Log In
Challenge-banner

Oxford Drop Sets

My 4-week, split-body version of the Oxford method will deliver the same great muscle-boosting and fat-burning results as the full-body version in only four days a week.

Oxford Drop Sets

Oxford Drop Sets Program Snapshot

  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Workouts per Week: 4
  • Training Split: 2-day split, repeated twice a week — chest, back, shoulders, traps, abs on days 1 and 3;  legs, calves, triceps, biceps, forearms on days 2 and 4.
  • Equipment: Commercial gym or well-equipped home gym.
  • Featured Technique: Drop sets
  • Rep Ranges: 10 reps per set for three sets per exercise, performed as one set to failure + two drop sets (as opposed to three straight sets of 10 reps)
  • Rest Periods: No rest between sets of the same exercise, and as little rest as possible between exercises
  • Cardio: cardioacceleration  between exercises, or  HIIT cardio  at the end of the workout or on rest days.
  • Meal Plan: Muscle-Building Rules to maximize mass-gaining; Dieting 101  or  Intermittent Fasting  to maximize fat loss.
  • Summary: Oxford Drop Sets is a program that on paper looks like a traditional 3-sets-of-10 workout, but it's not. For every exercise, you'll do one continuous set of 30 reps using three different weights — 10 reps with each weight, where resistance gets progressively lighter in drop set fashion.
  • Note: If you’re a beginner or just getting back to the gym after an extended time away (months or years), this program will likely be too intense/advanced for you. If you’re a beginner, consider my Beginner to Advanced Program before doing this program.

I recently introduced my Whole-Body Oxford Drop Sets program – an effective five-day routine for building size and strength and shedding bodyfat.

But not everyone is as into full-body training as I am, so I've also designed a split-body version of my Oxford method. It's a 4-week that will deliver comparable to the full-body version in one fewer day per week.

In my 4-week version of the Oxford Drop Set system, you'll do a 2-day split (training your entire body over the course of two days) and train a total of four days per week for four weeks. Or, you can go at your own pace and complete all 16 workouts faster or slower than 4 weeks.

You'll train chest, back, shoulders, traps, and abs in one workout (days 1 and 3 each week) and legs, calves, triceps, biceps, and forearms in the other (days 2 and 4). On days 1 and 2 each week you'll do multijoint (compound) exercises first for each muscle group, followed by single-joint (isolation) moves; then, on days 3 and 4, you'll switch the order and do isolation movements first to take advantage of the pre-exhaust technique.

Your goal is to use more weight on each set of each exercise than the previous week.

Other than the training split and how many exercises you'll do per muscle group per workout, the technique for each exercise is the same for both full-body and split-body versions. Here's an overview of the Oxford protocol for those who missed in my initial article...

Oxford Drop Sets Overview

The Oxford Method is a popular descending pyramid technique that many people use without even knowing it. It's based around 10 reps – a rep count we’ve all employed countless times in the gym. My version of the Oxford Method has the familiar set-rep scheme of 3x10, but you’ve never done it quite like this before. 

Those of you following my #TrainWithJim series on social media, as well here on JimStoppani.com, may recall the DeLorme ascending pyramid technique; it showed up on Day 7 in my Circuit Maximus program. My Oxford Drop Sets start where DeLorme left off, going in the opposite direction – starting out heavy and reducing the weight as you go.

The standard Oxford Descending Pyramid system starts Set #1 with your 10-rep max taken to failure. You then rest a few minutes and reduce the weight just enough to ensure you get another 10 reps. You rest a few more minutes and again reduce the weight just enough to allow you to squeeze out another 10 reps on that exercise. That’s the basic foundation of bodybuilding training – 3 sets of 10 reps.

Sound pretty easy? Don’t get too comfortable. I’m about to shake things up.

Program Summary

In my souped-up version of the Oxford technique, you get NO REST between the 3 sets of 10 reps. Well, technically you get the time it takes you to quickly strip off enough weight to complete another 10 reps on the exercise – but that's it in terms of downtime. It's basically one set to failure, plus 2 drops, per exercise.

The intensity will be higher than with the traditional Oxford system due to the slashed rest periods, but the added benefit of this (other than more muscle because of the intensity boost) is that it won’t take you as long to get through three sets.

There’s one more catch, though: If you don't reduce the weight enough to complete ALL 10 reps on subsequent drop sets, you’ll need to rest-pause until you complete all reps. To do this, once you hit failure – let's say it was on rep #7 of either of the drop sets – you’ll set the weight down and rest for 10-20 seconds, then continue doing reps until you reach 10 total, in this case 3 reps. This way, you're accountable for collecting all the required work. To get RESULTS, you have to do the work!

In my full-body version, you picked two exercises per muscle group and employed the Oxford Drop Sets technique for each. In the split-body version, you'll be doing 3-4 exercises per muscle group (four for large muscle groups, three for smaller ones).

You’ll find all four weekly workouts in my split-body Oxford Drop Sets program below. But first, here's a quick summary of the program.

Split-Body Oxford Drop Sets Cheat Sheet

Length of Program: 4 weeks

Number of Workouts Per Week: 4

Muscle Groups Trained in Each Workout: 5 (chest, back, shoulders, traps, abs on days 1 and 3;  legs, calves, triceps, biceps, forearms on days 2 and 4)

Number of Exercises Performed Per Muscle Group Per Workout: 4 for large muscle groups, 3 for smaller ones

Sets & Reps for Each Exercise: 3x10 – performed as one set to failure + two drop sets (as opposed to three straight sets of 10 reps)

Protocol for Each Exercise: Start with your 10-rep max (10RM) and go to failure; without resting, immediately drop the weight significantly and do 10 more reps (drop set #1); drop the weight again with no rest and do 10 more reps (drop set #2). If on either (or both) of the drop sets you aren't able to reach 10 reps initially, rest-pause until you reach 10. Make sure you reach 30 total reps on each exercise.

Rest Time Between Exercises: Rest as long as you need to between exercises. That's up to you. Just remember, the less rest you take, the quicker the workout.

Oxford Drop Sets — Weeks 1-4

For all of the exercises listed, perform the 3 sets of 10 reps using the Oxford Drop Sets protocol described above. Repeat these workouts for all four weeks with a goal of increasing weight each week on each exercise.

Download Program Here

Week 1
Day 1: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Traps, Abs

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 2: Legs, Calves, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 3: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Traps, Abs

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 4: Legs, Calves, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

This content is for members only - Sign up now

Week 2
Day 1: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Traps, Abs

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 2: Legs, Calves, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 3: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Traps, Abs

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 4: Legs, Calves, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

This content is for members only - Sign up now

Week 3
Day 1: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Traps, Abs

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 2: Legs, Calves, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 3: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Traps, Abs

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 4: Legs, Calves, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

This content is for members only - Sign up now

Week 4
Day 1: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Traps, Abs

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 2: Legs, Calves, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 3: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Traps, Abs

This content is for members only - Sign up now

 

Day 4: Legs, Calves, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

This content is for members only - Sign up now

Download Program Here

 

... Subscribe to read more!


Get 30 Days For $1


Related Articles