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Strength Training and Postmenopausal
Strength and Conditioning Association
and Conditioning Association Strength Training and Postmenopausal
Think One-Set Training is Enough? Think Again
The question of using single-set vs. multiple-set training remains
difficult to solve even after years of extensive research. The
final vote has yet to be determined due to the vast number of
variables involved such as: equipment usage, intensity, muscle
groups studied, age of participants, beginning fitness level,
and duration of the study.
It has been documented
that in untrained individuals, a single-set training program helps
maintain strength gains. However, once trained, will a single-set
help maintain the same strength?
No, according to a
recent study published by the National Strength and Conditioning
Association (NSCA) in its Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Research (November 2004). In fact, while using single-set training,
the study finds that strength actually decreases in postmenopausal
Researchers from the
University of Erlangen, Germany found that in pre-trained subjects,
multiple-set training continues to work at increasing strength,
while single-set training not only does not maintain strength,
but decreases it.
Seventy-one well trained
postmenopausal women participated in the study. The subjects were
divided into two groups. Group one began the first 12-week session
by performing a single-set training regimen, while group two started
with a multiple-set protocol. A five-week rejuvenation period
occurred, where the women conducted their regular training schedule.
During the final 12-week period the groups switched—with
group one performing the multiple-set session, and group two engaging
in the single-set protocol.
At the end of the
eight-month study, the use of multiple-sets showed increases in
both groups, whereas in single-set training, muscle strength decreased
in both groups.
The authors suggest
that the decision to use either a single- or multiple-set training
regimen depends on the status of the individual and the main objectives
of the training program. For the untrained, it is advisable to
use a single-set during the initial training months. However,
once strength becomes a training focus, multiple-sets must be
utilized to continue achieving strength gains.
Determining your fitness
goals is an important process before beginning a training program.
The NSCA recommends you work with a Certified Strength and Conditioning
Specialist® (CSCS®) or NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer®
(NSCA-CPT®) before starting a weight training program. Strength
and conditioning professionals can be found on the NSCA web site
About the NSCA
The National Strength and Conditioning Association is the leading
authority on strength and conditioning. For 27 years, the NSCA
has bridged science and application to provide reliable, research-based,
strength and conditioning information to its members and the general
public. With nearly 30,000 members worldwide, the NSCA is the
largest health and fitness association in the world. For more
information on NSCA professional journals, cutting edge conferences,
educational text and videos, or other services, visit www.nsca-lift.org.
Note: The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research is the
official research journal of the National Strength and Conditioning
Association, and is available from Alliance Communication Group
at 800-627-0932. For a complete copy of the research paper (Vol.
18, No. 4, page 689-694) or to speak with a leading strength and
conditioning expert on the topic, you may contact the NSCA Public
Relations Department at 800-815-6826