Do you want bigger biceps? How about calves? Maybe your booty?

If your current muscle-isolation exercises aren’t producing results, consider adding drop sets as a finisher to your workout, but only if you’re a moderate to advanced trainee. This isn't for beginners.

Here's how drop sets target muscles to make them grow.

What are drop sets?
Drop sets are a style of training done at the end of your usual workout because they really tax your muscles. 

They involve choosing a specific muscle group you want to grow, deciding on the exercise to do and selecting a weight at which to start.

Each set is done for a specific number of repetitions or until failure. The weight is then decreased about 20 percent and the set repeated quickly without any rest.

For example, you might pick a weight that you could do 20 reps at before you feel fatigue. Or you could start at a heavier weight that causes you to usually hit failure at six reps.

Two drops in weight are normally done per set. The maximum is five drops.

Drop sets can be done using dumbbells, a machine or barbells. If you choose barbells, you’ll need a spotter or trainer to help so the weight can be quickly decreased and the set continued without rest.

Do three sets, with a two-minute rest between each one. If applicable, switch sides of the body and repeat.

The number one mistake people make is they rest too little or too long.

The benefits
Drop sets were designed to increase the volume and amount of work that a single muscle does in a short period of time. If someone’s trying to hypertrophy or grow a muscle, the key to growth is volume.

These sets create more damage and tearing in the microfibres of the muscle. The muscle reacts by repairing itself and growing back larger so that if you ever did it again, it shouldn’t tear. However, by challenging your body with drop sets, you’re progressively making the tears and having the muscle grow back bigger.

The key to accomplishing this is recovery through proper hydration, sleep, nutrition and stretching.

Drop sets are also used for weight loss because the rest time is negligible and it’s a way to increase the load, boost the heart rate and burn calories.

Not for beginners
Since there’s a lot of trauma to muscles and soreness, drop sets should only be done by the moderate to advanced trainee. That’s usually someone who’s been working out regularly for about three months.

You need to know how to do the exercises properly, so you don’t push too far and cause tears that aren’t repairable by the body.

How often are drop sets done?
Drop sets aren’t done for a long period of time, or for the entire body, because of the soreness and stress on the body.

If a person normally works out three days a week, a drop set focusing on one or two different muscle groups could be done at the end of one of those workout days. If it was two different muscle groups, one should be lower body and the other upper.

The same muscle group wouldn’t be repeated until the following week because the body needs that recovery time to repair the tears.

Weekly adjustments
When the same muscle group is repeated the next week, either increase the starting weight or use the same weight as the previous week and try to do more reps. 

The reason the weight or reps is changed is because you want to challenge your body and not have it adapt and get used to the workout. 

Type of exercises
Drop sets work best with isolation exercises focused on the part of body a person wants to change.

The sets could be done through squats, bench presses or similar big movements, but that’s not the normal method.

For people choosing to do two drop sets at the end of a training session, here’s a workout sample if you’re going to the gym three times a week.

  • Day 1 could be drop sets working the biceps and glutes. Once the first set is finished for each arm, rest one minute and then do a drop set of hip thrusts. Go back to biceps and then hip thrusts, alternating until three sets are done for each.
  • Day 2 might be drop sets with exercises focused on the triceps, followed by hamstring curls.
  • Day 3 could target the upper body with lateral flies and the quads with leg extensions.

Timeline for results
Change in muscle size should begin to appear in two to three weeks. 

If the sets are being done properly, combined with good recovery and nutrition, very good results should be seen after four to six weeks. 

However, it can’t be stressed enough that you have to be smart with drop sets. Expect soreness, but if you can't move your elbow for seven days, you’re creating bad damage so dial it back.