Drop Sets and Pyramids
A common mistake many weight trainers make is doing the same exercise, at the same weight, for the same amount of repetitions, each, and every time. The problem with this is that many weight trainers hit what is called a plateau (a point where gains have come to a screeching halt). By changing up your workouts and keeping your body guessing, you can avoid hitting that plateau and keep those gains coming!
One way to switch up your routines is to add drop sets to your workout. In a straight set of 8 to 12 reps, with one weight amount, you do not hit all of the muscle fibers. Only the number of fibers required to lift a specific weight for a specific number of reps are used. By adding a drop set and stripping off weight, then continuing the set until failure, you begin to recruit reserve fibers. In doing so, you are hitting all of those extra muscle fibers. The primary focus of drop setting, therefore, is to shock the muscle by adding stress to a standard set. This added stress induces hypertrophy which is the increase in the volume of an organ or tissue due to the enlargement of its component cells.
Another good way to keep the body guessing is by turning your straight sets into pyramid sets. A typical pyramid, or triangle pyramid, workout involves 5 sets for the one exercise. Typically you will start with a lighter weight to warm up the muscles and gradually increase the weight while decreasing the repetitions. By doing this you are overloading the muscles and exhausting the muscle fibers creating an intense and effective routine that will increase strength.
Like anything in life, when you go above and beyond you will achieve more, and the same applies when working out. You can be that person who does just enough at the gym so they can tell everyone they work out or you could be that person who pushes themselves to their limit and doesn’t need to talk because the results speak for themselves. Just by switching up your average straight set workout into a drop set or triangle pyramid, you can begin gaining more muscle mass than ever before.
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