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Muscle tension, time under tension, anabolic hormones and fatigue-related chemicals stimulate muscle strength and size, What's the best way to incorporate these factors into a training program?
Researchers from Northern Illinois University compared a single-arm preacher curl program (three sets to failure at a constant weight; 77 percent of one-rep max) with three sets of the same exercise, but using lighter weights on the second and third set (i.e., drops sets). Gains in muscle strength between groups were the same after eight weeks of training.
The drop set workout caused greater fatigue, as measured by isometric strength, before and after each workout. We need more studies like this one. Individual differences exist in the responses to training due to genetic factors. Some people respond to a training program, while others don't. It would be helpful if researchers reported individual data to help us understand the magnitude of change in specific athletes.