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Drop Sets: Yay or Nay?

Updated: Jan 3, 2019

You have probably used this technique yourself many times as it is quite popular for a long time now but what you will learn in this article is how beneficial drop sets are, and when is the best time to use them to build muscle.

What Are Drop Sets?

For anyone that is not familiar with this technique here is a quick summary of what the drop sets are. With this technique, after you go to failure on a normal set, what you will do is decrease the weight which will allow you to perform more repetitions until you go to failure again, at which point you can decrease the weight even further. It is common to perform 3-4 of these drops until you reach a complete fatigue.

Are Drop Sets Beneficial?

This is where it gets interesting because in theory it sounds like a really good way to stimulate your muscle fibers, and here is why. Training to failure or near failure promotes muscle growth, however because we have different types of fibers in our muscles (fast twitch and slow twitch) not all fibers go to true failure during our regular sets. Some fibers are still able to produce force depending on their type even after a failure.

The idea of drop sets is to stimulate exactly this type of fibers by reducing the weight which will allow you to keep going on until all fibers are completely fatigued. There is also another benefit which is time under load which elevates metabolic stress for the particular muscle.

Furthermore, during my weight lifting experience working out in hundreds of different gyms, bodybuilders frequently used them during a cutting period ''burn more calories'' and ''work on definition'' of the muscles which is a complete nonsense.