Saturday, August 12, 2023

Drop Sets vs Traditional Sets for Muscle Hypertrophy

When it comes to muscle training for hypertrophy, there are several methods employed by fitness enthusiasts. Among these, drop sets have gained popularity as a time-efficient technique. This article delves into a systematic review and meta-analysis that compares the impact of drop sets and traditional sets on muscle hypertrophy.

Introduction to Drop Sets

Drop sets, as a method of muscle training, involve performing sets to concentric muscle failure with a specific load. Immediately after reaching this failure, the load is reduced, and another set is initiated to either concentric or voluntary muscle failure. This method has become a favorite for many aiming to achieve muscle hypertrophy, especially when short on time.

Methodology of the Review

The systematic review was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Databases like SPORTDiscus and MEDLINE/PubMed were explored on April 9, 2022, targeting studies that examined the impact of the drop set training method on muscle hypertrophy and met specific criteria. Statistical analysis was performed using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Version 3, with a keen eye on publication bias.

Key Findings

Out of the many, six studies were found to meet the established inclusion criteria. These studies incorporated a total of 142 participants, with a predominance of males (114 men and 28 women) aged between 19.2–27 years. The meta-analysis outcome emphasized that both drop set and traditional training methods showed a significant increase in muscle hypertrophy post-training. However, the difference in hypertrophy between the two groups was found to be insignificant. It's noteworthy that some drop set modalities required only half to one-third of the time compared to traditional training.


This systematic review and meta-analysis underscore the efficiency of drop sets for individuals with limited training time. Even though there was no noticeable difference in hypertrophy outcomes between drop set and traditional training groups, the time advantage offered by drop sets can be a significant boon for many.

Citation: Sødal, L.K., Kristiansen, E., Larsen, S. et al. Effects of Drop Sets on Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Med - Open 9, 66 (2023).