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Gaining Mass With Singles?


Can you honestly grow mass through doing ten sets say of an exercise of only a single near max rep per set then resting up to a minute between reps/sets? That is to say doing a near ( 95 percent ) max in the bench press then racking the bar for a minute then pushing on again in this fashion till ten reps are completed, racking the bar at the completion of each and every rep.

I know EDT toward the end of the PR Zone has singles pushed out but is just solely relying on very very heavy singles a strategy suited toward increasing mass? Somehow it seems to make sense but then again not too many people seem to be doing it outside powerlifting etc.


Can you gain mass : absolutely

is it the 'best' (e.g. fastest) way to gain mass : probably not

FYI, Oly lifters train like that all the time. Sometimes i see some doubles and once in a full moon maybe a triple, but most of the work is done with single reps ~90% 1RM.


I know that CW recently wrote and article about this. 10 sets of 1 rep probably isn't enough. In Chad's article he recommends 20-24 sets of 1. Something to keep in mind is that most powerlifters only do single for 1 movement. After the main movement, the training session is mostly body building like stuff with a focus on a particular weakness. The additional rep work is going to produce hypertrophy. In Chad's article, he also prescibes some reps work after the main movement. The point of this rant is that doing singles by themselves might not produce significant growth, but the combination of strength(1-3 reps) work with repetition work is really optimal in my opinion


CW also did an article a while ago called "Singles Club". Basically, it featured two days with singles only and two days of high-rep work.

You might want to check that one out...


Depends on your current size. The less training you've done the more likely your going to see gains. If you already hercules your not going to gain much. The closer you get to him the less singles will help. Food plays a major role as well as how often.


Not enough reps for mass. You may get some strenght and a little mass, but it is not optimal for the long-term.

If you are using cummulative fatigue it will not be in the 90% zone. Too risky.


Have you ever tired it? I am guessing that you haven't and are just talking out of your ass.


Do they work for mass? Absolutely. Should you do them for every workout/exercise? Obviously not. Mix them into a routine. I've used singles for ca. 20-25 reps and shortened the rest period between them progressively before increasing the weight. Try it out.


I'd go with sawadeekrob's word any day over yours. His advice is spot on. Just look at guys who train like this as opposed to the guys who use more reps. No respectable bodybuilders train like this.

Now have I trained with large amounts of singles? Yes I have, 10 sets of 1 rep and I've done the 10 sets of 3reps just with squat and bench though. It worked ok for strength but not so good for mass. The worst part is all that heavy lifting takes its toll on joints and tendons. I had all sorts of problems.


sawa is right, i would just use it for one week after the end of a program to determine your 1RMs again so you can periodize


It'll make you stronger but I don't think you'll see a large weight gain unless you have been doing something complete different for a long time.

Even though they're old fashioned, it's still a good guide.

8-12 reps. Hypertrophy
5-8 reps. Strength
1-4 reps. Power

If you keep this in mind I think you'll see better results. I would use SOME 1-8rep work, but concentrate on at least 8 reps for the big compound movements.


Actually bastard I speak from experience. Go play with the other kids!


I agree with the majority of the statements here that yes you can illicit a growth stimulus from the use of singles.

However I must stress that this will likely be a less than optimal strategy. I will now outline why I believe this is correct.

  1. Singles and even doubles place a tremendous strain on the bodies CNS (note that CW's Singles Club uses a 3rep Max)

  2. It is surmised that using this system that a certain amount of volume would be required. Considering the last point this would mean that you would have to have exceptional work capacity, so as to avoid overtraining

  3. Furthermore, exercise technique tends to breakdown swiftly when lifting near max, which could leed to injuries

Although I believe that singles could achieve significant increases muscle mass under the right circumstances. I believe their role is more to do with facilitating muscular development through increased strength and power.

Long Live The Body Science


For the vast majority of people, higher rep ranges are more effective at building mass and lower rep ranges (with very heavy weights) are more effective at building strength. That's not to say that concentrating on strength doesn't build mass or focusing on mass doesn't increase strength, it's more a question of what is the best way of accomplishing your goals.

There are exceptions. People with unusually higher concentrations of fast-twitch muscle fibers will grow better with smaller rep ranges. And as you get more years of training under your belt you will be able to get results with fewer reps than you could when you had a younger training age.

We also have to consider the importance of changing routines (so called "muscle-confusion" strategies). If you are always trying to build mass, it will be easier for your body to adapt and stop growing. Even if heavy weights and low reps are not ideal for muscle growth, it can be effective at shocking the muscle back into growth.


OP , maybe you respond well to it, maybe it will fry you. Unless you try ,it will remain in the realm of the "maybe" .


Pedmas has it right. The down side is that you will be spending a lot of time with one movement, but hell yes it will work. When you are done, you will be phenomenally tired.


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Well the SHW don't really look like ronnie coleman either heh-I'm talking about you reza you might be one of strongest men in the world but you look like shit :wink:-