One set of leg presses is ideal for beginners.
If you have little time to dedicate to a resistance training program, the single set training system is an option. One set of resistance training exercises per body part helps to build muscle, tone your body, and combat muscle loss as you age.
Just Two Days a Week
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Council on Exercise, resistance training two times per week is important for health benefits such as maintaining and developing lean muscle mass and improving bone density. To optimize these two training sessions, a single set training system allows you to train the whole body on both days, meeting the CDC guideline of training every major muscle group at least two times per week.
One Set Has You Covered
Single set workout routines focus on your larger muscles such as your legs and chest before moving on to smaller muscle groups -- between seven and nine total exercises. A well-rounded routine may include the machine leg press for legs, seated row for upper back, and machine chest press for your chest. For your smaller muscles, include the shoulder press, triceps press down, biceps curl, and abdominal crunches. According to the CDC and ACE, eight to 12 repetitions is a good rep range for the single set system.
Keep Your Workouts Challenging
Regularly changing your single set training routine keeps workout plateaus at bay and ensures consistent progress. Once you have done the same routine for four to six weeks, change the exercises or the rest time between sets for a new challenge -- and for continued progress. Use a combination of machines, dumbbell and barbells such as performing barbell squat, lat pull down and chest flys with a shortened rest period -- about 30 seconds -- as a good start to your new challenging routine. Don't forget to throw in dumbbell lateral raise, dips, and the barbell curl for your smaller muscles.
The single set system is a good workout method for exercise enthusiasts new to the workout scene. One set per muscle group -- two times per week -- adapts your body to weight training and limits the soreness that you experience early in your training career. For beginners, utilizing exercise machines for a single set per body part system is a good idea because machines have a fixed or adjustable range of motion and are generally safer than free weights. Proper settings on the machine's adjustments are necessary for safety and effectiveness.