Drop Sets

Drop SetsLast week I shared with you a tried and true method used in the gym known as “Super Sets.” If you have never tried super setting I hope you will give it a whirl soon.  Today I want to talk about another fantastic way to train when you are working out in the gym: drop sets.

What are drop sets? Basically, this technique works as you perform an exercise and the reduce or “drop” the weight and then continue on for more reps until you reach a point of failure. Drop sets are a great style of training to add from time to time to really push and focus on building muscle without building bulk.  I’d encourage you to try it out.

What are the benefits of Drop Sets:

Unlike when you do a same weight normal set you only work certain muscle fibers. When drop setting, on set four or five, when you drop back to your starting (or lighter) weight, you are recruiting ALL of the muscle fibers you maybe didn’t work in your normal sets. A drop set works the full muscle and increasing strength and mass overall.

The great thing about drop sets is that they can be done using various methods in the gym.  You can use the weight machines if you are more comfortable or you can use barbells or dumbbells. Be prepared by having your three varying weights ready.

How I Drop Set:

Typically I teach my clients to drop sets using a four set method.  Starting with 15 reps of a weight that you can move up from. Your middle set will be 12 reps at a medium weight.  By the third set you should be at your highest weight that pushes you and this is where we work for 8 reps (this should be CHALLENGING and you should feel the burn).  For your fourth set go back to your beginning (or lighter) weight and finish off by doing reps to failure.  Always watch form and work to a point where you are pushing yourself to the maximum.

Focus on Form:

Another KEY component of drop set work is to truly watch and focus on your form and to listen to your body as you push through each weight increment in your drop set training. Work hard, engaging your muscles and watch to ensure correct form as you do. You will work every muscle fiber in that muscle group and increase strength without bulking up!  This is something to add in from time to time to truly push yourself.

Try it Out:

I love writing effective, doable but challenging workouts for my clients, and many of my programs include Drop Sets.  Check out some sets from one of my leg workouts and give it a go in the gym next leg day.  

Drop Set One - Squats - 4 sets (12 reps, 10 reps, 5 reps, 20 reps) 1 min rest between sets but NO rest between sets 3 and 4

Drop Set Two Leg Press  -4 sets (12 reps, 10 reps, 5 reps, 20 reps) 1 min rest between sets but NO rest between sets 3 and 4

Drop Set Three - Sumo Squat - 4 sets (12 reps, 10 reps, 5 reps, 20 reps) 1 min rest between sets but NO rest between sets 3 and 4

Enjoy drop setting - but be sure that after a week or two of training like this, be sure to REST those muscles for a week off of hard training.

Cheers! Jenny