1 x 5 reps matches 2 x 12 for weight training benefits


A recent study from ACE showed that a high intensity weight training protocol (HI) of one set of five repetitions of ten weighted exercises produced similar – and in some aspects superior – results when compared to a moderate intensity protocol (MI) of two sets of twelve reps, over a six week programme. The two groups were also compared to a control group. All groups refrained from normal exercise during the study period and followed the routine twice a week for three weeks, increasing to thrice a week for the next three weeks.

Study results showed significant improvements in LDLs (low density lipoproteins – the bad guys) and systolic blood pressure in the HI group only, and drops in body fat for both the HI and MI groups. Muscular fitness as measured by 1 rm (heaviest weight lifted with 1 rep)  and 5rm strength tests increased significantly too, as you might guess. Some exercises showed greater increases for the HI group.

The HI weights session only took twenty minutes to complete, including warm up, and the MI session took 45 minutes. This is great news for people short on time (aren’t we all?) who want to get the maximum benefits from the shortest time. Given that muscular fitness is an independent and powerful predictor of chronic disease and premature mortality, the benefits of this type of training are huge.

An important point to make though is that safety is a key issue in weight training and performing a set of only five reps maximum requires particular attention to technique and breathing considering the heavier resistance used. So, I suggest not for the beginner, unless supervised. We are, of course, happy to help if you fancy going for it on the kgs front!

Lisa 🙂