Drop sets are usually defined as a bodybuilding technique that allows the lifter to continue an exercise set past fatigue by using lower weight on each successive set. An example of this is say you normally do bicep curls with a 30 lb. dumbbells. When executing drop sets you would do one set of say 10 reps, and with very little rest do the second set with 25 lb. dumbbells to failure, then do a third set with say 20 lb. dumbbells again to failure. These successive sets to failure will help increase muscle hypertrophy.
What I am going to suggest is a bit different, but should still give you the same pump and increased muscle hypertrophy that the conventional method achieves. In my case I would get to a point where I was doing 3 or 4 sets of a particular exercise, but had pretty much maxed out on the amount of weight I could safely use. So once I had cycled from 8-12 reps, and couldn’t add any more weight I needed a way to challenge myself without adding additional sets. So instead of dropping the weight with each set, I started dropping the number of reps by 1 for each successive set. Let’s take bicep dumbbell curls as an example:
- Set 1 – 30 lbs. for 12 reps
- Set 2 – 30 lbs. for 11 reps
- Set 3 – 30 lbs. for 10 reps
One of the keys to using this method is that the first set must be pretty much your max reps, and the rest period between sets should be about 1/2 or 2/3 of what you normally use. So in my case I was resting 90 seconds between sets, and using this drop set variation I reduced it to 45 seconds. This makes the next set very difficult, and you will probably be near failure with each successive set. In fact you might not even reach your target reps for that set, but that is perfectly fine, as you are performing the set to failure, which is the original intent.
One warning here, is that drop sets, even using this variation are very taxing, so you might want to be careful when you introduce them into your training routine. Don’t make all your exercises into drop set routines.
You have now found yet another way to increase the intensity of your workouts and continue developing your physique.
Happy lifting my friends!