5 Creative Drop Set Techniques.

Use these creative drop sets to up your workout game - and gains!

As I’ve mentioned before, drop sets just might be one of the most effective muscle-building techniques around.

Drops sets are a strength training technique wherein you perform a set of any exercise to failure (or just short of failure) for between 8 and 12 reps – and then drop some weight (usually 15%) and continue for additional repetitions with the reduced resistance. Once failure is again reached, additional resistance is dropped and so on.

But even standard drop sets can get old and stale, so try switching things up with the following five variations:

  1. Zero Rest Drop Sets. To perform a good drop set, it’s important to minimize rest time. Less than 10 seconds is ideal. To perform a true zero rest drop set, you’ll need two spotters. As you finish the last repetition in the set, the spotters can remove the appropriate weight from the machine. For example, you may load a leg press machine with 25lb weight plates. After each set, your spotters can remove one weight plate. You’ll be amazed at the difference a few seconds can make!
  2. Tight Drop Sets. While the typical drop set involves a 15% reduction in resistance, try something smaller - like 10% or even 5% reductions. For example, you could move from 50lb dumbbells immediately to 45lb dumbbells, and then 40lbs, 37.5lbs, 35lbs and so on.
  3. Grip Change Drop Sets. As you change your grip (i.e., wide grip vs. narrow grip, etc.) or adjust your stance (i.e., shoulder-width, feet together, toes pointed out, etc.), you place emphasis on different muscles. Try alternating between different grips or stances as you move through your drop sets to really hit each muscle.
  4. Wide Drop Sets. Instead of removing the typical 15% of resistance, opt for larger weight decreases of 20% or greater. Wide drop sets are used because they allow for a greater number of repetitions until muscle failure.
  5. Power Drop Sets. While typical drop sets require starting with an amount of resistance that allows for 8 - 12 repetitions, six is the magic number for power drop sets. Start with a 6-rep max, and then decrease the weight by 10% or 15% so that you can perform exactly six more reps at each drop. Since you’re using higher resistance levels at 6 reps (vs. 8 - 12), it’s a great way to build muscle mass.

While “enjoy” might be the wrong word to use, I hope you’re able to make the most of these creative drop set variations.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I sometimes do the reverse drop set, where I am feeling stupidly strong, I do my 8 reps, then after a short rest ill actually add weight, then drop back down and down and down till you cant do anymore. But I only do it if my body says I can.

  2. Thanks for these tips! 😀

  3. DW, thank you for this technique. Drop sets have been kicking my butt in the gym ever since you mentioned them. Love them. 😀

  4. christopher says:

    very much usefull info-thanx-DW.