Go Beyond Failure with Dropsets

Failure is temporary. When you can’t eke out another full rep, you have options for continuing. A spotter can help you with a couple of forced reps. You can cheat up reps. You can rest long enough to get another rep. And you can shorten your range of motion for a few more reps. You’ll notice that all of these limit the number of additional reps you can do, often to only one or two. Also, these techniques aren’t practical for every exercise. For example, you’re not going to do forced reps on one-arm dumbbell rows, cheat your walking lunges, or shorten your deadlifts post-failure. The one way to extend a set of every resistance exercise for many more reps is via dropsets.


  • This is the most efficient way to push a set beyond failure when training alone.
  • Try to reach failure with as many reps in each lighter subset as you did in your original subset.
  • When you reach failure with a weight, select a lighter weight and continue the set.
  • Quit if the weight is so light, you can do several more reps than you did in the subset before.


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