Drop sets are used frequently in our Cutting and Bikini Guides in order to:
Add volume (increased number of repetitions and total weight lifted in the session)
Vary weights used (starting on a heavier weight and dropping to a lower one to complete a combined total of 20 reps is more interesting and arguably more advantageous that 20-25 reps on a light weight)
Increase the workout intensity
Simply because we feel mean!
We get a lot of questions about what a drop set actually is (which is detailed in the glossary section of all our transformation guides and muscle group workout packs), so I have written this article to further alleviate any confusion around the lifting protocol!
In a drop set you complete reps of exercise A (usually to failure) with weight X, before immediately selecting/reducing the load to a lighter weight, and completing more reps on exercise A to failure but with a new weight less than weight X.
In the Bikini Guide we may write something like:
4 sets of 10 reps (last set drop set to 10 reps)
This means to complete 4 sets of 10 reps as normal, with a weight that causes you to come close to or to indeed fail at around 10 repetitions on the final 1-2 sets (sets 3-4) of the leg press. However, on the final set of 10 reps, once you have hit failure, reduce the weight used by around 25% and complete more reps to failure- aiming to use a weight where you fail at around 10 reps!
It will likely take some practice to figure out what amount/percentage of weight to drop by on average, but this varies between people’s body types and conditioning.
In the Cutting Guide we may write:
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
3 drop sets of 8 reps to 12 reps
This means that each set is a drop set, with three being prescribed in total. Here you should find a weight that causes you to fail at around 8 reps, and also select a set of dumbbells that are around 25-30% lighter (on average). You simply complete around 8 reps to failure with the heavy dumbbells, before immediately moving across to the lighter dumbbells and aiming to complete around 12 reps to failure. Then you have around 90 seconds rest (or whatever time period you are using) before repeating the process again two more times for a total of three drop sets.
Should I use drop sets more often than prescribed in the LDNM Guides?
No we don’t believe you should. More volume is not always better, and we have structured the weeks and sessions within these optimally for volume per week/session per muscle group in relation to your aims.