I am not a fan of turning your workouts into a circus and striving for huge variety of movements in every workout. Actually, I constantly repeat the same exercises or to be more precise I just vary the exercise variation or the method I incorporate. Multijoint, compound movements are at the basis of every healthy, strong, athletic and well shaped body. They are the exercises that lead to the desired hormonal output in the body, so we can reach the results we want. I won’t get tired from repeating that it is not just the food that matters for the body we want to carve. For me, workouts are the stimulus, and food is the gradient material – the symbiosis between the two, leads to the desired result.
Many people do not achieve their goals due to three reasons:
1.They do not challenge themselves enough – they do not send the right stimulus to their body.
When somebody tells me how he trains 4-5 times a week, yet he doesn’t have results, the problem is always that he just fools himself he is training enough and with high intensity. The time spend in the gym is not equivalent to the quality of the workout. In order to have progress, we need to get out of our comfort zone.
2.They do not allow their body to reach adaptation
As I wrote, in order to have progress, you do not need to vary a lot of exercises in your workouts. In order to have progress, we need to give our body the opportunity to adapt. Actually, evolution by itself is all about adaptation to external stimulus. The same is true for the body and the workouts. What I try to do is to perform the same workout, about 6 times, before I change it. I learned this from Olga Kalivoda from Wolf Gate Gym. This doesn’t mean that you do the same workout 6 times in a row. It means, that if for example your training program has 3-4 workouts, they alternate, until each one of them is performed 6 times. During this time, we can change the variations, but not the whole structure of the workout.
3.They keep training the same way, after their body has already adapted
When it comes to workout programming, it is important to reach a certain balance between giving the body the opportunity to adapt and thus to progress and avoiding the plateau, when there is no external stimulus, which helps the body to build on what it is right now.
This is why, today I will share one of my favorite methods, which helps me bring variety and challenge my body. For example, right now I am using mechanical drop sets for my upper body.
Mechanical Drop Set
The idea behind mechanical drop sets, is that instead of decreasing the weight with every other set, you just perform an easier variation of the exercise. I will give you a couple examples. The first one is from my present training program.
Mechanical drop set – pushing movements
I do dumbbell bench press in the following way:
I do 3 sets of 8 reps in a row, with 10 sec. rest in between.
1.I do one set at 60 degrees incline.
2.I do the second set at 45 degrees incline.
3.I do the third set at 30 degrees incline
Thus, every next set is an easier variation of the one before that and it helps you activate even more muscle fibers. Then, I rest 2 minutes and I repeat three more times.
Mechanical Drop Set – pulling movements
Another variation of a mechanical drop set, when it comes to pulling movements is as follows:
1.Pull ups for 6-8 reps (you can do them weighted)
10 sec rest
2.3-4 negative pull ups – with this movement, you are performing just the eccentric phase of the movement, which makes it easier.
10 sec rest
Maximal number of horizontal pull ups – this movement is an even easier variation of a pulling movement.
10 sec rest
Then you rest for 2 minutes and repeat three more times.
When it comes to mechanical drop sets, it is really important to have enough rest, so you have great results.
Mechanical drop set – squats.
A third option for mechanical drop set when it comes to squats:
1.Squats with elevated heels – you choose a weight that allows you to perform 8-10 reps
2.Back squat – you perform a standard back squat – again 8-10 reps.
3.Jumping sumo squat – maximal number of reps.
Mechanical drop set – leg curl
The forth option for a mechanical drop set is something I did with Olga Kalivoda, during my internship in Wolf Gate Gym.
Even though I am a fan of free weights, I really enjoy the leg curl machine. I do not use it very often, because in IFS we do not have one, but if you have a machine like that, you can do the following mechanical drop set.
1.Turn your toes inward and perform 6-8 reps (choose a weight that challenges you, yet your last rep is not a failure)
10 sec rest
2.Turn your feet parallel and perform 6-8 reps.
10 sec rest
3.Turn your toes outward and perform 6-8 reps.
2 minutes rest
The idea is that once again, by changing the position of your feet, every next set of the exercise is getting easier (you won’t feel it that way, because you will feel some fatigue) and you manage to activate more muscle fibers.
Try some of the mechanical drop sets and then write me if you like them. I will be happy if you share your ideas for a mechanical drop set of your favorite exercises. In my next post, I will share with you some other methods that I use.