What are Drop Sets?

What are drop sets and what are the benefits to performing them?what are drop sets

I started using the drop set method very early on in my weight training days. I first heard about them while reading various bodybuilding magazines and they were recommended by many of the top bodybuilders, they’re a great way to build muscle and improve fitness. Many bodybuilders use them because they can be very effective for reaching muscle failure.

What are drop sets?

They are a method of training, instead of starting off with a light weight then performing 8 – 10 reps, resting and then increasing the weight and doing 8 – 10 more reps like the standard method. With drop sets we start off with a heavier weight, perform 8 – 10 reps until failure or almost failure and then without resting drop the weight and perform 8 – 10 more then drop the weight again. Continue doing this for 4 or 5 sets or more.


  • Stimulating muscle growth due to the increased intensity of the training method.
  • Adds workout variety which in turn can help to keep you motivated and keep things interesting.
  • You can complete a workout in a very short time due to no rest intervals during sets.
  • Light cardiovascular workout which will burn more calories than the standard method of training.

Why are they good?

Say you’re performing bicep curls for 3 sets of 10 reps and even if you’re failing on the 10th repetition you’re then stopping and resting, you have reached muscle failure only with that particular weight. With drop sets you would decrease the weight by a certain percentage and then perform another 10 reps until failure, and you could continue this pattern until you’re failing with virtually no weight. You’re breaking down those muscle fibers in a way that can’t be achieved with traditional methods.

They can be performed using free weights, however you really need a partner to do this properly. Pin cable machines are ideal because reducing the weight only requires you to move the position of the pin.

Drop Set Tips

  • Use pin machines instead of lose weights if you’re a beginner and you don’t have a training partner.
  • Have little or no rest between weight reductions.
  • Don’t use them too often it could result in over training and muscle injury.
  • Keep within 8 – 12 reps and 3 – 4 sets/Weights for a beginner.

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