You can call them breakdowns or strip sets but most commonly they are called drop sets. Drop sets are one of the best techniques you can use to add intensity to your workout. Drop sets have been and will continue to be a favorite of bodybuilders. If you don't use drop sets you should add this technique to your training.
What are drop sets?
*Is a technique which you do an exercise to failure or close to failure, then you drop some weight and continue with the exercise for more reps.
What do drop sets do?
*By dropping the weight and continuing the set you will recruit more "reserve" muscle fibers. By recruiting more muscle fibers you will allow your muscles to grow!
Some drop set methods ( other than the traditional drop set )
A) ( 6-20 ) or "halving" method- This is when you choose the heaviest weight you can for an exercise for 6 reps. Perform the 6 reps, then without resting drop the weight by 50% and rep out 20 reps. This is great to do with dumbbell rows.
B) Tight drop sets-This is when you make small drops in weight. This would be like doing dumbbell bicep curls and you would do reps with the 50lb, then 45lb, then 40lb etc.
C) Wide drop sets-This is when you make a big drop in weight and generally you can do more reps. This method is best done with large muscle groups and exercises like the squat and leg press. You could have 6 plates on each side of the leg press and with each drop you take a 45lb plate off each side.
D) Power drop sets- This was made popular by Larry Scott who liked this method to not only build some size but also build your strength. Scott liked using this for his arms and shoulders. Start with your 6 rep max, then drop the weight between 10-15% and then do 6 reps with the new weight until you reach the desired number of drops
- I wouldn't do more than 2-4 weight reductions ( drops ) during the routine- So if you start with 200lbs for bench, then you do 190, 180 and finish with 170. This would be 3 drops in weight.
- Stay within the 6-12 rep range since that is the best range for muscle hypertrophy. Sometimes you can go with the higher 15-20 rep range on your last drop.
- Don't do drop sets all the time- They are intense and you will overtrain and quickly burn out if you do. They say a ratio of 3:1 is best. Meaning do 3 regular sets and then 1 drop set.