WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A ‘DROP SET’ AND A ‘GIANT SET’?

I get asked this a lot from people i train with, general gym folk in the gym who see me on the floor after a giant set (lol) or clients who go from ‘intermediate’ training to ‘advanced’ training.

Lets make no mistake here… drop sets and, in particular giant sets are VERY advanced forms of training.

They require the right nutritional support, the right mental attitude and the right level of training experience. Unfortunately, I see MANY people in the gym doing drop sets, supersets and even giant sets well before their time.

So, before you even attempt to try these, you really should have been training for a few years, have a good solid diet and prepare for DOMs like you’ve never experienced before.

– DROP SET –

A drop set is a 2 or more sets back to back as you reduce the weight to muscle failure. Essentially you pick a weight to perform an exercise to failure WITH FORM. As soon as you hit failure, you drop the weight by a certain percentage and continue the reps to failure again. You can then choose to drop a 3rd time if needed.

A typical rep example would be this: –

12 reps to failure
drop the weight
25 reps to failure

The weight in which you should drop the weight for the second half of the set is dependant on how much pain you want to endure really….bluntly speaking. However, the weight needs to be achievable without having to stop after every 2 reps to hit the total end rep range.

Its widely considered to drop the weight by 40-50% of the wight you performed the first set with.

For example – Squats – A 2 part drop set would look like this: –

12 reps @ 100kg
drop the weight by 50%
25 reps @ 50kg
A 3 part drop set would look like this: –

6 reps @ 150kg
drop the weight by 40%
12 reps @ 90kg
drop the weight by 40%
25 reps @ 55kg

– GIANT SET –

A giant set is the more advanced version of a drop set. The same principles apply, in terms of dropping the weight and performing the reps, HOWEVER, each drop contains a different exercise to hit the SAME muscle groups.

An example of this would be a QUAD workout GIANT SET. (you can also see me performing this in an old video below)

Leg Press x 6reps @ 200kg
DROP
Hack Squat x 12reps @ 40kg
DROP
Leg Extensions x 25reps @ 40kg

The weight in which you drop it at isn’t dependant on the starting number of the first exercise. Its dependant on the % drop of the weight you would normally achieve the previous rep range for that exercise.

For example, the hack squat weight for the 12 reps is a 40% drop of the hack squat weight i would have achieved if i did 6 reps of a hack squat – rather than 40% of the leg press weight. The same applies for the leg extensions at the end….

Part of the reason a GIANT SET is so advanced is that it requires you to know your limits on the different exercises and then take into consideration the intensity of doing 3 exercises back to back.

Like i said – both are advanced forms of training and can be a great addition to your workouts to increase intensity. HOWEVER, please do ensure you have a solid background of training behind you first. The amount of times i’ve seen lads, in particular, attempt a squat drop set and don’t chose the right weight and end up falling over is countless! Its dangerous if not done correctly…

If you’ve got a good solid background, a good diet to support your recovery – then give this a go and enjoy the new realm of intensity.

Know it, Feel it, Live it

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