Want to save time? Try Express Weight Training

Have you ever considered how to make your time at the gym more efficient? A new study compared low- (1 set per exercise per training session), moderate- (3 sets per exercise), and high-volume (5 sets per exercise) training protocols in trained men and might give you some ideas on how you might change your routine and save time.

Results showed significant increases in strength and endurance in all the groups, with no significant between-group differences. Marked increases in strength and endurance can be attained by resistance-training with just three 13-min weekly sessions. The great thing is that these gains are similar to that achieved with a substantially higher time commitment.

There is a catch of course. To achieve this, the single set has to be performed to exhaustion (muscle failure) and be intense. So this is excellent news for anyone who does not have the time or inclination to spend hours and hours of their life in the gym.

The strength training program was simple, consisting of seven well-known exercises,

  1. flat barbell bench press

  2. barbell military press

  3. wide grip lateral pulldown

  4. seated cable row

  5. barbell back squat

  6. machine leg press

  7. unilateral machine leg extension

A set of any of these exercises would require lifting to failure through eight to 12 repetitions.


The men who performed one set gained as much strength as those who had done three or five sets. The groups also showed the same improvements in muscular endurance. The only difference was the change in the size of the men’s muscles. The five-set group gained more muscle mass than those who had done one or three sets.

Schoenfeld BJ, Contreras B, Krieger J, et al. Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy.; Med Sci Sports Exerc; 2018:p94-103. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001764