Three set vs one set in resistance training programs and IGF-1 responses.

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A hot debate has been (and probably always will be) the one set versus multiple set system in a resistance training program. Some experts and that even includes the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) have pointed out that one set of 8-10 exercises two times per week is all you need for health fitness grains. Some have even have gone so far as to say that the differences are negligible. This is radically different to the monster training sessions of bodybuilding culture.

A study conducted at the University of Florida looked at three groups, mean age of 37 (+/-7) in which one performed one set, the other 3 sets, with the last performing no exercise. Those performing exercises, done so three days per week for a period of 25 weeks. It was discovered that circulating Insulin Growth Factor1 (IGF-1 increased by 20% and equally in both groups. However strength increases were not equal but were significantly greater in the 3 set group compared to the one set. This will once again fuel the fire of the optimal number of set wars between experts.

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REFERENCE: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Apr;33(4):648-53.
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