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Drop sets in bodybuilding

6 min read

Drop sets in bodybuilding – this is the best type of exercise that stimulates the rapid growth of muscles. This technique was developed back in 1947 and over time its names have repeatedly undergone changes, the technique itself has changed. The task of this special technique is to create the most stressful conditions for the muscles to accelerate the growth of their volume. It is carried out by approaches to muscle failure, starting with the heaviest load and gradually reducing it.


In 1980 Joe Weider begins to promote drop sets, and thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who actively uses this drop set program in his training, it is spreading among the general population. To date, fans of this intense technique that stimulate muscle growth can be found in all gyms in the world.

Process building

A sports apparatus with the heaviest mass is taken and the exercise is carried out to a complete failure, then weights are reduced in order to activate previously unused quick-cutting fibers, since there was no need for their participation. However, in the next stage with a reduced load, they are included in the process, thereby stimulating muscle growth, which is the goal of the bodybuilder.

Consider the example of lifting a bar with a mass of 50 kg. In the first intake, the athlete raises the bar 10 times, then the muscles refuse to work and 11 rise becomes impossible. This is a signal for reducing the working weight by 15-20% and the transition to the next effort with a mass of 42.5-40 kg. Weighting is reduced – additional fast-contracting fibers are included in the work, which allows you to continue the "fiery" physical load.

How many approaches are performed in the drop set depends on the option chosen.

Varieties of sets

In this section, we will consider the most popular tricks:

A classic drop set is done in two stages, while the load can be reduced, starting both by 20% and by 50%. The more the percentage of weight is reduced, the more cycles it is recommended to add;
triple and quadruple differ from the classic in the number of load reduction. Accordingly, in the triple there will be two drops, and in the fourth – three;
the reverse is the exact opposite of the classical one, since in this technique weighting agents are added, and the repeated row decreases with each approach;
progressive – first, a classic drop set with 12 repetitions is performed, in the second phase – a triple set with 8 and in the third – a quad view of a set with 6;
One of the leading and at the same time the most complicated methods is the “Drop Set-Superset”, therefore it is not for beginners. The point is to choose two mini-sets from different exercises, but for the nearest muscle groups that perform opposite actions (biceps – triceps). In the training process, for each series of exercises, the load decreases, but the number of repetitions remains the same.

do the barbell

Original Drop Set Variations

During the existence of such a technique as a drop set, a lot of various techniques for its implementation have been developed. What are they needed for? For the study of different muscle groups and a variety of workouts. Consider the most creative:

Drop sets for biceps with a bar are performed in the following sequence: the pancakes that are worn on the bar, one on each side, are removed in each subsequent set. An important part of this method is that the ratio of periodization and removal of pancakes from the neck should be equal (how many steps, how many times pancakes are removed). It can be performed both with a partner, and alone on block simulators;
swinging to the sides with a sports apparatus in the form of dumbbells will make the performance of the drop set on the arms and shoulders, not only more comfortable, but also more effective;
drop sets are also compressed, decreasing and wide, preference is given depending on which muscle group you want to use. In the first case, the weight is reduced by no more than 20% in order to complicate the process and make it more intense. Decreasing drop sets are not much different from the previous ones, the percentage of weight reduction varies from 5% to 10%, units of cycles are either 10-6-4-2 or 12-8-6-2. And in the latest version, the load is reduced by 30%, but the repeated row increases;
you can build muscle as quickly as possible by choosing a technique called "6-20", its essence is that at the first stage the working weight is selected with which it is possible to perform no more than six series, then it is reduced by half and repeated 20 more times ;
if you want to develop deltas, like Larry Scott, use the technique of powerful drop sets, the periodization of which consists of 6 cycles and remains unchanged throughout the training process, however, the weight mass is reduced by only 10% each time;
the next version provides for an increase in repetitions with a decrease in load in each next period by 25% -30%, it is called "increasing drop sets." The number of run series starts with 6, in the next stage there are already 10-12 and in the last – 20;
there is also a version with a fifteen-second break for rest, which allows the body to gain strength and continue to work with heavy weights;
to simultaneously cover several muscle groups, you need to modify the concentration point of the load. The number of drop sets is 3, the positions are changed 4 times. This technique will shock muscles;
One of the most difficult workouts is considered to be one in which no time is allocated for rest. It is carried out with two partners whose task is to ensure that there are no interruptions in work. If you work with a barbell, then the assistants are always nearby and take pancakes. Although this method is considered effective, however, it is quite difficult, so most bodybuilders try to avoid it.

makes an approach in the drop set

Useful Tips

In order to avoid injuries and to achieve the best result, it is worthwhile to understand some of the intricacies of this method of physical activity and find out how to do them correctly:

always start with a warm-up, the whole body should be warmed up;
the number of approaches is selected depending on the desired result. For example, in the classic version of 6-12 stages, if the goal is to develop and maintain strength, perform 4-6 repetitions, the number of cycles for muscle growth is 8-12, if you are aiming for a beautiful relief, perform an exercise in 15-20 stages;
including drop sets in the training program, keep in mind that recovery is required after them, so it will be enough only two times a month;
the intensity of work depends on the speed of "dumping" the load, the less time is allocated for rest, the more effective the result;
start with the maximum burden for you;
work to muscle failure, only in this way you will be pleased with the result;
Prepare the necessary equipment in advance, this will help reduce the time for dumping weights;
A series of three scales and two stages (triple drop sets) is considered productive because the point of “diminishing returns” is reached longer, after which the efficiency decreases;
the training program cannot consist solely of sets; it is best to replace the final approach with them;
only after you understand what drop sets are in training can you start them, as thoughtless execution can quickly lead to exhaustion of the body.

hand approach

Set Benefits

Why do we still need drop sets:

due to the maximum load, muscles develop, strength increases;
increased stamina;
blood flow increases and enters the rapidly contracting fibers, thereby forcing them to work at full strength and due to the shock load, muscle mass grows.

Drop sets in bodybuilding are necessary for variety and breakthrough through the so-called plateau (the moment when the usual actions no longer give the desired result).

What is a drop set in training? This is a unique technique in power sports, which gives fast muscle growth in a short period of time. It was developed not for beginners, but avid lovers of any gender and with a certain physical training can use them in their power loads.


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