Are any of you fitness freaks interested in learning a simple technique that will ignite your fat burning furnace while simultaneously adding that ever sought after prize…muscle?
Cool, I thought so. I mean, I know if I could add one simple technique to my routine that would burn fat and build more muscle with less total time in the gym I would totally use it on the daily. Oh wait, I do use it on the daily! So do my clients and they sure do love to hate it. The simple, but effective, technique I’m talking about is one of my favorite gym hacks for more efficient workouts — drop sets.
What the F$%K is it?
A drop set is a technique for continuing an exercise with a lower weight once muscle failure (unable to perform the given exercise with proper form) has been achieved at a higher weight. This allows you to complete more reps with proper form in a shorter period of time. This is a good thing, especially if you want to burn calories, build muscle, and don’t like being in the gym for two plus hours doing it.
How do you do it?
While performing say, a standing overhead dumbbell press, you would start with a pair of 25 pound dumbbells and do as many reps as possible without significantly compromising your form. Then you would drop the weight to a pair of 20 pound dumbbells and perform as many reps as you can at that weight without compromising form. You could continue to drop down by five pound increments, or make a bigger drop in weight if you feel your form is suffering too much. You should take between 2-5 drops in weight depending on the exercise and your goals.
Now that we have all the technical stuff out of the way I give to you, the 5 reasons you should be using drop-sets…
1. They save you time! (Time is money!)
My favorite thing about drop sets is how much time they can save you in the gym. I’m all about efficiency and drop-sets allow me to pack more reps into a shorter amount of time…score! To me it doesn’t get any better than saving time, because no one wants to spend hours in the gym, right? Well, lucky for you, adding drop-sets to your routine allows you reduce gym time while increasing the amount of work done in that time. For example, adding 2-4 drops performed immediately after your last set of squats allows you to get more quality reps in…
*AMRAP stands for As Many Reps As Possible*
2. They burn massive amounts of calories and fat!
The second reason you should be doing drop sets is their incredible ability to burn fat. Take the above squat routine, for example. With the added drop sets, you are adding at least an extra 30-40 reps — that’s a massive amount of extra calories you just burned in no time at all. High rep squats, for example are going to cause your heart rate to skyrocket creating a perfect fat burning environment.
3. They give you a crazy pump! (This one’s for all you pump chasers out there!)
We all love the feeling of a killer skin stretching pump. Even people who never go the gym have heard Arnold compare the pump to an orgasm, and who doesn’t love cumming at the gym! Wait what?!? Sorry got off track, but anyway drop-sets are a great way to fill the desired muscle with blood which allows all your precious Intra workout nutrients to flood the area, therefore increasing your GAINZZ!! While getting a sick pump is not the end all be all when it comes to working out and building muscle it is one more tool in the toolbox. Drop sets are my favorite way to get that skin splitting pump.
Perform 10-15 reps (L&R) of dumbbell alternating hammer curls, then immediately drop the weight by about 50% and complete 20-30 reps of simultaneous dumbbell hammer curls. You can repeat this sequence for as many sets as needed.
4. They build muscle!
To put it simply, the more time your muscles are under tension the more muscle you’re going to build and with drop-sets you’re doing just that, increasing TUT. Here’s a study for all you fitness nerds showing the basic concept that increased TUT increases muscle synthesis.
5. They increase mental toughness!
Drop sets, if not for anything else, are plain brutal and will make you look like a badass in the gym. Not to mention there is something super rewarding about hitting failure, as your heart beats out of your chest, dropping the weight gritting your teeth and pushing past the pain for another set. After some brutal drop sets your work sets will feel like a breeze!
Here’s a little video example of a drop-set I performed on the Seated Hammer Strength Incline Press. In the video I complete a set with two plates on each side then immediately strip off one plate and complete another set. I performed this sequence for three rounds with about 90 seconds rest between rounds.
So, why do drop sets?
Because they are a very versatile weapon to add your fitness arsenal. With a single technique you can burn fat, build muscle, save time and look like a badass!! Seems to me like you can’t go wrong using drop-sets in your next workout, give them a try and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.