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How To Build Muscle with Down Sets

You can get bigger lifting lighter.

Find out how to build muscle with down sets in simple and practical ways.

Progressive overload. That is key to building muscle. However, many people think, wrongfully, that progressive overload means exclusively increasing how heavy you are lifting. There are many ways to do progressive overloading, be it a variation of the exercise, utilising pyramid sets, pause sets, and so on.

Another way to build muscle is to utilise down sets, as Dr Mike Israetel explains.

Dr Mike Israetel, PhD in Sport Physiology and co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, made a video explaining how to build muscle with down sets.

Check it out.

How to build muscle with down sets

But what exactly are down sets? Mike explains that they are straight sets in which you lower how heavy you are lifting during a specific exercise.

For example, if do back squats at 100 kilos in the first, second, and third set, doing 15 reps, 15 reps, and then 10 reps (because you were tired and reached close to failure). On the fourth set, you then choose to do back squats but at 85 kilos and do 15 reps and another set with 15 reps at 85 kilos. Those two last sets, at 85 kilos, are considered down sets.

How To Build Muscle with Down Sets

Why would you do down sets and lift lighter weights?

Hypertrophy happens if you do sets of at least 5 reps and around 30 as a maximum. If you are lifting extremely heavy weights and in any given set you cannot do at least five, you should do a down set to achieve hypertrophy and build muscle.

That is because you need to keep in mind the duration that your muscle stays under tension. If you do not many reps, there is a chance you are getting stronger, but not building muscle and size. That is one of the key answers on how to build muscle with down sets and why do them.

Another positive of doing down sets is that it allows you to focus on technique practice and could stimulate even more your targeted muscle.

Related: The Science Behind Light vs Heavy Weights for Muscle Growth

However, there are not only positives to doing down sets. It will take longer for you to stimulate your muscle compared to doing heavier and shorter reps.

You also need to be aware that you shouldn’t keep dropping the weight and keep on training as you can easily reach the limit of junk volume.

So now you know about this technique and how to build muscle with down sets. If you want to know more arguments from Dr Mike Israetel himself, check out his video below.

VIDEO – How to build muscle with down sets

Related: How to Force Muscle Growth – 5 Methods to Accomplish That 

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