Women's Health

Drop Sets, Supersets and Giant Sets


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If you’re looking to shake up your workout routine, there are three techniques you should consider adding to your repertoire: drop sets, supersets, and giant sets.

These advanced techniques are used to increase the intensity of a workout, improve muscular endurance, and shock your body to avoid a plateau. This type of training can also enhance fat loss, and since it incorporates very little rest, you also get some cardiovascular benefits.

Additionally, these techniques all force more blood into your muscles, which helps deliver nutrients and amino acids to the tissues and speeds up the repair process. These techniques can be intense, so use them sparingly – overuse can lead to overtraining. We’ll dive into each one and share their individual benefits, examples, and training tips to keep in mind.

What is a Drop Set?

A drop set is essentially an extended set of a movement, usually performed as the last set of that exercise as a burnout. For example, for a seated dumbbell press, you would do two sets of 10 to 12 reps using a certain amount of weight. For your third set, you will start with the same weight and do as many reps as you can, then “let go” or reduce the weight and go to failure, then lower the weight once more and repeat until that you can no longer lift weights.

What are the benefits of a Drop Set?

“The drop sets are effective in increasing training volume while maintaining proper technique for the purpose of muscle growth and fat loss,” says Alex Harrison, Ph.D., CSCS, Sports Performance Consultant for Renaissance Periodization, Ph.D. D. in sports physiology and performance. “For example, some exercises are just better than others. Squats vs leg extensions, for example. It’s probably better to just add sets of squats rather than adding leg extensions, but not to do all the squats you can manage. Same thing for the bench press as for the bench press.

Can you drop sets every workout?

The short answer is yes, but you probably don’t need it. If you only train a few times a week with weights, then Harrison says you can do drop sets every time you train because maximizing the volume of important movements is essential in low-frequency training.

However, if you lift most days of the week, you’ll want to avoid drops on your lighter days. “It’s best to focus on recovery and save loads of drop sets for tougher training days,” says Harrison. “If you’re going to be doing drop sets on light days, they should probably be done as a replacement for a work set to further reduce volume and training stimulus rather than increase overall volume.”

How to Drop Set

You can do anywhere from one drop set to as many drop sets as you did working sets – it just depends on how much training volume you are trying to push with this exercise. “For a large compound movement of high value in training – such as squats, deadlifts, bench, side pull-ups or pull-ups – it can be useful to do more than one drop set, if you consider that the lift is a main focus for the day,” says Harrison.

If your goal is to maximize muscle growth and boost fat loss, reduce weight by 8-15% and continue to match reps from previous heavier sets or even increase reps by a modest amount per set .

If you’re a new athlete and your goal is to increase muscle power or provide more opportunity to learn a new movement at a less challenging weight, then Harrison advises a greater drop in weight from weight to work. “Reducing the weight by 20 to 40% is good,” he says. “Do the same number of reps but probably no more than what was done in the higher weight working sets.”

What is a superset?

A superset is a combination of two or three movements that work the same body part or opposite muscle groups – the key is that the exercises are done back to back with no rest in between. Examples of typical supersets include a seated row with a push-up for the back and chest and an overhead press with a seated side raise for the shoulders. Between supersets, you rest just long enough to recover and catch your breath, then start again. It helps you save time, burn fat and boost your metabolism.

What are supersets used for?

Supersets serve two main purposes. “First, they are often used to train a smaller muscle group into more fatigue and muscle damage with the help of a larger muscle group,” Harrison explains. “It’s a great way to stimulate hypertrophy in muscles that reach failure quickly in isolation movements and work them out over a wide range of motion and varying angles.”

Second, they are great for anyone who is short on time, because if local fatigue is present in one muscle group, another muscle group (usually the opposite group, like biceps and triceps) can work. So think about supersets. as a way to halve the total rest time in the gym.

On the other hand, if maximizing strength is your goal, longer rest periods and better recovery for local muscle groups may be the best approach.

How to do a superset

If you’re looking to train smaller muscle groups toward fatigue, then Harrison says 10-15 is a great goal for each exercise in a superset. “If you’re doing it because you’re short on time, this technique can be used for any rep scheme in the gym — sets of three to 15 reps per set,” he says. “Going much higher than 15 per set might put too much of a load on the cardiovascular demand for it to really save time overall.”

A good example of a superset is skull crushers: try 10 reps (or about two to three reps after failure), then without pausing, move to a close-grip bench press with the same weight until two or three repetitions after the failure. .

What is a giant set?

A giant set is a circuit of three or more movements for one body part performed one after the other with little or no rest in between. For example, you can do an overhead press, lateral raise, rear delt raise, and vertical shoulder row, then rest for a few minutes to catch your breath and repeat.

What are the advantages of a giant set?

Giant sets increase the intensity of a workout by overloading a muscle group and pushing it to its limit to burn fat and boost cardiorespiratory response. That being said, Harrison doesn’t think they’re right for everyone.

“Jumbo sets are only marginally more effective than supersets,” he explains, adding that they’re probably best reserved for the most demanding sessions for more advanced trainees looking for absolute maximization of the hypertrophy stimulus. . “Jumbo sets provide the same benefits as supersets if done correctly, but there are other ways jumbo sets can go wrong and compromise training effectiveness – essentially, just transform the training in cardio and circuit training rather than hypertrophy training more effective or more time – effective training for strength and hypertrophy.

Harrison doesn’t recommend giant sets during any phase of strength training, as they’re really only good for hypertrophy training (since the loading intensity can’t be high enough for the third exercise to provide an advantage in terms of strength to anyone but the most novice of exercises). “And beginners don’t need to do giant sets because they’ll benefit from fine-tuning movement techniques in less fatigued states, and they respond beautifully to simpler, more conventional training patterns,” explains- he.

How to make a giant set

A giant set is usually three or more exercises in a sequence. “But I wouldn’t recommend doing more than three,” he says. “Firstly because the time-saving benefit of doing so is limited – due to the inefficiency of setup and teardown – but mostly because it doesn’t add much benefit to his training, other than cardio fitness, to do more than three in a row.”

For example, for someone looking for glute growth, chest-raised glute bridges, followed by barbell walking or reverse lunges, followed by conventional or stiff-legged deadlifts would hammer first the glutes with an isolation movement as a pre-fatigue exercise, then continue. to use them with the help of the quadriceps, hamstrings and lower back, which would be less fatigued overall.

Harrison says sets of more than 10 reps for each exercise would be ideal. “The cardio demand here is going to be big, so don’t expect to do more than three of these giant sets in one session,” he concludes.

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