Build Muscle With Shock Sets (Intermediate to Advanced Technique)

Most high school football players lack size to compete effectively at the higher levels.

I often wonder what the difference is between 5A programs and 3A or 2A programs.  Other than the population of the school district, what’s the difference between the athletes?

Is it:

  • The strength and conditioning equipment (or lack thereof)?
  • Is it lack of knowledge?
  • Is it poor nutritional habits?
  • Is it lack of drive and focus?
  • Is it ignorance of the fact that stronger, faster athletes dominate?
  • Is it all of the above?

Personally, I think that if you line up a 3A school against a 5A school, the 3A school should have an equal chance of winning the game.

What separates the 2 programs?  Ability?  Mindset?  Strength?

If you read this article, then you already know that stronger, faster athletes dominate.

One of my long time friends and training partners, Ed Brown, Jr recently placed in the top 5 of the NPC Mr Universe contest in New Jersey.  He qualified for the Nationals (top amateur contest) in 2015, Mr Universe, Mr North America and others.  I introduced Ed to Lee Priest (one of the top bodybuilders in the entire world) and the 2 of them became training partners when Lee was dominating pro bodybuilding contests in 2006-2007.

Ed Brown, Jr - Top Mr Universe competitor 2014

Ed bench presses 500lbs, squats around 700lbs and dead lifts around 700lbs.  He’s also one of the new breed of bodybuilders in that he’s agile and athletic.  He can run, jump and wrestle.  He played high school football and wrestled semi-pro for a few years.  He knows a thing or 2 about competing at the upper levels of athletics.

In the video below which I filmed recently, Ed takes you through a super set in which he incorporates an intermediate to advanced technique that Arnold Schwarzenegger talked a lot about. It’s called a “Shock Set”. Strip the weight down 5-6 times to really stress the muscle in a totally different way.

Exercises used are:

  • Hammer Incline Bench Press
  • Bent Barbell Reverse Grip Rows
  • Rope Crunches

How can you use this in your own training?  How will it benefit you?

  1. Use this technique in your own training if you’re stale or are not growing.  If you’re not getting stronger or faster, then your program is not working.  Pick 3-4 exercises max and follow the same template as Ed is using in the video below.  Do not use this technique every week – it’s too extreme.  Use it every 3-4 weeks to blow past sticking points.
  2. Shock sets will benefit you in that they will challenge you mentally and physically (exactly what some high school athletes need). When I play, played high school football, we used a simple circuit training program.  While this helped with volume, it did nothing for actually increasing our “main strength” or explosiveness.  Football is all about overall body strength and explosiveness.  To improve in these areas, you have to train for it.



I work with all different types of clients – those who want to lose fat, get stronger for golf, bodybuilding, powerlifting,etc.  Occasionally I get contacted from area school athletes who have seen my youtube videos.  They are looking to get stronger and faster.  They instinctively know that if you’re looking to improve, you have to seek out those who are living the lifestyle.

If you are an athlete and you are reading this, be sure to use the strength and conditioning techniques that will help you be all you can be during your high school years.  There’s nothing worse than wondering “what could have been.”

One of my other former training partners, Kelly Hitchcock (Mr Texas, Mr USA class winner) trains tons of athletes in Tyler, Texas.  He works with volleyball players, football players and more.  He recently told me that his son who is 16 will be the starting Varsity quarterback this fall in Tyler. His son has been training with Kelly for a few years.  He apparently has been doing something right.

Bottom line is to not allow yourself to stagnate or stall in your progress – whether you’re a working Mom or a sophomore in high school who’s looking to play on the varsity football team.  Use explosive training (Olympic lifts) and bodybuilding techniques (shock sets) to mix it up.  This will keep you on the road to become the best you can be both physically and mentally.




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