If you have worked out for any length of time, you have probably wondered at some point, “What can I do to speed up my progress?” I want to share a technique that might help you go to another level with your weight training. To be effective at anything requires that we be intentional about how we do it. Weight training is no different.
One secret that many bodybuilders swear by is that of Drop Sets. There are many great techniques that are available for people who lift weights regularly. Drop Sets, however, is one of the best techniques out there, and in some ways may be the best all-around way to really stimulate muscle growth.
Here is how Drop Sets work. “A drop set is the simple technique where you perform a set of any exercise to failure or just short of failure, then drop some weight and continue for more repetitions with the reduced poundage.” I will give a few examples of how this looks in the gym.
Let’s talk about building bigger biceps. All guys want bigger arms. Let’s say that you can get 10-12 repetitions while curling a 50 lb barbell. After you have done a light warmup set or two and are ready to start, pick up the 50 lb barbell. Perform as many curls as you can. Immediately rerack the bar and grab the 40 lb barbell and perform as many curls as you can. Rerack the weight and pick up the 30 lb barbell. Curl it for as many reps as you can squeeze out of it. How are your arms feeling?
The idea here is to force the muscles to work past levels that they normally work at. Drop sets can be performed with dumbbells, barbells and machines. Be careful, though, using drop sets on exercises such as the bench press unless you have a good spotter. When you start to fatigue, there is the danger that you could drop the weights and hurt yourself. If you want to incorporate a drop set into your chest workout, use a machine that you can just pull the selector pin out and drop down the desired weight.
Like any other weight lifting technique, drop sets can be overused. Experiment with and vary how often you use them. For some exercises, you might find that one weight drop is sufficient. In the barbell curl example above, I only used a 10 lb drop. You might want to drop 20 lbs. Play around with the technique and see what works for you.
What is your favorite weight lifting technique?
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