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How To Build Muscle Mass with Drop Sets?

July 20th, 2013 · No Comments ·


Getting bored with the straight 3 sets of weight lifting? If you are looking for a new way to train and way to build muscle mass, try drop set.

Other names of drop set are descending sets, strip sets or stripping technique. A drop set is a technique where you do as many repetitions as you can with a certain weight until failure. Then, immediately lower the weight and do more reps with little rest between sets. For instance, you start with 25 pound dumbbells for shoulder press. You lift as many times as you can without compromising your form until you are exhausted. Then, you drop the weight to 20 pound and continue lifting until failure. The last set you will go with 15 pound of weight.

In a conventional straight set with 8 to 12 repetitions, you normally do not reach the absolute failure and therefore do not activate every fiber in a muscle group. By working out till failure and continue with lighter weight, you cumulatively use more and more reserved muscle fibers. Drop sets hit most of the stubborn muscle fibers deep down and the end result is causing growth that normally could not be achieved by conventional set.

Drop set is indeed a high intensity bodybuilding technique. That is why bodybuilder use drop sets to increase muscle size. If you are a football player, sprinters or athletes who want to build strength and power, drop set will not be suitable for you.


Let me share with you two of my ways in doing drop set:

  • Say, I am doing barbell biceps curl. I put few small plates on each side of the bar. Once I reach the failure for the first set, I will strip one weight plate off each side to continue for the next set.
  • As for doing drop sets with machines, it is even easier. Just have to pull the pin out of the weight stack and move it up to a lighter weight.

Top 4 Tips of Doing Drop Set

  1. In order to move quickly from heavy weight to lighter weight, set up your equipment before starting the first repetition. If you are doing drop set with dumbbells, line up all three pairs before you start. If you are lifting barbell, put fewer lighter plates together instead of one big weight. Stripping off is faster. Otherwise, you may need the help of partner to help changing the weight because you are not supposed to take too long between the set.
  2. Do drop sets only once a week. For layman like me, I use it to train lagging body part or a part which I target for growth. If used all the time, your body may accommodate itself to drop set. Your may overtrain and end up having over fatigued muscles. So, do not let drop set to backfire.


  3. Incorporate drop set creatively. Sometimes, I perform only drop set as the last set of a particular exercise after I finished the first two conventional straight set. In this last set, I use heavier weight compared to the first two set and I will do it until failure. Also, when I know that I am going for holidays for 2 weeks and I will not have access to any gym, I will do drop sets too in most of my workouts since I know that my body will have plenty of time to recuperate.
  4. Last but not least, never compromise your form. Safety come first and I do not want you injure yourself.



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Category: Weight Training

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