Curated By Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.
One of the great secrets to building arm size is mastering something called the mechanical dropset. A mechanical dropset has you doing a challenging exercise until failure, and then immediately switching to a slightly easier exercise.
This allows you to push past your normal point of fatigue, challenging the muscles you’re training for a few extra reps – and it works especially well when training arms. Your biceps and triceps respond well to high-rep long-duration sets, and that’s exactly what you get here.
Try out these two mechanical dropsets in your training this month. Do 2-3 sets of each move, and you have a quick and ultra-efficient arm workout that’s also plenty of fun, too.
1. BICEPS DROPSET
1A) Reverse Zottman Curl
Hold your Nuobells at your sides, palms facing each other. Curl both bells to your chest, then rotate the weights so your palms face you. Slowly lower down, aiming to take 2-3 seconds to do this.
Aim for 8-10 reps; you’re piling up time-under-tension by controlling the negative.
1B) Alternating Hammer Curl
When you can’t do any more reverse Zottmans, begin doing standard alternating hammer curls, curling each dumbbell toward your chest while keeping your palm in a neutral position. By alternating reps, you’re giving yourself a slight “rest” between each rep. You’ve also removed eccentric contraction of the Zottman and the twisting action.
Fight for another 4-6 reps at least (or more!).
2. TRICEPS DROPSET
2A) Alternating Skullcrusher
Lie on a bench with your Nuobells held directly over your shoulders. Tip your elbows back towards your head just slightly, then lower the dumbbells to your shoulders. Alternately straighten one arm then the other.
Each rep isolates your triceps and pushes you to contract it without the aid of any momentum.
Aim for 6-8 reps per arm.
2B) JM Press
When you can’t do any more alternating skullcrushers, shift the weights directly over your shoulders. Keeping your arms close to your torso, lower your elbows toward your ribcage and try to touch the tips of the bells to your shoulders. Press back up. You isolated your tris on the skullcrusher; now you’re allowing your shoulder and chest muscles to help just a bit.
Fight for 4- 6 reps (or push for more if you can again!).
Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.
Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He’s logged training time with NFL athletes and track athletes.
His current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga.
Ebenezer has had multiple prestigious positions including serving as a sports and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.