HOW TO INCREASE THE WORK YOU DO WITHOUT SACRIFICING TECHNIQUE
ALLEGIATE YEAR 3, BLOCK 4
MECHANICAL DROP SETS
Behind the Block is a segment where we teach you about the science, design, and methods behind the Allegiate workouts. Why do we do what we do? And what makes it work?
Before we go on, remember that we have 2 central themes to our training blocks. 1) Intensification (power, strength, speed) and 2) Accumulation (volume, body composition, work capacity).
And they’re not mutually exclusive – you get both strength and conditioning in both themes. But we design our training this way because it’s more sustainable, smarter, and gets a better ROI over the long-haul.
The theme of this accumulation block is Mechanical Drop Sets
Accumulation block is all about time under tension and density. We can achieve higher outputs if we sustain longer bouts of time under tension with heavier loads in a fixed period of time.
The caveat here is the increased tension coincides with an increased potential for breakdown of technique. Poor technique could result in injury.
Therein lies the challenge: how do you do create more time under tension without a technical breakdown?
Utilizing Mechanical Drop Sets.
In all exercises, we can leverage specific positions and angles to maximize the ability to generate force without technical breakdown.
Scientifically, these positions and angles come down to three things:
Pennation Angle (Pennate and Parallel)
Joint Type (Pivot, Hinge, Saddle, Plane, Condyloid, and Ball-and-Socket)
Levers (First Class, Second Class, and Third Class).
To create tension without a technical breakdown, we execute movements that we are naturally stronger in later in the set.
You can back squat more than you can front squat. You can flat bench more than you incline bench. You can neutral grip pull up more than you can pull up.
Remember – we are trying to lengthen time under tension and maintain technique. To do that, we utilize mechanical advantages to keep lines of tension and positions intact.
From a bioenergetic perspective, we can tap into more fuel substrates: ATP, PCR, Glycogen, and Fatty Acids.
The more we add density (volume in a fixed period of time) with a lowered risk (from adjusting the mechanical advantage) the more substrates we can utilize.
By utilizing Higher-Threshold/Compound/Multi Joint movements we tap into a lot more “hormonal” response and will continue to burn more throughout the day (6).
Lastly, by incorporating 12-15 reps in our B Series, we further tap into that bioenergetic pathway of burning fuel substrates at an accelerated level. We can accomplish higher levels of hypertrophy and body compositional changes this way.
Baechle TR. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning In: National Strength and Conditioning Association (Second ed.). New York Human Kinetics 2000.