Fitness and Diet

Drop set: A beginner’s guide to achieve muscle goals 

Drop sets can take your training to another level. If your goal is to gain muscle, you may want to consider the one popular approach in the bodybuilding circuit which is drop set training. 

What Is A Drop Set?

Man performing drop sets

It is an advanced resistance training.

In simpler words, the lifter will try to perform as many reps as possible with a good form until their muscles get tired. Then, they reduce the load and immediately go at it again, without resting between load changes. 

It is a popular workout technique that is used to increase muscle endurance, promote hypertrophy and break through plateaus in training.  

Ways you can perform drop sets

It can be performed in any type of exercise that uses weights:

  • Weight: dumbells, barbells and machines
  • Body weight: push ups or squats. 

The benefits of drop sets 

There are several benefits to gain when you incorporate it into your workout routine.

1 . Increased muscle endurance 

You can increase your muscle endurance by pushing your muscles to a fatigued state. 

2 . Promote hypertrophy 

It can help promote hypertrophy by increasing the duration of the tension in your muscle.

3 . Help you break through plateaus 

You would be able to break through plateaus during your training, by providing a new stimulus for your muscle. 

4 . Time- efficiency 

In a drop set training, you would be able to get more done in a short amount of time. 

How to perform it 

These following steps will guide you on how you can perform drop sets. 

1 . Pick an exercise and weight 

If you choose an exercise you can follow through and weight you can sustain, there would be more reps you cover before reaching muscle failure. 

2 . Carry out the exercise until failure 

Keep going with the exercises until you reach muscle failure, which means you wouldn’t be able to pull through another rep with good form.

3 . Reduce the weight 

You should start  to reduce the weight by 20-30% and immediately continue to perform the round. 

4 . Perform the exercise until failure again

At this point, continue the exercise until you reach muscle failure again, then reduce the and continue to go at it right until your muscles tire out. 

5 . Repeat as you desire 

Keep repeating as many rounds as you want. However, the typical rounds are between 2-3.

Possible Risk in drop sets training 

As much as it can be an effective training technique, there are some things to consider when you decide to add this type of training but  into your workout session.

1 . You may overtrain 

An image displaying the overtraining effect of drop sets

They can become quite intense, which could lead to overtraining of your muscles, if you don’t incorporate it properly into your workout routine. So, it is advisable to only perform drop sets once it twice per week and per muscle.

2 . Risk of injury 

Risk of injury during drop sets

You could end up injuring yourself, due to fatigue and use of heavy weights. So therefore, it’s important that you always use proper form and technique, and not sacrifice your form to get in additional reps.

3 . Recovery time 

Recovery time is vital after drop sets

Drop sets can be very intense and would require additional recovery period. That is why you must allow yourself to get some adequate rest and recovery between each workout.

4 . Not suitable for every workout 

You may not perform drop sets in every exercise

It may not be cut out for every workout, especially for exercises that require strict form and technique.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are drop sets better and normal sets?

The nature of drop set is  to accumulate volume in a shorter amount of time, achieve a greater muscle pump and trigger metabolic stress. But this is not the case with standard/normal straight sets. Which would hypothetically mean that drop sets can lead to better muscle growth and mass gain. 

However, recent research has revealed that metabolic stress may not be as important for muscle gain as we once thought. 

Although normal sets would require you to take in more rounds, it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goals with it.  It all depends on how you want to go out your muscle training.

What’s the difference between rest-pause and drop set?

Many people seem to believe that both are the same but they really aren’t. 

A rest pause training is taking a very brief rest after reaching failure, then resume lifting to get a few more reps in. While drop sets involve reducing the weight after you reach failure to continue the set and focus on the muscular endurance. 

Above all, the rest-pause and drop set work great on their own and can help increase the intensity in your exercise and muscle training. 


For an advanced lifter, drop sets can provide a way to break through a plateau while getting more work done in less time. It will also challenge your muscles in a more strenuous and different way. 

Nevertheless, you still need to take care and not overtrain. Always remember that recovery is just as important as the workout itself.

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