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12-minute functional fitness

Using the power law to fail faster, get stronger, and live longer

A graph from Thiel’s lecture on the power law applied to startups. Image Credit: Blake Masters

How to: the Push-up Drop Set

How to bring about total muscle failure in a 5–6 minute workout using bodyweight only.

1. Start with a pushup form that will lead you to failure within 60–90 seconds. I use a downward incline (“decline”) with my feet about 1.5' above my hands.

2. “Drop” the resistance by lowering your feet relative to your hands. If you started in a decline, move to a regular pushup. If you started with a regular pushup, move to an incline or kneeling pushup.

3. Drop the resistance one or two more times — spending no more than 5 or 6 minutes total.

By the end of the 6 minutes, you should be at complete muscle failure.

DIY Body by Science: N=1

Additional Resources

Read my concise notes — 90 percent of the information is contained in 10 percent of the book.
Subscribe and get the cartoon guide to the Big 5 power law workout

Videos inspiration for a well-rounded routine:

Other Exercises that fit the Power Law

Podcasts about High Intensity Strength Training:

Seastead solutions.

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