How To Do Drop Sets Correctly For Muscle Growth

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Drop Set 101: Increase Strength And Muscle Faster

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m teaching you how to do drop sets correctly for muscle growth.

But first, I’m so glad you’ve come back to check out another video post, here on Live Lean TV.

Doesn’t it feel great to be Living Lean?

Now let’s talk about one of the best loading parameters to increase strength and muscle, drop sets!

Side note: every time I say or do drop sets, I always think about Snoop Dogg’s “Drop it like it’s hot” song.

Drop sets are also referred to as:

With names like that, you know they’ve been proven to be better than standard sets for increasing maximal strength and muscle.

Do you even drop set bro/bro-ette?

How To Do Drop Sets Correctly

Here’s an example of how to do drop sets correctly during a back exercise, such as a neutral grip seated cable row.

This is one of the times I like to use pinned machines, since you can quickly switch weights, with little effort.

For strength building, I like to train my back in the 8 rep range.

Here is an excellent example of how to build your back with a drop set.

  1. Select a weight that will exhaust your higher threshold muscle fibers on the 8th rep.
  2. Once you hit exhaustion, which should be around 8 reps if you choose the right weight, immediately decrease the weight by 5-10%.
  3. The time it takes to reduce the weight should only be 3 seconds. This is important because you do not want to take the tension off the muscle for too long. This will defeat the purpose of drop sets, since you want to prolong the time under tension for that muscle group.
  4. Now perform as many reps as possible with the decreased weight, which typically will be 3-4 reps.
  5. Then drop the weight again by 5-10% and perform as many reps as possible, which will once again typically be 3-4 reps.
  6. Congratulations, you just completed one drop set. Rest, then repeat that drop set 2-3 more times.
How To Do Drop Sets Correctly For Muscle Growth

This was just one example of a drop set to target your back.

The Type Of Drop Set Depends On The Following

Depending on the muscle group you’re working, and it’s fiber type, the optimal parameters of your drop set could be different.

Below I’ve outlined other optimal drop set examples based on different muscle fiber types.

Fast Twitch vs Slow Twitch Muscle Fiber Training

For example, based on the muscle fiber type, the drop set could have a different:

  1. drop set rep range
  2. number of drop sets
  3. percentage decrease in weight
  4. rest time between drop sets

Here are a few examples of how you would set up your drop set based on the muscle fiber type of the working muscle.

Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber Drop Set Option: A

  • Drop set rep range: 4 rep max (1st set) 1-2 rep max (2nd & 3rd set)
  • Number of drop sets: 3 total sets
  • Percent decrease in weight for each drop set: 10-15%
  • Repeat drop set: 2-3 times
  • Tempo: 4011

Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber Drop Set Option: B

  • Drop set rep range: 2 rep max (1st set) 1 rep max (2nd, 3rd, & 4th set)
  • Number of drop sets: 4 total sets
  • Percent decrease in weight for each drop set: 5-7%
  • Repeat drop set: 3-4 times
  • Tempo: 4011

Normal Muscle Fiber Drop Set Option: A

  • Drop set rep range: 8 rep max (1st set) 3-4 rep max (2nd & 3rd set)
  • Number of drop sets: 3 total sets
  • Percent decrease in weight for each drop set: 5-10%
  • Repeat drop set: 2-3 times

Normal Muscle Fiber Drop Set Option: B

  • Drop set rep range: 6 rep max (1st set) 12 rep max (2nd), 25 rep max (3rd)
  • Number of drop sets: 3 total sets
  • Percentage decrease in weight for each drop set: 20% (2nd set), 20-25% (3rd set)
  • Repeat drop set: 1-2 times

Slow Muscle Fiber Drop Set Option:

  • Just increase the number of reps and decrease the weight.

2 More Important Notes On Correctly Completing Drop Sets:

#1. Type Of Exercise

One other factor to keep in mind when determining the decrease in weight for drop sets would be the type of exercise.

A major movement that recruits a lot of muscles, such as the barbell back squat, would require more of a decrease in weight, than an isolation move like the leg extension.

#2. Have A Partner Help Remove The Weight

If you’re doing a barbell back squat drop set, be sure to have someone remove the plates for you.

This way you can keep the rest period to a 3 second minimum, in order to fully keep the time under tension in place.

Alright, let’s get the conversation going in the comments below.

Do you incorporate drop sets into your workouts?

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Question For You:

  • Do you incorporate drop sets into your workouts?
  • Do you customize the drop set to the specific muscle fiber makeup of the working muscle?

Be sure to share your answers in the comment section below.

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22 responses to “How To Do Drop Sets Correctly For Muscle Growth

  1. Brad, how many reps, sets and rest time should I use in Chalesthenics? I currently using 4 exercise supersets like Pull over the bar, upside down push ups, leg squats, chin ups, I do reps til I reach failiure anda rest 1 minute between supersets. I do this 8 times. Please advice me your channel is great

  2. overrated and overused. If you are not at a advanced/elite stage of strength yet you should just do straight sets with progressive overload. Drop sets are fine if you wanna stall your recovery and slow down your strength gains

  3. Have been doing a bootcamp that just introduced drop sets a couple of weeks ago and I found them very challenging. Great information here.

  4. Can I make one drop set exercise only at the end of a normal workout or does the whole workout need to be drop set to be effective?
    Great vids btw, love your jokes in between, its good to see that having a healthy lifestyle is fun 🙂

  5. Drop sets are tough. that lighter weight never feels so heavy! Just started doing them with my trainer so I will have to keep you posted on my strength and muscle gain. I have a long way to go but I am on my way!

  6. I love drop sets! I have used them recently and it has made the most improvements on my shoulders and biceps visually but also with strength in both them areas and my triceps and chest. I am still a bit fat though so you can’t really see any changes to my triceps but drop sets are amazing!

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