I'd like to come at this from another perspective as well.
Everything you do in the gym comes at a cost. Each rep/set costs ATP, Creatine Phosphate, Glycogen and drains the nervous system.
We choose to do these sets and incur these costs because we believe there will be a benefit, i.e. repair of muscle tissue and ultimately new growth and improved strength.
However, lets look at two scenarios.
1. Doing 1 exercise, 15 sets
First couple sets are just warming up and preparing the nervous system.
Have you ever noticed that the 3rd or 4th set of an exercise felt easier than the first first couple? That is because your nervous system is really in tune at that point and firing efficiently.
After the first few sets, every work set afterwards will be efficient at creating a stimulous for strength/hypertrophy.
Lets say 3 inefficient sets vs. 12 efficient.
2. Doing 5 exercises, 3 sets each, 15 sets total
Well, like before the first couple sets will be inefficient as you are warming up and getting the nervous system firing. And subsequent exercises won't take as long to prepare your body for, but it is pretty safe to say that when switching exercises, you won't be as efficient that first set.
So maybe 1 efficient set the first exercise, and I think I can be generous and say 2 efficient sets of the next 4 exerciss (2 out of 3).
6 inefficient sets, 9 efficient
Which scenario do you like better? 12 efficient or 9?
When you combine the difference in total efficient sets with the fact that when doing multiple exercises you are likely picking some isolation movements which recruit far less muscle, the overall stimulous you create with a wide variety of exercises versus a more narrow approach can be far less.
I am not saying you have to do only 1 exercise per bodypart, I used 1 exercise vs. 5 to illustrate a point. I am saying that in general, it is best to simplify your routine and go with less total exercises, but more sets per exercise.
James 1:16-17 ESV
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights
With God's help...Mens sana in corpore sano
Last edited by Commander; 06-26-2013 at 04:07 PM.