Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Why simple strength-training exercises may be all you need.

May 8, 2000 -- As an actor who hustles to a dozen television and film auditions a week, John Lehr doesn't have much time for the chest-press machine, the leg-curl gizmo, or any of the many other weight-training contraptions at his West Hollywood health club. But neither can Lehr afford to skip the gym altogether. "I don't want to be one of those muscleheads with biceps exploding out of their shirts," says Lehr, 34, "but, in my line of work, looks count for a lot. Besides, 40 years from now, I don't want to end up hunched over like Quasimodo."

So, on the advice of a trainer, Lehr recently began an unconventional strength program: He does only one set of each exercise (albeit a grueling single set), a routine that takes him just 20 minutes three days a week. "I spend less time at the gym than some guys spend looking at themselves in the locker room mirror," says Lehr, who also jogs three mornings a week. "But my body is starting to firm up -- you can ask my girlfriend."

Study Says One Set Works

Can one-set training really get you results? Or is the idea too good to be true? Although the issue continues to foster debate among exercise experts, a new study provides further evidence that a minimalist routine can get the job done -- at least in the short term. In the 13-week study, published in the January 2000 issue of the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 21 men and women performed one challenging set of nine exercises three days a week; 21 additional subjects powered through the traditional three sets. By the end, both groups showed the same gain in strength (about 12%) and muscle (about 2 pounds). Earlier research showed similar results with novices, but this was the first study to look at recreational lifters who had been strength training for at least a year. The key to getting the most from just one set? Lift heavier weights.

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: Make That Single Set Count!

Experts emphasize that to gain benefits from one-set strength training, you can't sleepwalk through your routine. You must "lift to failure." In other words, you must lift heavy enough weights that your muscles give out after 8 to 12 repetitions (reps). "No matter how much yelling or screaming you do, you shouldn't be able to raise that weight one more time," says Chris Hass, the study's lead author, a researcher in the department of exercise and sports sciences at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...

-
Beats
PER
Seconds

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...

-
Beats
PER
Seconds