Dropsets are one of the oldest and most effective bodybuilding principles around, and you’re going to use them to pack on some muscle!
Because, as the program title suggests, dropsets are the name of the game here.
It’s a technique which dates back before most of us were even born, and one which has been applied by just about everyone from Arnold, to Stallone. Heck, if you think of your favourite physique right now I can pretty much guarantee this method played a part in building it.
See how this program works below.
Dropsets are the main feature of this program.
A dropset is where you finish your regular set and then immediately carry on forcing out reps with a much lighter weight. They’re famous for how much they burn, but there’s a lot more going on under the surface. The first big benefit is that they allow you to reap the rewards of both heavy and light training simultaneously, which is great for building muscle, and the second big benefit (nerd hat going on) is that they fully exhaust both the fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers in the target body part, and this essentially lets you take the muscle beyond failure.
Doing so signals the body to produce more anabolic hormones (testosterone, IGF-1, and growth hormone), and the net result is (you guessed it!) you’ll build more muscle! (1)
As for how many extra reps you should expect to get in a dropset, research shows that reducing the weight by 30% usually leads to the same number of reps being achieved (i.e. if you perform x10 reps with a heavy weight then reduce it by 30% you should get another x10 reps). I do things a bit differently in this program, though. You’ll notice I recommend reducing the weight by 50% for dropsets.
That might seem like a lot, but it’s because I don’t want you to perform the same number of reps in your dropset, I want you to get twice as many! You’ll be shooting for x8 heavy reps heavy followed by x16 light reps, giving you that low rep/high rep combination which enables you to unlock the benefits of training to failure in multiple rep ranges! (2)
Pyramid training is another long-time bodybuilding favourite.
This is something you’ve probably seen many people using in gyms over the years, where a trainee gradually increases the weight and decreases the reps on each set of an exercise before reaching an apex on the final set.
We will apply a similar model on some of your exercises in this program:
- Set 1: x20 reps
- Set 2: x15 reps
- Set 3: x10 reps
- Set 4: x6 reps
- Set 5: x100 rep dropset
With this structure you can gradually build up the weights on the first four sets, and try to improve these numbers over the duration of the program as you become more familiar with the exercises.
Of course, I can’t move on without mentioning the other ace up my sleeve – the final set dropset!
Set 5 capitalizes on all the heavy work you’ve done in the previous four sets by giving you a nasty 100 rep dropset to make sure there’s nothing at all left in the target muscle. For this dropset I want you to start with the heaviest weight you just used (for your x6 rep set), get as many reps as you can, then reduce to the next weight you used, and so on until you clock x100 reps in total. You can reduce these sets to x50 reps if you’ve got less than six months of training experience under your belt.
Either way, these dropsets will be gruelling, and you’ll need just as much mental strength as physical strength to complete.
This is a one month program. You’ll be training five days per week, and you’ll have two recovery days.