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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Jul 15, 2012
Research, 2007, 21(2), 628–631
 2007 National Strength & Conditioning Association Brief Review
THE APPLICATION OF TRAINING TO FAILURE IN
PERIODIZED MULTIPLE-SET RESISTANCE EXERCISE
PROGRAMS
JEFFREY M. WILLARDSON
Physical Education Department, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois 61920.
ABSTRACT. Willardson, J.M. The application of training to failure
in periodized multiple-set resistance exercise programs. J.
Strength Cond. Res. 21(2):628–631. 2007.—Few studies and reports
in the body of literature have directly addressed the issue
of whether resistance exercise sets should be performed to failure.
Research has clearly demonstrated the superiority of performing
multiple sets vs. single sets for increases in maximal
strength. However, there is little direct evidence to decide conclusively
whether or not multiple sets should be performed to
failure. Therefore, the purpose of this research note was to discuss
what is currently known concerning the application of
training to failure and to stimulate further research on this topic.
Although not essential for increases in muscular characteristics
such as strength and hypertrophy, training to failure
might allow advanced lifters to break through training plateaus
when incorporated periodically into short-term microcycles. Because
muscular hypertrophy is a key contributor to long-term
increases in maximal strength, advanced lifters should consider
training to failure occasionally. The potential mechanisms by
which training to failure might provide an advantage are
through greater activation of motor units and secretion of
growth-promoting hormones. However, training to failure is not
an effective stimulus without lifting at a sufficient intensity
(percentage of 1 repetition maximum). Furthermore, training to
failure should not be performed repeatedly over long periods,
due to the high potential for overtraining and overuse injuries.
Therefore, the training status and the goals of the lifter should
guide the decision-making process on this issue.
KEY WORDS. fatigue, motor unit recruitment, growth hormone,
strength, hypertrophy
INTRODUCTION When designing resistance exercise programs,
many training variables must be considered
for optimal results to occur (2). In a position
stand, written for the American College of
Sports Medicine, training variables such as
the type of muscle action, load, volume, exercise selection,
exercise order, rest periods, velocity of muscle action, and
frequency were discussed and recommendations were
made based on different goals (1). However, an issue not
discussed, but also highly relevant, particularly when the
goal is maximal strength or hypertrophy, is whether resistance
exercise sets should be performed to muscular
failure.
Much of what has been written concerning the benefits
of training to failure may have originated from a marketing
scheme connected with the sale of Nautilus equipment
in the 1970s. However, power lifters and bodybuilders
who followed lifting programs based on repetition
maximums (RM) probably were training to failure (intentionally
or at random) before this time period. There are
few studies and reports in the body of literature that have
directly addressed this issue (3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 15). Therefore,
the purpose of this research note will be to discuss
what is currently known concerning the application of
training to failure and to stimulate further research on
this topic.
MUSCULAR FAILURE DEFINED
Muscular failure can be defined as the point during a resistance
exercise set when the muscles can no longer produce
sufficient force to control a given load (3, 15). At this
point, the set is ended and a period of rest ensues to allow
for resynthesis of ATP and clearance of fatigue-producing
substances (e.g., H ions). Muscular failure usually occurs
during the concentric phase of a repetition; however,
a set often can be extended through spotter-assisted repetitions,
eccentric-phase only repetitions, or isometric
holds.
Therefore, to describe a muscle as being maximally
fatigued at the point of concentric failure is inaccurate,
because the muscle is not entirely fatigued (3). A common
technique among resistance trainers, upon reaching concentric
failure, is to immediately reduce the resistance
and continue performing repetitions. Because the muscles
are not maximally fatigued, sufficient force can be produced
to perform additional repetitions with less resistance.
A previous study demonstrated that this technique
provided a superior stimulus for increases in strength
and hypertrophy due to increased secretion of growth hormone
(4).
RATIONALE FOR TRAINING TO FAILURE
Performing sets to failure with heavy resistance may activate
a greater number of motor units (3, 6, 11, 12, 14,
15). During a typical heavy resistance exercise set, the
pattern of motor unit recruitment follows the size principle
(12). A recruitment threshold exists whereby lower
threshold motor units, composed of predominantly type I
slow-twitch or type IIa fast-twitch muscle fibers are recruited
first. As consecutive repetitions are performed,
these motor units become progressively fatigued, at which
point additional higher threshold motor units composed
of predominantly type IIx fast-twitch muscle fibers are
recruited (12).
Muscular failure occurs when all available motor
units have fatigued to the point that sufficient force cannot
be produced to move a given load beyond a critical
joint angle or ‘‘sticking point’’ (3). Therefore, training to
failure may provide greater stimulation to the highest
threshold fast-twitch motor units, which are capable of
the greatest increases in strength and hypertrophy (3, 6,
11, 12, 14). Although not training to failure with a heavy
load would involve some recruitment of fast-twitch motor
units, the highest threshold motor units may never be
THE APPLICATION OF TRAINING TO FAILURE IN MULTI-SET PERIODIZED RESISTANCE PROGRAMS 629
fully recruited, which could limit increases in strength
and hypertrophy in advanced lifters.
Training to failure is not an effective stimulus without
lifting at a sufficient intensity (percentage of 1RM) (9,
15). For example, training to failure at a relatively low
intensity (30% 1RM), as is commonly practiced in Super
Slow resistance training, will not result in maximal increases
in strength and hypertrophy due to the recruitment
of primarily slow-twitch motor units (1, 12). However,
when a sufficient intensity is utilized (e.g., 80%
1RM), training to failure may provide an advantage when
employed periodically within short-term microcycles (3, 4,
6, 7, 11, 14).
PRECAUTIONS FOR TRAINING TO FAILURE
Training to failure should not be performed repeatedly
over long periods, due to the high potential for overtraining
and overuse injuries (2, 15, 16). Athletes should be
instructed to rack the resistance when they can longer
maintain correct technique. For older adults and individuals
who lift recreationally for the purpose of improving
physical function, there is no reason to train to failure.
Additionally, some individuals may have preexisting
musculoskeletal injuries or cardiovascular conditions that
might prohibit training to failure (15).
Baechle, Earle, and Wathen (2) recommended that
athletes perform full RM sets with heavy loads 1 day per
week. During the other days of the week, light or medium
loads were recommended at a percentage of the RM value.
Therefore, performing sets to failure should be varied,
just as any other variable within a periodized program.
An effective strategy might be to alternate between microcycles
in which work sets are performed to failure at
a lower weekly training frequency (e.g., each muscle
group trained twice per week), with microcycles in which
work sets are not performed to failure at a higher weekly
training frequency (e.g., each muscle group trained 3
times per week).
Whether resistance exercises sets are performed to
failure also depends on the type of equipment being utilized
and the intent of the lifter. For example, a bodybuilder
might utilize variable resistance machines to emphasize
different muscle groups, with the intent to maximize
muscular hypertrophy (4, 6, 7, 14). In such cases,
the goal might be to reach failure on nearly every set (15).
Conversely, a football player might utilize free weights to
increase sports specificity, with the intent to maximize
muscular power. In such cases, training to failure might
be detrimental if the goal is to achieve maximal power
output on every repetition (1, 2, 5, 13, 15).
RESEARCH ON TRAINING TO FAILURE
The need for training to failure is not universally accepted
and few studies have directly addressed failure vs.
nonfailure training with equated intensity, volume, and
frequency. Two studies examined training with 1 set performed
to failure vs. multiple sets not performed to failure
and demonstrated that the latter approach was superior
for increases in maximum strength and power (13,
16). However, greater increases in these characteristics
were attributed to periodic variations in the volume and
intensity; the failure variable was never directly examined
or discussed. Research has clearly demonstrated the
superiority of performing multiple sets vs. single sets for
increases in maximal strength (1, 2). However, there is
little direct evidence to decide conclusively whether or not
multiple sets should be performed to failure.
Peterson, Rhea, and Alvar (9) analyzed a sample of
studies from previously conducted meta-analyses (8, 10)
and concluded that multiple sets not performed to failure
were superior for maximal strength increases when controlling
for intensity and frequency. However, this conclusion
was short-sighted and misleading when considering
that none of the studies included in either meta-analysis
directly examined training to failure (8, 10). The fact that
several studies involved lifting programs based on RMs
suggests that subjects in these studies were training to
failure (intentionally or at random), even when not reported
as part of the overall data set (8, 10). In such cases,
a study could have been classified as nonfailure, when in
fact subjects were training to failure a large percentage
of the time.
Therefore, the use of meta-analytic techniques to compare
the effectiveness of failure vs. nonfailure sets should
include relevant studies in order to make accurate conclusions.
In reviewing the literature, 4 studies have directly
examined the role of fatigue or training to failure
on muscular adaptations, while equating for all other variables
(3, 5, 11, 14). These studies will be presented in
chronological order.
Rooney, Herbert, and Balnave (11) examined increases
in dynamic and isometric strength of the elbow flexors
resulting from failure vs. nonfailure training in untrained
subjects. Following the pretests, subjects were matched
and assigned to a no-rest group or a rest group. For 6
weeks, subjects in each group trained 3 times per week
with a 6RM load that was progressively increased to keep
the relative intensity the same. Training volume was
equated between groups, because subjects in the no-rest
group performed 1 set of 6 consecutive repetitions to failure,
whereas subjects in the rest group performed 6 sets
of 1 repetition not to failure with 30 seconds of rest between
sets. When subjects in the no-rest group were unable
to complete the prescribed number of repetitions, the
supervising investigator provided minimal assistance.
Rooney et al. (11) demonstrated greater increases in
dynamic and isometric strength for the no-rest group (7.0
and 6.6 kg) vs. the rest group (5.1 and 6.0 kg). The greater
increases in strength for the no-rest group were attributed
to higher levels of fatigue. A second experiment established
that the no-rest protocol induced greater fatigue,
measured with maximal isometric muscle actions immediately
before and after lifting. The authors speculated
that high-intensity fatiguing protocols bring about greater
activation motor units than do high-intensity nonfatiguing
protocols and that the degree of activation of motor
units determines the magnitude of the strength training
response.
Schott, McCully, and Rutherford (14) examined increases
in quadriceps isometric strength and cross-sectional
area resulting from short vs. long isometric muscle
actions in untrained subjects. Following the pretests, subjects
trained 3 times per week for 14 weeks. The right leg
was trained using short, intermittent muscle actions (IC),
whereas the left leg was trained using longer, continuous
muscle actions (CC). The IC protocol involved 4 sets of 10
muscle actions lasting 3 seconds each, with a 2-second
rest between each muscle action and a 2-minute rest between
each set. The CC protocol involved 4 muscle actions
lasting 30 seconds each, with a 1-minute rest between
each muscle action. Therefore, the total volume of training
for each protocol was equalized at 120 seconds. Muscle
actions were conducted at 70% of the maximal iso630
WILLARDSON
metric force, which was determined prior to each training
session.
Schott et al. (14) demonstrated greater increases in
quadriceps isometric strength for the CC protocol (24.9
kg) vs. the IC protocol (14.3 kg). Additionally, greater percentage
increases in quadriceps cross-sectional area resulted
from the CC protocol (10.1% upper three-quarters
femur and 11.1% lower one-quarter femur) vs. the IC protocol
(6.5% upper three-quarters femur and 4.3% lower
one-quarter femur). The greater increases resulting from
the CC protocol were attributed to higher levels of fatigue,
consistent with greater changes in metabolites. A
second experiment established that the CC protocol resulted
in a greater drop in Ph and PCr and a greater rise
in Pi and Pi:PCr ratio. The authors speculated that higher
levels of fatigue may stimulate greater protein synthesis
and release of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).
Drinkwater et al. (3) examined the importance of
training leading to repetition failure on 6RM bench press
strength and the power output during a 40-kg bench
throw in elite junior athletes. Following the pretests, subjects
were matched and were assigned to 1 of 2 bench
press training groups consisting of 4 sets of 6 repetitions
to failure (RF group) or 8 sets of 3 repetitions not to failure
(NF group). Both groups were equated for volume (24
total repetitions each workout) and relative intensity (85–
105% 6RM), training 3 times per week for 6 weeks.
During each workout, the RF group needed assistance
on at least 1 repetition, whereas the NF group was able
to complete all repetitions without assistance (3). In a second
experiment, bench throw power was used to measure
the extent of fatigue elicited by each protocol. Subjects
performed each protocol on separate days, and a fatigue
index was calculated by comparing bench throw power
before and after lifting.
Drinkwater et al. (3) demonstrated that the increase
in 6RM strength experienced by the RF group (7.3 kg)
was greater than that experienced by the NF group (3.6
kg). Additionally, greater increases in bench throw power
were demonstrated by the RF group (40.8 W) vs. the NF
group (25.0 W). Calculation of the fatigue index demonstrated
that bench throw power following the 4 sets of 6
repetitions to failure was 15.9% lower than following the
8 sets of 3 repetitions not to failure. The authors speculated
that the RF group experienced greater increases in
strength and power by maximizing the number of active
motor units leading to greater neural adaptations.
Izquierdo et al. (5) examined failure vs. nonfailure
training on localized muscular endurance, strength, and
power over 16 weeks in physically active men. The final
5 weeks of this study were designed to be a peaking period
for maximal strength and power. Muscular testing
and blood draws to determine basal hormonal concentrations
were conducted before the initiation of training and
at regular intervals throughout the study period.
Izquierdo et al. (5) demonstrated that the failure (RF)
and nonfailure (NRF) groups experienced similar percentage
increases in 1RM bench press (23 and 23%) and
1RM squat (22 and 23%) and power output of the arm (27
and 28%) and leg extensor muscles (26 and 29%). The RF
group demonstrated larger increases in the maximal
number of repetitions performed during the bench press.
However, the RF group also demonstrated reductions in
resting concentrations of IGF-1, whereas the NRF group
demonstrated reductions in resting cortisol concentrations
and an elevation in resting serum total testosterone
concentration.
Overall, greater increases in muscular power were
demonstrated by the NRF group, particularly during the
5-week peaking period, and greater increases in muscular
endurance were demonstrated by the RF group (5). The
reduction in IGF-1 for the RF group may have been an
indicator of overtraining. The difference between these
results and those reported in other studies might be accounted
for by the length of the study periods. For example,
2 of the previous studies that demonstrated the
superiority of training to failure were conducted only for
6 weeks (3, 11). This may indicate that training to failure
can be advantageous, but only when prescribed sparingly
and not for more than 6 weeks at a time.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Planned variation in training variables is the key for optimal
increases in muscular characteristics (1, 2). One
training issue that has not been frequently discussed or
examined under controlled research conditions is whether
resistance exercise sets should be performed to failure (3,
5–7, 9, 11, 14, 15). Training to failure might be most beneficial
when programs are structured for increases in
strength and hypertrophy (3, 7, 11, 14). Because muscular
hypertrophy is a major contributor to long-term increases
in maximal strength, advanced lifters should consider
training to failure occasionally.
Training to failure might provide the extra stimulus
needed for advanced lifters to break through plateaus
when incorporated periodically into short-term microcycles
(3, 15). Research has demonstrated that during 6-
week cycles, training to failure resulted in superior increases
in strength and hypertrophy in both untrained
subjects and elite athletes (3, 11, 14). These adaptations
were attributed to greater activation of motor units and
secretion of growth promoting hormones.
However, training to failure should not be practiced
repeatedly over long periods due the potential for decreases
in growth-promoting hormones and increases in
overuse injuries (5, 15, 16). An effective strategy might
be to alternate microcycles in which failure is reached on
most sets with microcycles in which sets are performed
according to repetition zones or RM percentages that do
not require failure. For older adults and individuals who
lift recreationally for the purpose of improving physical
function, there is no reason to train to failure. Therefore,
the training status and goals of the lifter should guide
the decision-making process on this issue.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
Future research should continue to examine failure vs.
nonfailure training on muscular power. Two key factors
that determine the development of this characteristic are
force production and the rate of force development. Therefore,
future research should explore the effects of failure
vs. nonfailure training on each of these factors. Based on
the existing research, training to failure might be advantageous
during short-term strength phases in which
heavy loads are lifted for the purpose of increasing force
production (3, 11, 14). Conversely, not training to failure
might be advantageous during peaking phases in which
explosive resistance exercises are performed for the purpose
of increasing the rate of force development (5).
Future research should continue to examine the effect
of failure vs. nonfailure training on muscular hypertrophy.
A key factor that determines the development of this
characteristic is the secretion of growth-promoting hormones.
Linnamo et al. (7) demonstrated higher acute levTHE
APPLICATION OF TRAINING TO FAILURE IN MULTI-SET PERIODIZED RESISTANCE PROGRAMS 631
els of growth hormone and testosterone following workouts
in which subjects trained to failure. Conversely, Izquierdo
et al. (5) demonstrated reductions in resting IGF-
1 concentrations in subjects who trained to failure
repeatedly over 16 weeks. Based on these inconsistent
outcomes, future research should continue to explore the
effects of failure vs. nonfailure training on both acute and
chronic hormonal responses.
Future research should continue to examine the effect
of failure vs. nonfailure training on localized muscular
endurance. Because this characteristic is defined as the
ability to maintain submaximal muscle actions, training
to failure might be advantageous (1, 2). Izquierdo et al.
(5) demonstrated greater increases in bench press endurance
when subjects trained to failure. However, the examination
of additional exercises when performed in a
circuit vs. a traditional straight-set approach would be
useful. Future research also should examine the potential
mechanisms by which training to failure might enhance
recovery ability and allow for greater resistance to fatigue.
REFERENCES
1. AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE. Progression models in resistance
training for healthy adults. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 34:364–380.
2002.
2. BAECHLE, T.R., R.W. EARLE, AND D. WATHEN. Resistance training. In:
Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. T.R. Baechle and R.W.
Earle, eds. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2000. pp. 395–425.
3. DRINKWATER, E.J., T.W. LAWTON, R.P. LINDSELL, D.B. PYNE, P.H. HUNT,
AND M.J. MCKENNA. Training leading to repetition failure enhances
bench press strength increases in elite junior athletes. J Strength. Cond.
Res. 19:382–388. 2005.
4. GOTO, K., M. NAGASAWA, O. YANAGISAWA, T. KIZUKA, N. ISHII, AND K.
TAKAMATSU. Muscular adaptations to combinations of high and low intensity
resistance exercises. J. Strength Cond. Res. 18:730–737. 2004.
5. IZQUIERDO, M., J. IBANEZ, J.J. GONZALEZ-BADILLO, K. HA¨ KKINEN, N.A.
RATAMESS, W.J. KRAEMER, D.N. FRENCH, J. ESLAVA, A. ALTADILL, X.
ASIAIN, AND E.M. GOROSTIAGA. Differential effects of strength training
leading to failure versus not to failure on hormonal responses, strength
and muscle power increases. J. Appl. Physiol. 100:1647–1656. 2006..
6. JACOBSON, B. Reach failure to gain success. Natl. Strength Coaches Assoc.
J. 3(2):24–25. 1981.
7. LINNAMO, V., A. PAKARINEN, P.V. KOMI, W.J. KRAEMER, AND K. HA¨ KKINEN.
Acute hormonal responses to submaximal and maximal heavy resistance
and explosive exercise in men and women. J. Strength Cond.
Res. 19:566–571. 2005.
8. PETERSON, M.D., M.R. RHEA, AND B.A. ALVAR. Maximizing strength development
in athletes: A meta-analysis to determine the dose-response
relationship. J. Strength Cond. Res. 18:377–382. 2004.
9. PETERSON, M.D., M.R. RHEA, AND B.A. ALVAR. Applications of the doseresponse
for muscular strength development: A review of meta-analytic
efficacy and reliability for designing training prescription. J. Strength
Cond. Res. 19:950–958. 2005.
10. RHEA, M.R., B.A. ALVAR, L.N. BURKETT, AND S.D. BALL. A meta-analysis
to determine the dose response for strength development. Med. Sci.
Sports Exerc. 35:456–464. 2003.
11. ROONEY, K.J., R.D. HERBERT, AND R.J. BALNAVE. Fatigue contributes to
the strength training stimulus. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 26:1160–1164.
1994.
12. SALE, D.G. Influence of exercise and training on motor unit activation.
Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 15:95–151. 1987.
13. SANBORN, K., R. BOROS, J. HRUBY, B. SCHILLING, H.S. O’BRYANT, R.L.
JOHNSON, T. HOKE, M.E. STONE, AND M.H. STONE. Short-term performance
effects of weight training with multiple sets not to failure vs. a
single set to failure in women. J. Strength Cond. Res. 14:328–331. 2000.
14. SCHOTT, J., K. MCCULLY, AND O.M. RUTHERFORD. The role of metabolites
in strength training: Short versus long isometric contractions. Eur. J.
Appl. Physiol. 71:337–341. 1995.
15. STONE, M.H., J. CHANDLER, M.S. CONLEY, J.B. KRAMER, AND M.E.
STONE. Training to muscular failure: Is it necessary? Strength Cond.
18(3):44–48. 1996.
16. STOWERS, T., J. MCMILLAN, D. SCALA, V. DAVIS, G.D. WILSON, AND M.H.
STONE. The short-term effects of three different strength-power training
methods. NSCA J. 5(3):24–27. 1983.
Address correspondence to Dr. Jeffrey Willardson,
jmwillardson@eiu.edu.

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jul 15, 2012
This papert took a very long time to essentially say that an increase in rep density provides an increase in stimulus and better strength/hypertrophy results and that a greater volume also provides more stimulus/better results (if you were still using 80%1RM, and didn't go to failure, presumably you'd have stopped a rep or two sooner and thus less volume).

As a tangent, it also refs studies that indicate multiple sets are superior to single sets, but I remember doing a bit of reading in this area a year ago and the differences were not very great, and that you got something like 80% or more of the gains from a single set. In those studies after two sets they couldn't even meet a level of statistical significance to show additional improvement.

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By Mike Anderson
From Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 15, 2012
Is this just a survey paper? I don't see any discussion of methods used or experiments performed.

Another question to ask yourself is if you are (or want to be) an "advanced lifter [trying to] break through training plateaus" or an "older adult and individual who lifts recreationally for the purpose of improving physical function."

Good food for thought, thanks for posting it!

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jul 18, 2012
At the BRC
Dana-please correct me I'd I am mistaken about any of this.

This is a survey (review) paper, so no independent research, hence no methods.
The meat of the paper is its discussion of 4 relevant studies where training to failure was compared to non-failure with exercise volume and effort(intensity) kept the same between groups. In 3 of the studies training to failure led to greater strength increases. In the 4th study, which lasted 16 weeks (the others lasted only 6 weeks) the two groups were equal but the failure group had biochemical markers suggesting greater cumulative fatigue. So the authors of the review argue in favor of training to failure for limited periods.
As for multiple vs single sets, I haven't followed the latest in this area. Dana?

Mark

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jul 18, 2012
On the single vs multiple sets, here are a couple:


ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/977768...


"Abstract: Perhaps the most controversial element of any strength training programme is the number of sets required to increase muscular strength and hypertrophy. There is a prevalent belief that at least 3 sets of each exercise are required to elicit optimal increases in strength and hypertrophy. However, most of the studies that reported the results of training with single versus multiple sets do not substantiate this tenet. In fact, the preponderance of evidence suggests that for training durations of 4 to 25 weeks there is no significant difference in the increase in strength or hypertrophy as a result of training with single versus multiple sets. Because of the design limitations of these studies, conclusions concerning the efficacy of multiple sets should be tentative. However, there is little scientific evidence, and no theoretical physiological basis, to suggest that a greater volume of exercise elicits greater increases in strength or hypertrophy. This information may represent an important practical application of time-efficient, low-volume exercise."
----------------

exrx.net/WeightTraining/Resear...

Number of Sets for Muscular Hypertrophy

For muscle hypertrophy, 2-3 sets per exercise were more effective than 1 set, but there was no significant difference between 2-3 sets per exercise and 4-6 sets per exercise.

Krieger JW (2010). Single vs. multiple sets of resistance exercise for muscle hypertrophy: a meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 24(4):1150-9.

------------------


Lots of caveats to throw in though, because the variable of a trained vs. untrained subject needs to be addressed. And it when controlling for that, it seems to indicate (as we would expect) that a more trained individual will stand to benefit from additional sets beyond 2 or so where the untrained person won't.

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By slim
Administrator
Jul 19, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
willS (and others),

one thing i didn't see was the effect on stamina, or the ability to handle increased volume at a high level of strength. I would think that doing more sets would help increase stamina, ie the ability to recover and perform again at a high level of strength. granted, they are probably looking strictly at hypertrophy in terms of size increase, but i think they are missing the big picture.

the first article looks like it basically says that there isn't a correlation between increased volume and increased hypertrophy, which seems pretty counterintuitive.

very interesting, thanks for posting.

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By Eric Whitbeck
Sep 5, 2012
Does this mean that if you are training on the fingerboard one set of each grip is as rewarding as more? How about P/E stuff? I have been working on long boulder problems (25-50 moves) and do multiple sets with big rests in between. Would I get as much reward out of just one set?

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