Drop Sets – The Secret to Incredible Size AND Power
Drop Sets – The Secret to Incredible Size AND Power, Or you can go one step further and combine powerlifting and bodybuilding methods into single sets. The way you might do this is with a ‘drop set’ or with a ‘giant set’.
A drop set simply means that you are consistently lowering the weight in order to ‘go past failure’. Often in bodybuilding, this will take the form of ‘running the rack’.
Here, a weightlifter will start with a heavy weight that they can lift using their chosen exercise for about 8 reps. They will keep lifting until they reach the point of failure, then they’ll simply put those weights down and pick up the next lowest from the dumbbell rack.
They then repeat this again and again and again as they move further down the rack to lower weights. Each time though, they are starting from failure on the previous set of exercises, meaning that even very light weights will pose a challenge.
This technique is used in bodybuilding largely because it allows the lifter to increase their time under tension while simultaneously using heavier weights. But you can actually take this concept even further by using a much heavier lift. Here, you might start with your 3RM (three rep max) as your starting weight and then drop down from there to something slightly lower and still going.
Now what’s happening? Simply, you are pushing yourself as hard as you can go by using the most challenging weight available to you and this is going to do all that stuff we talked about to increase strength – recruiting the fast twitch muscle, creating microtears and strengthening the mind muscle connection over the neuromuscular junction.
But then, instead of stopping as you normally would, you’re keeping going. Now you’re entering into time-under-tension territory because you’re not giving the muscle a chance to rest but rather, you’re flooding it with blood and metabolites. And then you do it again, and again.
And actually, this technique will help you to recruit even more fast twitch muscle fiber than simple power lifting. That’s because new muscle fibers will need to kick in each time you tear and fatigue the previous ones. So to start with, you recruit as many fast twitch fibers as you can to lift the weight. Then you reach failure and can’t do any more, but you’re keeping going. So on the lower weight, your body now needs to find more muscle fiber to continue doing its job. Thus it’s going to recruit more of those slower twitch fibers and any remaining fast twitch fibers. And when they give out, it’s going to look for even more.
This process will keep going and going until you’ve exhausted nearly everything you’ve got!
Want to know more methods and techniques? Head to The Hypertrophy Manual to see more