Drop sets are an advanced weight-training technique that are specifically designed for muscle hypertrophy. This basically means that you’re trying to make your muscles grow bigger through this programme. So, with a drop set, the idea is that you start with your heaviest weight load and then perform as many reps as you are able to until failure. Then, immediately reduce your weight load and repeat.
All through a normal, single-set exercise, you are limiting the amount of muscle fibres used however by reducing the weight load and continuing, you engage muscle fibres deep down that wouldn’t usually be reached. This causes muscle growth.
What Are The Benefits Of Using The Drop Set Technique?
Drop sets are highly effective for boosting volume of training while – as the same time – maintaining good technique for the purpose of muscle growth as well as fat loss. For instance, there are certain exercises which are just better than others. Squats vs. leg extensions, for example. It’s most likely better to just add drop sets of squats as opposed to adding leg extensions but not to do all the squats that you can handle. Same thing for bench press vs. bench fly.
How To Set Up A Drop Set
If you’re doing a bicep curl drop set, you’d stick to the following set-up:
- Set 1. Do between six and eight reps.
- Set 2. Drop weight by between 10 and 30% and then do between 10 and 12 reps.
- Set 3. Drop weight again by between 10 and 30%. Perform between 12 and 15 reps.
You’d begin with a heavy load, one with which you are only able to complete between six and eight reps. Let’s say that’s 9-kilogram dumbbells:
- You’d do eight reps of bicep curls with 9-kilogram dumbbells,
- Then 10–12 reps with 7-kilogram dumbbells,
- Then 12–15 reps with 5.5-kilogram dumbbells.
You’d take little to no rest between each of the sets.
Paying close attention to your form during each rep is always essential, but this is especially key during a drop set when you’re working to fatigue as this can help prevent injuries.
Are You Able To Do Drop Sets At Every Workout?
The short answer is yes however you probably don’t need to. If you’re training only a few times a week with weights, you can do drop sets every time you train as maximising volume of the essential movements is super important in low-frequency training.
However, if you lift weights on most days of the week, you’ll want to steer clear of drop sets on your lighter days. It’s a much better idea to concentrate on recovery and reserve loads of drop sets for more challenging training days.
If you’re going to add drop sets in on lighter days, they should probably be done as a replacement for a working set in order to reduce volume and training stimulus further as opposed to adding to the overall volume.
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