The Power of Mechanical Drop Sets
A mechanical drop set is a method where you combine 2 to 4 variations of an exercise into one long compound set. You start with the weakest exercise variation and work your way up to the strongest. That way, when you hit a point where you can't complete more good reps on one exercise, you move on to different variation of the exercise where you're stronger so you can continue to do reps with the same weight.
This allows you to continue to load the target muscle even when that muscle is too tired to keep performing the initial exercise. This will fatigue more muscle fibers. Also, changing angles recruits different fibers. The result? More muscle growth.
The Arm Workout
Begin your arm workout with regular, heavier biceps and triceps exercises, something like this:
- A1. Preacher Curl, Close Grip 4 x 6 reps, 45 seconds of rest
- A2. Close-Grip Bench Press 4 x 6 reps, 60 seconds of rest
Note: A1 and A2 tells you this is a superset. You do a set of preacher curls, take a short rest, then do a set of close-grip bench presses. Do a total of 4 rounds.
Now we get to the mechanical drop sets. It's two compound sets, one for the biceps and the other for the triceps, performed in alternating fashion. Do 3 or 4 sets.
B1. Standing EZ-Bar Curl, Mechanical Drop Set
Start with 8-12 reps on the first variation and do as many solid reps as possible on the other movements.
- Leaning back about 20 degrees (keep elbows forward)
- Normal standing curl
- Standing curl bent forward about 20 degrees
45 seconds of rest
B2. Lying EZ-Bar Triceps Extension, Mechanical Drop Set
Start with 8-12 reps on the first exercise variation. Do as many solid reps as possible on the other movements.
- Triceps extension to forehead (use a controlled eccentric or negative)
- Triceps pullover and extension
- Close-grip press
45 seconds of rest
These two mechanical drop sets target all three portions of the arm flexors (biceps long head, biceps short head, brachialis) and arm extensors (triceps long head, medial head) giving you the most bang for your buck.
Note: You can also use the hammer/neutral grip variation on the curl, using a kettlebell.