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Dose-Response of 1, 3, and 5 Sets of Resistance Exercise on Strength, Local Muscular Endurance, and Hypertrophy

Radaelli, Regis1; Fleck, Steven J.2; Leite, Thalita3; Leite, Richard D.4; Pinto, Ronei S.1; Fernandes, Liliam3; Simão, Roberto3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2015 - Volume 29 - Issue 5 - p 1349–1358
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000758
Original Research

Abstract: Radaelli, R, Fleck, SJ, Leite, T, Leite, RD, Pinto, RS, Fernandes, L, and Simão, R. Dose-response of 1, 3, and 5 sets of resistance exercise on strength, local muscular endurance, and hypertrophy. J Strength Cond Res 29(5): 1349–1358, 2015—The study's purpose was to compare the response of performing 1, 3, and 5 sets on measures of performance and muscle hypertrophy. Forty-eight men, with no weight training experience, were randomly assigned to one of the 3 training groups, 1 SET, 3 SETS, 5 SETS, or control group. All training groups performed 3 resistance training sessions per week for 6 months. The 5 repetition maximum (RM) for all training groups increased in the bench press (BP), front lat pull down (LPD), shoulder press (SP), and leg press (LP) (p ≤ 0.05), with the 5RM increases in the BP and LPD being significantly greater for 5 SETS compared with the other training groups (p ≤ 0.05). Bench press 20RM in the 3-SET and 5-SET groups significantly increased with the increase being significantly greater than the 1-SET group and the 5-SET group increase being significantly greater than the 3-SET group (p ≤ 0.05). LP 20RM increased in all training groups (p ≤ 0.05), with the 5-SETS group showing a significantly greater increase than the 1-SET group (p ≤ 0.05). The 3-SET and 5-SET groups significantly increased elbow flexor muscle thickness (MT) with the 5-SET increase being significantly greater than the other 2 training groups (p ≤ 0.05). The 5-SET group significantly increased elbow extensor MT with the increase being significantly greater than the other training groups (p ≤ 0.05). All training groups decreased percent body fat, increased fat-free mass, and vertical jump ability (p ≤ 0.05), with no differences between groups. The results demonstrate a dose-response for the number of sets per exercise and a superiority of multiple sets compared with a single set per exercise for strength gains, muscle endurance, and upper arm muscle hypertrophy.

1Exercise Research Laboratory (LAPEX), Physical Education School, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil;

2Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin;

3Physical Education Post-Graduation Program, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and

4Department of Physical Education, Federal University of Maranhão, São Luis, Brazil

Address correspondence to Roberto Simão,

Copyright © 2015 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.