What is a drop set meaning? Training to Failure

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What is drop set meaning? drop set vs super set

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Drop set meaning. In my initial years of training, somebody extremely savvy made it known to me that if I do 3 static sets of each exercise and stay on this lifelong, I will be on my way to build muscle.

Firstly, I followed this for a year and my muscles grew really good, but the progress is never linear so I hit a plateau and got stuck at a point.

And in those hard years, my results baffled me enough that I went back to that same person, asked him to know what to do, after which I really followed his tips and tailed them for a year more. 

I did the workouts; this time with much more intensity and weight till failure happens (25-30 reps), yet didn’t observe any progressions which I wished for. 

A lot of this was because of worry and having unrealistic expectations of my body.

But the main reason I feel why I am not growing is, that of a fundamental misconception I have about training science. I didn’t know how to grow muscles.

Hell no, also I didn’t follow any exercise plan for me. 

Every time I go to the gym I do 3 static sets of every exercise of every muscle group and come out. Most people do that!

what is drop set? how to do a drop set?benefits of drop sets?

Although I know the progression principle of how to periodize and go into different cycles of training, what I learned from years of training experience is that understanding how your body responds is the most important thing to do and in those YEARS this thing is really missing. 

Don’t even know what that implies. The main reason behind my long years of shoddy training.

But now I know the science of training and how to shuffle my training intensity and reps to hit every muscle and make them grow. I want you to know it.

So the purpose of this blog is to let 2 kinds of people know some principles.

  • #1 Who thinks hitting every set till the last/ failure (REP 0) is good, which is obviously bad. 
  • #2 are those who till this time do 3 regular sets of each exercise without drop set vs superset without using any of the loading techniques.

What is a Drop set meaning?

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what is drop set meaning?
Drop set, as the name signifies it means taking your muscle to the extreme point where you couldn't lift a single more rep on any exercise you perform. It is taking a muscle to the point of transitory weariness. 

While attempting the drop set exercise, you have to drop the weight after completing certain repetitions because after this you can’t finish any rep with a good form. If you are still able to do 1 more rep, this means you are unable to hit RIR-0 and, you haven’t gone till failure. 

Here is the point where the muscle has spent its full supply of ATP, which is the fuel of your muscle that is to be used as energy. Once it gets finished, the muscle requires 1 to 3 minutes to rinse out lactic acid and make more ATP for the body to use. 

Actually, more lactic acid develops in muscle when you take a set to failure than when you do static usual sets of 6 Reps * 3. 

Once the temporary lactic acid is removed from the muscle, now you can again do some form of other resistance training!

You can also lift some lighter weight, and can do a couple of more reps at that time regardless of whether your muscles failed to lift a heavier weight. 

Training to failure with every set with heavyweights every time without having a proper watch on the training principles and without having proper nutrition to recover will possibly lead to an injury. Don’t attempt it until you know it completely.

Is training to failure necessary for muscle growth?

drop set meaning
what is drop set meaning
Here is the answer:

The idea of the rest pause drop set was that you could finish a single set of each exercise, as long as you take that set to failure. This means this set volume is your final volume of a set.

It sounds like a time expedient approach to exercise in light of the fact that utilizing this drop set technique can enormously lessen training volume and the exercises can get completed in a lesser time. 

This is untrue when you consider hypertrophy gains- volume still plays a significant role! 

And the load too, In regular 3-4 sets of each exercise training can give you more volume than alone a single set of the drop set. And also Time under Tension of a muscle is higher in static sets.

But the idea here is not to do a single drop set which we take to failure. Instead, Apply drop set technique at the end sets of the exercise hence the volume of the set can be managed and the muscle can be trained to its maximal capacity.

Is drop set effective?

Here is the answer:

Researchers found out that drop-set is a more good way to boost your strength and muscle thickness than just draining the muscle out. 

The higher number of reps in a drop set makes more muscle harm and this can fill in as a strong way to build more muscle. 

In addition, when you perform reps until the point where the muscle comes up short, you use more fast-twist muscle fibers, which promote strength and power.

In other research, we found out that training to failure didn’t increase the volume of training which violates the PROGRESSION principle. 

And the one training (3 set training) which did increase the volume, after some time their results are not satisfactory because you need an extra push through these drops sets technique to hit a PLATEAU.

Some show great advantages of drop set while others don’t. 

As said earlier, there are some possible disadvantages of drop sets. Which we will talk about further in this article.

3 Disadvantages of Drop Set?

#1 Often used can lead to a Catabolic Effect:

Training to failure/ drop set workout is not for everybody and it may, now or later, stir with your hard-gained muscles.

Once you take more sets to failure over and over again, the stress builds upon your body. 

This can activate the production of cortisol hormone (stress hormone in your body), which creates a catabolic effect to your muscles.

Furthermore, training to failure as often can lessen the development of the growth hormone IGF-1, produced by the liver with anabolic properties.

#2 Impaired muscle growth

Also, training to failure supports levels of a protein called AMP, a substance that flags that a muscle cell is tired.

AMP kills muscle protein production to save energy and also helps in muscle repair and muscle development. 

That is not what you need in case you’re struggling to gain muscle. You need anabolic boosts!!  

#3 Risk of Overtraining:

The other issue with drop set training is doing it time after time can prompt overtraining.

Overdoing of sets can lead to physical soreness and pain. That is the reason you would prefer not to try too hard with drop sets if you are not ready for this.

exercising scaled
drop set meaning

Rules for Training to Failure

  • The promise is you don’t need to train to failure for muscle growth. In any case, doing a few sets to failure may jolt your muscle which is needed to break a plateau, however, don’t do it regularly.
  • If you go for a failure set then, give your muscles a more long time to recover. At least have a gap of 2-3 days when you try the drop set technique in any of your squat exercises… 
  • The other thing which you need to remember when training to failure is that DO it at the last of your SET not prior not in the middle of a set. So it doesn’t lessen your training volume. 
  • If you spent 2-3 years in the gym, then only look forward to incorporating training to failure in your exercises. Have a look at your diet and rest. Because your body and CNS require a quality rest period to work that hard again and recover. 
  • Few sets to failure can enable you to come through a plateau, however, utilize drop sets workout mindfully. It’s not a trick which you should utilize when you are a novice to training. (First, develop a standard level of strength on the deadlift, or whichever exercise before introducing this training tactic that places extreme stress on your body.)


Training to failure/ drop set workout is not for everybody, especially not for the ones who are new to the gym because their bodies haven’t acclimatized to the type of training which puts massive stress on their bodies.

So there are some questions you need to ask yourself first jumping to the rack for doing a drop set workout.


  1. What is my training experience?
  2. Can I handle excessive stress on my body?
  3. Is my nutrition is on point to recover from this training?
  4. Am I sleeping enough?
  5. Am I hit by a training plateau?
  6. What is my goal?
  7. What Exercises Are I am going to perform?

If you answered all these questions in a ‘Yes’ way! They also need to consult with your trainer and most IMPORTANTLY ask your body ‘Am I ready to do this’!

You will find an answer by yourself.

However, experimenting with your body and training is a good thing to do!

FAQs about drop set exercise
Q: Should I train to failure?

Failure training isn’t suitable for every set. Utilize failure training just on the last set of an exercise and possibly only on a hypertrophy day if you use it. Individuals who use “beyond failure” intensity approaches should take extra rest into care. Allow your body to heal!

Q: What are the benefits of drop sets?

Drop sets are a great approach to improve muscle hypertrophy, or muscle growth, as well as muscular endurance.

They’re also useful if you’re working out on a tight schedule. That means that adding dropsets to the end of each exercise, rather than simply repeating the entire session, will result in better results in less time.

Q: Drop set vs superset: What’s the difference?

Drop sets are when you do a set to failure, then reduce the load and train to failure on the same exercise again. A superset is when you do two exercises in a row and only take a break after the second one.

Thanks for reading this blog on “what is drop set meaning?”

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Rishabh Shrivastava

Hi, I'm Rishabh I take pride in making 'The Most Trusted Home Gym Equipment' blog for India. We are known for delivering unbiased and practical advice on fitness equipment for people with different age groups, sports, and budgets. If we recommend a product it's our trust in it, that it would serve you the best, or nothing.Please join our cause.🙌

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