T Nation

Question for CW


Hey Chad, what's your thoughts on this study? It kinda contradicts your "10x3" concept of training. (not that I don't love it)

Munn, J., et. al., Resistance Training for Strength: Effect of Number of Sets and Contraction Speed. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise v. 37 no. 9 (September 2005) p. 1622-6


I'm not Chad, but I'm not sure what you mean at about it contradicting the "10x3" concept. I looked up the abstract and have included it in this post. All the authors seem to be concluding is that three sets is better than one set and fast lifting is better than slow lifting. How is that contradictory the anything Chad has ever said?

PURPOSE: To compare effects on strength in the early phase of resistance training with one or three sets and fast or slow speeds. METHODS: A total of 115 healthy, untrained subjects were randomized to a control group or one of four training groups: one set fast (approximately 140 degrees.s(-1)), three sets fast, one set slow (approximately 50 degrees.s(-1)), or three sets slow. All subjects attended training 3 x wk(-1) for 6 wk. Subjects in the training groups performed unilateral elbow flexion contractions with a target six- to eight-repetition maximum load. Control subjects sat at the training bench but did not train. One repetition maximum strength, arm circumference, and biceps skinfold thickness were measured before and after training. RESULTS: One slow set increased strength by 25% (95% CI 13-36%, P < 0.001). Three sets of training produced greater increases in strength than one set (difference = 23% of initial strength, 95% CI 12-34%, P < 0.001) and fast training resulted in a greater increase in strength than slow training (difference = 11%, 95% CI 0.2-23%, P = 0.046). The interaction between sets and speed was negative (-15%) and of borderline significance (P = 0.052), suggesting there is a benefit of training with three sets or fast speeds, but there is not an additive benefit of training with both. CONCLUSIONS: Three sets of exercise produce twice the strength increase of one set in the early phase of resistance training. Training fast produces greater strength increases than training slow; however, there does not appear to be any additional benefit of training with both three sets and fast contractions.


The last line..."there does not appear to be any additional benefit of training with both three sets and fast contractions. "


Well, without having a look at the full text... for one, what RM load were they using, because attempting to accelerate a "heavy" load and going to failure every time, for multiple sets really tears me up, so I could see how that wouldn't be advantageous. Also, doesn't the protocol mention unilateral elbow flexion or something? I imagine the results from one isolated joint vice a large compound movement would show a greater advantage for movement speed.

So, basically, I'll get somewhere were I can access the full text, and then have a good look at it.



Yes, but they used untrained subjects and they only trained for 6 weeks. For the most part, any training study on untrained subject is useless. Six weeks is not a very long training period especially with untrained subjects who will get most of their inital strength gains from neural adaptations. A longer study using trained subjects could easily have different results.


How can you extrapolate from this study to 10x3?


Zap, CW's 10x3 uses multiple sets AND fast concentric movement. Im not saying necessarily that the 3 sets in the study extend to 10, I'm just pointing out that they both use multiple sets.


I'm just brainstorming here, but ... all groups trained 3 times per week for 6 weeks in the 6-8 rep max range. Did they train to failure? I read/assume that they did. How slow is slow? Anyone look at the full study?

Consider total volume, intensity, TUT, etc.:

The 3 sets slow group likely provided the most stimulus but also likely TOO often. The 3 sets fast group was a distant cousin to CW's method, and the the 1 set slow group was a relative of HIT, but which of these which of these two was more taxing? WHERE is the one set fast group?

"... however, there does not appear to be any additional benefit of training with both three sets and fast contractions."

How did he come to that conclusion? He inferred it, whereas he should have had a 1 set fast group. The study has holes.