Journal of Trainology



May 2023; Vol. 12, No. 1: Pages 14-18

The effects of set number in stepwise load reduction resistance training on training volume and duration

Hayao Ozaki


Objective: This study aimed to clarify the effects of the number of loads used in stepwise load reduction training for upper-body single and multi-joint resistance exercises on the training volume, duration, and the rating of perceived exertion. Design: Experimental study. Methods: Eleven young male participants performed three experimental sessions for bench press and dumbbell curls randomly. First, they performed a high load (80% of the one-repetition maximum [1RM]) set, followed by four sets at 65%, 50%, 40%, and 30% 1RM in the five-load reduction condition (5LR), two sets at 50% and 30% 1RM in the three-load reduction condition (3LR), or one set at 30% 1RM in the two-load reduction condition (2LR) until concentric failure, with minimum intervals between the loads. The total exercise duration included exercise movement and non-exercise (setting) durations. Results: For both tests, the training volume (Load × repetitions; 1028 ± 258 kg in 5LR, 999 ± 160 kg in 3LR, and 1,003 ± 238 kg in 2LR for bench press and 226 ± 74 kg in 5LR, 200 ± 44 kg in 3LR, and 192 ± 36 kg in 2LR for dumbbell curls) and rating of perceived exertion did not differ among the conditions, whereas the total exercise and non-exercise durations in the five-load reduction condition were significantly longer than those in the other conditions (p < 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively). Conclusion: The number of loads for stepwise load reduction training in upper-body single and multi-joint resistance exercises did not affect the training volume and rating of perceived exertion. However, the training duration was shorter under the conditions with fewer loads than that under those with larger loads because of its increased non-exercise duration. The protocol would be more efficient if fewer loads could induce a similar adaptation.

Received December 27, 2022; accepted May 16, 2023