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If you are trying to build muscle mass but are currently unable to push past your plateau then perhaps it is time for you to try something else.
Perhaps a drop set would be a good idea to kick-start those gains (don't forget that an appropriate bulking diet is important too), but what are they?
Well, a drop set is an advanced weight training technique that will involve you performing your usual workout routine, but instead of resting after the set you would instead perform another set at a lower weight.
This will then continue until failure.
Read on to discover why incorporating drops sets for building muscle mass is important.
What types of drop sets are there?
The 3 most popular types of drop sets are:
- Up the stack
- Plate stripping
- Running the rack
They are all basically the same, as the aim is to ensure you do as many reps as possible. This is why it is best to only use a drop set on one type of exercise per workout.
What is ‘Up The Stack’?
This is one of the easiest ways that you can perform a drop set. Although it is best to use this type with a weight machine rather than free weights.
With this type you will be dropping the weight (moving the pin) while increasing the number of reps.
For example you would start at the highest weight and do 6 reps, then 8 reps at a lower weight and so on until exhaustion.
What is ‘Plate Stripping’?
For this type of drop set you will need a barbell, a few different weighted plates and a training partner.
As with the ‘Up The Stack’ type of drop set you will start off with the heaviest weight with low reps, then move down in weight and up the reps.
Your training partner will remove a plate from each side of the barbell at the end of each set so that you do not have time for rest.
What is ‘Running The Rack’?
This final type of drop set is similar to the other two, but is best performed with dumbbells.
Basically you will be moving along the rack of dumbbells, starting at the heaviest weight with the least amount of reps per set. Down to a lighter weight but with higher reps.
With each type of drop set you should start at your heaviest weight and then drop around 20% of the weight after each set, while adding 2 reps.
Benefits of drops sets
The aim of a drop set is to maximise the stress put onto your muscle fibres, which in turn should enable you to see maximum muscle gains.
With a normal set of 8-12 reps you may not push your muscles to exhaustion so wont see the full benefits of your training.
Just be careful not to overdo the amount of drop sets per workout. Just choose one exercise per workout, and you shouldn’t do them every time you visit the gym.
It is also recommended that you allow yourself the occasional break from them too. Just a month break, where you would go back to your regular routine would give your body chance to recover.
Drop sets really do work to push you past a stubborn training plateau, just don’t overdo them. Used sparingly they can produce some excellent muscle gains.