How can you get ripped effectively and efficiently? Do drop sets.

(Women, don’t worry, this won’t make you bulky or have muscles like a guy! This will help give you that “toned” look you want).

“Running the rack”, or drop setting, is a weight lifting technique to build strength, muscle, and get a toned body!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Perform as many reps as possible with a heavy weight (explained below)
  2. As soon as your muscles fail, put that weight down and drop down by one increment and do as many reps as possible again
  3. Continue until you’re at the lowest weight possible

So, what does a drop set look like practically? Here’s an example of performing shoulder presses (as shown in video below). My max weight with which I can perform about 5-6 reps is 35 lbs (on a good day). Knowing that, I will do 2-3 warm up sets with maybe 8 to 12.5 pounds so I don’t tire out my shoulders too much but get them ready to lift heavy. Then I start my drop set:

  1. Start with 35 lb. dumbbells and perform 5-6 reps
  2. Taking no rest, switch to 30 lb. dumbbells and perform as many reps as possible until the deltoids fail
  3. Go to 25 lbs, and rep until failure
  4. Move to 20 lbs and so on until I am struggling to lifting 5 lb. dumbbells

Many people will also start their sets with a max weight they can only perform 1-2 reps with, then continue in the pattern explained above.dumbbell rack

Two of the benefits & reasons I like this method of training are:

  1. No long (boring) rest periods. I hate sitting between sets. I basically never do it because it seems like a waste of time and I’m all about efficiency! If I’m working out legs or chest, then in between sets I’ll do abs or jumping jacks or something. Drop sets are what they are because you aren’t resting between, so they go pretty quickly and you won’t get bored.
  2. It totally taxes & builds your muscles. If you – like me – enjoy the feeling of leaving the gym with muscles that just feel exhausted and that post-workout soreness, then you’ll enjoy this. One of the keys to seeing change in your body is putting your muscles under tension for long periods of time. Another is pushing them to failure.

These two factors are what cause your muscles to have grow. If you’re always ending sets when it still feels easy, you’ll miss out on those micro tears that occur in muscle fibers. When fibers fuse together for repair and new muscle strands are formed, this is what causes the muscle to grow.  And growth is what causes those nice lines and striations that add beautiful definition to our bodies.

You can use this technique for any muscle group, and it’s a great way to end your workout. Don’t do it every day, though! Your muscles needs lots of time to rest from this from because it’s so intense. I’d suggest trying it maybe once every 2 weeks per body part and see how you feel and then increase or decrease based on your energy level and results.


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OWNER & FOUNDER, RENEWAL FITNESS COACHING I am passionate about empowering YOU with a renewed sense of strength and self-confidence by teaching safe, accurate fitness and nutrition methods from a holistic approach to reach your goals. With extremely personalized programs for each unique person, I also incorporate the spiritual and emotional aspects of life every chance I get in order to address the deep struggles that are often overlooked and prevent lasting success.

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Comments ( 2 )

  • Steve Reeves would do drop sets as well! I love engaging these sets on the back.

    • admin

      Yes, great for back workouts!