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We used to think of weightlifting as the kind of exercise only beefy dudes liked to do, but we now know that strength training is an essential part of a smart fitness program that will help you get lean and strong. I’m a gym rat who loves to lift weights multiple times a week, whether it’s a classic weightlifting session (squats, deadlifts, etc.) or a kettlebell flow program. Strength training of all kinds helped me shed excess fat, build lean muscle, and feel better than ever, and I now pass along this kind of training to my clients.

There’s one weightlifting tip that I wish I had known earlier in my fitness career: how to use the drop set. A drop set in weightlifting is when you perform a set of any exercise with a heavy-enough weight that you can’t make it through all the reps without failing. Then you reduce the weight and finish out the set.

For example, when I was working on my triceps extensions on the cable machine, I would start with 20 pounds and work toward 12 reps per set. But I could only make it to about eight or nine reps without failing, so rather than just leaving it at that, I would drop the weight to 15 pounds and finish out the set.

This worked great for me when I felt like I was stuck in between two different weights and I didn’t want to do the lower weight for the whole set because it didn’t feel hard enough. Utilizing the drop set in this way helped me get stronger faster, which allowed me to build lean muscle and shed faster quicker.

The drop set is a common technique used in bodybuilding and there are all sorts of ways to use it, but I stuck with this simple variation because it worked wonders for me. I saw amazing lean muscle definition in just a couple weeks. Plus, I never reached a plateau; I could see consistent changes in my physique month after month.

If you’re looking for a way to up your strength-training routine, give drop sets a try. You can use this technique with just about any classic weightlifting movement, like squats, deadlifts, rows, push presses, etc.

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