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A woman performs a cable pulldown with her back to the camera. Behind her three lines of text read "Drop Sets" with the final line of "Drop Sets" being bigger and bolder.

Drop Sets; Are They Good for Building Muscle?

blog Jan 31, 2024

Drop Sets: Are they Good for Building Muscle?

Drop sets are a valuable tool to enhance your training and add a fresh dimension to your workouts. However, while they can be effective for muscle stimulation and variety, it's essential to strike the right balance and not let them overshadow your primary training goals. In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of drop sets, how to incorporate them wisely, and why tracking your progress remains paramount.

  1. Understanding Drop Sets: A Quick Overview

Before diving into the details, let's quickly recap what drop sets are. Drop sets are a type of intensification technique used in resistance training, where you perform an exercise to failure and then immediately reduce the weight or change the position to continue the set until failure again. The goal is to push your muscles to their limits and stimulate additional muscle fibers, promoting muscle growth and strength gains.

  1. The Pitfall of Over-Reliance

Drop sets can be addictively fun and satisfying, but overusing them may hinder your ability to track progressive overload effectively. Progressive overload is the foundation of muscle growth, where you gradually increase resistance, reps, or sets to challenge your muscles and keep them adapting. If drop sets overshadow your main lifts and consistent progression, you may unknowingly limit your long-term gains.

  1. Integrating Drop Sets Smartly

While it's essential to avoid over-relying on drop sets, they can still play a valuable role in your training program. Here's how you can integrate them smartly:

  1. Prioritize Main Lifts: Start your workouts with compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, or shoulder presses. Focus on gradually increasing weight and reps in these key movements to build a solid foundation for your training.
  2. Strategic Placement: Place drop sets towards the end of your workout, after completing your main lifts. This way, you can use them as an excellent finishing technique to push your muscles to exhaustion without compromising the progression on your primary lifts.
  3. Moderate Use: While it can vary from person to person and program to program, a general guideline is to incorporate drop sets in 1-2 exercises per muscle group per week. This way, you can enjoy their benefits without overwhelming your training routine.
  4. Exploring Mechanical Drop Sets

One creative variation of drop sets is the mechanical drop set. Unlike traditional drop sets that involve changing weights, mechanical drop sets focus on altering body positioning or angles to continue the exercise. For example, in a crossbody tricep pushdown, you can manipulate your distance from the cable machine to make the exercise harder in either the shortened or lengthened position. This technique provides a novel challenge to your muscles without requiring different equipment or weights.

  1. Tracking Progression: The Key to Success

No matter how you choose to incorporate drop sets, tracking your progression remains the most crucial aspect of your training. Keep a workout journal, use a fitness app, or track your lifts electronically to monitor your performance over time. By consistently increasing weights or reps in your main lifts, you ensure that you're continually challenging your muscles and promoting growth.


Drop sets are a valuable addition to your training toolkit, but they should complement your primary lifts rather than replace them. By incorporating drop sets strategically and focusing on progressive overload in your main lifts, you can strike the perfect balance between variety and growth. Experiment with drop sets, embrace the challenge they offer, but always keep your long-term goals in mind. Happy lifting!

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