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Battle of Techniques: Drop Sets Vs. Supersets

Have you recently hit a training plateau? Add drop sets and supersets to stimulate new muscle growth (1). These training techniques offer diverse fitness benefits and can be tailored to meet the needs of lifters of all levels. Below, we explore both methods to help you decide which is best suited for your training regimen.

What Are Drop Sets?

Drop sets are an advanced training technique that involves executing a set until muscle failure, then decreasing the weight and continuing the exercise until failure is reached again. The objective is to persist in reducing the load until maintaining the correct form becomes impossible, aka muscle fatigue. 


Studies demonstrate that drop sets enhance muscle growth and boost endurance (2). Here are the key advantages of incorporating drop sets into your workout routine.
  • Improved muscle growth
  • Build muscular endurance
  • Greater training volume
  • Time efficiency

How to Do

To perform drop sets, select an exercise and choose a weight that allows you to effectively complete 8-10 reps. Execute your initial set until you can't do anymore, focusing intently on maintaining proper form and establishing a robust mind-muscle connection. Immediately after, reduce the weight by 10-30% and continue the exercise to failure again. Then, decrease the weight again, this time by 10-30%, and repeat the exercise until failure. Typically, drop-set training involves 2-3 weight reductions in total.

What Are Supersets?

Unlike circuit-style HIIT workouts with many exercises, supersets consist of performing two exercises back-to-back with no rest in between. These exercises can target the same muscle groups or opposing muscles or focus on upper versus lower body dynamics. Below, we’ll explore supersets designed to engage opposing muscle groups, enhancing the workout's effectiveness and efficiency.


By targeting antagonist muscle groups, supersets effectively prevent imbalances and significantly reduce the risk of injuries. Furthermore, research indicates that they enhance power output in the antagonist muscles. Here are the advantages of incorporating supersets into your routine (3)
  • Greater workout intensity
  • Muscle growth
  • Workout time optimization
  • Help with fat burn
  • Cardiovascular & metabolic improvements

How to Do 

Decide if you'll target similar or opposing muscle groups for the superset and choose your exercises accordingly. Begin your first exercise with a weight that allows you to comfortably perform 8-10 reps (or your prescribed rep range). Immediately proceed to the second exercise without taking a break and perform the specified reps. Allow yourself a rest period of 1-2 minutes before repeating the superset.


Drop sets and supersets offer dynamic methods to invigorate your workout routine, help you overcome plateaus, and achieve your fitness aspirations. These advanced training techniques are designed to elevate your training intensity. Your choice should align with your personal preferences and long-term fitness objectives.

Drop sets focus on increasing the number of repetitions, enhancing muscle endurance. Supersets also target muscle endurance while allowing a more time-efficient workout. Both methods extend your muscles' time under tension, pivotal for muscle growth.

Article by Terry Ramos


  1. Schöenfeld, B. J. (2011). The use of specialized training techniques to maximize muscle hypertrophy. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 33(4), 60–65.
  2. Varović, D., Žganjer, K., Vuk, S., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2021). Drop-Set Training Elicits Differential Increases in Non-Uniform Hypertrophy of the Quadriceps in Leg Extension Exercise. Sports (Basel, Switzerland), 9(9), 119.
  3. Grabiner M. D. (1994). Maximum rate of force development is increased by antagonist conditioning contraction. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 77(2), 807–811.
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