As we wrap up the month of February and head into (almost) the spring months, I want to give you one last glimpse into another workout style that many of my clients and I enjoy regularly. This is another tried and true approach to lifting and working out that will definitely yield long term results over time as you push yourself and work towards your goals. Single Set Training.
If you google this, you will find much discussion and varying opinions on whether single set or super sets are the superior method, my opinion is that all of the methods we’ve discussed for the last month are effective as long as you are putting in the work! Different seasons of training may call for different types of weight training and may help you focus in on certain muscle groups or goals you are trying to achieve. The bottom line is the same— work hard and push yourself and you will see results. From there, you can adjust and see if trying something new will push you further or get you to the “next level.”
We have unpacked Drop Sets, Super Sets and Circuit Training so lets round it out by talking about what Single Set training looks like and how it is effective. In a nutshell:
A single set is choosing a desired amount of reps for a specific exercise (i.e.: Bent Over Arm Rows) then take a short break and repeat. You will do this for 3-5 sets. This way you are focusing on one exercise for that muscle group and not multiple. The focus allows you to really hone in on the muscle without adding in any high intensity but working the muscle to a point of fatigue. This gives you every reason to push yourself hard as your heart rate will not be spiking but maintaining as you work the muscle group thoroughly.
Here is a great summary from “RDL Fitness” explaining:
“USE A SINGLE WORKING SET PER EXERCISE - The number of sets per exercise is the main factor in volume, or the amount of work you perform in a session. While many seek to add volume over time, as suggested by the bodybuilding and fitness mainstream, consider focusing on a single hard set for each exercise. Done right, this set will be the most efficient and effective way to build muscular size and strength.” http://www.rdlfitness.com/use-
Here are a few tips for Single Set Training:
- Use Single Sets for each part of the body: You'll be incorporating a multiple-set practice for each muscle but focused on working with moderate weight over your 3-5 sets until fatigue.
- When you train - train with focus and own it: Learn to execute a move as efficiently as possible. Do some research or ask your trainer how to get the most out of each exercise. You will find your strength and power increase when you learn to execute your moves properly and you will gain confidence as you master each.
- Take time to pause and squeeze in the contracted position: Use a smooth turn around between the raising motion (concentric) (raising) and lowering (eccentric) motion.
- Bring a friend to help you PUSH: When you are training and want to push- it is great to bring along a training body or a trainer to help you push yourself. As you increase in weight and work to failure — generally there is a point you feel stuck but you likely have a bit more left in your tank to get you to complete failure. Having a buddy/trainer to spot you while you get to that point will give you the confidence as they work to assist you and help you stay safe while working to the maximum.
Single Set training is another way to really work hard in the gym and find those results you are looking for. Start with movements you feel confident with and as you work, start to push yourself with weight over time. Cheers to solid training and as always, success and results!