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Drop sets produce better gains! Are you doing them? Read this and get better results faster. Simple.
I’ll explain exactly what to do and how they factor into my free THT training. First, let me define what a “drop set” actually is:
WHAT IS A DROP SET?
A drop set is when you take a set to the last rep, then grab a lighter load and keep going with little-to-no break (10 seconds at most). You can do this over and over again, going lighter each time. It’s painful…but damn it’s effective!
AN EXAMPLE OF A DROP SET
It’s a simple concept to understand:
- Let’s say you’re barbell curling 100lbs. You reach failure on the 10th rep i.e. an 11th rep is impossible.
- As soon as the set finishes, you grab a lighter weight (or strip plates off the end of the bar) – this might be 75% of the original weight (75lbs)
- Perhaps you get 5 full reps at this weight.
- Again, as soon as this 2nd set finishes, use another lighter load and go again to failure.
- Repeat over and over…as many times as you can take it. You’ll be surprised at how heavy 10lbs feels at the end lol.
WHY DO DROP SETS WORK?
Understanding why this advanced technique is effective is similar to understanding why training to failure works better than not going to failure. On a single set, each successive rep is a little harder than the last. The 5th rep is harder to complete than the first rep. And the 10th rep is harder than the 5th, right?
In order to cope with this increasing demand, the body recruits more and more muscle fibers as the set progresses from start to finish – and it recruits more of the kind of muscle fibers that are responsible for size gains – type 2b fibers. Stopping anywhere short of the last rep cannot possibly recruit 100% of the fibers in the intended muscle. Last rep = maximum muscle fiber recruitment.
It will also maximize metabolic stress levels and muscle damage.
These 3 factors: fiber recruitment, maximize metabolic stress and muscle damage all increase protein synthesis levels (the rate at which is building muscle tissue).
So going beyond normal positive failure with drop sets (or any advanced technique) will increase everything here. Even if 100% fiber recruitment was reached at positive failure, all those same fibers will be subjected to yet more damage, and metabolic stress levels will shoot through the roof – you’ll feel it! Trust me.
A phrase I started using recently when explaining the value of high-intensity sets to people in my real life is this: If you want a muscle to grow, you better punish it!If you want a muscle to grow, you better punish it! ~ Mark McManus Click To Tweet
By the way, drop sets are just 1 of the advanced techniques I have factored into my “Blast” workouts. That’s why these routines can be relied upon to produce new gains quickly. If drop sets work, imagine what drop sets coupled with many other super-intense techniques will do. Here are the programs with before and after testimonials from people who have actually used them:
Arms Blast Workout | Chest Blast Workout | Leg Blast Workout
DROP SETS ARE BUILT INTO THT TRAINING
Drop sets are (kinda) already a feature of free THT training – one of many reasons why THT is so effective at stimulating new gains.
THT is based on the idea that you should begin a workout with the heaviest weight you can use (after warming up), and gradually reduce the load as you get weaker and weaker as the workout progresses. This is the opposite of the pyramid-style workout. THT is Reverse-Pyramid.
Those who recommend pyramid training think it is best to “work up to” your heaviest lift. So you start with a light load and add weight as the workout progresses.
The problem with this is that if you do a number sets before your max lift, it WON’T actually be your max lift.
With each successive set you make further INROADS into your strength. By the time you get to that last set, the weight you lift won’t be the heaviest weight you can handle for that exercise.
Perhaps by this stage you’ll only have 88% of your max strength left.
So you’ll be fooled into thinking that this is your top weight when it isn’t, and by quite a large margin. It should be obvious then that this is a very ineffective way to train. And that’s regardless of whether your goal is strength or hypertrophy/size.
REVERSE PYRAMID TRAINING
If what I’ve just said is how you’re currently approaching your workouts, you need to FLIP it on its head i.e. from pyramid-style training, to a REVERSE-pyramid – THT-style.
So how do we train on THT?
- You get in the gym
- You warm up
- You then hit a particular body part with the heaviest weight you can handle to positive failure (in a given rep range – usually 8-12 for size gains).
- Take a 2-3 minute break, reduce the weight a little, and do the same again.
Each successive set of the same exercise will be a little lighter.
How much lighter? Well it depends on the amount of load used. If you’re bicep curling 20kg, you’ll only need to drop by 1-2 Kg’s between sets. If you’re benching 100kg, you’ll need to knock off anywhere from 5 to 15 kgs between sets. A 10% reduction is usually about right.
There’ll be a little trial and error when you first start THT training. But it won’t be long until you intuitively know how much weight to drop to keep reaching positive failure in your given rep range.
So you start with 100% of your strength intact and make progressively bigger inroads into your strength as the workout progresses.
And this is for good reason. Creating these inroads triggers the body to adapt and bring your strength not just back to 100%, but > 100%. This is OVERcompensating.
So by the time you perform this same workout again, you’ll notice that your max strength has now increased i.e. you’ve gotten stronger and can handle more weight and/or reps.
Now all you have to do, my friends, is keep doing it! Keep progressing. Adding more weight to the bar and/or performing more reps in successive workouts is the 1 fundamental that guarantees muscle growth.
Combine progressive overload with reverse pyramid training and succeed once and for all!
P.S. If you want to do drop sets as described at the beginning of this article in your THT workouts, go for it! But only drop-set with no rest between sets after the LAST set of a body part. So if you’re on the 5-day split THT routine, and you want to do this for your biceps, do it as a continuation of the very last set. On the full-body 3-day routine, drop-set on the last set of each body part.
Should be easy to understand and implement. If not, ask me below and I’ll clear it up for you.
You can also hire me personally for all your muscle and/or fat loss needs.
So get your butt to the gym and test this today! And remember…
NOTE: Would you like a FREE list of the TOP 12 MOST EFFECTIVE EXERCISES for building muscle as identified by science? The results come from electromyography (EMG) tests – they are absolutely the best movements you can do to build muscle for every single body part. If you are not doing these exercises, you are not gaining like you could be. Grab them below.
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In Jan 2019 a bunch of 'lab rats' tested the New Shoulder Blast Workout and gained up to 2.5 inches in shoulder size in 7-10 days! There is a very specific type of training stress that works uniquely well for the shoulders. You're about to target it...hard! More details here.
The Arm Blast Experiment
Gain up to an inch on your arms over the next week with new "hyper-intense" training techniques that literally force new arm growth. The workout is based on the results of an online study conducted by Mark from MuscleHack. More details here.
Chest Blast Workout
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The Leg Blast Workout
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I highly recommend MyProtein for all your supplement needs.
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GO TO MYPROTEIN USA
- I also recommend to US readers this Optimum Nutrition whey (and here's a low-carb whey)
- And this quality, inexpensive creatine ~ Mark McManus
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Thanks Mark. I’m going to try this out later today. I’m pumped!
So after reading THT I’m only confused about 1 thing. If (using your bicep curl example) I struggle get to 7 reps on my first set and fail on 5 reps on my second set – am I better off to go with a lower weight that gets me to 10 and 8 reps (especially with better form)?
@TheCHISportsFan. The 1set weight is too heavy. You need to go lighter on that 1set. Then drop the load by 10% to make sure you get between 8 and 12 reps on that 2nd set.
Did this with my shoulder workout today – could barely lift my arms enough to shampoo my hair when I showered after! Using the the Lowe rep range with THT, when would you implement this? Every set, or just on the last set?
Disregard – I just read the PS..
@Korey. Great! Yep, that’s exactly what happens 🙂
Keep it up, buddy!
On the arms day of the 5 day split, would you do a drop-down after triceps and again after biceps?
@David. Yeah you can do that. Prepare for sore arms 😉