T Nation

Different Sets of Exercises?

Would your results be the different(for a novice/intermediate) if you did, for instance 9 sets of, say, barbell curls instead of 3 sets of 3 different exercises for biceps? I am thinking in terms of mass gain.

try. let us know

different exercises hit muscles differently

You would not be able to complete 9 sets of bar curls at a limit weight. Your limit weight would only last 1 to 3 sets within a reasonable rep range (6 - 8 or 8 - 12). And 3 sets is pushing it.

To complete 9 sets with straight weight within a rep range, you’d have to lower the weight down to 50 to 60% of your limit weight within that rep range. That would be similar to volume training, a training methodology employed by ZERO bodybuilders!

Another reasoning that might be noteworthy is what Dan Duchaine pointed out years ago in Ironman. I think he went a little overboard but it makes some sense.

The reason we do multiple exercises for a muscle group instead of a large amount of sets for one exercise is because as bodybuilders we dont want an overabundance of neural adaption. It is necessary but the main goal size. So, by doing a few sets of a few exercises, you get less neural adaption, and the body is forced to adapt by becoming bigger.

This is why Dan once recommended the extreme prescription of 1 set of 9 exercises over 3 sets of 3 exercises. I think this is far fetched but I got the picture.

AC and Ian King also stated that for size, you’d be better off doing a small number of sets for more exercises.

But the thing to come back to is this (in my opinion) for any training method…

“If in the history of modern bodybuilding - approximately 60 years - did any successful one do this? Did this method survive for decades? Do I know of any successful BBer who does this?”

If the answer is NO to all of these, the method is most likely shit!

As usual I agree with Brick, how many worthwhile sets can one really do at a given exercise? And I don’t mean warmup sets to get there… I mean the “grind it out with the heaviest weight for the rep range” type sets.

1, 2, maybe 3 if you choose a wide variety of rep ranges. What are YOU going to do the other 6 sets?

Hmmm… 3 exercises for biceps VS. 9 sets of curls…