A drop set is the simple technique where you perform a set of any exercise to failure or just short of failure, then drop some weight and continue for more repetitions with the reduced poundage.
According to Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, the drop set method was originally “discovered” in 1947 by Henry Atkins, editor of Body Culture magazine. Atkins called it the “multi-poundage system.” Since then, this muscle blasting technique has gone by many different names including breakdowns, descending sets, triple-drops, down the rack, strip sets or the stripping technique.
WHY DO BODYBUILDERS LOVE DROP SETS?
Bodybuilders are unique among athletes because they’re concerned purely with cosmetic improvements and not athletic performance. That’s why bodybuilders prefer drop sets – because they’re decidedly geared towards increasing muscle size (hypertrophy). By contrast, you don’t see a lot of football players, sprinters or other athletes using drop sets, because drop sets are not conducive to strength, power or speed gains. In fact, most athletes want strength and power without bulk, so drop sets are usually nixed. However, if pure mass is what you’re after, then drop sets are ideal!