Do Drop Sets Build Muscle Size Faster Than Normal Sets

Drop sets build muscle size faster than normal sets The longer we weight train the more difficult it becomes to continue to build muscle size. So, we start to try new things in order to keep us progressing and one of those things we might try is drop sets. If you are interested in losing body fat and adding muscle, please email me at for information on my personal training services. Facebook; My Amazon page link; My Affiliate link to Lebert for their Equalizer bars and more; and use the discount code FITAND50 you will receive 15% off your purchase Drop sets build muscle size faster than normal sets Of course drop sets are not a new thing the earliest known use of drop sets was in what was called “the multi poundage system” devised in 1947 by a man named Henry Atkins. They may not of had the science based studies back then, but they found what worked through trial and error and Henry knew those last few reps before reaching failure were key to muscle growth. One of the most common ways to do a drop set is to run the rack. This is often done on exercises like dumbbell rows or curls. The guy who is doing the dumbbell rows always looks like he is trying to hog the rack for himself as he’ll often have one hand on the rack for support as he does his rows. A typical routine used to run the rack would start with a heavy enough weight that you reach failure in your assigned rep range. It could be as low as 6 reps or even up to 12 reps. As soon as you reach failure without resting you grab the next lighter dumbbell and rep out, until you once again reach failure. Most will stop after they have done 3 to 5 sets others will keep going until they are down to the little pink dumbbells at the end of the rack.
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Another common way to do a dropset is to reduce the weight of your first set that you did to failure by 20 to 25% with each drop you do. This will keep you in a good rep range to hit failure again on the next set. This is a good system to use when you are doing a drop set on a machine. They did a study using this method with cable triceps pushdowns. The men in this study all had some training experience, but it was less than a year. They split them into 2 groups one group did one set of push downs with two dropsets right after. Each drop was 20% less weight than the last. The other group did 3 traditional sets to failure with 90 seconds rest in between. After 6 weeks both groups had significant size gains with the normal set group obtaining 5% muscle growth and the dropset group doubled this with 10% growth. So when it comes to hypertrophy the dropset group was the clear winner. As with anything it’s not quite that cut and dry as when it came to strength both groups gained strength but the drop set group gained slightly less strength than the normal set group. It wasn’t enough to be considered statistically significant. But with double the muscle growth it would have been super exciting if it came with twice the strength. It was only a 6 week study. So, who knows what would have happened if it was a longer study. But it is clear that dropsets are an effective tool to build muscle size. What they don’t know yet is exactly by what mechanism it builds this muscle. One thing we do know is that those last few reps before reaching failure are the most effective reps for building muscle and with a dropset you are in these reps multiple times within a short period of time.
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Some theorize that as we continue to more thoroughly exhaust the muscle more slow twitch muscle fibres come into play and by exhausting these as well as the fast twitch fibres we get even greater muscle growth. So when should we use drop sets? Dropsets are a great tool help us get passed a sticking point, but I wouldn’t use them on every exercise. You may have seen guys doing squats until they hit technical failure then the two spotters strip off a plate from each side and he starts to rep it out again. This puts us at a higher risk of injury. So, I wouldn’t recommend it. While we can get fit and build muscle at any age. It is much easier to do this if we stay uninjured. With this in mind we should only do dropsets when using machines or on isolation movements, to reduce the risk of injury. Another advantage of dropsets is we can get a greater Volume of work in less time. Since Volume is a major driver of hypertrophy this is an important consideration especially when we are short on time. But because they are so metabolically demanding we need to balance this with our recovery needs.

21 thoughts on “Do Drop Sets Build Muscle Size Faster Than Normal Sets

  1. Sam says:

    5% and 10% muscle growth of what? Before each study, was it known exactly how much actual muscle mass (muscle proteins so no water and glycogen) were both of their triceps?

    In my opinion, drop sets are fun to do every now and then, but actually a waste of energy and capacity for recovery.

    • Fit and 50 says:

      They used an MRI to determine muscle growth on the triceps. The link to the study is in the description. As well as a link to an article talking about various studies done on drop sets, what was done well and what was flawed. If you want to read that article you will have to download the PDF version from the link.

  2. jelefaz says:

    Nice video again! We are trying myo-reps at the moment! Not very common but very effective too. You do one set closely to failure. Then you do up to 5 mini sets with 5-15 sconds rest inbetween. It is self regulating so to say. If you only can do 3 mini-sets until you reach failure you stop and try again next workout until you can do the 5 mini-sets.
    Really like it. Works best for isolation exercises of course not for squats or deadlifts.
    One inspiring guy (if natural) is this here:

    80 years old and looks great…hope you don´t mind linking to the video

  3. Ultravice says:

    Love drop sets. Forgot about them. Guess I know what I will be doing starting today. Maybe I should try it with my till i am full,,,the move to the next meal,,,lol

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