Back to List
Previous Article:
Why Cardio Can Help You Build Muscle
Next Article:
How To: Lat Pulldown

1 Reason Why Drop Sets Don’t Work For Muscle Growth Gains!

Stop Now!

Posted by Scott_Herman - January 24th, 2018

Today I want to talk to you about the number one reason why drop sets do not build more muscle for the majority of people who are utilizing them in their workout routines. Now it’s not to say that drop sets are not an effective tool for muscle building, but just like anything else if you don’t use it PROPERLY, the benefits aren’t going to be there.

Why Do Drop Sets Not Work For Most People?

You have to ask yourself ‘What is the reason behind doing a drop set?’ You have to understand that if you’re doing a drop set, it’s because you’re really trying to focus on improving your Stretch, Flex, Overload for the exercise involved. As an example, let’s talk about the tricep pushdown., but you can apply this to any exercise that you’re doing. We have talked a lot about the Stretch, Flex, Overload (SFO) technique in my HARDGAINER SERIES, and I also talk about this a lot in my Cheat & Recover (C&R) program, because the SFO is kind of the basis behind the entire reasoning for why my C&R program works so well, but I’ll talk about that more at the end of the article.

When doing a drop set, the reason why it doesn’t work for most people is because they tend to go a bit easier on each set. A drop set, as you know, is doing 8-10 repetitions and then immediately dropping the weight without any rest, and then doing another 8-10 repetitions. So most people, if they’re doing a tricep pushdown and can for example do 70lbs for 8-10 reps, they might start a tiny bit lighter so they can handle more weight on the second drop set of 8-10 repetitions that they’re going to do.

How To Properly Perform A Drop Set

This is backwards thinking. You’re not doing a drop set to make the first set less intense so that you can handle a bit more weight on the second drop set. That’s not the point. The point here is that because you’re know you’re going to be doing 2 sets right in a row, you want to utilize the first set to focus on the OVERLOAD, and you want to use the second set to focus on the STRETCH and the FLEX.

So if you’re doing a tricep pushdown, for the first set you should be going as heavy as you possibly can with proper form, and really focus on struggling and pushing through every repetition. You should almost be to the point where if you need to use a tiny little bit of momentum just to get things started, that’s OK. But it shouldn’t be an easy set that you can just breeze through. Maybe you would even need a spotter to come over and help you on the last 3-4 repetitions, but above all else it needs to be your most INTENSE set out of the drop set.

As soon as you finish those 8-10 repetitions, you’re then going to drop the weight and utilize those second 8-10 reps now that your muscles are pre-exhausted, to focus on the stretch at the top and the flex at the bottom. As I talked about in the hardgainer series, focusing on the stretch is where you get the most muscle breakdown. Also, if you have a hard time with your mind-muscle connection, being able to utilize a bit more focus at the bottom of the movement where you’re flexing your triceps and holding it for a brief second is going to help with that, to make your workouts a bit more intense. For a pushdown, you make sure you get a nice stretch in the triceps at the top, you’ll then flex as hard as you can and hold it at the bottom position for a second, and then repeat this for your 8-10 repetitions.

Are Drop Sets A Bad Technique To Build Muscle?

The answer is no, they’re not. However, the majority of people using them don’t quite understand the concept, and therefore it kind of renders them useless when implementing them in a workout routine. If you want to start adding drop sets to any exercise you do, just keep in mind these 2 things…

  • Drop Set 1: Go as heavy as you can with proper form, and focus on the OVERLOAD on the first 8-10 repetitions.
  • Drop Set 2: Don’t go too light, still lift heavy weight, but focus on the STRETCH & FLEX on the second set of 8-10 repetitions.

How Does This Relate To Cheat & Recover?

Essentially, you’re doing the exact same thing with C&R, except on C&R with the first set of 8-10 repetitions, you’re overloading to the MAX, and you’re completely skipping the concentric phase of the movement, so you can place even more tension on your muscles during the negative. Remember, you’re 40% stronger in the negative of any movement that you do. Realistically, you’ll never be able to pushdown what your triceps can handle and control on the way up. For C&R with a pushdown, you’d actually use momentum to get it down, and then fight the negative the entire way. That would be the first part of your drop set, and then the second part is proper form, like a drop set would be.


I hope this helped clear things up for you, and the main takeaway you should have from this is not that drop sets are bad to do, but that they will only be effective if you do them PROPERLY, just like anything else in the gym!

Related Videos:

3 Shoulder Exercises For Skinny Guys / HARDGAINERS!

The Pump In My Triceps Was INSANE!! | Cable Tricep Pushdown 2.0

Share this article on:
5 Exercises I Hate The Most!

Today we’re going to talk about 5 exercises that need to go away FOREVER, but never will. Some of these exercises are exercises...