Muscular adaptations in drop set vs. traditional training: a meta-analysis

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Coleman, Max ORCID: 0000-0003-0462-5633, Harrison, Khalil ORCID: 0000-0001-5235-8539, Arias, Roberto ORCID: 0000-0002-2141-4101, Johnson, Ericka ORCID: 0000-0003-0172-4265, Grgic, Jozo ORCID: 0000-0002-6929-2844, Orazem, John ORCID: 0000-0002-9176-0333 and Schoenfeld, Brad J ORCID: 0000-0003-4979-5783 (2022) Muscular adaptations in drop set vs. traditional training: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Strength and Conditioning, 2 (1). ISSN 2634-2235


The purpose of this paper was to systematically review and meta-analyze the effects of drop set training (DS) vs. traditional training (TRAD) on measures of muscle strength and hypertrophy. We carried out a comprehensive search on PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and CINAHL databases for studies that satisfied the following criteria: (a) had a randomized experimental design (either within- or between-group); (b) directly compared DS versus TRAD; (c) assessed changes in muscular strength and/or hypertrophy; (d) had a training protocol that lasted a minimum of 6 weeks, and; (e) involved apparently healthy participants. We employed a robust variance meta-analysis model, with adjustments for small samples. Study quality was assessed by the Downs and Black checklist. A total of 5 studies met inclusion criteria. Qualitative assessment indicated the included studies were of moderate to good quality. For the strength outcomes results indicated a trivial point estimate of the effect size (ES) with a relatively narrow precision for the confidence interval (CI) estimate (0.07; 95% CI = -0.14, 0.29). Similarly, results for the hypertrophy outcomes indicated a trivial point estimate of the ES with a relatively narrow precision for the CI estimate (0.08; 95% CI = -0.08, 0.24). In conclusion, DS and TRAD appear to have similar effects on muscular strength and hypertrophy. This would seem to indicate that both DS and TRAD are viable options for promoting muscular adaptations; DS may provide a more time-efficient alternative for achieving results.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.47206/ijsc.v2i1.135
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords muscle, training, drop set training, traditional training, muscle strength, hypertrophy
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