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What are Drop Sets? Benefits and How to Use Them

What are Drop Sets? Benefits and How to Use Them

Workouts are kind of distinctive when it comes to doing it for a specific reason, which could be anything. Though if you want to stay healthy you need to choose a suitable workout routine.

Well, if you train already and want to take your training up a notch, you should try something more challenging.

Challenging? Yes. Exercise is beneficial in uncountable ways but to make it more effective take it to the next level.

However strategically, you can employ multiple resistance training techniques, including pyramid training and real-pause training. It helps to intensify your workouts and to get better results.

One well-admired approach in the bodybuilding circuit is called a drop set, and you may consider it if muscle gain is your ultimate goal.

Drop Sets Definition and Who Invented Them?

“A drop set is a simple technique where you perform a set of an exercise to failure, then drop some weight and continue for more repetitions with the reduced weight”.

For the record, the drop set was primarily discovered in 1947 by Henry Atkins. He was the editor of Body Culture magazine by that time.

However, at first, Atkin named it the “multi-poundage system”. Since then, this wonderful drop set technique has been designated with many different names including descending sets, breakdowns, triple drops, strip sets, down the rack, and the stripping technique.

Why Do Bodybuilders Love Drop Sets?

Bodybuilders are the prospect of alienation among athletes. They totally have no concern with athletic performance however cosmetic improvements are their primary concern.

Drop sets are the prior preference of a bodybuilder because hypertrophy (increasing muscles) is their main aim.

On the contrary, other athletes like football players and sprinters do not use drop sets because drop sets are not conducive to power, strength, and speed gains. 

Strength and speed are the arsenals of an athlete and bulking does not help it, so drop sets are usually not for athletes.

However, if a pure mass is what you are trying to gain, then drop sets are ideal. 

What are the Benefits of Drop Sets?

Drop sets are an effective way to boost muscle hypertrophy, muscle endurance, and gain muscle size. They also help if you’re working out under a time crisis.

Promote Muscle Growth

Bodybuilder standing shirtless

According to the study, a comparison was held between two groups of participants. It was a 6-week resistance training program.

The first group completed three sets of conventional resistance training exercises. Whereas, the other group completed a single drop set for a certain time being.

As a result, the group that completed drop set training showed major muscle gains, most likely due to inflated stress on the muscles.

Certainly, drop sets promote muscle gain by completely fatiguing all muscle fibers in a specific muscle group.  When you train a drop set to failure, you are fatiguing all of your small muscle fibers.

Doing a drop set encourages your larger fast-twitch muscle fibers to promote more muscle growth than a conventional set could.

Build Muscular Endurance

Muscular Endurance is known as the ability of the muscle to exert force over and over again. In simple words, it means how many reps you can make.

According to a study, drop sets are the most effective even if a single rep is made, which uncovers another interesting fact regarding drop sets.

Drop sets can be easily performed within no time but are still effective. However, it helps a lot to increase your muscular endurance.   

Be Efficient with Time

Men Watching Time

If you are thinking about what differs drop sets from basic or conventional sets. Time is the answer. Because in drop sets there is a minimal rest involved however conventional sets contain more time intervals between sets.

Although there are proven benefits of drop sets, do not commence your training with drop sets.

When performed correctly, this training approach is very important to the body. Training to the failure has shown to elevate levels of the AMP (Nucleotide Adenosine Monophosphate), as compared to conventional training.

How to use Drop Sets to Build Muscles?

If your desire to utilize drop sets to build muscles, there are a few things that need to keep in mind to promote your training:

  • Prepare for your drop sets by lining up your barbell, dumbbells, and plates within reach. You will minimize your downtime and maximize the workout time by doing this. At the very moment, your muscles are continuously working which helps to not let your body cool down. This will optimize potential muscle building.

  • Be strategic about deciding what time you feel is appropriate to incorporate drop sets in your workout. Pick one exercise per workout, once a week to prevent overtraining.

  • It would be great if you have been lifting weights before. However, a drop set is an advanced technique that demands experience and is normally used to break through plateaus or supercharge results. So, technically a drop set isn’t necessary for beginners.

Best Drop Set Workouts Program

Albeit, drop sets are not specified and confined for some particular exercise. You can do drop set training by choosing an exercise you like. Below is the article we have discussed some drop set workouts for major muscle groups of your body.

Bench Press Drop Set

Bench Press Drop Set

The bench press is the fundamental chest workout that appeals to the large muscle group of your chest. Bench press drop set benefits by breaking your chest muscles and assists in building a massive wide chest.

There are no proven rules to perform drop sets. You can add weight according to your capability and then drop it down by almost 20-30% after the first set and again cut off 20-30% after the second set and perform the bench press to failure.

Therefore, you can follow the sets rule as well:

  1. 6-8 reps in the first set (80 kg)

  2. 10-12 reps in the second set (60 kg)

  3. 12-15 reps in the third set (40 kg)

Best Chest Workouts: The Best Exercises for a Massive Chest


Bicep Drop Set

Bicep Drop Set

Drop sets are best for hypertrophy. A drop set breaks down your body muscles that eventually build stronger than before.

Unlike other body muscles, the drop set helps with building your bicep muscles. What you need is a dumbbell rack, for that make sure you visit the gym at times when it’s not rushy.

However, take 3 sets of dumbbells with different weights. Start with the heavier one and drop down the weight gradually.

An interesting fact about drop sets is, it goes in ascending and descending at the same time. On one side you are decreasing the weight and increasing the reps at the very same time.

Therefore, you can follow the sets rule as well:

  1. 6-8 reps in the first set (9 kg)

  2. 10-12 reps in the second set (7 kg)

  3. 12-15 reps in the third set (5.5 kg)

The 10 Best Arm Workout Exercises for Building Bigger Arms


Leg Press Drop Set

Leg Press Drop Set

However, it doesn’t matter if you’re lifting weights manually or using a workout machine, both are effective. Though leg press drop set is our third workout and leg day is not forgetful by any builder. If you feel demised and unable to walk, then we are on the same page, buddy.

Getting back to the point, leg press helps for leg muscle endurance which is the largest muscle in the human body. Drop sets endure your overall leg muscles and tone your lower body muscles.

The same technique of drop sets will be applied here. Put on the weight on the leg press, how much you can easily lift. Make sure your partner stands beside you to take off the weight from the leg press. 

Therefore, you can follow the sets rule as well:

  1. 6-8 reps in the first set (100 kg)

  2. 10-12 reps in the second set (70 kg)

  3. 12-15 reps in the third set (50 kg) 

Squat Drop Set

Squat Drop Set

Perfect, nothing could be more suitable to detail your leg muscles more than a squat. Whether squat is preferably a non-weight exercise but to perform drop sets you can hold dumbbells or weight plates to make it more intense.

Start your squat exercise with the dumbbell in hand and perform the drop set by dropping the dumbbell for the next set.  

Drop sets are not restricted to make a count on. But there are three drop set variations for training.

Drop Sets Variation

Single Drop Set

In a single drop set, you perform a set and drop the weight only once. How much weight you drop depends on you.

Double Drop Set

In a double drop set, you perform a set and drop some weight, perform the second set and there you go. The pump is going to make you crazy after drop sets.

Triple Drop Set

This is a little more intense than other drop sets. In triple drop sets, drop weight 2 times by performing sets one after another, and 3 sets total you will perform.

Drop Set to Failure

In this drop set, you drop weight to the minimum and perform reps to failure. It helps to take your muscle endurance to the next level with the natural breaking and recovery process.

How to Maximize Drop Set Efficiency

Keep Rest Intervals to a Minimum

Keep Rest Intervals to a Minimum

Drop sets should be performed one after another with a minimum time interval between sets. Usually, the time interval between drop sets varies from 0 to 10 seconds. Though you are powerlifting heavyweights the time between the sets should be brief.

In general, the briefer the time between weight change, the more effective and intense your drop set will be. 

Set UP Equipment in Advance

Set UP Equipment in Advance

Sequence leads to advancement and success, either you talk about workout or reality. However, make sure you have set weights already in a sequence, it helps you to shift quickly to the next weight.

It would be convenient if you have all your equipment ready and set up before starting the drop set workout.

Though, if you are using plates, you should go with a sequence of heavy to light. Put the heaviest weight plate first, then lighter and lightest at the end like 5’s, 10’s, or 25’s, ready to be cut off.

If you are doing a triple drop set with dumbbells, line up all three pairs of dumbbells beforehand.

Make Sure the Availability of Whole Dumbbell Rack

Make Sure the Availability of Whole Dumbbell Rack

Performing drop sets is not practical in a crowded gym, nor is it proper gym etiquette to be submissive.  Seizing three to four pairs of dumbbells all for yourself for 15 minutes, someone will throw you out of the gym.

Well, if you have made up your mind about doing drop sets, try to schedule your workout for a time when the gym is not crowded. And the one most important thing, be gentle to others.


What Time is Best for you to Workout?


Use Weight Drop Sets (single, double, or triple)

The weight drops set variations have already been discussed above in this article. Thus, use drop set variation most of the time, and there is no limit to dropping weight. You can reduce your weight as many times as you wish.

However, the most common drop set method is the triple drop set, where you use three weights with two weight reductions.

Stay in the 6-12 Range Rep Range Most of the Time

Six to twelve rep range counts as the most productive rep range for bodybuilding perspective and this is the only rule that should generally not change in drop sets.

Although you desire to work on maintaining or building strength, go with four to six reps. And if you want pure drop sets hypertrophy, keep your reps range from eight to twelve. Though you can go up to 15-20 reps for a skin-splitting pump, you’ll get it.

Commence with a 6-12 Rep Max

If you are lifting a lightweight and can easily do reps, you’ll get a little more than muscle pumping and flushing with the drop set technique.

A true 6 rep max means you can’t do any further and are unable to do a seventh rep. You should reach failure before stripping off weight.  

Use Drop Sets Sparingly

Drop sets do not mean to be used as a regular workout. If you continuously do drop sets or as a daily workout routine, you would quickly burn out and overtrain.

One great way to perform drop sets is to use drop sets with a 3:1 method. Perform three sets of an exercise followed by one drop set.     

The Bottom Line

Drop sets are the quickest way of workout yet highly effective. Although multiple high-intensity workouts take the lead, drop sets are alone enough to cause some serious muscle growth in a very short period of time.

Consider this technique if you need to shake up your routine and if you are looking to maximize your results. Still, take care not to overtrain in the process – muscle recovery is as crucial as the workout itself.

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