"Many scientific studies demonstrate one set is almost effective as multiple sets, if not just as effective in strength and muscle hypertrophy (Starkey, Pollock, et. al. 1996). These studies have been criticized for using untrained subjects. Hass et. al. (2000) compared the effects of one set verses three sets in experienced recreational weightlifters. Both groups significantly improved muscular fitness and body composition during the 13 week study. Interestingly, no significant differences were found between groups for any of the test variables, including muscular strength, muscular endurance, and body composition...Fisher et al (full text pdf) reviewed the evidence to produce evidence-based resistance training guidelines. and found "that appreciably the same muscular strength and endurance adaptations can be attained by performing a single set of ~8-12 repetitions to momentary muscular failure, at a repetition duration that maintains muscular tension throughout the entire range of motion, for most major muscle groups once or twice each week." Thus, while I agree with the general outline of the BB1 routines, you may need only one set of each exercise in any session, and only one session per week.
"By performing an additional set (50% to 100% more sets) only 0 to 5% more progress will be observed. Each additional set yields even less progress to a point of diminishing return. The time saved with an abbreviated weight training program can often be used more wisely elsewhere in a program. More aerobics should be performed if fat loss, toning, or cardiovascular conditioning is a goal. Duration is a more important component with aerobics exercise. Alternatively, more sports-specific training can be performed if improvement of athletic ability is a goal. In addition, more rest can be take between sets if strength is a goal. Finally, more time can be spent recuperating after workouts, decreasing the stagnant or injurious effects of overtraining."
Edit 12/12/12: James Krieger has authored a peer-reviewed meta-analysis of studies on set volume and resistance training outcomes, finding that multiple sets may indeed produce a greater effect than single sets He has also written critiques of the Fisher review (here) and of the Carpinelli reviews (here) on which I and others have based their belief that the bulk of research has found that multiple sets do not produce greater strength gains than single sets. Edit 8/10/13: Carpinelli has written a cogent response to Krieger's meta-analysis which questions the quality of the studies chosen for the meta-analysis. It seems to me that the data used to support the multiple set approach lacks quality and strength. Further, none of the studies show that the additional effect of multiple sets is large enough to justify the additional time investment. Doing two to three sets rather than one involves doubling or tripling the energy and time investment, but we have no studies showing that doing two or three sets produces two or three times greater strength gains than one set. Finally, all studies are short term, and there is no high quality study indicating that one set protocols have no effect or result in atrophy. Even if the rate of strength gain using two sets is greater on a weekly or monthly basis, the number of sets can not improve the ultimate outcome, which is determined by genetics. In other words, all evidence indicates that doing one set will get you to your destination (genetic potential), given adequate training time and dedication. Consequently, I still believe that we have no strong evidence that multiple sets produces better results than one set in the long term.
Also, before undertaking this type of intensive training, especially if you are older or have had previous injuries, I recommend that you make sure that you have a well-aligned musculoskeletal system. For this purpose I suggest start by reading The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion: Revolutionary Program That Lets You Rediscover the Body's Power to Rejuvenate It. This book will help you identify and correct postural imbalances that will predispose you to injuries in training. I have learned the hard way––through repeated injury–– that you must correct these imbalances, and achieve what Egoscue calls "D-Lux" musculoskeletal alignment, before engaging in intensive training.
I disagree with the some of the nutritional advice McRobert offers, as it centers around consuming one to 1.25 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, mostly from animal products, and using fermented milk products. Following this recommendation, a 150 pound (68 kg) trainee would consume 150 to 190 g of protein per day. McRobert claims that “Too much protein is better than not enough––excess isn’t a problem provided you’re healthy.”
“Human muscle consists of ~70% water, ~30% protein by weight. The Moore et al subjects added ~33 g of lean mass daily, equating to adding ~10 g of protein to their musculature daily.The Moore et al subjects averaged 62 kg of lean mass at the start of the study and 65 kg at the end. Using the estimated protein requirement of 0.83 g/kg/d , ninety-eight percent of individuals starting this program at 62 kg (136 lb) of lean mass would require not more than 50 g of protein per day. After gaining 2.8 kg (6 pounds) of lean mass, the individual would have 65 kg (143 lb) of lean mass and a protein requirement of not more than 52 g per day. During the training period, he would require an additional 10 g of protein per day (to accrue 33 g of lean mass daily). Thus, from start to end, I would estimate his protein requirement as no higher than 60-62 g per day.Using the median protein requirement of 0.65 g/kg/d, possibly fifty percent of individuals in the Moore study would require no more than 50 g of protein per day to achieve the results reported.Since Moore et al report the habitual and controlled protein intake of these subjects as falling between 109 and 125 g per day, by my calculations, the people in this study may have consumed 40 to 60 g excess protein every day, beyond the requirement for building 6 pounds of lean mass in 12 weeks.According to Moore et al, their 12 subjects required and consumed about 3000 kcal per day. Sixty-two grams of protein provides 248 kcal, which constitutes eight percent of total energy intake. It would seem possible then that adult physically active humans are adapted to food sources that provide about 8 percent of calories as protein, assuming carbohydrate requirements are met directly rather than through gluconeogenesis.”
Few men realize that they are more likely to have a bone fracture due to osteoporosis than they are to get prostate cancer.
- Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
- Approximately two million American men already have osteoporosis. About 12 million more are at risk.
- Men older than 50 are more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to get prostate cancer.
- Each year, about 80,000 men will break a hip.
- Men are more likely than women to die within a year after breaking a hip. This is due to
problems related to the break.
Milk is naturally high in estrogens, removing fat from milk doesn't remove the estrogens, and modern dairy practices increase the estrogen contents of milk to unprecedented levels.
“After the intake of cow milk, serum estrone (E1) and progesterone concentrations significantly increased, and serum luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and testosterone significantly decreased in men. Urine concentrations of E1, estradiol, estriol and pregnanediol significantly increased in all adults and children. In four out of five women, ovulation occurred during the milk intake, and the timing of ovulation was similar among the three menstrual cycles."CONCLUSIONS:"The present data on men and children indicate that estrogens in milk were absorbed, and gonadotropin secretion was suppressed, followed by a decrease in testosterone secretion. Sexual maturation of prepubertal children could be affected by the ordinary intake of cow milk.”
Also, the intensive animal farming necessary for providing modern nations a diet high in animal products is a main driver of water shortages, soil erosion, intensive monocropping of corn and soybeans, and accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. According to David Pimental, Ph.D., professor of ecology in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:
- Livestock eat more grain than humans. "The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population."
- Feeding grains to livestock wastes protein. "Each year an estimated 41 million tons of plant protein is fed to U.S. livestock to produce an estimated 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. For every kilogram of high-quality animal protein produced, livestock are fed nearly 6 kg of plant protein."
- Livestock production wastes fossil fuels. "On average, animal protein production in the U.S. requires 28 kilocalories (kcal) for every kcal of protein produced for human consumption. Beef and lamb are the most costly, in terms of fossil fuel energy input to protein output at 54:1 and 50:1, respectively. Turkey and chicken meat production are the most efficient (13:1 and 4:1, respectively). Grain production, on average, requires 3.3 kcal of fossil fuel for every kcal of protein produced. The U.S. now imports about 54 percent of its oil; by the year 2015, that import figure is expected to rise to 100 percent."
- Livestock systems drive water shortages. "U.S. agriculture accounts for 87 percent of all the fresh water consumed each year. Livestock directly use only 1.3 percent of that water. But when the water required for forage and grain production is included, livestock's water usage rises dramatically. Every kilogram of beef produced takes 100,000 liters of water. Some 900 liters of water go into producing a kilogram of wheat. Potatoes are even less "thirsty," at 500 liters per kilogram." "Water shortages already are severe in the Western and Southern United States and the situation is quickly becoming worse because of a rapidly growing U.S. population that requires more water for all of its needs, especially agriculture."
- Livestock production increases land use. "More than 302 million hectares of land are devoted to producing feed for the U.S. livestock population -- about 272 million hectares in pasture and about 30 million hectares for cultivated feed grains." [These lands could be returned to wild if we stopped raising livestock.]
- Livestock product drives soil erosion. "About 90 percent of U.S. cropland is losing soil -- to wind and water erosion -- at 13 times above the sustainable rate. Soil loss is most severe in some of the richest farming areas; Iowa loses topsoil at 30 times the rate of soil formation. Iowa has lost one-half its topsoil in only 150 years of farming -- soil that took thousands of years to form."
- "If all the U.S. grain now fed to livestock were exported and if cattlemen switched to grass-fed production systems, less beef would be available and animal protein in the average American diet would drop from 75 grams to 29 grams per day. That, plus current levels of plant-protein consumption, would still yield more than the RDA for protein."