Here's a good way i like to say it to explain it to people.
Imagine your muscle as the ground. When your lifting weights your
digging a hole into the ground. The first thing your body does after
the workout is to replenish, aka fill up the hole. After the hole is
filled up then it will start the muscle building process, aka more
dirt on top of the original hole or a mountain.
Okay when you do too many sets all your doing is making the hole
deeper and deeper making it harder for you to gain muscle because all
your growth resources are going towards recovery of filling the hole
Something people dont understand is , is that you dont want to make
a deep hole. You want to make the smallest hole possible. That way
you can recover quicke and the hole gets filled up . You grow more
doing one set because the body only has to recover from one set and
the body has more left for muscle growth, aka the mountain on top of
Have you ever done a lift and then a week later you can't even go up
by a single rep? Of course. That means you haven't even recovered
after a whole week. Think about that. Haven't even recovered after a
whole week. Can't even go up a single rep. Really makes you wonder if
we don't even even less exercise then we think.
The deeper the hole you make the less muscle and strength you will
gain, but to gain muscle, you do have to build some kind of hole
otherwise the body has to reason to expand beyond it exhisting
capacity. The body gains muscle as a defense mechanism to prevent
against future assaults of the same workout.
The stimulus responsible for increasing size is just like mentzer
says. its the last rep of a set carried to failure with the heaviest
weight you can use in good form. Its that rep that digs the hole in
the muscle . After you do that one set , no other sets are needed.
You can now rest and let the recovery process begin and then grow
like a weed after you have recovered.
Volume trainers grow for the same reason anyone grows. They dig a
hole in their muscles and then they recover from it and then after
they are recovered, then the muscle process begins. The reason why,
mentzer, many others and I have great success with hit training, aka
one set to failure is because we deeply understand the muscle growth
process and how to achieve it. Why waste time doing sets digging a
deep hole when you can do one set to failure training and grow even
If you do one set to failure training. Some people say they didnt
grow from it. Well thats because its not one set to failure. Its
warmup sets and then one set to failure with the heaviest weight you
can use in good form and then the next workout, in order to grow you
have to go up in weight and or reps . You can't gain muscle by
getting weaker. You must get stronger, . I didnt say powerlift, i
said get stronger, aka going up in weight and or reps.
Do you understand now why one set to failure training makes many
people big and strong now? More later, chris
10-18-2005, 02:06 PM #1
Why you should only do one set to failure
10-18-2005, 02:32 PM #2
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10-18-2005, 03:24 PM #3Originally Posted by kingfish3
But to add to what you've said (for those who are truly interested, not those who engage in flame wars endlessly), here's what the research says (opinion articles aren't research) about single set vs. multiple set training. Bottom line: no evidence to support the contention that multiple sets are more effective then single sets for the purposes of muscle hypertrophy, in trained and untrained individuals. This snippet is very interesting, particularly because it deals with the "meta-studies" regarding # of sets.
The authors of two recent meta-analyses (52,53) claim that their findings support the superiority of multiple sets. Both meta-analyses claim to include all relevant published studies. In the 2002 paper (52), the authors analyse 16 studies that have examined the effects of weight training programmes comprising one and three sets per exercise respectively. The 2003 paper (53) compares the results of 140 studies that have examined the effects of strength training interventions, in an attempt to determine how many sets per muscle group are best. The two meta-analyses in question compare many studies loaded with potentially confounding variables. These include varying numbers of repetitions, different exercises and training modalities, different training intensities (i.e. some studies specify training to muscular failure and others don’t), different strength measures, different subject populations (healthy and diseased, sedentary and athletic, young and old), and different dietary constraints. The idea that one can meaningfully compare studies with so many differences is clearly questionable. It is also important to point out that the great majority of the studies in the 2003 meta-analysis were not designed to compare the effects of single and multiple-set weight training: they were actually designed to examine such widely differing topics as the effects of various nutritional supplements, the effects of weight training in different age groups, changes in cardiovascular function as a response to weight training, specificity of training, effect of weight training on bone mineral density, balance, walking speed and many other variables. We contend that comparing such a hodgepodge of studies will simply not provide meaningful results: the idea that the differences between the studies will somehow magically even themselves out to produce a balanced comparison of different training volumes appears very naïve. Indeed, researchers have previously criticised this sort of abuse of meta-analysis (‘comparing apples and oranges’; 54,55).
The confounding variables mentioned above make these meta-analyses a questionable exercise at best, even if the studies included were well-designed and controlled, and represented all such published studies. However, neither of these conditions is met. Firstly, the paper includes the Berger (37), Kraemer (44), Kraemer et al. (45) and Kramer et al. (46) studies, the numerous shortcomings of which have been discussed above.
Of even greater concern is the fact that many studies are missing from the analyses of Rhea and colleagues. In the 2002 study, supposedly all English-language studies, including abstracts, published by 2000 and comparing one versus three sets/exercise programs were included. However, this is not the case. At least six studies published prior to 2000 that examined this topic are not included in their meta-analysis. Interestingly, none of these studies found any advantage in performing multiple sets. It is a remarkable coincidence that all these studies ignored by Rhea et al. do not support their conclusions. For example, the Vincent et al. study noted previously is missing from the analysis, as are studies by Terbizan and Bartels (56), Stowers et al. (57), Westcott et al. (58), Welsch et al. (59) and Stadler et al. (60).
Given that only 16 studies were included in the analysis, it is likely that the inclusion of these six studies would have had a major impact on the findings. A similar phenomenon has occurred in their 2003 analysis. That is, a number of studies showing very large strength increases from single-set training are absent. These include the six studies noted above, but also a number of others that again are likely to have impacted upon the results of the meta-analysis. These include the studies by Pollock et al. (31,32), Tucci et al. (33), Graves et al. (61) and Carpenter et al. (62) mentioned elsewhere in this paper, and other studies by Risch et al. (63), Highland et al. (64), Peterson (65), Holmes et al. (66), Ryan et al. (67), Koffler et al. (68), Rubin et al. (69), Capen (70) and Westcott (71). It appears very suspicious that all these studies that have not been included in the meta-analysis have found single-set training to be very effective. It is also remarkable that three studies that were included in the 2002 analysis (72-74) are absent from the 2003 one. In total, therefore, 23 studies, all of which found single-set training to be very effective, are missing from the 2003 analysis. We do not wish to speculate on the possible reasons for these omissions, but simply note that such omissions, in conjunction with the methodological problems noted above, render the authors’ conclusions invalid.
Another important point regarding the 2003 analysis is that the study compared single versus multiple sets per muscle group, not per exercise. It is important to note that those advocating one set per exercise, including Jones, do not usually hypothesise that one set for every muscle group would lead to optimal muscle gains. Also, in a well-balanced training program it would be almost impossible to only perform one set/muscle group, as many exercises work more than one muscle. Therefore, these researchers have constructed a ‘straw man’ (one set/muscle group) to knock down, presumably knowing that most single-set trainees, although performing one set/exercise, perform more than one set/muscle.
Overall, it is clear that the great majority of well-controlled, peer-reviewed studies support Jones’ (15,16,18-20) contention that one set per exercise is all that is necessary to stimulate optimal increases in muscle strength and hypertrophy. Though there are exceptions in the research literature, these are few and most suffer from confounding variables and, in some cases, blatant experimenter bias.“High-intensity training is going all-out, not almost all out. It is taking one set to one’s absolute limit, not almost to the limit. It is using whatever equipment that is available, not just a machine or group of machines. It is not the words of two or three men, but a commitment to work as hard as possible while in the gym without socializing, resting excessively between sets, or falling prey to the ‘this isn’t going to work so I’ll copy the star’ attitude”. - training guru, Dr. Ken Leistner
10-18-2005, 03:55 PM #4
Thanks for the article/s, though it only stated a conclusion.
I was about to ask the first person where his proof was.
However, I believe his analogy is wrong. There's a reason why Mentzer's HIT sets are longer (I believe it's 4 seconds on the negative, etc) than most regular bodybuilder's sets. The analogy simply does not include this info in the set.
I also believe that a single set until absolute failure is just as good as multiple sets to absolute failure. The problem is that most people arne't able to get to absolute on a single set.
10-18-2005, 04:15 PM #5
10-18-2005, 04:20 PM #6Originally Posted by kingfish3"If you began your first bench press with 60kg at the age of 16, then increased the load by only one kilogram a week, you should be lifting 580kg at the age of 26 and 1100kg at the age of 36 years. That this will not happen is obvious. In other words, progressive overloading produces diminishing and ultimately zero, returns."If going to failure on every set the key to building strength, ask yourself, why don't powerlifters do it? Why is it only bodybuilders train that way and for their weight they have poor relative strength compared to powerlifters who don't train to failure, many of whom can lift over 3 times their weight?
Neural factors are involved in developing strength (something the failure advocates don't like to talk about) and failure training does nothing to "excite" the CNS. Quite the opposite. It has an inhibitive effect. It also induces premature fatigue which compromises your ability to exert maximal force in training and progressively subjects the CNS to even greater levels of fatigue which is clearly counterproductive if you're looking to reach your peak in a training cycle.
By all means go to failure on every set if you're simply interested in building more muscle (which also isn't necessary but it's your choice), but don't fall for the notion that it's a ticket to massive strength gains because nobody breaking records is training that way.
10-18-2005, 04:28 PM #7
The proof is in the fact that 92% of trainers (per ELLINGTON DARDEN) and a HIGHER percentage of strength athletes do more than 1 set.
I guess they are all stupid.......
1 set/HIT type training has been around for 30 years (actually longer, but pushed as "best" by some for about 30 years), and pushed every few years or so by one of the KOOKS that pushes it (Massive muscles in 10 weeks, Mentzers "new (old) books etc.
The bottom line is, if it were best, then everyone would be doing it.
It's not some "secret" that only a few know, or some "new" training system.
People really need to take a look at the results/real world around them....
Everyone wants a quick result. "1 set is best" is a silly rationalization to spend less time working out.
To push it is no better than pushing a fad diet pill like a huckster.
Analogies and "science" ( ) aside.
Those observing this debate ask yourself this:
WHY AFTER 30 YEARS AND ALL THIS "PROOF" ISN'T EVERYONE DOING IT?
10-18-2005, 04:42 PM #8
10-18-2005, 04:55 PM #9Originally Posted by geriatricmuscle
GM, I know you are a reasonable guy and I like you personally and as a member.
I don't care how people train, but to insist a system is best (not that you are, but some do) that has simply NOT proven to be best in the real world
for real world results is frankly annoying.
I don't like the implication that everyone is stupid except a select few.
My personal opinion is that failure training is a tool for OCCASIONAL use, not a mandate to build your routine around.
I know you are old school, and the old school guys knew this also, as I said, they called it "training on the nerve" and it was something to be avoided. THEY are the ones who invented the "set system".
The bottom line is that multiple HARD sets work the MUSCLE harder, single set failure training works the NERVOUS SYSTEM the most.
To use "strength increases" (progressive resistance) as WHY single set failure training is best is crazy.
Very few strength athletes use this technique.
Last edited by Defiant1; 10-18-2005 at 04:59 PM.
10-18-2005, 04:58 PM #10
10-18-2005, 05:07 PM #11
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I have been making steady, linear gains in strength since switching to Heavy Duty training.
There are scientific studies that both support and disprove HIT training. I do not really like the high frequency of the new wave hit or whatever you want to call it. I like Heavy Duty......the low frequency provides optimal recovery time.
This type of training is not for beginers or intermediates either. I think the reason that this works so well for me is that I've adapted over the years and slowly reduced my frequency and volume to the point I'm at now.
What I like about Heavy Duty is how unorthodox it is and if there is any one fact we can all agree on it's that the body will respond to change. So if you can find a good program that constantly produces change and requires intense training, I think you have it in the bag........for the time being.I eat to failure.
10-18-2005, 05:09 PM #12Originally Posted by geriatricmuscle
That's got nothing to do with bodybuilding. When failure training is discussed in a strength building context, it's fair game for criticism.
I'LL TAKE THE BODY OF THE WEAK BODYBUILDER AND YOU CAN HAVE THE PHYSIQUE OF THE STRONG POWERLIFTER..
I'd rather have both. Johnnie Jackson is the perfect example.
10-18-2005, 05:11 PM #13
10-18-2005, 05:26 PM #14
10-18-2005, 05:31 PM #15
10-18-2005, 05:42 PM #16
Training leading to repetition failure enhances bench press strength gains in elite junior athletes.
Drinkwater EJ, Lawton TW, Lindsell RP, Pyne DB, Hunt PH, McKenna MJ.
Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, ACT, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of this study was to investigate the importance of training leading to repetition failure in the performance of 2 different tests: 6 repetition maximum (6RM) bench press strength and 40-kg bench throw power in elite junior athletes. Subjects were 26 elite junior male basketball players (n = 12; age = 18.6 +/- 0.3 years; height = 202.0 +/- 11.6 cm; mass = 97.0 +/- 12.9 kg; mean +/- SD) and soccer players (n = 14; age = 17.4 +/- 0.5 years; height = 179.0 +/- 7.0 cm; mass = 75.0 +/- 7.1 kg) with a history of greater than 6 months' strength training. Subjects were initially tested twice for 6RM bench press mass and 40-kg Smith machine bench throw power output (in watts) to establish retest reliability. Subjects then undertook bench press training with 3 sessions per week for 6 weeks, using equal volume programs (24 repetitions x 80-105% 6RM in 13 minutes 20 seconds). Subjects were assigned to one of two experimental groups designed either to elicit repetition failure with 4 sets of 6 repetitions every 260 seconds (RF(4 x 6)) or allow all repetitions to be completed with 8 sets of 3 repetitions every 113 seconds (NF(8 x 3)). The RF(4 x 6) treatment elicited substantial increases in strength (7.3 +/- 2.4 kg, +9.5%, p < 0.001) and power (40.8 +/- 24.1 W, +10.6%, p < 0.001), while the NF(8 x 3) group elicited 3.6 +/- 3.0 kg (+5.0%, p < 0.005) and 25 +/- 19.0 W increases (+6.8%, p < 0.001). The improvements in the RF(4 x 6) group were greater than those in the repetition rest group for both strength (p < 0.005) and power (p < 0.05). Bench press training that leads to repetition failure induces greater strength gains than nonfailure training in the bench press exercise for elite junior team sport athletes.Racism is completely irrational.
Raising taxes never created a single job.
10-18-2005, 05:59 PM #17Originally Posted by powerman2000
I guess we should be discussing this on 3 levels, using Zatsiorsky's submaximal and repeated effort methods for the first two categories (a couple of reps shy of RM, and RM) as used by the study, and lastly, some kind of system that has a total failure mandate like HIT involving forced reps, rest-pauses, dropsetting, etc., that takes the trainee beyond "RM." The results of that test come as no surprise to me since there was no cycle or periodized plan involved.
10-18-2005, 06:07 PM #18Originally Posted by powerman2000
Said another way, a person who would fail doing 6 reps of the weight used the same weight for THREE reps. So, the "non-failure" group was doing only HALF of their possible reps, a training load WAY TOO LOW for comparison.
A more valid comparison (or relevant) would have been to have one group do 4 x 6 and the other group do 4 x 5.
OF COURSE the results came out the way they did....
There was also a "set" difference, though the "volume" (sets x reps) was the same, the "real world difference between say, 2 x 20 and 5 x 8 is HUGE.
Last edited by Defiant1; 10-18-2005 at 06:12 PM.
10-18-2005, 06:23 PM #19
10-18-2005, 07:04 PM #20
Hi there all,
First am I not interested in study’s, defiant (hope your well) is HVT me I am HIT, could you defiant tell a professor do to do HVT, and then let him do it on 50 people, no you could not, nor could I tell someone how to do HIT, you have to be the right kind of person whom wants to train, not to do it for some study, I or you would need to be there every workout.
Let’s get another thing straight all out there; HIT is not always one set to failure, its far more than that.
think it’s not that HIT has to apologies for anything, BUT it’s the other people whom misunderstand HIT and only see the one set to failure, as if you read Arthur’s writings and Ellington’s books,, it’s NOT always just one set to failure, actually in my eyes HIT is not one set to failure but intensity, hitting your muscles hard for a few weeks then backing off and doing one set to failure, for a few weeks then hitting another muscle hard and so on. Intensity to the core is HIT, and the below.
At first work out each bodypart 3 times per week, about 60 sets in all, work out like this for a few weeks, then work your way after the first couple of training sessions to training to failure, then when you have come more accustomed to failure, try and have forced and negatives.
Now the next stage will have to be done differently for each individual, as we are all different, after a few a few weeks/months or when any kind plateau is reached, on 1 of the weekly workouts use the HIT, N.T.F. (not to failure)
then after a few more weeks alternate your training days per week, like the following, and start going to all out failure again on every set, 3 times a week, next week 2 times per week, next week 3 times per week, alternate like this for a few weeks months, then go to 2 times per week.
At this moment in time, if you have been training for say 6 to 9 months, take a full 10 day off.
Now you should be ready to specialize, pre-exhaustion, negative only, superslow, etcetera etcetera etcetera, which means hitting 1 to 2 muscles groups hard for 4 to 8 weeks, and just doing the basic one set to failure for the other bodyparts, and at the same time hopefully still adding strength and size.
Hit a muscle group hard for a few weeks, and then back to basics for that muscle group, then in a few months hit that muscle group hard again.
Then maybe you could reduce your overall sets,
next week 2 times per week, next week 2 times per week, train like this for a couple of weeks months, then go to 2 times per week, next week 1 time per week, next week 2 times per week, alternate like this for a couple of weeks months, then go to training 1 time per week.
Then now and again, say one time in four week, if you feel like training a bodypart 2 times per week that should be ok
Again, take now a 10 day lay off.
After doing all the above for many a year, I then had 4 to 6 different training cycles for each bodypart, like S/S for 4 weeks, 2/4 for 4 weeks, pre-exhaustion for 4 weeks etcetera etcetera etcetera.
Now the below is for advances people only.
But now after realizing that faster reps 1/2, but still very controlled, combined with higher reps like the following,
Triceps pulley extension.
Set 1, 30 reps, rest 5 minutes, set 2, add 25% 15 reps, rest 5 minutes, set 3 add 15% 10 reps, rest 2 minutes, Set 3, triceps pressdowns 8 reps negative only, are far harder, more intense and better for strength and hypertrophy, I am now incorporating them into my training, and after the results from the first 8 to 12 weeks, I cant go back to the easier more unproductive slower reps, I say a lie there I will still use 2/4 4/4 and S/S for 15% of my training for a change of pace, or I might warm up with one of these to complete failure, and then try 1/2 rep speed for 15 then 10 reps then 5 reps.
Defiant said, after all these years why are not every one doing it, that is like saying why does not every one not train like Linford Christie or like Carl Lewis, or muhammad ali or mike Tyson, because some train like this and some like that, lets put it another way 99% of people whom train, have not a clue, and you will only see them for a few months anyway.
Thank you Wayne
10-18-2005, 07:24 PM #21
Originally Posted by Defiant1
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Thanks for the kind words. I dont' really get it either but then again it doesn't bother me. I continue to make great gains and if people want to look down on me for that then so be it.
I am always exploring and trying to figure out just exactly how my body works and that is what I absolutely love about this sport. I choose not to get involved in too many arguements because at the end of the day, as I've mentioned before, there are arguements that both support and disprove HIT so really, who are we to say anything at all?
If everyone put as much effort into helping each other as they do in arguing and slamming people, we'd have a lot of amazing physiques on this board......more than we do now anyways.
I've noticed that the majority of HIT guys here are all in the red. I guess that just comes with the territory.I eat to failure.
10-18-2005, 10:25 PM #22
a simple question for all
No studies, no list of athletes who successfully use one set to failure, just a question:
WHY do some people go to such extraordinary lengths to try to "prove" somehow that a one set approach doesn't work?
The claim is that HITers say their way is the "only way". When have I EVER said that? BUT, at the same time, they say that one set doesn't work. So aren't they really saying multiple sets is the "only way"?
Why are these people trying so hard to deny that people are successful using this approach? So many have, so what's the point trying to deny it?
Simple question. Answer...?
Anything other than personal insults possible?“High-intensity training is going all-out, not almost all out. It is taking one set to one’s absolute limit, not almost to the limit. It is using whatever equipment that is available, not just a machine or group of machines. It is not the words of two or three men, but a commitment to work as hard as possible while in the gym without socializing, resting excessively between sets, or falling prey to the ‘this isn’t going to work so I’ll copy the star’ attitude”. - training guru, Dr. Ken Leistner
10-18-2005, 10:29 PM #23Originally Posted by Awnold79
Originally Posted by Awnold79
And here's the thing: how can you "disprove" it? If it's "disproved" that means IT DOESN'T WORK. Clearly that's not the case as so many people are successful on it, yours truly included.
Read what Bill Piche said on bodybuilding.com, in his respone to the "HIT by a a HAMMER" article: *any* system that employs overload and progression will "work".“High-intensity training is going all-out, not almost all out. It is taking one set to one’s absolute limit, not almost to the limit. It is using whatever equipment that is available, not just a machine or group of machines. It is not the words of two or three men, but a commitment to work as hard as possible while in the gym without socializing, resting excessively between sets, or falling prey to the ‘this isn’t going to work so I’ll copy the star’ attitude”. - training guru, Dr. Ken Leistner
10-18-2005, 10:31 PM #24Originally Posted by _Dominik_
10-18-2005, 10:34 PM #25Originally Posted by geriatricmuscle
Damn...wait, if I say that, that means that people won't buy "my" book! Uh-oh....
Originally Posted by geriatricmuscle
10-18-2005, 10:40 PM #26
when did i post about powerlifting? this is bodybuilding.com , not powerlifting.com.
Also most studies done to disaprove of hit all tried to sabotage it. Mentzer tried to get a study done on hit and everyone backed down. He even stated if they tried to sabotage it the hit trainers would grow more. I even saw a study where multiple trainers grew and the hit trainers didnt grow as much. Guess what. THe average age of the hit trainer was 65 and the volume trainers were 26 and they only built 1% more muscle and averaged just 3 pounds more in strenght gain and they didnt mention the ages. Give me a break
10-18-2005, 10:45 PM #27Originally Posted by _Dominik_
It's really bizarre illogic.
Originally Posted by _Dominik_
Duh, OF COURSE you won't gain *EVERY* week. Who said you would?
The double-progression system to weight training goes back WAY before "HIT". You *try* to increase the reps each workout as long as you don't break form. Once you increase the reps done to a certain point, you increase the resistance.
I'm totally astounded that this is even debated. This has worked for men going back to the beginning of weight training.
Originally Posted by _Dominik_
Originally Posted by _Dominik_
Damn, more logic again.
Originally Posted by _Dominik_
BTW, your logic once again is faulty. If it were true, then NOBODY would be able to lift great poundages in these lifts.
Should I list again those HITers who do things like squat 700lbsx11, 600x30, etc.? Oh wait, they are all on steroids, right?
10-18-2005, 10:46 PM #28
there is more than one way to skin a cat, but remember there is a best way too. If there was a way to skin a cat in ten seconds and not get messy wouldnt you choose that over something else. Like i said everyone grows the exact same way as everyone else. Volume trainers only grow when growth is stimulated and most of the time they dont stimulate growth. Local gym here that wont let me train people is closing down next week. All volume trainers that make excuses .
a volume trainer that does lets say on bench 135 for ten, 185 for 6 and 225 for 6 wll only grow if they do 225 for 7 or more reps the next workout or do 230 . If the volume trainer was to do 225 for 6 reps he would not grow, if he did a second set, he would not grow. By doing a second , or third or however many more sets. To do those extra sets the body uses up its reserves of resources that would be used for growth. No the body does not contract more muscle to help you do those sets.
10-18-2005, 10:48 PM #29
10-18-2005, 10:48 PM #30Originally Posted by Ron Schwarz
HIT is starting to look more and more fragmented like the world of UNIX operating systems with the way you talk about it. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either it's "total failure" or it's not. Do you follow? Make it clear what it is and what it isn't so there's no confusion.