Advanced techniques are used to boost the intensity of a workout, improve muscular endurance and shock your body to prevent a plateau. This kind of training can also enhance fat loss, and because it incorporates very little rest you also get some cardiovascular benefits. In addition, these techniques all force more blood into your muscles, which helps deliver nutrients and amino acids to the tissues and accelerates the repair process. These techniques can be intense, so use them sparingly. The drop set, super set, and giant set are 3 such techniques that will intensify your workout and lead to more growth.
What is a Drop Set?
A drop set is performing two or more sets immediately following each other using lighter weight with each subsequent set. The primary benefit of the drop set is increased time under tension. On the first set the muscle fails with a heavy load. But by dropping the weight the muscle can continue to contract. This is due to the different fibers utilized for different loads and movement speeds. Drops sets allow more total reps to be performed which can result in more muscle fiber recruitment and consequent growth.
Consider this strategy for choosing how much weight you should be lifting:
- Set 1: – Choose a weight you’d fail at 4-6 reps.
- Set 2: – Reduce weight by 5 lbs. 8-10 reps
- Set 3: – Reduce weight by 5 lbs. 10-12 reps
- Set 4: – Reduce weight by 5 lbs. 12-15 reps
- Set 5: – Reduce weight by 5 to 10 lbs. 15-20 reps
What is a Superset?
A superset is a combination of two or three moves that either work the same bodypart or opposing muscle groups, and the exercises are done back to back with no rest in between. Typical supersets are a seated row with a push-up for back and chest and an overhead press with a seated lateral raise for shoulders. Between supersets you rest only long enough to recover and catch your breath, then hit it again. This helps you save time, burn fat and spike your metabolism.
Super sets can also be performed using the same muscle group with different exercises. For example, after completing a set of skull crushers you can finish off your triceps by going directly into a close grip bench press. This changes the loading on the target muscle. And the compound movement of the close grip press means other muscles like the chest can help out. The end result is more total work being done by the muscle which will lead to more gains.
What is a Giant Set?
A giant set is a circuit of four or more moves for one bodypart performed one after another with little to no rest in between. For example, you might do an overhead press, a lateral raise, a rear-delt raise and an upright row for shoulders, rest a few minutes to catch your breath, then repeat. Giant sets increase the intensity of a workout by overloading a muscle group and pushing it to its limit to burn fat and boost the cardiorespiratory response.
For example, a chest giant set might consist of 10 reps on a flat bench press, 10 reps of dumbbell pec flies, 10 reps on an decline bench press and 10 reps of incline dumbbell presses. You can tailor the giant set to whatever muscle group you’d like to work (i.e., back, legs, arms, etc.), and you can create any combination of corresponding exercises.
Giant sets have been shown to improve the weight lifted during one-rep maximum, peak and shuttle-run performances as well as improving lean muscle mass, reports a study in Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.