Effect of interset strategies on acute resistance training performance and physiological responses: A systematic review
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
National Strength and Conditioning Association
Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence surrounding the implementation of interset strategies to optimize acute resistance training performance. Searches of PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, and SPORTDiscus electronic databases were conducted. Studies that met the following criteria were included: (a) compared an interset strategy with a traditional passive rest interval in resistance training, (b) the assessed outcomes included performance or physiological responses, (c) resistance training was performed in a traditional dynamic fashion, (d) the study had an acute design, and (e) was published in English and in a peer-reviewed journal. A total of 26 studies were included in the review. When a given interset strategy was used, several studies reported improvements in the number of performed repetitions (i.e., greater total volume load), attenuation of the loss in velocity and power, reduced lactate levels, and in some cases, a decrease in perceived exertion. Dynamic agonist/static antagonist stretching, cooling, aerobic exercise, vibration, and individualized heart rate-based intervals seem to be the most effective strategies. However, the heterogeneity between study designs and methodologies suggests that careful consideration should be given to the type and specific application of the interset method being used. Given the acute nature of studies, extrapolation to any long-term benefits of using a given interset strategy remains limited. Collectively, coaches and sports scientists may consider using the most effective strategies based on practicality and equipment availability to optimize performance during the resistance training component of strength and conditioning programs.