Most lifters, especially bodybuilders, are familiar with drop sets: Lift a weight to failure or close to it, drop some weight and continue the set without resting, hit failure, drop more weight, crank out more reps, etc.

This descending method for hypertrophy is effective, but I also like to use ascending sets. This is when you add weight instead of taking it off. Here's how I use that method on the leg press.

  1. Work up to a heavy set of 10 reps.
  2. After a rest, add weight (one plate) and do 5 reps.
  3. After 5 reps and without releasing tension on the muscle (don't lock out the sled), add more weight for another 5 reps.
  4. Repeat this pattern, adding a plate every 5 reps, until you hit 25 total reps in the ascending set.

Not only does this increase time under tension, you're also working heavy and building strength.

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