In bodybuilding and weight training, using drop sets (aka dropsets, descending sets, strip sets, the multi-poundage system the stripping method, triple-drops, down the rack, or running the rack)[1] is a technique for continuing an exercise with a lower weight once muscle failure has been achieved at a higher weight.[2][3] It is most often performed on weight machines[citation needed] because reducing the weight quickly is thought by some to be extremely important,[citation needed] but it can also be performed with dumbbells and other free weights.



The approach of reducing resistance during sets was described in the late 1940s by Henry Atkins, editor of Body Culture magazine, who called it the multi-poundage system.[1][4] In the 1980s, drop sets formed part of Joe Weider's Weider System.[1]



While performing a biceps curl, the person lifting the weight would start with a 25 pound dumbbell and do as many repetitions as possible without significantly compromising form. Then a 20-pound weight would be used until exhaustion is reached. One could continue to "drop" down as many times as they wish, but usually the weight is not dropped to below fifty percent of their one rep maximum.



There are many variations possible while using the same basic concept of reducing the weight used. One way is to do a specified number of repetitions at each weight (without necessarily reaching the point of muscle failure) with an increase in the number of repetitions each time the weight is reduced. The amount or percentage of weight reduced at each step is also one aspect of the method with much variety. A wide drop set method is one in which a large percentage (usually 30% or more) of the starting weight is shed with each weight reduction. A tight drop set would remove anywhere from 10% to 25%.

Drop sets may be performed either with or without rest periods between sets. Some make a distinction between the two: if the lifter does not rest then these sets are referred to as drop sets, whereas if the lifter does rest between sets then these sets are usually referred to as down sets.

These definitions are somewhat arbitrary, of course, and not everyone will agree on the exact definitions.



Drop sets have been shown to increase muscle hypertrophy (growth) better than the traditional three-set training.[5]

In adults in their 50s, 12 weeks of drop-set training conducted thrice-weekly can improve muscle mass, muscle strength, muscle endurance and tasks of functionality.[6]

Drop set usage can increase the hypertrophic response to resistance training.[7]

Some researchers have reported mixed or inconclusive findings.[8]

Other names


Drop sets and the technique also go by the names breakdowns, burnouts, descending sets, triple-drops (when a total of three different weights are used), down the rack or running the rack (when using dumbbells), up the stack (because with a weight machine, the pin is moved up the stack of plates with each drop in weight), strip sets (when you "strip" weights off the ends of a bar), or the stripping technique (so called because of "stripping" weight plates off with each drop in weight).[citation needed]


Automatic Weight Adjustment Accessories

Innovative accessories designed to streamline the drop set process on cable machines have gained popularity in recent years which named Drop Set Pin.[9] These devices automatically adjust the weight stack, eliminating the need for manual weight changes and allowing users to maintain optimal workout intensity and efficiency. Such accessories have become a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders looking to maximize the benefits of drop sets in their training routines.


  1. ^ a b c "What Makes Dropsets So Good, But So Nasty?". 9 March 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  2. ^ Evans, Nick (1 December 2009). Men's Body Sculpting. Human Kinetics. ISBN 9780736083218. Retrieved 15 October 2018 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Wuebben, Joe (15 October 2018). Stronger Arms & Upper Body. Human Kinetics. ISBN 9781450407977. Retrieved 15 October 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban: The Atkin Multi-Poundage System - Henry J. Atkin". 16 January 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  5. ^ Giessing, Jürgen; Eichmann, Björn (29 January 2014). Muscle hypertrophy and strength increases after ten weeks of High Intensity Training: Results of an empirical study using bioelectrical impedance analysis. ISBN 9783828857957.
  6. ^ Johannsmeyer, Sarah; Candow, Darren G.; Brahms, C. Markus; Michel, Deborah; Zello, Gordon A. (1 October 2016). "Effect of creatine supplementation and drop-set resistance training in untrained aging adults". Experimental Gerontology. 83: 112–119. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2016.08.005. PMID 27523919. S2CID 21843599.
  7. ^ "Effects of drop set resistance training on acute stress indicators and long-term muscle hypertrophy and strength" (PDF). Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Can Drop Set Training Enhance Muscle Growth?" (PDF). Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  9. ^ "One More Rep™ Drop Set Pin - Your Workout Performance Pin For Drop set". OneMoreRep. Retrieved 2024-05-06.