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Upper Body Barbell Drop Set Workout

So, I’m still loving the barbell! I’m telling you I just feel stronger using them.

Anyway, my goal is to increase my overall muscle mass and in order to do so, I have to increase the amount of weight I use when I lift. For me, it’s easy to kind of get stuck lifting the same amount of weight every time I go to the gym. That weight is typically somewhere between 8-25 pounds for my upper body. There is certainly nothing wrong with that weight, but to build muscle, I’ve got to venture out of my comfort zone and lift even heavier. The barbell is slowly becoming my go-to piece of equipment on weight training days.

There are lots of different kinds of drop sets. I chose a descending drop set method which meant I started with high reps (and lower weights), then decreased my reps and increased my weight. I typically did 12 reps followed by 10, 8, 6, and sometimes 4. With most of the moves, I increased my weight just slightly because my muscles were dead after each exercise. With some of the moves, I kept the weight the same. Here is a breakdown:

Upper body barbell

  • Triceps Bench Press (close grip bench press)- 12 reps, 10, 8, 6, 4. I started each move with the barbell only as a warmup just to kind of get my bearings. So, this is performed at the same station as a bench press but instead of hands out wide, hold the barbell basically straight out from your shoulders. When you bench the barbell, keep elbows in tight. This move works your triceps.

Super Set with Bench Dips- 15 reps, 12, 10, 8, 6

  • Bench Press12 reps, 10, 8, 6, 4.  Good old fashioned bench press! Again, I “warmed up” with just the barbell to get my positioning right.

Super Set with Pushups- 15 reps, 12, 10, 8, 6

  • Shoulder Press at Smith Machine- 12 reps, 10, 8, 6, 4.  This is a classic shoulder press except using the barbell at the smith machine. The smith machine is nice because you can try a heavier weight and not worry too much about dropping the barbell or hurting yourself.

Super Set with Plate Front Raises- 15 reps, 12, 10, 8, 6. I just grabbed a weight plate at the smith machine and lifted it straight in front of me.

  • Biceps Curls Wide Grip- 12, 10, 8, 6, 4.  I used an EZ Curl bar for these (they have the dip in them. They’re not a straight bar).

Super Set with Biceps Curl Narrow Grip- 12, 10, 8, 6, 4. My arms were dead after this.


I love it! Love feeling sore muscles the day after…or two days after :).


Do you use a barbell at the gym? Favorite workouts?

5 comments to Upper Body Barbell Drop Set Workout

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