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Barbell Club – Phase 6 – 6/6/2016

Posted 5th June 2016 by Jenna Fisher

Millhouse calves

The last phase saw some great work from everyone on single leg exercises and getting the bis and tris stacked. This phase will focus on shoulders and back for upper body and will return to the main lifts for lower body with single leg work moving to accessory. (So you boys don’t get too twitchy rest assured that chest will return with a vengeance in the next phase).

This phase is increasing the intensity with drop sets. For lower body we are changing the stance/grip for the drops so that these multi-faceted muscles are targeted from different angles. For upper body we are using pre-exhaust superset drops. This is an intense technique so should be used sparingly to prevent over-training. (Point being, don’t try to start using this on all your exercises and all your sets in open gym).

If you have not done drop sets before this is briefly how they work:

If 4 sets of 10 reps are prescribed complete the first three sets as standard with your 10 rep max weight. After you’ve completed the fourth set with the 10 rep max weight immediately (after 5-15 secs rest – use as little as possible) perform a second set of 10 with 15% less weight, then immediately (after 5-15 secs rest – again as little as possible) perform a second drop of 15% for a final 10 reps.

The variables can change – less rest (zero), change in the number of reps per drop, change in the % of weight dropped, change in the grip/stance per drop, pre-exhaust supersets etc. Check the notes in the programming for the prescription.

Work in teams of three. The two people resting can strip one side of the bar each for your drop sets. Make sure you are organised and have the bar loaded in a way that makes this as quick as possible.

Note that it is important to use your rep max weight for the standard set otherwise when you drop it will be too light to achieve anything more than a pump and flush. With the appropriate weight the drop sets can bring longer lasting results by cumulatively recruiting more muscle fibres thereby creating growth that would not be achieved when stopping after a standard set.

That said, as mentioned before, please be aware that using drop sets too frequently can lead to burn out / overtraining. As a guideline stick to the 3:1 method (3 standard sets and 1 drop set) and the majority of the time just two drops as there is a point of diminishing return.

Please continue with your structural balance exercises from testing week in warm up or in your own time before/after class. Once in class, half of you will start on lower and half on upper to ensure enough equipment is available for the drop sets. If you work in a team who lift roughly the same weight you should be able to rotate through the lifts/equipment/rest periods quite fluidly.

Silver weight plates can be used for the lateral raises if DBs run short. If you cannot achieve full ROM on the ring rows with your feet on a box leave the rings for the people who can and do cable rows instead. If you come to a period of having to wait too long for equipment to set up for the As or Bs you can do the C or D exercise to fill the time until the equipment is free. That said, with team work and basic organisation skills we should be able to keep this smooth with little to no waiting around.

Most of all, keep good form, enjoy, and make sure it burns.

Barbell Club Phase 6