T Nation

Singles for Fat Loss

I was reading Mel Siff’s “Facts and Fallacies of Fitness”, and I came across this quote:

“it is also interesting to note that the specific energy expenditure for an exercise using a series of single repetitions is 35% greater than a continuous set of several repetitions with the same load (vorobyev, 1978). In other words, interval training with a series of single concentrated efforts places greater demands on the body than continuous training, as done in traditional bodybuilding or circuit training? This explains why it is far more difficult to execute a set of bench presses or squats if the load is replaced briefly on the racks between each repetition, instead of performing the same number of repetitions continuously.”

Firstly, what are everyone’s thoughts on this? If this is true, why aren’t more authors prescribing such an approach?

The only author I’ve seen prescribing an approach like this is Don Alessi in Meltdown II.

I think Cressey’s Cluster sets might be similar to this?

Mel Siff was a baller.

Perhaps the reason no one recommends this for fat loss is that, comparing let’s say to a more traditional approach of doing say 20 total sets of 10 reps each, thus 200 reps, not that many are going to do 200 singles instead.

And that is what the comparison would be that Siff is saying gives greater fat loss, I would take it.

Not against 20 singles giving greater fat loss than 20 total sets (among the exercises done that day) of 10 reps each.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Perhaps the reason no one recommends this for fat loss is that, comparing let’s say to a more traditional approach of doing say 20 total sets of 10 reps each, thus 200 reps, not that many are going to do 200 singles instead.

And that is what the comparison would be that Siff is saying gives greater fat loss, I would take it.

Not against 20 singles giving greater fat loss than 20 total sets (among the exercises done that day) of 10 reps each.[/quote]

Interesting idea. Makes complete sense. Although Siff does not really clarify whether the 35% difference is rep for rep, or minute for minute (for example, is doing 4 singles in 1 minute 35% more effective than doing 15 continuous reps in 1 minute?)

I wonder…

Another factor is that energy expenditure from the lifting itself is not the only thing of importance with regard to aiding fat loss with resistance training.

Interesting. Doing many heavy singles might be the magic ticket to not losing strength in a caloric deficit.

Bill, you mentioned very high rep ranges. Any reason this wouldn’t work in the lower rep ranges, say 20-25 singles, assuming a weight say 80-90% 1RM?

If the science is sound, it’s a damn fine idea. Get ripped by powerlifting!

-Sab

Well, doing 20-25 singles as the only training in the workout means, compared to a more typical workout, at the very least:

  1. Doing far less work in the literal sense (pounds of force applied through feet of distance) and therefore, even if expenditure is 35% greater per rep than would otherwise be expected, far less calories burned from physical work

  2. Less lactate buildup, and probably less GH production.

Now, nothing wrong with training heavy while cutting. Yates did this, among others.

But taking Siff’s statement and extrapolating it to this being a superior method of cutting does not, to me, follow.

It’s also not really powerlifting training to do 20 or 25 singles as the entirety of the workout as the main way to train. Or at least not what most successful powerlifters do.

Ah yeah, I forgot about the lactate advantage. It sounds like heavy low-rep work mixed with high rep interval training is (still) the way to go for fat loss. Thanks Bill.

-Sab

Glad to be of any help!

By the way I do agree with what seems your general point in the desirability of continuing including lower-rep work when cutting.

singles for fat loss…I thought this was a support group. I would think that it depends a lot on the loads you can handle for 10rm opposed to 1,2, or 3rm, but this study cited same load. interesting.

To mention meltdown II again, Don Alessi used this form of training in the program, and although I haven’t personally tried meltdown II, it got excellent results from many other users.

I read over the article again, and Alessi doesn’t mention why 60 paused reps (the total for day 1) would be more effective than 200 continuous reps (broken up into sets, of course), although he does site Mel Siff’s “supertraining.”

Just stirring the pot here.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Another factor is that energy expenditure from the lifting itself is not the only thing of importance with regard to aiding fat loss with resistance training.[/quote]

Agreed. What really matters is the total increase in metabolism, including between workouts. The expenditure during the workout itself is only one component,

One of my workouts includes deadlift singles with 30 seconds of rest between pulls. Heavy as you can go for 10-15 reps. Covered in sweat and totally gone afterwards.

I read this as Siff talking about racking the weight between reps, but only taking a brief pause as opposed to 30 second rest. So if you did that for a set of 8 as opposed to a continuous set of 8, it would be about 35% harder.

And yes it is true. Think about squats; a quick and efficient set up can save a lot of energy. I don’t really like this as far as using this for a training tool. Siff says that these are 35% harder–meaning you could do less reps for the same amount of weight.

There are better ways to increase intensity (more weight, shorter rest, etc). Also, I think racking and unracking the weight more often could be dangerous especially for bench when unracking can put your shoulders in harms way.

And btw, from what I have read and from people I have talked to, Siff is more of a snake than a baller. It seems he has gotten credit for a lot of Verkhoshansky’s work when it comes to “Supertraining,” and Siff even screwed him out of a lot of royalties.

One reason why Verkhoshansky’s name doesn’t appear on newer editions.

I did near max singles for hang cleans, 60 reps total with 1 minute rest twice a week last winter

awesome fat loss

just make sure your load is heavy, you keep your rest time low, and use strict form

Sounds similar to Max-Stim, whereby the lifter chooses his 10 rep max and does 20 singles with 10-30 seconds between reps.

Training this way, even doing a set of curls will make you sweat like a pig.