Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Kenno, Kenji


drop sets, hormones, hypertrophy, resistance training




Resistance training (RT) for muscle growth (hypertrophy training – HT) theoretically optimizes the mechanical tension and time under tension (TUT) placed on working muscle, which may be key to activating hypertrophic mechanisms. After prolonged HT, specialized weightlifting techniques like drop set training (DS) – or lifting progressively reduced loads without recovery – may help overcome plateaus in strength and re-stimulate hypertrophy, but evidence for the efficacy of acute DS compared to HT is limited. This thesis compared acute anabolic, metabolic, and intensity responses between DS and HT in the quadriceps femoris using leg extensions. Thirty young males completed, in a randomized, counterbalanced, within-subjects design, a DS protocol (4 sets, 4 loads/set, 75-30% 1RM, minimal recovery between loads, 3-minute recovery intervals between sets) and, separated by at least 7 days, a HT protocol (4 sets, 75% 1RM, 3-minute recovery intervals between sets). DS provided significantly more volume and TUT than HT, and significantly higher acute changes in heart rate, Borg’s rating of perceived exertion scores, blood lactate concentrations ([ ]), and reduction in maximum voluntary isometric contraction force. Following DS and HT, there were no changes in plasma [interleukin (IL)-6] and a 2% increase in [insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1], but changes fell within normal resting values. Results from either acute bout (completed in 12 minutes or less) suggest that, while DS significantly increased RT intensity, potential changes in anabolic marker synthesis require recruitment of more skeletal muscle and increased RT duration.