Mechanical Drop Sets for Muscle Growth

By Trey Armstrong

 

Drop sets are one of those bodybuilding "shocking" techniques that have been used for the past 100 years in order to build muscle and push past any type of muscle-building plateau that one might be going through.

They are extremely effective at pushing the envelope and forcing your body into a corner so it has no choice but to get bigger and stronger.

However, there is a little twist that you can add to a traditional drop-set to make it that much harder. First let's recap a little bit if you're not sure how to perform a traditional drop-set during a lift.

We'll use the back-squat as an example.

Let's say you go through your warm-ups and load the bar up with 315, which you can normally get for 15 repetitions. You un-rack the bar, hit 15 reps, and then rack it again.

From there, you strip off 1, 45 pound plate on each side and immediately bang out another 15 reps. From there, you rack the weight again, strip off another 45 pound plate on each side and maybe add a 25 pounder in it's place. From there, you do another immediate set for 10, then rack the bar and collapse to the ground.

That was all one encompassing set with basically 3 mini sets. This is the example of a traditional drop-set and it can be done for most exercises.

Mechanical drop sets

 

Now, a mechanical drop set is simply a change in the mechanical advantage of an exercise in order to prolong the set.

For example we'll use barbell curls to illustrate my above point. When you're doing a barbell curl, the weakest grip if you were to do them supinated (underhand) would be a narrow grip and the strongest grip would be a wide grip. So if you were to implement a mechanical drop set for barbell curls it would look like this…

Mechanical 1: Narrow Grip For 8 Reps To Failure
Mechanical 2: Medium Grip For 5-6 Reps To Failure
Mechanical 3: Wide Grip For 4-5 Reps To Failure

So now that you got the gist of what a mechanical drop set looks like, let's go ahead and put together an entire program that you can do starting today to get bigger and stronger. Now with any muscle-building program, make sure you're eating above your maintenance level of calories, especially on this program since you'll be inducing a tremendous amount of damage.

Monday: Chest/Back Width
Tuesday: Quads/Calves
Wednesday: Shoulders/Triceps
Thursday: Off
Friday: Back Thickness/Hamstrings
Saturday: Biceps/Abs
Sunday: Off

 

Monday: Chest/Back Width

Note: AMAP means "as many as possible"

Incline Narrow Grip Smith Machine Press x 12 =>
Medium Grip x AMAP =>
Wide Grip x AMAP
(2 total sets)

Flat Bench Cable Cross-Over's x 12 =>
Weighted Narrow Grip Push-Ups =>
Weighted Wide Grip Push-Ups
(3 total sets)

Decline Barbell Bench Press To Neck x 12 =>
Decline Barbell Bench Press To Nipples x AMAP
(3 sets)

Wide Grip Pronated Pull-Ups x AMAP =>
Narrow Grip Supinated Pull-Ups x AMAP
(4 sets)

Standing Wide Grip Straight-Arm Pull Downs w/2 sec hold x 12 =>
Wide-Grip Pronated Pull-Downs x AMAP
(3 sets)

Supinated Narrow-Grip Grip Barbell Rows x 8 =>
Wide Grip x AMAP
(3 sets)

 

Tuesday: Quads/Calves

Front Squats x 6 =>
Half Back Squats x 6 =>
Box Squats x AMAP
(3 sets)

Weighted Barbell Jump Squats x 8 =>
Full ROM Back Squats x AMAP =>
Wide Stance Back Squats x AMAP
(2 sets)

Leg Extensions x 20 =>
Body-Weight Sissy Squats x AMAP =>
Body-Weight Jump Squats x AMAP
(2 sets)

Narrow Stance Leg Press x 20 =>
Medium Stance Leg Press x AMAP =>
Wide Stance Leg Press x AMAP
(2 sets)

Standing Calf Raises On Machine x 15 =>
Explosive Standing Calf Raises On Machine x AMAP =>
Top Half Calf Raises x AMAP
(4 sets)

Seated Calf Raises Left Leg x 15 =>
Seated Calf Raises Right Leg x 15 =>
Both Legs x AMAP =>
Both Legs Top Half Only x AMAP
(4 sets)

 

Wednesday: Shoulders/Triceps

Dumbbell Front Raises x 12 =>
Dumbbell Overhead Lateral Raises x AMAP =>
Dumbbell Neutral Grip Seated Presses x AMAP
(4 sets)

Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises x 12 =>
Dumbbell L-Lateral Raises x AMAP
(4 sets)

Reverse Grip Tricep Pressdowns x 12 =>
Overhand Grip Tricep Pressdowns x AMAP
(3 sets)

Weighted Dips x 8 =>
Body-Weight Dips x AMAP =>
Explosive Dips x AMAP
(3 sets)

Weighted Diamond Push-Ups x 10 =>
Dumbbell Feet Elevated Weighted Narrow Push-Ups x AMAP
(3 sets)

Lying Ez-Curl Bar Extensions Lowering To Forehead x 12 =>
Lying Ez-Curl Bar Extensions Lowering To Chin x AMAP
(2 sets)

 

Thursday: Off

 

Friday: Back Thickness/Hamstrings

Narrow Grip Dead-Lift x 6 =>
Sumo Dead-Lift x AMAP
(2 sets)

Pronated Grip Dumbbell Rows x 8 =>
Neutral Grip Dumbbell Rows x AMAP
(3 sets)

T-Bar Rows Overhand Wide Grip x 8 =>
T-Bar Rows Neutral Grip x AMAP
(3 sets)

Lying Leg Curls Narrow x 8 =>
Medium Stance x AMAP =>
Wide Stance x AMAP
(3 sets)

Manual Glute Ham Raises x 8 =>
Manual Glute Ham Raises Explosive x AMAP
(3 sets)

Weighted Back Extensions Left Leg x 10 =>
Right Leg x 10 => Both Legs AMAP
(3 sets)

 

Saturday: Biceps/Abs

Barbell Curls Narrow Grip x 12=>
Medium Grip x AMAP =>
Wide Grip x AMAP
(3 sets)

Seated Barbell Preacher Curls x 10 =>
Standing Barbell Curls x AMAP =>
Cheat Curls x AMAP
(3 sets)

Reverse Barbell Curls x 12 =>
Dumbbell Hammer Curls x 12
(3 sets)

Rocking Planks x 30 =>
Planks x AMAP =>
Crunches x AMAP
(4 sets)

 

Sunday: Off

I want you to try this program for the next 6 weeks and really push it. I'm not normally a proponent for training to failure, but this is going to fry you especially if you're not used to this type of training. Load up on the calories, carbs, protein and healthy fats. Push it for the next 6 weeks then back off for the 7th week to allow the super-compensation effect to take place.

 

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