The Mechanical Drop Set From Hell
In this time of quarantine, we are ALL forced to make adjustments to home workouts, making lighter loads go farther, utilizing our own body weight for training, and trying to become as creative as possible. I am not going to lie, a large part of this has been FUN, and trying to find positives from the challenges that we face every day has been a truly enriching experience.
One of the most time tested methods to induce gains in the gym is through the use of “drop sets.” In fact, drop sets could be seen as capturing the “Holy Trinity” of muscular development: metabolic stress, mechanical tension, and muscular damage. Drop sets require you to go to muscular fatigue with a relatively “heavy load” (typically in the 8-15 rep range), immediately “drop weight”, go to fatigue again, and then repeat that process 1-2 more times, all with minimal rest.
Painful? Yes. Effective? Even more so.
Drop sets all you to go “heavy” on the initial set (mechanical tension), allow you to accumulate quite a bit of damage to the muscle from the amount of time under tension at high intensity, and of course, they burn like hell, which is a sure indicator that there is a lot of metabolic stress (your muscles screaming for oxygen).
But what if you don’t have access to a full rack of dumbbells, a row of kettlebells, a barbell with plates, or Hammer Strength machines?
Fear not, because you can STILL do drop sets with your own body weight, and in fact, they are often MORE intense. Enter, the “Mechanical Drop Set.”
Mechanical Drop Sets all you to take a bodyweight movement, and by changing the body position or angle, “drop” into a “regressed” version of the same movement or muscle group, continuing the set while adhering to the basic principles of a standard drop set. Try out this “Mechanical Drop Set from Hell” for your chest, if you have trouble activating your pecs, or feeling any soreness in that area, this bad boy will surely cure you of that!
Perform a set of CONTROLLED pushups, with your feet on a box, for :35. SQUEEZE the hell out of every rep, trying to “roll up” the floor by “sliding” your hands towards each other. Of course, they will not move, but that intention alone will SMOKE your pecs. If this is too easy, then squeeze harder! Still too easy? FIne, Hercules, grab a band or backpack, but remember, you are keeping that on for the rest of this! You should be hitting 8-10 reps, and coming damn close to muscular fatigue.
At the end of the initial :35, drop to the floor. You have :05 before the start of the next set, and to be honest, that “rest” is just a formality. Immediately proceed into the next set of “standard” pushups, again hitting 8-10 reps in :35. As the fatigue mounts, and the pain builds, you need to go to a dark place, and push yourself to really drive through those reps…those are your money makers! Of course, you never want to hurt yourself, I am talking about muscular discomfort here, not joint pain. If you are fatiguing early, drop to your knees and continue, but DO NOT stop!
Take the fastest :05 of your life to whip around, place your hands on the box, and do “hand elevated” pushups. Slow, controlled, intentional. These seemingly “easy” pushups will become much more difficult than you ever imagined, but that is the point! By employing a serious amount of pre-fatigue to the muscle fibers, we can take extremely effective movements (like the hands elevated pushup) that are difficult to “load” to a suitable intensity level, and make them extremely effective.
Perform 1-3 “rounds” of this, as part of your next training session, and let me know what you think! I have listed the protocol below, in addition to a “beginner” version, as this one is pretty advanced.
Chest Mechanical Drop Set for Beginners
- Negative ONLY (Lower from feet, pushup on knees) Pushups x :35, Rest :05
- Pushups from Knees x :35, Rest :05
- Hands Elevated Pushups x :35
Chest Mechanical Drop Set From Hell
- Feet Elevated Pushups x :35, Rest :05
- Pushups from Floor x :35, Rest :05
- Hands Elevated Pushups x :35