. I don't think my trainer is convinced that one set is enough, but she knows me well enough to see that more than 2 sets is too much for me. Note: I have rotator cuff problems, so some upper-body it is tough to exhaust becuase it causes pain (not muscle pain--injury pain)-- but we are careful with that. Since it is now summer and school demands are lighter, I am lifting more on my own and shooting for 3-4 x weekly total.

I have noticed increased muscle definition using this method. However, if I could just do one set with the same results, I could add in many more exercises and work more muscles each session.

Previously, I was just concerned with losing weight and looking/feeling better. But I have become increasingly interested in body building and the biophysio processes occuring with diet and exercise and I am now using some AL supplementation. I am using Lipo-Y alternated with Absolved (but I am not sure the Absolved is necessary) and taking Phenogen and H.E.A.T. (just started this week).

If you have any additional recommendations that would help me, I would greatly appreciate it!


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BadOldBear
(@badoldbear)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 5
 
Posted by: @luckylondon
Thank you so much for your help!

I am not sure what information you need on my exercise regime.

Basically, I work out as much as I can given my work, grad school, energy level restraints.

Usually 2x week strength training with trainer.  We use machines and free weights.  She varies which muscle groups we work.  We recently have changed to 2 sets of heavy weight to failure, shooting for 6-12 reps.  I don't think my trainer is convinced that one set is enough, but she knows me well enough to see that more than 2 sets is too much for me.  Note: I have rotator cuff problems, so some upper-body it is tough to exhaust becuase it causes pain (not muscle pain--injury pain)-- but we are careful with that.  Since it is now summer and school demands are lighter, I am lifting more on my own and shooting for 3-4 x weekly total.

I have noticed increased muscle definition using this method.  However, if I could just do one set with the same results, I could add in many more exercises and work more muscles each session.

Previously, I was just concerned with losing weight and looking/feeling better.  But I have become increasingly interested in body building and the biophysio processes occuring with diet and exercise and I am now using some AL supplementation.  I am using Lipo-Y alternated with Absolved (but I am not sure the Absolved is necessary) and taking Phenogen and H.E.A.T. (just started this week). 

If you have any additional recommendations that would help me, I would greatly appreciate it!

I would love to hear about your progress. I tend to concentrate on the metabolic and strength aspects of lifting so there may be some here able to assist you better on body composition. At one time Bill Pearl had a section on his website for weightlifting for those with disabilities.


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