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Weight Training: More or Less?

If those two-hour-a-day, 15-sets-per-bodypart workouts are driving you to the brink of madness, listen up: You might be working a lot harder than you have to. A paper present in the journal Sports Medicine reviewed a number of studies on the effectiveness of single vs.

multiple training sets for increasing muscle strength and size.

The researchers looked at studies that evaluated the value of performing one set vs. two sets, one set vs. three sets, and one set vs. three or more sets (i.e., performing one set of biceps curls vs. preforming two, three, or more sets.

Now here's the big news: After a thorough review of the material, the researchers concluded that " the benefits of resistance training may involve undertaking the minimal amount of exercise needed to achieve the desired response."

Think about your current exercise regimen -- is the amount of effort you're putting in worth the results you're getting? If you're slaving away at the gym but don't seem to be making any improvements, try slimming down your program for a while, and see what happens. Less might actually be more.


Carpinelli RN, Otto RM. Strength training: single vs. multiple sets. Sprts Medicine, August 1998: Vol. 26, No. 2, pp73-84.

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