The Spanish researchers used 33 health men as their subjects. They divided the men into three groups: a control group, a group that trained in the traditional way [TS] and a group that did trisets training [HRC].
The TS group did their strength training in the way that most bodybuilders do. They did sets of each exercise, and when they had completed these they started on the next exercise. Between sets they rested for three minutes. Each training session the men did six exercises, at a weight with which they could do a maximal six reps.
The HRC group did trisets. They started with one set of exercise 1, and almost immediately followed that with one set of exercise 2, directly followed by one set of exercise 3. After that the men did another set of exercise 1, and so on. The researchers had worked out an exercise scheme in such a way that it was possible to train with minimal rest periods.
After eight weeks the men in the TS and the HRC group had made equal progression in strength. The HRC group had gained 1.5 kg lean mass; the TS group 1.2 kg. The difference was not significant.
The table above shows that the fat percentage of the TS group dropped by 1.1 percent – not a statistically significant drop. But the fat percentage of the HRC group dropped by 1.5 percent – and this was statistically significant.
“Both groups were able to complete the same work and achieve the same strength increases but the HRC group did so in less time”, the Spaniards conclude. “Thus, the HRC was more efficient and might therefore be useful for individuals who perceive that a lack of time available for training is a substantial exercise deterrent.”
The researchers do not speculate about why workouts with trisets result in more fat burning as their results suggest, so we’ll do that for them: it’s because of the EPOC effect. The shorter the rest periods between sets, the higher EPOC after strength training.
Similarity in adaptations to high-resistance circuit vs. traditional strength training in resistance-trained men.
To compare the effects of 8 weeks of high-resistance circuit (HRC) training (3-6 sets of 6 exercises, 6 repetition maximum [RM], ?35-second interset recovery) and traditional strength (TS) training (3-6 sets of 6 exercises, 6RM, 3-minute interset recovery) on physical performance parameters and body composition, 33 healthy men were randomly assigned to HRC, TS, or a control group. Training consisted of weight lifting 3 times a week for 8 weeks. Before and after the training, 1RM strength on bench press and half squat exercises, bench press peak power output, and body composition (dual x-ray absorptiometry ) were determined. Shuttle run and 30-second Wingate tests were also completed. Upper limb (UL) and lower limb 1RM increased equally after both TS and HRC training. The UL peak power at various loads was significantly higher at posttraining for both groups (p ? 0.01). Shuttle-run performance was significantly better after both HRC and TS training, however peak cycling power increased only in TS training (p ? 0.05). Significant decreases were found in % body fat in the HRC group only; HRC and TS training both resulted in an increased lean but not bone mass. The HRC training was as effective as TS for improving weight lifting 1RM and peak power, shuttle-run performance and lean mass. Thus, HRC training promoted a similar strength-mass adaptation as traditional training while using a shorter training session duration.
PMID: 21659889 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]