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High Intensity Back Training – Heavy Ass Dropsets


I’ve been focusing on high intensity training protocols in my workouts recently. I typically cycle between rest-pause, isometrics, slow-eccentrics, and heavy dropsets across 3-4 week blocks.

In your workouts, you don’t only need to push the amount of weight you lift, you need to push your limits.  By varying training parameters like rest periods, weight on the bar, exercises you use, and tempo – and using these types of high-intensity protocols – you can keep adapting and making positive strides toward your strength training and muscle building goals.

To demonstrate this concept, here is a recent upper body workout.

Heavy Dropsets – Up and Down the Ladder

Here is a new way to look at dropsets.

One of the biggest issues when lifters use dropsets is that they drop the weight too far.  The goal is to stimulate muscle growth and muscle fiber damage (microtrauma).  And you lose this training effect if you go too light.

Of course, you’ll still stimulate muscle growth with lighter weights, but it is going to take a TON more reps and you’ll turn your workout session into a marathon.  The goal is to get in and out of the gym in the most efficient and fastest way possible.

Here is how you can flip the switch on dropsets.

When you get to the end of the set, turn-it-around, and go back UP the ladder.  Besides the blood shooting out of your eyes, your muscles will literally tear off the bone.

You know what else this type of extended set training does?  It builds massive amounts of muscle.

You will also notice that I used Fat Gripz for the first down set and went to Extreme Fat Gripz on the way back up!  This turned the exercise into a max effort.

The Breakdown

Here is how to setup your own up-and-down dropset.

Pick an exercise and load it up.  Shoot for a weight that you can hit 4-5 reps.  Then, for each progressive set, drop the weight and double the reps.

Video Example:


Set 1:  4-5 RM for t-bar rows, hit 4 reps

Set 2: Drop weight, hit 8 reps

Set 3: Drop weight, hit 16 reps

Set 4: Drop weight, hit 32 reps


Set 5: Keep weight the same, hit 20 reps (changed to Extreme Fat Gripz)

Set 6: Add weight, hit 10 reps

Set 7: Add weight, hit 5 reps

Set 8: Add weight, hit 2-3 reps


Try out this ladder technique with your favorite chest, back, shoulder, bicep, tricep, or leg exercise!

Let me know in the comments how you liked it after you try it out!

By on June 12th, 2013


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Comment (1)

  1. Posted by - TomO on June 13, 2013

    Hi Smitty, firstly, good effort! Are you using a reduced ROM to keep biceps out of the exercise and concentrate on back? Thanks..

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