What does fitness result from

Operational training or multi-sentence training? Tips for effective strength training

The list of training methods is long - some advocate high volume, others swear by intensity techniques, and others say a short, crisp training session is best. But what about the success of the training?

The goal setting is certainly decisive when choosing the training method. In strength training, which is primarily about increasing strength and increasing the size of the muscle cross-section, opinions are divided on one question: do training units with one set (operational training) or with several sets (multi-set training) lead to greater success?

In this article you will find out what this question is all about and why training experience and training condition play an essential role in determining the optimal number of sets.

What is operational training?

Operational training is a training in which only one set is performed per exercise. The set is usually in a range of eight to twelve repetitions, with this being carried out to the point of muscle failure. Then the next muscle group is trained.

What is multi-sentence training?

Multi-set training is the repeated execution of an exercise in several sets. A number of sentences from two to six is ‚Äč‚Äčnormally assumed. There is usually a break of 30 to 120 seconds between the sets, depending on the intensity. This gives the muscle a short recovery time until it is loaded again in the same way. The repetitions of a set amount to six to twelve repetitions, which should also be performed until the muscles are exhausted. Only when all exercise sets have been completed do you switch to the next exercise.

Who is emergency training suitable for?

When investigating the training variant of the operational training, the greatest successes were found among those with no training experience. In the first two months of strength training, the "beginners" were able to achieve great success with only one set per exercise. A significant increase in strength by performing further sets could not be proven.

Who is multi-sentence training suitable for?

For athletes with training experience, it is recommended to complete a number of three to six sets per exercise, with three to four sets having proven to be the most beneficial in terms of the cost-benefit ratio. As a rule, no additional training effect can be demonstrated from the fifth work set onwards. Sometimes even negative performance developments were observed with very high numbers of sets, which could be related to an insufficient break between the training units.

If the same number of repetitions and sets in strength training is used for a longer period of time, a habituation effect can occur, which results in stagnation in performance development. Therefore, even with experienced strength athletes, a training phase can take place over which the operational training is applied. The regular change between operational and multi-set training serves to offer the muscles a systematic change in stimuli. This prevents the homeostasis effect and can lead to further adjustment symptoms and performance developments.

Advantages of operational training

Especially with training beginners, the risk of muscular overstrain is minimized through operational training and you slowly introduce your own body to strength training. By executing the set until muscle failure, the incentive to gain muscle is still given. In addition, there are no excessively long training sessions and you save time, so that it is easier to maintain the motivation for the training.

Fitness trainers and personal trainers should always make sure that the quality of the movement is guaranteed, especially for beginners. Flawless technique is important to prevent negative consequences such as overloading of body structures through training.

Advantages of multi-set training

Experienced strength athletes are used to doing several sets per exercise in order to stress the target muscles as much as possible. This can create a greater stimulus for muscle growth.


Training beginners achieve good to very good success with operational training. Over time, however, the muscles get used to the muscle stimuli and you should change the training variant and pursue a multi-set training. This creates a higher load, which in turn leads to hypertrophy - the skeletal muscles grow!

A regular change between operational and multi-set training helps to vary the training process. This is important in order to achieve stable performance developments over the long term.

Training beginners therefore achieve the best cost-benefit ratio with field training; But even with advanced training users, it makes sense to only perform one set per exercise at times.