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Has Anyone Tried One All Out Set?

Has anyone had success training with one set to failure over the typical multiple sets?
Would it be foolish to give it a shot?
Having a look at some forums (not just here) this looks like a very divisive topic, among its big proponents and its detractors.

Here’s a couple of interesting articles

Charles Staley:

Borge Fargeli: “Are You Doing Too Much Volume?”

Why would it be ‘foolish’ to give it a shot?

Just try it and find out for yourself. Isn’t that what this game is all about?

The proponents are probably guys who tried it, enjoyed it thus deciding to work fucking hard at it

The detractors probably didn’t enjoy it, half assed it and got nowhere

If you bust ass fucking HARD then most things tend to work


My mind instantly goes to this

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Hah! I’ve since hit a new PR

But yeah, I’ve had a lot of success employing 1 big topset.

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Mike Mentzer comes to mind.
Actually some years ago i really fell into Mentzers phylosophy of super slow reps - 4seconds up, 4 seconds down. I was training with a metronome and i learned to really do it perfectly like that, and i did it for years and years.

I cant speak about success, because before i started to be interested in strenght training, i didnt study this topic too much - i just did exercises this way - one set, slow, till failure, and then added Rest Pause.
So basically i did 4sec up, 4sec down till failure, then waited 15 clicks on metronome and did 3-5 reps again… then 15 sec rest and repeat. And thats it for exercise. Each exercise took no more than 3-4mins total, and all workouts were 15-20min long. For years i did this and - well - i didnt get any smaller. Then again, maintaining muscle is much easier than building.
But i didnt know much about how much i need to force food in me, and i knew very little about pharma then - as i was 220lbs back then and progressing after 7-10 years of training is super hard no matter what you do.

When i started strenght stuff i found lots of material about assistance exercises - on how only straight sets work, and long rest time, so you can do heavier weights even for those etc.
But lately i have been studying a bit Christian Tibaudeau who says that you can do stuff the opposite way - focusing on more reps, more tension, more lactic acid buildup so i have been doing my assistance this way.

I guess you have to just try and see if one torture set is enough. Just be sure to eat in a caloric surpluss and have all the shit together for progress because most times we program hop and try stuff but everything else is left a bit behind so nothing really works, haha.
Thats why i dont know if i could progress on Menzers HIT, because i probably wouldnt have progressed in any way back then.

many of us have tried one big set. A bunch of us did it with 5/3/1.

Its really easy to organize and keep track of what your supposed to do, workout to workout. For awhile its cool to Focus on that one set to make easily visible progress.

Then after while your whole workout structured around performance on that one set. It becomes a stressful drag.


I’ve found rest pausing to be a helpful band-aid there.

“I was supposed to get 11 reps. I only got 9…for now!”

However, like all good drugs, you develop a tolerance, keep upping the dose, and eventually die.


Rest/Pause is definitely fun. Listening to that Borge guy and his myo-rep style got me excited to try it.

For the OP, Thibadeau wrote an article about a 1 Set program, using Rest/Pause, drop sets or M-Tor reps as “Set Intensifiers” to make the one set more fun and exciting.

As said I’ve been following the channel for some time and it provides much inspiration and the feats are entertaining. With that said, is there a particular reason you are training in such extreme rep ranges? I’m only asking out of curiosity. I’m all about training economy these days, so I avoid both low reps (<6) and very high reps (>12 reps).

That workout is an annual Thanksgiving tradition, done before the big meal. It allows me to get in a quick workout (vs some hour long silliness) and make a LOT of room for food.


My current routine is
M,W,F ABA BAB; 90 seconds between sets;

A: Push
3x8-12 Bench Press
3x8-12 Seated Press
3x8-12 Dips
1x20 Breathing Squats;

B: Pull
3x8-12 Barbell Row
3x8-12 Chin Ups
3x8-12 Ez bar curl
1x20 Breathing hex bar Deadlifts

I wanted to try and focus all my effort onto a single top set for each of those exercise, so that i’m ramping to one set to failure instead of doing 3 sets with the same weight…

You like sharing this workout.

Er… It’s just to provide some context actually.

I mean, my question was about the “one all out set”, but i think that question makes much more sense as long as I give some context about exercise selection, frequency, and hopefully, get some approval or, conversely, critiques by more experienced lifters :wink:

I was just remembering this topic

Basic Push/Pull Routine - Bigger Stronger Leaner - Forums - T Nation (t-nation.com)

The goal of the topic was actually the same: getting some advice by more experience lifters.
As I said there, anyway, the routine served me well, but now I’m asking a different question: if within the same context of exercise selection and frequency, as long as I focus on one top set good results are to be expected (of course nobody can be sure about that as long as I try)

I always expect good results.


The results will be Good.

When you switch to the Ramp you automatically use heavier weights than you’re used to, without having to spend a lot of time “progressing” to them. It’s like an immediate, free strength boost. Even if you only do it for one week.

When you return to lower weights you suddenly Know how to push them harder. It’s awesome.

Going forth and back between high volume(sets and reps) and high intensity(weight) is a well known, time tested and widely used strategery.


I’m paraphrasing, otherwise known as hacking things to pieces, but Jim Wendler once said something to the effect of one of his great frustrations is when people finally get everything dialed in and working, then ask what to change to make it better.

Like “Why? It finally works! Keep doing that!”.

im reading this atm… it says that there are studies done that prove that doing low amount of sets is enough…
weirdly enough i just this week i saw a few vids that reffered to studies showing how 45 sets a week stimulated almost twice as much gains as 20 sets a week.

Some 10 years ago, when someone reffered to a study, it seemed like a legit info. Now, i think there are studies that prove absolutely everything there is. You just need to find the right study.

I feel like this is evidence that lots of ways work