Last week we touched on the subject of incorporating "Negatives" into your workout routines. Now I want to touch on, or should I say un-touch, some of the weight you've been lifting. Essentially DROP SETS are a way to give you a fantastic pump while on their way to humbling you at the gym. A preferred way to do this is with two assistants who can smoothly extract weight from the bar or machine at the beginning point of the rep and at the exact moment you reach failure and cannot do one more rep at that previous weight. Upon your first session of adding drop sets to your workout you'll be thanking your assistants for letting you plug away at more reps but soon they'll drop the weight another 15% or so and what was once considered a very light weight for you is now overwhelming your muscles. You will much better understand this after that first session of drop sets is complete.
The assistants are going be at each end of the bar and ready to pull off one plate each while you continue "pumping" away. When you're about to hit failure again they'll pull off another plate. Do you get the idea now? Yes, it can be brutal, however, there is less opportunity for damage to the muscle and the feeling you get is what all bodybuilders strive for: The Pump! Let's go one more time for good measure. Drop sets can surely become a love/hate relationship very quickly.
Like everything else in life, moderation is the key. You don't want to use drop sets all of the time but they are useful for navigating plateaus and staving off boredom.
Give 'em a try, you're gonna love (hate) them!
NOTE: An alternative to needing assistants would be to have three or four bars already set up and move immediately from one to the next from heavy to lighter for a similar effect. If using machines, have a couple of extra pins inserted at the points where you wish to make your drops, again working heaviest to lighter weight. Remember to pull the pins when at the beginning position of the next rep to avoid administrative scrutiny. If you DO NOT you'll instantly become the Gym's center of attention! Use Drop Sets sparingly and usually only when you've reached a stumbling point and are not making gains. Be certain that there is no breakdown in form and limit their use to one muscle group at a time in each workout for not more than 3 or 4 weeks consecutively. Ultimately you want at least 48 to 72 hours rest for that worked muscle before stressing it again. For best results avoid repeating the cycle until 6 to 10 months have passed.