What are drop sets and super sets, and what are the benefits to performing them? 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.
The supersets training method is an alternative way to train and perform sets. I normally include some form of super setting in my weekly workouts.
They’re great for speeding up your workouts and mixing things up. You don’t often see people performing them in the gym, however they can be a very effective training method used by some of the best bodybuilders.
What are super sets?
It’s performing one set of an exercise immediately after another exercise without rest. for example (perform 1 set with 10 reps on the bench press, then without rest perform bicep curls 1 set with 10 reps) then rest after the two sets and repeat.
You don’t have to change body parts for each exercise, you can use two exercises for the same body part, it just depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
What are the benefits?
Adds Variety to your workouts
Instead of just sticking to straight sets, you can use super setting to mix up your workouts which will help to keep you motivated and prevent boredom.
Speed up your workouts
Using a training methods such as super sets will reduce the time needed to have a productive exercise session as you don’t require rest between exercises.
If you perform two exercises for the same body part you’re increasing the intensity on that particular muscle group without the need for heavy weights, which is a plus if you don’t have a spotter.
It’s a common belief in the world of bodybuilding that performing the same exercises and training methods over and over again limits your growth, this is because your muscles get accustomed to the same pattern. It’s recommended changing your workouts every 5 or 6 six weeks to help simulate your muscles, supersets are a great way to do this.
Depending on your training intensity, using the super set method will work your cardiovascular system, potentially improving your cardio fitness.
You don’t have to limit it to just 2 exercises, you could link 3 or 4 exercises together all focused on the same muscle or different muscles, however this is very advanced and it should not be attempted by beginners.
I first learned about supersets while reading bodybuilding material written by Arnold Schwarzenegger who regularly used the superset training method.