Maybe you’re stuck on a workout plateau, or perhaps you’re just looking for new ways to push your gym game to the next level. Either way, you’re in luck! In this article, we will cover the drop set, a powerful workout approach popular among regular gym-goers and strength training enthusiasts.
With the potential to revolutionise your training, drop sets can not only help not build muscle and strength but also make your routine more fun. So follow along as we discuss what is a drop set, how it can impact your sessions, and how to incorporate them into your workouts.
What is a drop set?
A drop set is when you perform a set of a given strength exercise until muscle failure, and then immediately reduce the weight and continue the same exercise without any rest again until failure.
Muscle failure, as the name indicates, is when you can’t do another repetition of that exercise with the same weight keeping proper form or technique.
The process is typically repeated for multiple drop sets, gradually reducing the weight each time. In the first set, you use the heaviest weight, one that will result in failure after 6 to 8 reps. Imagine the exercise is a dumbbell chest press, and you started the first rep with 25kg. In the second set, you reduce it to 20kg, which will increase the number of reps, because you’ll always be working until failure. Then you’ll drop to 15kg and continue until reaching muscle fatigue.
Benefits of drop sets
1 – It’s time efficient
You might not realise it, but standard strength workouts usually include a resting period between each round of exercise that lasts around 1 minute. Without noticing, in a simple workout with 5 exercises and 3 rounds, you’ll spend 15 minutes just resting. Drop set workouts eliminate those resting periods, and guarantee you train non-stop, saving time.
2 – Improves muscular endurance
Endurance refers to the ability to perform low to moderate-intensity activities for a larger time, without experiencing excessive fatigue or muscle damage. Studies show that drop set workouts can help you improve it since you’ll perform a large number of reps with little to no rest in between.
3 – It’s great for hypertrophy
And that’s its primary function! As we said before, drop sets are great if you’re looking to grow muscle. In fact, a recent study showed that including just a single drop set of a given exercise builds more muscle than common routines that use a predetermined number of reps, rounds and the same weight.
How to incorporate drop sets into your routine
Now you know the benefits, how can you incorporate it into your fitness routine efficiently?
1 – Choose the right exercises
Drop sets weren’t made for all exercises. Usually, they pair better with isolation or machine exercises, to allow you to shift weights as fast as possible. Strength isolation exercises like chest presses, bicep curls, leg extensions or lateral raises are a perfect match.
2 – Start small
Don’t start with endless series of drop sets. Instead, start with just one or two and build gradually from there, as your strength and endurance improve.
3 – Be mindful
You’re eager to start, we get it, but make sure you’re not overstressing your muscles. Don’t overtrain your muscles because that can lead to injuries.