It’s time we got back to suggestions about exercising, right?
Today we’ll discuss DROP SETS which is a great way to INCREASE MUSCLE MASS as it is an excellent way to increase blood flow into your muscles, get the heart pumping and most importantly fatiguing the muscles to ensure hypertrophy.
WHAT ARE DROP SETS?
Drop sets is a technique where you perform an exercise and then reduce (drop) the weight and continue for more reps until you reach failure. This technique was discovered by Henry Atkins in 1947 and is also referred to as the “multi-poundage system.”
As we’ve discussed before, one should strive to exhaust all muscle fibers, which sticking with the same weight in all sets does not do.
Recall that when I gave you a summary of one of my resistance training programs, I used a certain weight and did 15 reps, then increased the weight and did 8 reps, and increased the weight again and did 4 reps; well, it’s the same principle.
When we do drop sets, we start with the heaviest weight with which we can do 4-6 reps, then drop the weigh by 15-20 % and do 8-10 reps, etc., I’ll give you the details below.
There are numerous variations of the drop set, but I’ll give you the details of three most popular ones.
RUNNING THE RACK
This is performed with dumbbells. Once you reach failure with a certain dumbbell weight, pick up a lighter weight off the rack and do as many reps as possible. Continue down the rack until failure.
The above picture, by the way, is a dumbbell rack and you start with the heaviest weight you can do 4-6 reps with and go down the line until you get to the fifth set where you should be able to do 15-20 reps.
Remember, you should reach failure at the end of every set; pick the weights accordingly.
You can do:
DB Biceps Curls
DB Triceps Extensions
Arnold Shoulder Press
One arm bent over row to the chest. Etc.
I’m sure many of you can think of other exercises that can be done off the dumbbell rack. Remember the “muscle failure” principal.
Sample routine using “Running The Rack” with Alternating Dumbbell Curls, pictured below.
Set 1. Choose a weight you’d fail at 4-6 reps
Set 2. Reduce weight by 5 lbs. (2-2,5 kg.) 8-10 reps
Set 3. Reduce weight by 5 lbs. (2-2,5 kg.) 10-12 reps
Set 4. Reduce weight by 5 lbs. (2-2,5 kg.) 12-15 reps
Set 5. Reduce weight by 5 lbs. (2-2,5 kg.) 15-20 reps
The first set should be the heaviest. No rest between drops sets. “Walk Down the Rack” selecting weights.
Don’t be overly concerned about dropping 5 lbs. (2-2,5 kg.) with each set, as the dumbbells in the rack in your gym may not be arrayed that way.
I think you get the idea.
USING EXERCISE MACHINES FOR DROP SETS
Using exercise machines to perform drop sets is as easy as “Running the Rack”. All you have to do after each set is to move the PIN on the machine down one notch.
In my gym machines such as the leg press machines go down, or up, by 10 kg. That is to say, when you do a leg press with 100 kg. and move the pin down one notch you have 90 kg. to do the second set. Etc.
The leg press machine is pictured below.
Other machines go down by 5 kg. with each move of the pin one notch down.
The machine pictured below is a side lateral raise machine; to work the side muscles in your shoulders.
In my gym, each notch down means a 5 kg. less on this machine, however, there is a little tab on top of the weights and you increase the weight by 2.5 kg. when you push it forward and reduce the weight by 2.5 kg, when you pull the tab towards you.
That is to say you can do the first set with 52.5 kg. ,pull the tab towards you and do the second set with 50 kg. Etc.
I won’t duplicate the set scheme as put forth with “Running the Rack”, because it is exactly the same. Just keep in mind that you have to exhaust your muscles at the end of each and every set.
A TRAINING PARTNER stripping the appropriate number of plates from each side of a barbell at the end of each set is how one does this.
Yes, this is for exercises done with a BARBELL. The bench press is pictured below.
You can be more precise with the weight reduction at the end of each set
with this method BUT,
- You need a training partner, and
- You might anger people waiting for the barbell in a crowded gym.
Everything else is exactly the same.
Next week I’ll suggest some programs that you can use with the DROP SET method. I’ll also share my present program with you.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS.