Weight training - how many sets should I do?
A meta-analysis of existing research on single-set vs. multiple-set resistance training programs was performed.
The review indicates that single-set programs for an initial short training period in untrained individuals result in similar strength gains as multiple-set programs. However, if you want to continue seeing gains beyond this initial period, multiple-set programs are more effective.
So, for the first 16 weeks of your program, one set of an exercise will give you the same gains as multiple sets. Beyond 16 weeks, trained individuals performing multiple sets generated significantly greater increases in strength.
Just starting out? Do one set of each exercise for about 12 repetitions. Weight sufficient to fatigue the muscle at about the 12th repetition will result in optimal strength gains while avoiding injury.
Weight training can favorably modify several risk factors for heart disease and reduce cardiovascular disease incidence.