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Ascending Drop Sets Full-Split

This 4-week program modifies the classic drop set technique for better gains in muscle size and strength... while also torching body fat.

Full-split ascending drop sets training program

I'm reinventing the classic drop set technique yet again, flipping it upside down and also making it even more conducive to building new muscle while shredding body fat. 

If you’ve been doing my #TrainWithJim workouts for a while now, you may remember my week-long Full-Body Ascending Drop Sets routine that I introduced last fall (September 2018). It's a standard full-body routine, and it's ideal for fat loss – but full-body training falls a bit short for muscle mass and strength gains. That’s why I developed my Stoppani Full-Split (SFS) system, which combines full-body training with body-part splits.

My new program here is the Full-Split version of Ascending Drop Sets. It's also being extended to a full 4-week program. The extra time length combined with the SFS principles will allow you to really sink your teeth into ascending drop sets and see great gains in size, strength, and fat loss.

For a rundown of the Ascending Drop Sets 20-10-5 methodology, read the original overview here: Full-Body Ascending Drop Sets.

Ascending Drop Sets Full-Split Breakdown

So what's changed structurally from the original Ascending Drop Sets program? The main difference is the training split. You’ll now be training six days a week, hitting all 10 muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, legs, biceps, triceps, traps, forearms, abs, calves) in every workout. But as with my other Full-Split programs, select “focus” body parts in each workout will get additional training volume in the form of more exercises. All non-focus muscle groups will get just one exercise.

However, the "full-body portion" of each workout is technically optional, and as I mentioned above, it serves to maximize fat loss. But if fat loss isn't a priority for you right now, you can simply follow the split training portion and skip the exercises for the remaining muscle groups. 

Here’s the weekly training split for the program, showing the focus muscle groups and how many exercises they’ll get per workout. (All other muscle groups contained in the full-body portion get one exercise per.)

Workout 1: Back and Calves focus (5 back exercises, 2 calf exercises)

Workout 2: Chest and Abs focus (4 chest exercises, 2 ab exercises)

Workout 3: Legs and Calves focus (5 leg exercises, 2 calf exercises)

Workout 4: Shoulders and Traps focus (4 shoulder exercises, 3 trap exercises)

Workout 5: Biceps, Forearms, and Abs focus (4 biceps exercises, 2 forearm exercises, 2 ab exercises)

Workout 6: Triceps and Calves focus (4 triceps exercises, 2 calf exercises)

Ascending Drop Sets Recap

The training split is different in this version from the original, but the sets and reps for "focus" muscle groups exercise remain the same (with one "twist" I'll share in a moment). In case you haven't read the original Full-Body Ascending Drop Sets article yet, I'll give you a quick rundown here on how the 20-10-5 scheme works.

Simply put, Ascending Drop Sets is a method in which you add weight (hence, “ascending”) and drop the rep count on consecutive sets of a given exercise. This is in contrast to standard drop sets, where you decrease weight during the set. Since you’re adding weight on this version without resting, the reps will obviously need to decrease.

Here’s what one ascending drop set looks like:

Set #1: Do 20 reps to failure with a relatively light weight. The early part of this set will serve as a warm-up, but the weight should be challenging enough to make the muscles work hard on the last 5-10 reps.

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