Collage of several of Gray's muscle pictures, ...

Collage of several of Gray’s muscle pictures, by Mikael Häggström (User:Mikael Häggström) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There should have been a warning!  Yesterday’s “drop sets” nearly dropped me on my ass!  I suspected progress when my legs quivered uncontrollably as I layered up to leave the gym.  This morning, it’s more about soreness, in many places.  Annie suggested to do drop sets for a couple of different exercises, at the end of a workout.  Yesterday, in a “more is better” spirit, I did them for 1.2 hours.  Today, I’m dreaming about my upcoming bath!  Nick’s birthday cake is in the oven; if it wasn’t, I’d be typing this from warm, soothing waters.

I’ve learned a little about drop sets.  Some people claim they’re great for building muscle bulk quickly, but not necessarily the best for adding strength.  Others suggest them as yet another option for stimulating muscle confusion, which arguably aids progress by avoiding the plateaus experienced when our muscles become accustomed to routines.  I’ve found this strategy of mixing up routines, activities, pace and exercises to be very effective.  It’s easy for me to slip into routines though.  Thank God for people like Annie who keep suggesting new ideas!

My version of drop sets, which I’ve tried twice recently, involved starting with medium-heavy weights and doing enough repetitions to approach failure.  Then, as quickly as possible, I dropped a little weight and approached failure again, with as little rest as possible between switches.  I continued this until the weights were very light, totaling a lot of repetitions.  Theory suggests that this approach engages many more of our deep muscle fibers, as the mounting repetitions at near failure need their help.  My deep-down soreness seems to confirm the theory!  ( :