How to Do 3 Drop Sets With Dumbbells

How to Do 3 Drop Sets With Dumbbells

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Set up your dumbbells beforehand so you don't waste time between sets.

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Drops sets are a bodybuilding technique in which you exercise at one weight until you achieve muscle failure, then lower the weight and max out again. This training method fatigues your targeted muscles very quickly and results in muscular hypertrophy, which when combined with proper rest and diet, can lead to massive gains in size. Performing three drop sets using dumbbells is a quick and effective way to build up muscle mass.


Choose three dumbbells or sets of dumbbells and place them in a line in front of your bench. The first set should be heavy enough to present a challenge at eight to 12 reps. The second set should be 10 to 25 percent lighter, and the third set 10 to 25 percent lighter than the second. If you're performing drop sets in a crowded gym, you may want to work out after peak hours to avoid hogging so many dumbbells.


Lift the heaviest set of dumbbells and perform as many reps of your chosen exercise until you reach failure. You should only stop when you find you cannot perform one more rep without compromising proper technique and form.


Rest for between zero to 10 seconds, then lift the second-heaviest set and repeat the exercise to the point of failure.


Rest for between zero and 10 seconds, then lift the third and lightest dumbbell set and perform the exercise until you reach failure. If you plan on doing another drop set, rest for no more than two minutes before starting again with the heaviest dumbbells.

Things Needed

  • Three dumbbells or sets of dumbbells of decreasing weight


  • Do not rest more than 10 seconds between dumbbells, as the aim of drop sets is to shock your muscles into hypertrophy. Also remember to have a warm-up and cool-down period before and after the drop sets; you're putting a lot of strain on your muscles, and exercising "cold" muscles can cause strains or pulls. Finish up with some light exercise or stretching to get your heart rate and breathing back to normal.


  • Avoid doing drop sets more than two to three times per week. Your body needs to repair your targeted muscles, and by pushing your fibers to failure too often you will not give your muscles the time they need to heal.