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  1. #1
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    Weight Training: One Set Only?

    I recently started lifting free weights. Some sites, including the Mayo Clinic, say that all you need is one set to exhaustion to get all the benefits.

    Is this right? Doing just one set is pretty attractive.

    Here's the Mayo site that says to do one set of 12:
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wei...aining/HQ01627

    I am just in this for general fitness, not any intense bulking up.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by the bandit View Post
    Here's the Mayo site that says to do one set of 12:

    Well no, it says try to complete 12 and the difference is a common reason people stagnate in the gym.

    It says to do only one set, lifting a weight heavy enough that you CAN’T lift it 12 times. The instruction is “once you can lift the weight 12 times increase the weight by 10%”

    Many people go to the gym and pick a weight they can lift 3 sets of 12 reps and feel tired at the end. They then repeat this over and over very rarely increasing the weight because they still become very fatigued at the end of the 3x12. The articles recommendation may help some in that the notion of only having to do one set will make it easier to convince themselves to try a heavier weight, ignoring the temptation to “save themselves” for the next sets.

    Scientifically most of the gains come from the first few repetitions, let alone sets. Although rarely recommended to beginners for safety reasons, and to athletes for specificity reasons, the most time effective protocol for muscle development is to lift a very heavy weight (5-6 rep max) only 3-4 times.

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  4. #4
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    To add to the thread, I've heard that it is best to only do weight training for a certain body area only one workout per week (say legs on Mon., chest on Tues., arms on Wed., etc.). True?

  5. #5
    Sleeper JeeperTim's Avatar
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    I'm doing back, shoulders, and bicepts on Fridays, biking all weekend, chest and tricepts on Mondays, legs abs and arms on Wednesday. I'm doing a lot more work than the info in this thread suggest though. ;-)

  6. #6
    Senior Member dlew308's Avatar
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    start off slow and ez then work your way into a 3 day split, with rep ranges from 8-12
    a sample 3 day split is:
    monday: chest/triceps
    weds: back/biceps
    fridays: legs/shoulders

    2-4 different exercises per muscle group with warmups sets then 3 sets of 8-12, adding weight after each set. Focus more on the chest and back as they incorporate the triceps and biceps respectively.

    abs can be thrown in whenever, altho if you do deadlifts and squats, i wouldn't worry about them

    A good site with visuals about the various exercises: http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html
    *** 07 Fuji Cross Comp ***

  7. #7
    Splicer of Molecules Nickel's Avatar
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    Different plans for different people. I do 2 full=body workouts a week because I can only get to the gym 2x a week and I like working each body part 2x a week. Some like doing push/pull or upper/lower splits....see what works for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dlew308 View Post
    start off slow and ez then work your way into a 3 day split, with rep ranges from 8-12
    a sample 3 day split is:
    monday: chest/triceps
    weds: back/biceps
    fridays: legs/shoulders

    2-4 different exercises per muscle group with warmups sets then 3 sets of 8-12, adding weight after each set. Focus more on the chest and back as they incorporate the triceps and biceps respectively.

    abs can be thrown in whenever, altho if you do deadlifts and squats, i wouldn't worry about them

    A good site with visuals about the various exercises: http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html
    If you choose a split similar to this, pay attention to your shoulders. They get a lot of work on chest and back exercises already. If you start to feel something weird there, figure it out.

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    HIT...nothing new. there are fourms aplenty out there that discuss it ad nauseam.


    Works for some people....you need intense focus and drive to do it correctly though.

  10. #10
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    I love my strength sessions...

    As soon as done riding I rotate - 6 sets of pull-ups equalling 55 reps one day, and sets equalling 90 dips the other - 3x week. 15min. per session.
    Winter when the ride time diminishes, add squats, leg curls, leg extensions pre or post spin class. Totals 40 min. session

    Keeps the entire body prepared for the hills of Italia!


    http://www.bicitreregioni.com

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    do one set (10-12) at about 65%, the next at 110% to near-failure, and you're done! i spend 25-30 minutes in the gym and do my whole upper body, another day for legs (not when i'm biking tho).

    clarence bass's site is quite informative on training low sets/high intensity...

  12. #12
    Junior Member Eul0gy's Avatar
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    I usually assing one day a week to max effort work with one set of heavy low rep work. But its still important to do an effective warm up.
    Rather Be Forgotten Than Remembered For Giving In.

  13. #13
    Carnivore ThrottleJock's Avatar
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    There are a ton of theories on this but the general rule is 1 set (plus warmup) is for POWER, multiple sets is for "Development" and muscular endurance. The 1 set technique is pretty commonly used by traditional power lifters. I did this type of training exclusively for a year, developed tremendous strength but also experienced more frequent injury related to lifting. This could be attributed to the heavier weights being used to achieve failure (exhaustion) or it could have been attributed to underdeveloped connective tissue due to rapid strength increase, etc. Who knows.

    I hesitate to recommend straying too far from the standard 3-sets 8-12 reps program. It works very well for MOST.
    call me "crash"

  14. #14
    Carnivore ThrottleJock's Avatar
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    Zumba's right too, you won't bulk up nearly as much doing the 1-set (plus warmup) routine as compared to repping ~30 times with multiple sets of lighter weight.
    call me "crash"

  15. #15
    Laid back bent rider unixpro's Avatar
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    Weight training methodology depends on the results you want. There's an old adage that's true:

    Low weight + high rep = Definition
    High weight + low rep = Mass

    So, if you're only looking to build strength, then doing a high weight to exhaustion in one set is fine. If you want chiseled abs and arms, then you'll need to do more at a lower weight.

    Personally, I've been doing weights for about 30 years now, off and on (more on than off). Currently, I do weights 3 days a week concentrating on my upper body and abs. I leave the lower body and cardio to the bike.

    For my upper body, I do different weights and reps on different days. On Mondays, I do a low weight, but do 3 sets of 20 of each exercise (except chest press, where I do 7 sets). On Wednesdays, I up the weights by 15-20 pounds but decrease the number in each set from 20 to 14. On Fridays, I up the weights again, this time to whatever I feel is a good max for the exercise, and do sets of 8. In terms of actual weight moved, I do more on Mondays than on Fridays. In terms of muscle building, though, I really feel like Fridays are the building days.

    Remember that muscles are built by the process of tearing, or injuring, the old muscle fibers and allowing your body to repair them. This is why you need at least 24 hours between working the same muscle group.

    For abs, I do sets of 20 no matter what day it is. I do incline sit-ups, crunches, leg raises, and "superman."

    Always, always do stretching both before and after weights. You should do it before and after your ride, too, but as long as you warm up easily and warm down as you approach your finish, you're probably good on that. I spend about 45 min. on the strength training and 15 min. doing stretches.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by unixpro View Post
    Low weight + high rep = Definition

    incorrect.

  17. #17
    Laid back bent rider unixpro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed073 View Post
    incorrect.
    I went searching for a citation and discovered that you are indeed correct. Wow! Something my High School coach taught me 30 years ago is wrong! Who would've thought it!

    What I did find, though, is that there is still a reason for differentiating between low weight, high rep and high weight, low rep. The reason is endurance. LW/HR builds it, while HW/LR does not.

    Guess that's why I didn't feel too bad after moving 60 50-pound bags of dry concrete multiple times while putting up a fence a couple of weeks ago.

  18. #18
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    To achieve the 1 set to failure with warm up, you can try a variation on pyramid sets. Normally pyramid sets would have you do ALL sets to failure, but you can vary it to suit you. For example, your target set is 45 lbs @ 8 reps on arm curls. You start off with 35 lbs @ 12 reps, as warm up. Then, 40 lbs @ 10 reps as a 2nd warm up. Then do your main set to failure. Total 3 sets, with 2 warm up sets and 1 main set to failure.

    Personally, I do a 2-day split, working each body part twice a week, so I spend no more than 30-45 minutes lifting weights. Since my legs get a weight workout two days a week, I get to bike a maximum of 5 days a week.

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