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  • Chris Cooper

Drop Sets for More Gains

The standard practice amongst people in the gym is to do an exercise for a certain amount of reps, and a certain amount of sets, then move on. Every once in a while, you want to shake that formula up a bit and add more intensity to your training program. Enter Drop Sets.

Drop sets extend the amount of time you do a particular exercise, thus creating more training volume and more time the muscle is working. This in short leads to more gains for you.


What you’re doing with your drop sets is going to failure, dropping the weight, or changing the ease of an exercise, then going to failure again, sometimes twice more.

Most of the time, this is done as the last set of the exercise as you’re about to burn out the muscles you’re targeting. Drop Sets allow you to keep the intensity up, even as your muscles reach that failure point There are a few ways to use drop sets in your training:

· Mechanical Drop Sets

· Dropping the Weight

· RNT Band to No Band

· Grip Position

· Weight Position


Mechanical Drop Sets

The first way we can keep a set going is by changing the angle in which we are working, going from hardest position to easiest. Each angle change is an “easier” variation, but because the muscles are fatigued, they become harder as you approach failure. Push-ups serve as a great example of what we can do with mechanical drop sets as position and elevations can be changed quickly. With these pushups, we can go: -Decline -Flat -Elevated

In each position, we’re trying to hit failure while keeping form, before moving to the next variation.



Strip The Weight Drop Set

In this version of a drop set, we are literally dropping the weight as we fatigue and hit that failure point. This is the more traditional way to include drop sets in your training.

Start with the heaviest weight you can do and go just shy of failure. Once you hit that point, drop the weight 10-20%, and continue with the set. Then you’ll drop in another 10-20% and finish to all-out failure. Sometimes this ends in finishing with a bodyweight movement at the end.



RNT Band to No Band

Similar to the previous drop set, the RNT Band to No Band Drop set combines using a weight and a band for added resistance. During the first set, you’re using both and working till failure. Since the band adds accommodating resistance, it's going to increase the intensity at certain points. Once you hit failure, drop the band, and continue with the exercise.

In the dumbbell row seen here, we’re rowing with a band around the wrist for more of a challenge till we can’t do any more reps. Then we finish the set with a burnout on dumbbell rows.



Grip Change

Changing the grip or the position of your hands is similar to that of a mechanical drop set. With these, we can work different positions of the same exercise. For example, on this Swiss Bar Press, we’re working from outside to inside on our press to really tax the triceps.



Weight Position

This variation is ideal for loaded carries as we can alter the arm position as fatigue and failure set in. Staring with an overhead carry, we walk a certain distance, then drop to a rack carry at the shoulders, and wrap it up with a farmer's carry with the weights at your side. Each position challenges you differently.


Drop sets, while intense, are a great way to add a bit of variety into your workouts as well as fatigue your muscles so that they get stronger and grow bigger.

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