Friday, April 8, 2011

Realizing Potential through Drop Sets

Once a client has developed sufficient strength and muscular endurance through compound foundational, training I like to introduce a program which includes a few drop sets.

Most of us, when we begin progressive resistance training for the first time (and even some who have been training for years), have a preconceived idea of our capabilities which is generally way below what we are capable of. I have witnessed people squatting with 135lbs when they could have squatted 315lbs the day they walked in the door. Their true potential is recondite by a preconceived idea of their ability which has kept them working far below what they are capable of and limiting their progress. In their mind they are working hard. This is particularly true of leg training, which is grueling when done properly. This is where the drop set becomes a great tool.

A drop set is when you perform an exercise for a required number of repetitions, then drop a predetermined amount of weight off the bar and immediately continue the exercise until positive failure in good form. Drop sets become even more effective when using continuous tension after the drop; but that is for another post.

So often I have seen a trainee, when first introduced to drop sets, load up the bar with the usual weight they would perform 8 reps with, and easily push out 15 or more before positive failure in good form, at which time a percentage of weight is dropped off the bar and they continue to rep out 15 to 20 more. At the conclusion of the set I always hear; “I had no idea I could do that many reps with that much weight! Obviously I am training far below what I am capable of.” My reward is seeing the smile on their face and the excitement in the brightness of their eyes, knowing their progress is going to triple over the next while. The benefits of this experience do not stop at the gym door, but this too is for another post.

On your next scheduled program update, include a few exercises utilizing drop sets and be ready for some amazing results.

If you are not well-versed in the use of drop sets, it is advisable to seek out a professional trainer who understands the proper use of drop sets and when to use them.


  1. Great workout today, Mike! So happy to have you here at Wellington Street West :)