Why Drop Sets Are The Best Way to Form Lean Muscle

By Katrina Scott on

strength training

We know you're busy babe and your time is so precious, so Karena and I are here to give you all the tools you need to get the best workout results fast. One of our favorite ways to do that: strength training workouts with drop sets!

By now you’ve probably heard me and Karena rave about them during your Studio Tone It Up workouts ~ we’re a little obsessed! That’s because drops sets are one of the most efficient ways to form lean muscle.

The concept is simple: Start out with a set of heavy weights and, as you start to fatigue and your form suffers, drop down to a set of lighter weights in order to complete your reps. Using this high-intensity training method, you essentially fatigue one group of muscle fibers with your heavy weights, then by going lighter, you recruit a SECOND group of muscle fibers that weren’t workin’ for you earlier. The more muscle fibers you recruit, the more beautiful lean muscle your body is able to form. 

Drop sets also get your heart pumping like crazy so you burn more energy during your strength sesh. Even better: Aim to swap your weights quickly! The less time you take while changing out weights the better in order to keep the intensity up.

OK now let's drop it like it’s hot! 🔥💪

Pick Your Perfect Drop Set

There are tons of ways to incorporate drop sets into your Studio Tone It Up strength workouts. You can go waaayy lighter or keep ‘em relatively heavy. Here are a few guidelines for when to use each technique ~ just always remember to listen to your body and do what works best for you! 

Wide Drop Sets — This is when you drop down significantly in weight. You’re guaranteed to crush these and should feel strong enough to do a higher number of reps. These work great for large muscle group exercises like squats and bent over rows. For instance, if you’re squatting with 20 lb dumbbells, you can drop down to 12 lbs (a 40% drop). Or drop the weights entirely and complete your set with just your bodyweight. Finishing strong is all that matters!

Tight Drop Sets — This is when you decrease by just a small amount. These are tough, but so are you girl! We like to use them for smaller muscle group exercises like bicep curls — for example, going from 12 lbs to 10 lbs (a ~15% drop).

Our Fave Strength Workouts for Drop Sets

Head to Studio Tone It Up to put those new moves into practice! These three routines are our favorites for getting strong with drop sets.

lean muscle

Bikini Arm Tone

Strengthen every inch of your upper bod with this beach routine from Karena. Keep two sets of dumbbells close by and drop down whenever you need to in order to maintain good form!


30 Rep Challenge

Test your stamina and strength with this total body burner! There are 30 reps per move, and we know you got this! Opt for drop sets to complete your reps.

 Beautiful Biceps With Kat

 When those beautiful biceps start to shake, quickly swap your dumbbells and finish strong!

Want more amazing workouts?! We’ve got hundreds waiting just for you in your Studio Tone It Up app! Download it HERE. Can’t wait to see you in class!

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