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Simple Tip for Building Muscle – High Intensity Drop Sets

Simple Tip for Building Muscle

High Intensity Drop Sets

Many trainers will give you the run around when you ask them questions about how to build muscle.  There’s always the “latest and greatest” new muscle building workout and fancy marketing to go along with it.

When in fact, it is quite simple.

You have to put in the work.  It isn’t glamorous or about anything fancy.

It is work. 

I’m not talking about breezing through all of the sets and reps for each exercise in the workout.  I’m talking about busting your butt with some serious intensity.  You have to push yourself further each workout (Principle of Progressive Overload) and challenge yourself.

Increasing the weight for each exercise is only one way to challenge yourself, there are many others.  Manipulating other training variables such as; rest periods, tempo, implements used, exercise choices, volume (sets x reps) and others, will provide you with endless opportunities to create a positive training effect.  And if the stress of the workout is different or greater than the previous session, and you’ve had enough rest and recovery, a positive adaptation will occur; i.e., hypertrophy or muscle building, strength and power, conditioning or recovery / rehab.

One way we like to push the intensity is with drop sets.

Drop Sets?  More Like Drop Your Lunch!

The are two ways drop sets are typically done; Perform 1-2 sets to warm-up before the big drop set OR perform a normal pyramid scheme (example:  Set 1 – 12 reps, Set 2 – 8 reps, Set 3 – 6 reps, Set 4 – Drop Set) into the drop set.  There are endless ways to lead into the drop set, but the most important thing is the final drop set itself.  You’ll want to give everything you have — this is where good training partners and good music on your ipod come into play.  And because you’ll want an all-out-effort, the key is to be nice and warmed up before you attempt to do one.

In the video below, we performed option 2 from above, the normal pyramid scheme to precede the t-bar row drop set.  Here is how it looked:

Set 1:  1 plate, 10 reps

Set 2:  2 plates, 10 reps

Set 3:  3 plates, 10 reps

Set 4:  3 plates + quarter, 8 reps

Set 5:  Drop Set

Drop Set:

4 plates, 1 rep, no rest

Drop a quarter, 3 reps, no rest

Drop a quarter, 5 reps, no rest

Drop a quarter, 7 reps, no rest

Drop a quarter, 9 reps, no rest

Drop a quarter, 11 reps, no rest

One Plate, As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP)


Time for a Sandwich and a Nap

If you were able to perform each rep and finish the drop set without seeing hallucinations and gasping for air, you didn’t use heavy enough weights or didn’t perform enough reps.  As with everything in life, you need to really push the envelop.

Time to kick your training up a notch.

Time for a change.

By on October 9th, 2011


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