De Gruyter Open, Journal of Human Kinetics, 1(46)
There is much debate concerning the optimal load (OL) for power training. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the number of sets performed for a given load on mean power output (Pmean). Fourteen physically active men performed 3 sets of 3 bench-press repetitions with 30, 40 and 50 kg. The highest mean power value (Pmax) across all loads and Pmean were compared when data were taken from the first set at each absolute load vs. from the best of three sets performed. Pmean increased from the first to the third set (from 5.99 ± 0.81 to 6.16 ± 0.96 W·kg(-1), p = 0.017), resulting in a main effect of the set number (p < 0.05). At the 30 kg load Pmean increased from the first to the third set (from 6.01 ± 0.75 to 6.35 ± 0.85 W·kg(-1); p < 0.01). No significant effect was observed at 40 and 50 kg loads (p > 0.05). Pmax and velocity were significantly affected by the method employed to determine Pmean at each load (p < 0.05). These results show a positive effect of the number of sets per load on Pmean, affecting Pmax, OL and potentially power training prescription.