T Nation

Dead-Stops and Drop Sets

Hey, T-Nation trainers and readers. I have two questions for you. First, we know that there is a good power advantage to dead-stopping a weight after the eccentric phase before an explosive concentric by pausing for a few seconds. Have any studies been done on the effects of this on hypertrophy? I always felt that allowing the stretch reflex to dissipate so that the muscles being targeted have to do all the work would have positive carryover, but I wasn’t sure if evidence backs this up. Second, how good are drop sets for hypertrophy when compared to other intensity techniques? Thank you.

I think dead stopping is ill-suited for hypertrophy because you’re releasing tension from the target muscle; better suited to strength work IMO. Pausing under tension is a different story, and is a technique I utilize fairly regularly on squats, rows, and presses.


Thank you for your reply. Would you be referring to eccentric isometrics, as detailed by Joel Seedman?

Don’t have the faintest idea what that is.

To the second question in your post, drop sets are great for some bodyparts (primarily delts) that respond to pretty extreme TUT. I think rest-pause is superior for most other bodyparts though.

In general, I think intensity techniques are overrated. Bodybuilding is a volume and consistency game for the most part. Intensity techniques hinder the first and (generally) can’t be practiced with the second.

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@Steel_Nation do you have a training log on here? I don’t see much posted by you about training and would love to hear more. Every time I see your pic I think you look awesome, that would be my ideal physique for sure!

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I believe @Steel_Nation is just telling you to pause some of your big moves - like hold the bottom of a squat for a 3-count before driving back up. It’s pretty common practice. It is going to add some time under tension, reduce your weight (which is often a good thing - see his points about volume and consistency), and force you to control the whole movement. That may be the same thing you’re talking about with a title to it.

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Failure is the key. It doesn’t matter how you get there. That being said, I don’t think a 3RM will do the trick. The study is the following article used 8 reps and 30 reps to failure.

Different muscles and movements tend to have certain variations that work better than others. Drop sets for delts are probably better than rest/pause. I like the old 21s technique for a lot of exercises but I’ll do 8s and 10s (8 bottom half/8 top half/8 full reps). Rest/pause might be better for me compound movements. It’s also personal preference.

I did at one time but I haven’t updated in a while. Honestly, I think my weight training is so boring, repetitive, and unimpressive that I have a hard time seeing how it would be worth reading. I’d put myself to sleep just typing it out.

My old training log from 2011 or so contains a lot of stuff that I still do today.

Yeah that’s what I was getting at. I can be a poor communicator at times; my wife would say “only the times when you’re awake.”

OP I forgot to mention partial and cheat reps at the end of sets. I like partials for delts, calves, and back work. Cheat reps can be useful for biceps if you use a controlled negative. I count these reps (partials and cheats) differently for progression purposes. IE where I’d normally record weight x reps for a set in my log, if I did cheat or partial reps at the end I’d write, for example, 100 x 10 + 3c. So that’s 10 clean reps and 3 cheat reps.

While these techniques are useful, I definitely don’t do them all the time.


he had a how do you train thread a few years back. Guy’s a beast