T Nation

Confused- reps and sets

Hey guys,
I have a question about something that really confuses me. I have read a few articles which included comparisons to 1 set and three sets for an excercise. I have also read that even when your doing 3 sets, you should do as much as you can for each set. What i don’t get is how the heck can doing only one set to failier be as good as doing 3 sets to failier? Also, some articles i have read say to rest only a minute, some say as much as three minutes. Sorry if i’m a little all over the place.Basically, what I want to know is what is the most effective way to gain muscle size in terms of sets and rest perioids?
Thanks for your help!

First I would take a look at some articles written here on T-mag, by Charles Staley and Ian King, or Charles Poliqiun and anyother ones you may come across. The main thing you have to realize is that although everyone has a different workout to do the same thing just keep it simple.
If you want to gain muscle mass generally you would do something like this workout 3-4 times a week, 3-5 sets per body bart, two bodyparts a session, 8-12 reps and rest 30sec to 90 secs. As far as going to failure your not going to absolute failure. Pick a weight that you can get at least 8 but no more than 12. As far as doing just one set to failure there are a lot of people that do this and there are a lot that have stopped. If you have not weight trained before anything you do, pending you dont hurt yourself, will benefit you. I would tend to lean toward the former workout than the later.