Size Secret #5: Neurological Overload Set

Overload the muscle to force adaption & growth


BEN PAKULSKI: “Neurological overload set training is something I do that contributes to muscle growth and overcoming plateaus. On the final set of a given exercise — usually for each exercise in a workout — I perform four consecutive drop sets in 20% increments and try to knock off at least 5–6 reps with each weight. I find this to be a great way to overload the muscle, as well as overload the nervous system to force adaptation.

An example of NOS would be lateral raises for shoulders. I choose to do laterals seated because it removes one variable of cheating. My typical NOS set for laterals would look something like this: 70-pound dumbbells for 6–8 reps, then 55s for 6–8, 40s for 6–8 and finally 30s for 10 reps.”


  • 1. Bent-over lateral raises: 5 sets of 12 reps*
  • 2. Seated lateral raises: 5 sets of 8 reps*
  • 3. Machine overhead presses: 5 sets of 10 reps
  • 4. Reverse pec-deck flys: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • 5. Cable lateral raises: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • 6. Upright rows: 4 sets of 10 reps*
  • *Perform an NOS set (four drop sets where the weight is decreased 20% each time) on the last set.

Training Tip #1: Pakulski only trains shoulders once every other week because it’s a strong body part that tends to overpower others. When he does train delts, he likes to use high volume (i.e., 26 total sets in this sample workout).

Training Tip #2: The first compound movement doesn’t show up until the third exercise in the workout. This preexhausts the delts to ensure that the triceps won’t give out before then.

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