Archive for the tag - technique

Kick Your Ass with Monster Sets!

Are monster sets as scary as they sound? Yes. But are they also super effective at increasing muscle volume and capacity? Yes.

Basically, a monster set is performing consecutive smaller sets of an exercise until you reach a large, predetermined number like 50 or 60 reps. To perform monster sets, you should select an amount of weight that is 65% of your one-repetition maximum. This should enable you to do about 15 reps in the first smaller set. Once you reach failure, take a quick rest. Then keep going until you reach your goal.

For example, let’s say that your one-rep max on the bench press is 150 lbs. That means you’ll probably want to use about 100 lbs of resistance for your monster set. Ideally, you’ll be able to do 15 reps in the first set. Take a quick break, then continue for another set. Maybe you can get 10 or 12 reps out of that set. Rest, and then continue. Maybe you get 8 reps. And so on until you reach 50 or 60.

Though monster sets shouldn’t be the backbone of your workout, they’re a great way to occasionally mix things up and really shock your muscles.

What Are Drops Sets & How Can You Use Them?

For serious muscles like these, drops sets are an effective strength training technique.

Drops sets are a strength training technique wherein you perform a set of any exercise to failure (or just short of failure) – and then drop some weight and continue for additional repetitions with the reduced resistance. Once failure is again reached, additional resistance is dropped and so on.

Drop sets are great for bodybuilders or individuals looking to make gains in muscle size. Simply put, few other training techniques can break down muscle fibers as effectively as drop sets – so if you incorporate drop sets into your routine, you will see significant gains in mass. However, drop sets are not advised for athletes or people looking for gains in strength. Moreover, most athletes want strength or speed without the bulk – and so drop sets will be at odds with their goals.

To perform a drop set, select an amount of resistance that will result in muscle failure after 8 – 12 reps. While you’ve reached failure, you haven’t reached absolute failure; quickly decrease the amount of weight by about 15% and continue. After 8 or so reps, you’ll hit failure again. Reduce the resistance by another 15% and continue. Keep going.

Obviously, drop sets require some planning. Since rest time should be between zero and ten seconds, they’re most popular on machines; adjusting the weight is as quick as changing a pin. If you do drop sets on a barbell, you may need to work with a spotter and/or load the barbell with lots of small weight plates for faster adjustments. If you work with dumbbells, line them up on the floor in advance – and simply work your way down the line.

If you’re purely looking for gains in mass, then drop sets are a great technique to try occasionally try out and incorporate! I think you’ll be pleased with the results.