Drop Sets for Hypertrophy
Often labelled the "go to" method when searching for some extra gains in hypertrophy, Drop Sets are a must-have tool for anyone training in the gym.
Basically - when performing an exercise you go until you reach the point of failure, you then reduce the weight and perform as many reps at the new weight as you can, normally completing 2 or 3 'drops'.
The drop set method was originally used in 1947 by Henry Atkins. Atkins called it the "multi-poundage system." The method really exploded when the great Arnold Schwarzenegger used them regularly in his training programs.
When to use Drop Sets?
Drop sets are best performed at the end of the workout. Due to the massive amounts of fatigue that occur during the session, as you are training to complete failure.
You wouldn't want to perform a drop set and the try and complete a big power/strength movement!
How to use Drop Sets?
There are multiple ways in which a drop set can be completed. Three of these are explained below.
Barbell - Strip sets:
Strip sets are best used when performing an exercise with a barbell where the weight can be 'stripped' off easily. For the best sessions, it is best to do this with a partner so they can strip the weight off for you.
For example, you might be completing a Bench Press with a working block of 4 x 6. At the end of your working set strip the weight back to approx 70% of your 1RM and max out the reps, strip the weight again to approx 50% of your 1RM and max out once more.
Dumbbell - Rack run:
As the name suggests - start at one end of the dumbbell rack and 'run' your way down to the lighter end.
One go-to session using a 'rack run' is using the Standing DB bicep curl starting at 25kg dumbbells, max out reps, drop to 22.5kg max out, drop to 20kg max out and so on running down the rack until your arms are completely cooked, you will have a serious muscle pump after this finisher!
Machine - Up the Stack
Once again as the name hints - start down the heavy end of the stack and work your way 'up the stack' to the lighter end.
Using a pin-loaded Leg press - start with a weight which you will max out after 12-15 reps, then drop the weight by 5-10kg repeat and max out, complete 2-3 weight drops, your legs will be burning at the end of this one.
Key things to remember:
* Complete at the end of your workout
* Don't be that person that uses all of the equipment during peak times - complete drop sets at quieter times particularly the 'rack run'
* Minimise rest periods - you want to have some fatigue building up, so change the weights on the drop as quickly as you can.
Add the Drop Set method to your training next time you visit the gym to start working on some serious hypertrophy gains.
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