The strength training has been shown to be effective for attenuating the age-related physiological decline. However, the adequate volume of strength training volume adequate to promote improvements, mainly during the initial period of training, still remains controversial. Thus, the purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a short-term strength training program with single or multiple sets in elderly women. Maximal dynamic (1-RM) and isometric strength, muscle activation, muscle thickness (MT), and muscle quality (MQ = 1-RM and MT quadriceps quotient) of the knee extensors were assessed. Subjects were randomly assigned into one of two groups: single set (SS; n = 14) that performed one set per exercise or multiple sets (MS; n = 13) that performed three-sets per exercise, twice weekly for 6 weeks. Following training, there were significant increases (p ≤ 0.05) in knee extension 1-RM (16.1 ± 12 % for SS group and 21.7 ± 7.7 % for MS group), in all MT (p ≤ 0.05; vastus lateralis, rectus femoris, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius), and in MQ (p ≤ 0.05); 15.0 ± 12.2 % for SS group and 12.6 ± 7.2 % for MS group), with no differences between groups. These results suggest that during the initial stages of strength training, single- and multiple-set training demonstrate similar capacity for increasing dynamic strength, MT, and MQ of the knee extensors in elderly women.