Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Drop Set Routine - Frank Zane (2003)

"The Mind in Bodybuilding"
digital edition - 

It's true.
I've dropped the number of sets I do for each exercise by doing drop sets. Now it's down to one set of each exercise, a drop set very demanding.

Here's how it works: For front pulldowns I'd been doing 12 reps with 135 pounds and then 10 with 150 on my second set. Now I do 5 reps with 135 as a warmup to get the groove of the movement, then immediately jump to 150 for 10-12 reps. Then, without any rest I drop the weight back to 135 and do 6-8 more reps. The result is a pretty intense burn in the muscles worked.

I make sure to do all reps in good form with a slower negative than positive and do my last rep completely without failing. I don't attempt a rep if there's any doubt about succeeding in my mind. Immediately afterwards I do the 2-Arm Lat Stretch and move on to the next exercise. 

Drop sets are simple to do with equipment that has a selectorized weight stack. I put two pins in, and pull the bottom pin when I'm ready to drop. It's even easier if you are training with a partner who can pull the pin for you. I've been getting a tremendous pump using these drop sets and I'm even more sore than before on the day following my workout. Now my workouts are shorter, more intense, and I look forward to having to do only one set of each exercise. True, it's a tough set, but once you do it you don't have to go back and do the same thing again. Redundancy is eliminated. 

Here's the program:

Day One - Back, Shoulders, and Chest

 - Front Pulldown - 135x5, 150x10, 135x6.
2-arm lat stretch 15 seconds.

 - Rear Delt Machine - 80x12, drop to 70x8.
Rear delt stretch 15 seconds.

 - Close Grip Pulldown - 135x12, 120x8.
One arm shoulder stretch 15 seconds.

 - Pullover Machine - 120x12, 95x8.

 - One Arm Machine Row - 80x12, 60x8.
One arm lat stretch 15 seconds.

 - One Arm DB Side Raise - 15x12, 10x8.
One arm shoulder stretch 15 seconds.

 - Incline DB Press - 40's x 12, 30's x 8.
Doorway stretch 15 seconds.

 - Soloflex Front Press (3 springs each side) 25x12, 15x8.
Doorway stretch 15 seconds.

 - Pec Deck - 145x10, 130x6, 115x4.

 - Ab Work - 200 total reps of hanging knee ups and crunches.

Day Two - Calves and Thighs

I'll go into more detail with this day's workout.

No drop sets for the first two calf exercises. Instead I hold each rep for a 5-count at the top for 15-20 reps each set to a burn.
 - Standing Calf Raise 
With balls of feet on a calf block, descend into low position and push up and hold the heels in up position for a 5-count. Do 15-20 reps until a burn. This can be done on a Leg Blaster, Smith Machine, or standing calf machine.

 - Donkey Calf Raise
On Nautilus Multi Purpose machine or with partner sitting on lower back (or an appropriate method of your devising), hold each rep at the top for a 5 count doing 15-20 reps until a burn is felt.
120x5, 110x5, 100x5.

 - Leg Curl
It's early in my routine since it works the calves too. Curl the weight all the way up to lightly touch the glutes, and without holding, lower slowly to starting position. A good leg curl machine is vital to developing the hamstrings. Don't forget to do one leg up stretch immediately after each set.
90x12, drop to 70x8.

 - Leg Extension
With feet behind rollers and leaning back (this works the upper quads more), extend the legs all the way up and without stopping (this could be hard on the knees) lower slowly to the starting position. I sometimes pause here between reps to get my bearing on how hard to push the weight for a full rep.
150x12, 130x8. One leg back stretch 30 seconds.

 - Adductor Hip Machine
Working the inner thigh (adductors) is important for alleviating lower back pain. Bring the roller in towards the center of the body, then repeat with the other leg. Leaning slightly forward puts some tension on the abdominals.
90x12, 70x8. Leg spread stretch 30 seconds.

 - Leg Press
 With feet low on the platform (heels should be hanging off - this puts more tension on the thighs and less on the butt and lower back), bring the platform back (or downward if you are using an incline or vertical leg press machine) as fare as possible and then push outward (or upward) until the knees are not quite locked out. I try to keep my knees horizontally in line with my toes on each rep. Sometimes if you are going deep in this exercise there's a tendency to spread the knees, putting stress on them. Putting your feet higher on the platform enables you to use more weight, but will build your glutes. I seldom use more than 250 pounds in this exercise.
200x12, 160x8. One leg back stretch 15 seconds.

 - Upright (Leg Blaster) Squat
With upper body perpendicular to the floor, descend slowly into a rock bottom position with knees in line with toes, them push upwards until the knees are almost locked out. This keeps tension on the thighs.
115x12, 75x8. One leg back stretch 15 seconds.

These will just wipe me out, so I take a good rest and catch my breath before I do a total of 200 reps on leg raise, crunches, and one arm cable crunch (for obliques).

Day Three - Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

 - Close Grip Bench Press on Smith Machine
100x12, drop to 80x8. Arms back stretch 15 seconds.

 - Dip Machine
150x12, 130x8.
without any rest I move to 

 - Overhead Triceps Extension
45x12, 35x8. One arm shoulder stretch 15 seconds.

 - Preacher Cable Curl
100x12, 80x8.

 - Panatta Machine Curl
55x12, 44x8.
I've noticed that my right arm has gotten a little smaller than my left so I do one set of One Arm DB Extension 12 reps with 25 pounds and One Arm Panatta Curl Machine 12 reps with 44 pounds for my right arm only. Then it's on to forearm work, no drop sets here:

 - EZ Bar Reverse Curl

 - Barbell Wrist Curl

Ab work is the same as Day One.

I get about an hour's worth of aerobic activity by walking my dog Tyler in the park several days a week. When the time is right I'll start adding treadmill walking at the end of each workout. This is part of my New Year's resolution. I will probably work up to 15 minutes each day walking at 3.5 miles per hour.


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