T Nation

Singles for Muscle?

Could single build muscle?Some coach love it while other hate it.Most of the strengh athlete work on single and build huge body.On the other hand no bodybuilder use single to build their body.What is your opinion. have you ever tried single?

If you double your strength and eat enough food, you will have grown ALOT! No matter if it was by singles or 3x8

OP–how many total reps would you consider doing for a single rep set training session?

i did a bastardized singles club type program for 3 weeks doing 10-15 singles each training session for chins and now i have stretchmarks on my lats, i went from 250 at the beginning to about 245. so try it and see if it works for you.

Last time I checked, Waterbury has a hell of an article on singles training…now, for my own opinion, it’s nice for a week or two, but it’s more to prime the muscles than to actually get big out of it.

I did a lot of singles and doubles when I started training. I got stretch marks and obviously increased strength, but very little in the way of appreciable muscle growth. It may just be a personalized thing, but for me, I had to up the reps a bit to get enough overall stimulation.


A couple of Chad Waterbury’s programs and EDT for maximal strength include lots of singles with short rest intervals. There’s also the 100 singles workout that Dan John mentioned in his “Blood on the barbell” article.

I’ve been doing deadlifts as singles for the past month. It is a nice change, and makes it a lot easier to keep the form good.

Singles could work especially if you are keeping total reps high. However I’ve had more success using Waterbury’s 10x3. That still keeps the load very heavy but is safer than going for 100%1rm or close to it every time and allows for more total work in less time. But almost every training method can work for a short period of time especially if your body has never experienced it before.

As far as I know, OneMoreRep is right because if you do 10 sets of singles with little rest between them, like 30 seconds or so, you’ll get smashed, but if you do 100 sets of singles with more appropiate rest, you can get much bigger as well. However, 10 x 3 works because it is base don small sets, low-rep sets which are done with the idea to put all of your force on the bar, to lift fast which makes it very demanding and lets you gorw big easier.

Nevermind all that, check out the guy’s thumb in the OP’s avatar!

On topic, heavy singles can be a good part of a bodybuilding plan, but the singles don’t have to be max (not all the time) and you should aim for a highish total volume… at least 10-15 singles.

Is his thumb at a weird angle or is it really messed up?

[quote]Jay-B wrote:
Is his thumb at a weird angle or is it really messed up?[/quote]

It’s the “I’m not really posing to look as diesel as I can” pose.


FWIW, doing deadlift singles for four weeks and then going back to lifting for reps let me progress from doing 149 kilos for five reps to 149 kilos for seven.

I started doing the singles with 149 kilos, did 16-20 with rests of no more than 60 seconds, and added 2 kilos every week.

Then again, I’ve been lifting for a little over a year, so pretty much anything works for me.

My experience with singles has been positive, particularly with chin ups.

For a long time, I was unable to do more than 5 BW chin ups. So I decided to add weight and do singles. I started at doing 10 singles with 10 lbs attached. I kept upping the weight and now I can do a few singles with 55 lbs.

More importantly, during this time period my BW chin up has doubled from 5 to 10. So while I did gain muscle from the singles, they played an important role in increasing strength so that I could actually work in higher rep ranges and thus gain more muscle.

Think about it for yourself; if 3 sets of 8 works (I don’t think anyone denies that) wouldn’t 24 singles work just as well? Your volume per session is the same, and your weight is much, much higher.

I see quotes like this all the time on T-Nation, but I don’t think anyone knows precisely what most bodybuilders do. I assume you mean competing, and there is a stereotype that they mostly do 3x8-12 with body part splits…but I don’t know that there is any proof of that. Lots of big strong people consider themselves bodybuilders, perhaps compete, and work with singles.

Now, personally, it is fun IMO to do a WS for skinny bastards type workout with a heavy single or triple or whatnot and then some assistance work, also.

The guy in the OP’s pic is an Indian actor named Hrithik Roshan, who was born with two thumbs. Anyhoo, if you believe the media the guy is considered the muscular ideal by most Indian men…whatever!


He looks scrawny, but what would I know

[quote]Jay-B wrote:
He looks scrawny, but what would I know[/quote]

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, hence my earlier comment. He’s certainly not in bad shape, but I doubt 99% of the guys on this site would want to emulate his build.


Sorry to the OP for continuing the hijack, but you’ll observe there’s barely a handful of Indian and pakistani guys on this forum. The bulk (no pun intended) usually fall neatly between the ecto and endo types (or combinations thereof) and prefer cardio to weights. Getting big is an alien concept there. \end{hijack}

To the OP, any singles program with enough volume (like Waterbury’s singles club) should give you good gains as long as you keep progressing.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Jay-B wrote:
He looks scrawny, but what would I know

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, hence my earlier comment. He’s certainly not in bad shape, but I doubt 99% of the guys on this site would want to emulate his build.


I once knew a mesomorphic Indian dude named…MAROOGAN! (Or at least he pronounced it something like that)