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More Is Better: A Questionable Concept

record updated
item type
article on a website (page no longer published)
Ralph Carpinelli
journal [defunct]
Jun 22


The mindless muscle magazines and newsletters abound with different philosophies of training that claim to optimally increase muscular size, strength and endurance. Most of the misinformation is based on different writers' opinions and is not supported by any scientific evidence. An unsubstantiated opinion is not science; it is pseudoscience (false science), which is any assertion or concept that is based on assumption rather than evidence. Assertions in the scientific literature must be supported by evidence from peer-reviewed journals, and the scientific community should not accept any assertion without sufficient evidence. One very common unsubstantiated assertion is that a greater volume of strength training will produce superior results-the more-is-better philosophy.

PainSci notes

A strong debunking of the so-called “evidence” that more sets and reps are better for building strength, and a strong critique of the American College of Sports Medicine’s official position:

Is this the best evidence the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association can produce to substantiate their more-is-better philosophy? The NSCA is disingenuous at best, editorially incompetent at worst. Shame on the editors. Shame on the NSCA. Shame on the ACSM.

Zing! The ACSM published a new position stand in 2009, which was no better, and even more diligently refuted (see Carpinelli). Together, Carpinelli’s cricitisms are a persuasive addition to the (generally strong) argument that exercise benefits can be obtained more efficiently than you think.

~ Paul Ingraham, PainSci Publisher

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