Turn Up The Heat
Muscle & Performance|June 2017

Six ways to go the distance in your workouts — and beyond — with this hardcore finishing technique.

Michael Berg

Feel the burn," of course, refers to the deep-down ache you feel in a working muscle as lactic acid builds up to searing levels, at some point leaving you unable to continue a set.

Chasing that sensation is the goal of "burn sets," which tack a final, excruciating set using lighter weight to achieve utter muscle failure onto the end of a bodypart workout. But the question remains, How effective are burn sets and how can you get the most out of this technique?

We tapped Dave Looney, Ph.D., CSCS, an ORISE research fellow at the U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts, and an expert in the exercise physiology field, to find out.

Rule No. 1: Know the difference between a drop and a burn. 

Drop sets and burn sets are terms often used interchangeably, but there are nuanced differences between the two. “Drop sets are consecutive sets performed with progressively lighter weights with little-to-no rest periods between sets,” explains Looney. “For instance, you start with 100 pounds, do it as many times as you can, then drop the weight immediately to 80 or even 50 pounds, and continue repping,” he says.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MUSCLE & PERFORMANCEView All

Picking The Perfect Protein

DON’T GET OVERWHELMED with choices. We simplify it for you. Here’s how to CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROTEIN for your goals.

7 mins read
Muscle & Performance
June 2017

Mastering Your Body

You can be fabulous and fitter than ever after 40 — really!

3 mins read
Muscle & Performance
June 2017

Ride The Wave

This clever, plateau-busting technique is the key to big gains.

2 mins read
Muscle & Performance
June 2017

Turn Up The Heat

Six ways to go the distance in your workouts — and beyond — with this hardcore finishing technique.

3 mins read
Muscle & Performance
June 2017

Making The Cut

Take two: Morris Chestnut is still lean, mean and on the scene as star of Fox’s Rosewood and co-author of a new book, The Cut.

5 mins read
Muscle & Performance
April 2017

Low Back On Track

Six moves to release — and relieve — your lower back.

3 mins read
Muscle & Performance
April 2017

Strength Gone Simple

Cancel out the industry noise and get back to basics with these four, max-crushing, strength-building tactics.

3 mins read
Muscle & Performance
April 2017

The Power of Negativity

The top five reasons you should be doing negatives — and three ways to implement them today.

3 mins read
Muscle & Performance
April 2017

Low Back on Track

Six moves to release — and relieve — your lower back.

2 mins read
Muscle & Performance
April 2017

To De-Stink Your Gym Clothes

If your workout wear can stand up and salute the flag, it's time for drastic cleansing measures. 

2 mins read
Muscle & Performance
February 2017