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Drop to Gain Muscle
By: Adrienne Sheppard

Drop to gain muscles!


Ever wondered what actually makes your muscles grow?  How they become stronger?  How they develop more tone?  Interestingly enough I became pretty focused on this concept from a pretty young age, and was always exploring ideas and methods that would accelerate this process.


Now, whether we think that we need it or not, our muscles need to have some type of resistance applied to them in order to stop them shrinking.  “Shrinking, that sounds good!” do I hear a lot of you say?  Well, when it applies to body fat, then shrinking is really good.  But when we are talking about muscles, then shrinking is no good!  You only need to see the old lady crossing the street, hunched over to see the effects of muscles that atrophy (shrink).  Therefore your muscles are doing only one of two things:  Growing or shrinking!  So which one do you choose?


If you are like most, you chose growing….good choice.  Now, don’t despair, strength training will not make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Just ask anyone who has wanted to gain muscle, how hard it really is!  Therefore if you are engaged in some type of resistance work / strength training then you need some strategies to maximize performance.


This week’s solution:  Drop sets. 


If you were to perform, let’s say 8 repetitions of a tricep pushdown at 5 plates, and you pushed to your maximum, therefore eight was exactly the maximum you could have done.  No more, no less.  Now consider the set you completed.  The first one, two and three repetitions were pretty easy, four and five not too hard, then by six, seven & eight it was really working, sound right?  Now you might suggest that repetitions 6, 7 & 8 were the only ones where you really worked.  Agree?


Let’s say we up the weight to 8 plates.  Now you may squeeze out 3 or 4 repetitions (all working hard), then dropped the weight to 6 plates and punched out another 3 reps, and finally dropped the weight to 4 plates and squeezed out another 3 reps!  We could definitely argue that you have worked to your maximum on 3 different occasions within the one set (as opposed to only once!)


Try this technique this week.  Pick an exercise you are familiar with and use this strategy.  Feel the difference in the muscle.  Recognise that you may need to use less time to achieve the same effect!


Happy pumping


Peak Physique Personal Training – Brisbane – Australia

Suite 310/421 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, 4006

P - 0412-999-656 E –

F – 07 3254-1996 W –


Added: 26-07-2011