- Drop sets are a weight training technique that involves performing a set of an exercise to failure and then immediately decreasing the weight or increasing the reps and continuing to failure again.
- They can promote muscle growth and increase muscular endurance.
- They can be time-efficient and can help to break through training plateaus.
- To incorporate drop sets into your training, start with a weight that you can lift for 8-12 reps and either decrease the weight or increase the reps for each subsequent drop.
- It’s important to have proper form and technique before adding them to your workouts, and to mix drop sets with other training techniques.
- The appropriate number to include in a workout will depend on your fitness level and training goals.
- They can be an effective tool for building muscle, but it’s important to have a well-rounded training program that includes a variety of exercises and training techniques.
- They can also be used with bodyweight exercises.
Hey there! If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in learning more about drop sets. If you’re not familiar with that training method, it´s a weight training technique that has gained popularity in recent years. Drop set resistance training involves performing a set of an exercise to failure, and then immediately decreasing the weight and continuing to failure again.
Or – alternatively – you can also do a mechanical/exercise-based set. Here, you immediately change exercises or range of motion after reaching muscle failure.
In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of this workout method and explore the benefits, how to incorporate it into your training, and more.
Let’s get started!
What is a drop set?
A classic drop set is a weight training technique that involves performing a set of an exercise with as many reps as possible to failure, and then immediately dropping the weight and continuing to failure again.
The uderlying idea is to continue to push your muscles to the limit, even after you think you can’t do any more reps.
By doing so, you increase the time under tension and in combination with training for muscle failure you will boost your muscle gains.
There are a couple of ways to execute such a kind of workout.
Load-based drop set
One option is to start with a challenging weight that you can lift for 8-12 reps, and then immediately decrease the weight by a certain percentage (such as 10-15%) and continue to failure after you drop the weight.
Then you would decrease the weight again by another 15% and continue to perform the exercise until muscle failure again.
This is known as a “weight drop set.”
Mechanical/Exercise drop set
Another option for performing drop sets is to start with a certain exercise, and then immediately change the technique of that exercise targeting the same muscle group and continue to failure.
This is known as a “mechanical/exercise drop set.”
For example, you could do biceps curls and perform 8-12 reps using only half range of motion. Once you realize that you can no longer keep good form on your reps, you continue with a few reps using full range of motion until you reach failure.
Drop sets differ from traditional sets in that you’re aiming to continue pushing your muscles to failure, rather than stopping after a certain number of reps.
This can be a great way to push through training plateaus and continue making progress.
Benefits of drop sets
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what drop this workout method really is, let’s talk about some of the benefits of incorporating this routine into your training.
One of the primary benefits is the ability to promote long-term muscle hypertrophy.
When you lift weights, you create muscle damage in the form of tiny tears in your muscle fibers. Your body then repairs these tears, and in the process, your muscles grow bigger and stronger.
In addition to promoting muscle growth, drop sets can also improve your muscle endurance. Because you’re continuing to push your muscles to failure even after you think you can’t do any more reps, you’re training your muscles to be able to handle more volume.
This can be especially beneficial for endurance athletes, such as runners or cyclists, who need to be able to maintain a high level of output for extended periods of time.
If you’re short on time, implementing drop set training into your workout routine can be a great way to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time.
Because you’re using lighter weights and higher reps towards the end of the set, you can get a cardiovascular and muscle endurance workout in a fraction of the time it would take to do traditional sets.
Helping to break through plateaus
If you’ve been stuck at the same weight or reps for a while, incorporating this routine into your workout can be a great way to break through that plateau.
By continuing to push your muscles to failure, you can stimulate new muscle growth and make progress again.
How to incorporate drop sets into your training
First and foremost, it’s important to make sure you have a solid foundation of proper form and technique before adding drop sets to your workouts.
This is an advanced training technique and can be intense. If you’re not using proper form, you’re more likely to get injured.
Once you’re comfortable with your form, there are a few ways you can incorporate drop sets into your training.
Here are a few tips:
- Start with a weight that you can lift for 8-12 reps. As mentioned earlier, you can either drop the weight by a certain percentage (up to 25%) for each subsequent drop.
- Use a variety of exercises, including compound movements like bench press and squats, as well as isolation movements like bicep curls and lateral raises.
- Vary the number of drop sets you do per exercise. Some people prefer to do one or two per exercise, while others may do a drop set group of three or four. Experiment to see what works best for you.
- Don’t use drop sets for every exercise in your workout. Drop sets can be intense, so it’s important to mix them up with traditional sets and other training techniques.
- Make sure to properly warm up before doing drop sets. Because you’ll be pushing your muscles to failure, it’s important to properly prepare your body to handle the added intensity.
What is a drop set example?
To give you a better idea of how drop sets work, let’s go through an example. Let’s say you’re doing a one-exercise set of bench press.
You start with a weight that you can lift for 8 reps.
You complete 8 reps, and then immediately decrease the weight by 10 and up to 25% and continue to failure.
You then drop the weight again by another 25% and continue to failure once more.
So, in total, you would have completed three sets of bench press, with lighter weight each time.
Here’s another example using mechanical change rather than weight. Let’s say you’re doing a drop set of squats.
You start doing squats but you only use half range of motion. So in this case you would only squat down about halfway until you are about parallel to the ground.
You do as many repetitions as you can do in very good form. Once you feel that good form can no longer be kept, you finish the set with a few reps using full range of motion.
Ensure a proper setup
Before starting your drop set workout, make sure that everything is readily prepared.
Unless you are doing only one single drop set, you want to have as little rest time between sets as possible. It would be great to have little to no rest between each set.
That said, have a number of dumbells, barbells or whatever equipment you are using readily prepared and set up.
How drop sets work
So what does the science behind how drop sets say?
One key factor in muscle growth is time under tension. When you lift weights, the longer your muscles are under tension, the more stimulus they receive to grow.
Drop sets allow you to put more fatigue onto your muscles by extending the time under tension.
Another factor in muscle growth is training to failure.
When you train to failure, you’re pushing your muscles to the point where they can’t do any more reps.
This is another important stimulus for muscle growth, as it tells your body that it needs to adapt and grow in order to handle the increased demand.
This workout method allows you to train to failure multiple times within a single set, which can lead to even more muscle size.
How many drop sets should I do in one workout?
You might be wondering how many sets you should include in your workouts. The answer will depend on a few factors, such as your fitness level and your training goals.
If you’re new to this workout style, it’s a good idea to start with one or two sets per exercise, and gradually increase the number as you become more comfortable with the technique.
It’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it, as this kind of training can be intense and you don’t want to risk injury.
On the other hand, advanced lifters may be able to handle more sets. Keep in mind that this training technique should be used in conjunction with other options, and not as the sole focus of your workouts.
It’s a good idea to vary your training and use a combination of traditional sets, drop sets, and other techniques to keep your muscles guessing and prevent plateaus.
It’s also important to consider your training goals when deciding how many drop sets to include in your workouts. If you’re primarily focused on muscle growth, you may want to do more drop sets to continue pushing your muscles to failure.
If you’re more focused on endurance, you may want to do fewer drop sets and focus on higher reps with lighter weights.
Will drop sets build muscle?
One common question about drop sets is whether or not they can actually build muscle. The answer is a resounding yes!
As we discussed earlier, drop sets can promote muscle growth by increasing the time under tension and training to failure.
In addition, drop sets can be an effective tool for breaking through training plateaus and continuing to make progress.
Of course, it’s important to remember that drop sets are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to building muscle.
A well-rounded training program that includes a variety of exercises, training techniques, proper nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle is essential for maximizing muscle growth.
Drop sets with bodyweight training
While drop sets are typically associated with weighted strength training, it’s also possible to use them with bodyweight exercises. This can be a great option if you don’t have access to weights or if you want to mix up your training.
You can do a drop set workout using bodyweight only by scaling your exercise – this is how it could look like:
- You start by doing standard push-ups at floor level until failure.
- Then you increase the angle by doing push-ups to failure on a bumper plate or a low-chair.
- Do your third set of push-ups in an even more elevated position.
You can do many variations using bodyweight exercises and you can achieve the desired results just like you would by using a heavy weight.
The important part is to fully fatigue the targeted muscle groups.
In conclusion, drop sets are a powerful weight training technique that can promote muscle growth, increase muscle endurance, and help you break through training plateaus.
Start with a higher weight and reduce the weight through each set using a lighter load until you reach failure.
Alternatively, you can perform drop sets by varying bodyweight exercises.
Make sure to be able to perform each exercise very well before incorporating that exercise into your drop-set routine and also make sure to have everything in place before you start your workout.
It’s important to mix drop sets with other training techniques and to listen to your body to avoid overdoing it.
Give drop sets a try and see how they can help you take your training to the next level!