(source no longest exists; originally posted by Doggcrapp on http://www.intensemuscle.com)
It is so tough to talk about training when I am not in front of someone. In real life or at my gym people will see me or someone I train and be convinced that my system works very well. And in person I can explain how it all fits together. But for some reason giving an opinion on training online offends a lot of bodybuilders. It is like a blow to their ego as if your putting them down or telling them they don’t know how to train. And then you get every HIT, periodization, and brainwashed Wieder principle disciple arguing with me why their method is the best and I am wrong. People get pissed if they think what they might be doing training wise is wrong or not the most productive. It's human nature.
I can continually turn 170lb guys (who go along with me 100%) into 260lb plus monsters over and over but I cannot help guys who are 190-230lbs who are stuck in their ways. Those guys can continue to take the long road or never get there. In the past months since I’ve put my methods out there to view, I continue to hear different arguments against my way of training. Hey it’s radically different than the norm and like I said people can’t stand to think what they are presently doing training wise isn't the best! So far I’ve heard the usual gamut (overtraining, undertraining, undervolume, CNS saturation). One guy who said "not enough stimulation per workout"-sadly he has confused volume to equal gains. WRONG!!! If volume = gains go head and do 100 hard sets per bodypart and do each bodypart once every 3 weeks. Please tell me what incredible gains you get.
To me all this is an egotistical way to debunk a radically different method because you don’t want to believe what your presently doing is incorrect or 'slower gaining'. No one is overtraining or undertraining that I train. Every bodybuilder that I have trained has gained at least 47lbs! This sport is full of fragile egos, pseudo-experts, armchair bicep curlers. I am a very advanced bodybuilder but the only thing I am conceited about is I truly believe I could take anybody reading this and turn them into a 4.0lbs per inch bodybuilder. I love taking a humble bodybuilder who doubts his genetics and making him the largest guy in his gym. That is so fun for me. I love the people who whisper in the corners that "he must be loaded to the hilt" yet he is on the same things they are. I love hearing the petty jealousy and anger that comes over other bodybuilders now that the guy I trained is the big boy on the block. I’m not pushing my methods on anyone. I want you to decide for yourself with deductive reasoning. But if you have been lifting for 4-5 years and people aren't commenting, stating or asking questions about you being a bodybuilder on a daily basis-I think that’s embarrassing and you might want to question if what you are doing training wise has merit to it. I only train hardcore bodybuilders (and some fitness girls) down here in So Cal. (its not my main job--I turn down about 90% of people due to my own personal reasons--which are mostly after interviewing them I feel they wont do what I say 100%) I am very, very good at turning normal people into the biggest bodybuilders in their area. I’ve trained 7 people bodybuilding wise in the last 4 years (5 used super supplements 2 were clean). Every one of those people gained at least 47lbs on their bodyweight at roughly the same or less bodyfat.
1)188 to 260(2.5 years)
2)172 to 254 (3 years)
3)208 to 261(clean! genetic mesomorph 1 year)
4)218 to 275 (cut his juice in half, doubled his protein, showed him how to train correctly-2 years)
I don’t like to comment on others training philosophies directly because they get so offended if you don’t agree with them. I believe when you make something too complicated or hard people don’t want to follow it. I believe the baseline training protocol for bodybuilding is "progression" and whatever training is needed to get stronger (and therefore bigger). Here is my personal opinion on volume training...it’s a way for people who cannot generate inhuman intensity during a set to make gains. If that seems like a "putdown" so be it, I am sorry. Volume training to me is the long way to achieve trauma whereas there are shorter more productive ways of going about it.
If you were a world class sprinter with a time a couple tenths off the world record what would you do to break the mark? Would you run 5k races and repeated sprints at 60% intensity for hours at a time? Would that make you any faster? Or would you push the intensity limits with a wind bearing running parachute and do explosive sprints as hard as you can? You tell me.
I say 60% intensity with volume training because I know this: You cannot do 20 sets for a bodypart at a balls to the wall all out intensity-it’s impossible. I know this about myself, if I truly squat with everything I have (where its rep or death), with an extremely heavy weight and at 12reps I want to quit.....but somehow, someway I make myself do 13, then the 14th, the 15th--my face is now beet red and I’m breathing like a locomotive yet I 'will' myself to do another rep, another, another---with two more reps to go till 20, I feel faint but I am going to fucking do it because "I am not driving my car home thinking how I pussed out and didn’t make it"....19.....and 20 goes up agonizing slow and I am thinking to myself "oh please, please go up"----done! Ten minutes later I couldn’t even attempt to try to duplicate that. Not even close. I bet I would make it to maybe 14 reps tops. If you could duplicate that same set you are a robot.
Ninety percent of people in gyms around the world are doing some form of volume training but besides the rare genetically elite and heavy steroid users, why does everyone stay the same size year after year? (With volume training you see a lot of overtraining, joint injuries and people who are burning up all their energy stores) If you can't train at above normal intensity levels I feel volume training is beneficial to cause trauma (hey it works for genetic freaks like Flex Wheeler and Paul Dillett--two half-ass 60% trainers if that). Too bad with their incredible genetics that they don’t have the hardcore mindset of a Yates or Coleman who bypass them by force of willpower and effort. Personally I like the shortest route at the shortest time possible to get someplace. Do I think my way of training is the best? For myself and the people I train-yes. I have no way to gauge others intensity levels online. Someone training at 90% intensity for 6 sets is going to get more out of it than Joe Blow who is doing 20 sets per bodypart at forty percent. In the simplest terms, no matter what way you train-if you are way stronger than last year, 6 months ago, 3 months ago, last month, last week you are getting continually bigger no doubt about it. A lot of modern day training has been evolved pretty much from what Arnold and bodybuilders of the 60's did---and Arnold just winged it--there was no thought provoking science there. I want people to think their training out.
1)If you train a bodypart every day you will overtrain and not get larger
2)If you train a bodypart once a month you will not overtrain but you will only be growing 12 times a year besides the atrophy between workouts (pretty much a snails pace)
3)If you train with 30 sets a bodypart it will take you a great deal of time to recover from that besides using up a great deal of energy and protein resources doing it (and maybe even muscle catabolism will take place)
4)If you train one set for a very easy 8 reps per bodypart you could train that bodypart more often but you didn’t tax yourself to get larger.
So what is the answer? I’ll tell you the answer! The answer is doing the least amount of heavy intense training that makes you dramatically stronger (bigger) so you can recover and train that bodypart the most times in a year (frequency). If you can train/recover/GROW, train/recover/GROW, train/recover/GROW as many times as possible in a years time--you will be essentially gaining twice as fast as the bodybuilders around you.
Ok back to my training concepts—I’ve stated how my whole goal is to continually get stronger on key exercises which equals getting continually bigger. I will state this, the method I am about to describe to you is what I have found that makes people grow at the absolutely fastest rate possible and why I am being inundated down in this area to train people. It’s going to go against the grain but I'm making people grow about 2 times as fast the normal rate so bear with me.
A typical workout for the masses is (lets use chest for an example) doing a bodypart once every 7 days and sometimes even once every 9 days or more. This concept came to the front due to recovery reasoning and I agree with most typical workouts your going to need a great deal of recovery. Here’s the problem, lets say you train chest once a week for a year and you hypothetically gain 1/64 of an inch in pectoral thickness from each workout. At the end of the year you should be at 52/64 (or 13/16 ). Almost an inch of thickness (pretty good).
To build muscle we are trying to lift at a high enough intensity and load to grow muscle but with enough recovery so the muscle remodels and grows. The problem is everyone is loading up on the volume end of training and its taking away from the recovery part of it. Incredible strength GAINS will equal incredible size GAINS. And you sure as hell don’t need to do 3-5 exercises and 10-20 sets per bodypart to do that! In actuality you really don’t need to do much to grow. As long as your training weights continue to rocket upward you will always be gaining muscle. If you go in and do squats using your ultimate effort with 405lbs for 20 reps are you going to say you’re not going to grow from that? If you went all out on that effort, I'm sorry but throwing hacks, leg press, leg extensions and lunges into that same workout is going to do nothing but royally lengthen your recovery process when you were already going to grow in the first place.
You can train in a way so you can train a bodypart 3 times every nine to fourteen days and you will recover and grow faster than ever before. If you train chest 3 times in 9-14 days you are now doing chest roughly 91-136 times a year! So instead of 40-52 growth phases with regular once a week training you are now getting 91-136 growth phases a year. I personally would rather grow 91-136 times a year than 40-52 times a year. At a hypothetical 1/64th of an inch per workout you are now at 136/64 (or roughly 2.1 inches of thickness). So now you’re growing at roughly two times as fast as normal people who are doing modern day workouts are. Most people train chest with 3 to 4 exercises and wait the 7-9 days to recover and that is one growth phase. I use the same three exercises in that same 9-14 days but do chest 3 times during that (instead of once) and get 3 growth phases. How? Super heavy weights for low low volume so you can recover and train that bodypart again as quickly as possible.
Everyone knows a muscle either contracts or doesn’t, you cannot isolate a certain part of it (you can get into positions that present better mechanical advantages though that puts a focus on certain deep muscle fibers)--for example incline presses vs flat presses. One huge mistake beginning bodybuilders make is they have a "must" principle instilled in them. They feel they "must" do this exercise and that exercise or they won’t grow.
This is how I set bodybuilders workouts up. I have them pick either their 3 favorite exercises for each bodypart or better yet the exercises they feel will bring up their weaknesses the most. For me my chest exercises are high incline smith machine press, hammer seated flat press and slight incline smith press with hands very, very wide----this is because I look at my physique and I feel my problem area is upper and outer pecs---that is my focus. What you do is take these three exercises and rotate them, using only one per chest workout. I would do high incline smith on my first chest day, then 3-4 days later I would do hammer seated flat press on my second chest day. Three to four days after that wide grip slight incline smith press would be done and then the whole cycle is repeated again in 3-4 days.
Whenever I train someone new I have them do the following --4 times training in 8 days---with straight sets. Sometimes with rest pause sets but we have to gauge the recovery ability first.
Day one would be Monday and would be:
Day two would be Wednesday and would be
Day three would be Friday and would be the same as day one but with different exercises
Day four would be the following Monday and would be the same as day two but with different exercises
and so on Wenesday, Friday, Monday, Wenesday etc.
You’re hitting every bodypart twice in 8 days. The volume on everything is simply as many warmup sets as you need to do- to be ready for your ONE work set. That can be two warmup sets for a small muscle group or five warmup sets for a large muscle group on heavy exercise like rack deadlifts. The ONE work set is either a straight set or a rest pause set (depending on your recovery abilities again). For people on the lowest scale of recovery its just that one straight set---next up is a straight set with statics for people with slightly better than that recovery----next up is rest pausing (on many of the of movements) with statics for people with middle of the road recovery on up.
As you progress as a bodybuilder you need to take even more rest time and recovery time. READ THAT AGAIN PLEASE AS YOU PROGRESS AS A BODYBUILDER IN SIZE AND STRENGTH YOU NEED TO TAKE EVEN MORE REST AND RECOVERY TIME. EXAMPLE: My recovery ability is probably slightly better now than when I started lifting 13 years ago but only slightly...but back then I was benching 135lbs and squatting 155lbs in my first months of lifting. Now I am far and away the strongest person in my gym using poundages three to six times greater than when I first started lifting. With my recovery ability being what it is both then and now, do you think I need more time to recover from a 155lb squat for 8 reps or a 500LB squat for 8 reps? Obviously the answer is NOW! Yet remember this-the more times you can train a bodypart in a years time and recover will mean the fastest growth possible! I’ve done the training a bodypart every 10 days system in the past and while recovering from that--the gains were so slow over time I got frustrated and realized the frequency of growth phases(for me)was to low. I want to gain upwards of 104 times a year instead of 52--the fastest rate that I can accumulate muscle (YET AGAIN WITHIN ONES RECOVERY ABILITY-I CANT SAY THAT ENOUGH)
I have been slowly changing my philosophies of training over the past 13 years to where I am now. I’ve been gaining so fast the last couple of years it’s been pretty amazing. I’ve got my training down to extremely low volume (a rest pause set or ONE straight set) with extreme stretching, and with recovery issues always in the back of my mind. I realize the number one problem in this sport that will make or break a bodybuilder is overtraining. Simply as this--you overtrain your done as a bodybuilder gainswise. Kaput. Zip. A waste of valuable time. But I also think there is a problem with underfrequency (only if you can train hardcore enough with extremely low volume to recover). I skirt right along the line of overtraining--I am right there...I’ve done everything in my power (Stretching, glutamine, "super supplements", sleep)to keep me on this side of the line and its worked for me. I believe everyone has different recovery abilities--the job of a bodybuilder is to find out what their individual recovery ability is and do the least amount of hardcore training to grow so they can train that bodypart as frequently as possible. For anyone who wants to follow my lead that would mean starting out with straight sets training 4 times in 8 days and strictly gauging yourself recovery wise with every step up you take (statics, rest pauses)--I would rather you wait until my next article comes out to go over the details of this kind of training before you attempt it--as its important to me that everyone who wants to do this does it correctly.
Dogg is presently training people online with daily emails to them and an A to Z approach with diet supplementation training and recovery. He is expensive but he wants to be because he doesn't want to train a lot of people at once (Four at once is his limit). His first client has been lifting for 3 years with limited success but in 7 weeks with Dogg has gone from 183lbs at 7.5% bodyfat to 205lbs at 7.7% bodyfat. At the end of 10 weeks he should be around 216lbs or so and onward. Dogg is also online training 2 superheavyweight national competitors who came to him to put on pro size muscle. They will make an even bigger splash than what they already have accomplished. His flat fee is 400 dollars for everything designed (diet, training, supplementation) and then constant emails to you for at least 2 months monitoring and adjusting your progress. He does a strict interview first to see if you have the makeup and mindset of the person he wants to train. He turns away people who he doesn't believe will go at it or listen to him 100 percent. If 400 dollars equals out to the 40-60lbs of muscle Dogg puts on people repeatedly to you-- then you can contact him at Doggcrapp@NOSPAMziplip.com (minus the NOSPAM)
Who is he, and why is Doggcrapp training building so much muscle mass?
Interview by Ron Harris
RH: Would you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Let’s start with Dante, is that your actual name or an alias?
D: That is my actual name. It's my middle name but its what I go by, unless we are talking about the guy on the freeway yesterday who called me something else. (kidding)
RH: Do you have a background in sports, and how did you get involved in bodybuilding?
D:I have always been a good athlete in every sport, but back in the day, when I got into Junior High school something strange happened. I stopped growing. I went into my high school as the 3rd shortest person out of about 1000 people in the school and I was acomplete stick to boot. My freshman year in high school I was 92lbs and I ended up graduating at 5'7" and a strapping, robust 122lbs (laughing). I had always excelled at basketball and baseball but found it very tough going-being so small. I grew 5.5 inches after high school and wound up at 137lbs at 6 foot tall at nineteen years old. While driving my carby a grocery store one day in my hometown of Gardner Massachusetts, I saw two time AAU Mr Massachusetts (and AAU America and Universe competitor) Donnie Lemiuex. The man was monstrous at 5'7" and a lean 240lbs and I was shocked to see someone look like that. I was determined right then and there to put my nose to the grindstone and I researched/studied every single facet about bodybuilding I could find right down from the basics to the molecular level. Donnie Lemiuex actually became my training partner later on and to this day we remain great freinds.
RH: Did you publish your own newsletter at one point?
D:Yes i published Hardcore Muscle from 1993-1995 and that is when I started to first put out my thoughts on multi-rep rest pause and other theories I had to the public. It was a very cutting edge newsletter and I was very proud to say that my readership was a list of who's who in bodybuilding at that time. I had a whole slew of pro's, top amateurs, doctors and researchers on that subscriber list. I was on the phone with Phil Hernon, Tom Prince, Curtis Leffler and a majority of other competing bodybuilders at that time gathering information for each issue. Even your old boss Lou Zwick was a reader of that mag Ron.
RH: Have you competed in powerlifting or bodybuilding? If not, do you have any desire to?
D: Three times in the last few years I have dieted down for shows and every time I pull out because of the same reasons. I have worked 2 jobs for a long time now (usually working 7 days a week) and I just get absolutely burnt out with the 1 hour of training and (up to 2 hours) of cardio I need to do to come into shows just absolutely shredded to the bone. I admire anyone that can compete in todays modern society working 40-60 hours a week because I know I sure as heck cant do it. This last time (early 2005) I was determined to follow thru and I went from 292lbs to 258lbs (15 weeks) but with 5 weeks to go my father was diagnosed with a tumor on his liver and both my wife (competing in figure) and I both pulled out of the show. Bodybuilding shows come and go but family is forever-that was an easy decision to make, and luckily my father was operated on and is fine and in good health now.
RH: How and why did you come up with DC Training? Had you grown frustrated with other styles of training? Did DC Training evolve over time?
D:I started out with the old volume training concepts just like everyone else does who reads what Arnold and the boys did and what the newstand magazines put out there as "the golden rules".....but I got to a point where I started thinking "there is no rhyme or reason to this". It all seemed based on obsessive-complusiveness instead of deductive reasoning to what truly builds muscle mass. I think alot of modern day bodybuilding routines are built on "the must principle" which is fanatical bodybuilders thinking "I must do inclines and declines and cable crossovers and flat bench and pec deck and flyes for chest this workout or I wont have all the bases covered and I wont grow". I think thats flat out wrong and again comes from direct obsessive-compulsiveness. DC training did evolve over time as I trained more and more bodybuilders and noted their results. Back in the early 90's it was the same basic concepts as today but had slightly more volume to it. Thru trial and error over the last 13 years or so Ive honed it down to what you see today.
RH: Why the name, ‘Doggcrapp?’ I mean, from a marketing point of view, you’ll remember it, but didn’t you have second thoughts that it would be mocked?
D:Yea that was a real ingenious move on my part was'nt it? I definitely should be nominated "idiot of the year" for that one (laughing). What happened was 6 years ago I was a member of a small but elite bodybuilding board on the net which had about 50 members. I never posted, I just read the board. I had viewed some posts by advanced bodybuilders on that board that I felt were very detrimental toward their health. I decided to respond and posted with the anomynous screenname of Doggcrapp. I thought it would be one post and kaput, done and over with. BIG BIG HUGE MISJUDGEMENT! People were intrigued with what I had to say and kept asking questions and I kept answering and it became an encyclopedia. That post became 118 pages long and had over a quarter of a million views. My posts back then were cut and pasted onto bodybuilding sites all over the net, people started using my methods and gaining rapidly, telling freinds....and it carried on thru word of mouth like a wildfire and sadly to say Im stuck with the name "Doggcrapp" now. If I could do it all over again Ron trust me, I would of given myself a much classier name.
RH: What are the basic principles of DC Training?
D:Heavy progressive weights, lower volume but higher frequency of bodyparts hit, multi-rep rest pause training, extreme stretching, carb cuttoffs, cardio, high protein intake and blasting and cruising phases (periodization).
RH: Can you give me an example of how the bodyparts might be arranged in a typical training week?
D: For the majority of bodybuilders who are in need of size the following works the best
monday=chest, shoulders, triceps, back width, back thickness
wednesday=biceps, forearms, calves, hamstrings, quads
friday-repeat of mondays bodyparts
monday-repeat of wenesdays bodyparts
This above way bodyparts are hit twice every 8 days or so
For advanced bodybuilders (and with that I'm talking very elite bodybuilders and extremely strong people) I sometimes go with the following
monday=chest shoulders triceps
tuesday=biceps forearms backwidth backthickness
thursday=calves hams quads
friday-repeat of mondays bodyparts
monday-repeate of tuesdays bodyparts
tuesday-repeat of thursdays bodyparts
This way bodyparts are hit twice every 9 days or so and I can work on advanced bodybuilders lagging bodyparts somewhat better with this split.
RH: One very radical aspect of DC Training is that there are no isolation movements. How do you answer those that believe muscles need to be worked from several angles at each workout for ‘complete development?’
D:Let me clarify that. My trainees have kind of put the notion out there that no isolation exercises are ever being used. I honestly dont care what exercise someone uses as long as he can be progressive on it over time. If someone really believes in an exercise then they can have at it. Obviously a tricep dumbell kickback which you can hypothetically go from 15 to 45lbs is going to be alot less effective than a close grip bench press where you can start at 200lbs and end up at 405 in my scheme of doing things. I think this all comes down to the "Must" principle again I was talking about earlier and obsessive compulsiveness. When Ronnie Coleman came into this sport from powerlifting did anyone see big gaps of muscle missing from his physique? Is Johnnie Jackson playing catch up with certain bodyparts from powerlifting all those years? I dont see distinct weaknesses in their physiques. They were just somewhat smaller versions of what you see today. People are doing every foo foo exercise under the sun thinking it bombs muscles from all angles and in my opinion all your doing alot of the time is wasting energy resources. Once a growth response is reached in a workout then pretty much everything done after that is just cutting into recovery time and burning up glycogen (and god forbid muscle mass). Steve Michalik and his gang were doing up to 75 sets per bodypart and with elite genetics to boot set absolutely no difference in size or advanced development than the people doing 20, 15, 10, 5, or even 1 set a bodypart (mentzer).
RH: Could you walk the readers through a set, DC style? Let’s assume the person is properly warmed up and ready to do a set on say, close-grip lat pulldowns.
D: They would explosively pull it down to the chest and then on the negative return they would resist (control) on the way up. I don't want specific seconds, or a certain time amount, I just want control on the negative to the point if they had to, they could easily reverse direction. They would keep going to the point in the set where they would reach failure, hopefully between rep 7 and 10. At that point, they would take 10-15 deep breaths (usually 22 seconds or somewhere in that area) and then start the exercise again and go to failure once again . Then another 10-15 deep breaths. And then once again to failure. During the rest pauses you do not stay strapped to the bar or anything, you take your 10-15 deep breaths and then get back in there. Oxygen is the key here. What I'm looking for in a restpause set usually is a 11-15 rest pause total (with 3 failure points in that set). That usually comes out to something like 8 reps (failure) ...10-15 breathes....4 reps (failure)....10-15 breathes.... 2 reps (failure) = 14 rp. (hypothetically a total of 11-15 rest paused reps is what im after).
RH: Because of the rest-pause nature of DC Training, there tends to be a good mix of machines used. Do you believe that machines like Hammer Strength can stimulate muscle growth as effectively as barbells and dumbbells?
D: I would like to see everyone build a base and use free weights whenever possible. If someone has a training partner, there is no worry at all using free weights with my methods. But sometimes my trainees don't have a spotter and in those cases I try to set them up on machines that they can "save" themselves on while going to the 3 failure points during a rest pause set.. For example, it's very easy to save yourself on an incline smith press at a failure point, you just turn the bar and rack the weight, while with the free weight barbell incline press, i would hate to see one of my trainees sitting there with a guillotine bar on his neck at failure and have no way to get out of it without screaming "help!" Regardless a lot of people misconstrue this as a love for machines when in actuality I'm trying to keep safety in mind for someone who does not have a spotter. Its as simple as that. If push comes to shove my choice would always be a free weight exercise over a machine if it can be done safely. Thats why I tend to use power racks and smythe machines alot, so someone can go to the well and back and not worry about becoming "tomato canned" for lack of better words (laughing)
RH: Here’s a direct quote from an Internet hater regarding DC Training: “It’s a lazy man’s training program guaranteed to turn you into a fat tub of lard.” How do you respond to a statement like that?
D:Well with any training routine regardless if it's mine or someone elses, if you throw cardio to the wayside and eat like a glutton your going to end up with an accumulation of adipose tissue (bodyfat). I have seen many people use different training methods while not having their diet dialed in - who end up eating gross amounts and the wrong types of food thinking thats the secret. They end up being a fat pile of "lard" and blame it on the training routine instead of the real reasons...lack of cardio and an idiotic diet.
RH: How is DC Training fundamentally different from other abbreviated training systems like Heavy Duty?
D:To be honest Ron this one always rankles me. The HIT advocates love to shove anything thats a lower volume training routine under their gigantic HIT umbrella. I don't beleive in Menzter's theories, I kinda though he went off the deep end at the end there getting crazy about overtraining and in no way want to be associated with "HIT" protocols. My methods are lower volume but extremely heavy. My whole mentality is based around progression over time. With the normal bodybuilder training a bodypart 52 times a year (once a week) and with my clients training bodyparts 75-92 times a year (hence that body part growing 75-92 times/yr instead of 52), thats how I am getting these guys up in muscle size so fast. I can't have them doing 15-20 sets per body part or I cant get them recovered and that defeats the purpose of this all. So its heavy, progressive, lower volume training with recovery in mind so I can get these guys training that bodypart frequently. People have such a hard time grabbing this low volume per workout concept. But in actuality Im doing the exact same things as most volume trainers out there if they look at the big picture. They might be doing 4 different exercises for their back in todays workout (hitting back once a week). Im doing those same exact 4 exercises in a weeks time, but in two separate workouts while training back twice in a week.
RH: From talking with Dave Henry, I understand that record keeping and ‘beating the numbers’ from the previous week is a critical component of DC Training. Can you explain why?
D: Progression. Simply progression. Some people go into the gym with no plan at all and just absolutely wing it. I've never understood that. I bet any money that if I logged their workouts that 2 weeks later or 6 weeks later or even 12 weeks later when they do those same exercises again they are probably using the same 120LBS or 225LBS or 315LBS they used 2,6,12 weeks previous. Thats not progression! Nothing has changed, that to me is repeating something you've already done and will not force the body to grow further. Thats a waste of time in my opinion. With my methods, you are held accountable for todays workouts versus the last time you did this workout. Trust me, when you have that kind of imperativeness and your log book is your arch mortal enemy, you are in for the fight of your life! You have the man in the mirror to answer to. Do you want to drive home knowing the logbook kicked your ass? Or do you want to drive home knowing you destroyed the logbook and showed it who the damn boss is around here?!?! My trainees look back sometimes on their log books and find out that they are 50 to 200 lbs higher on those exercises months later. What does that equal out into? Adaption and rapid muscle mass accumulation.
RH: Do you think a person would get better results with DC training as opposed to standard volume training if he was using steroids, not using steroids, or would that have no impact either way?
D: To be totally honest, anyone using steroids on any training routine known to man is going to advance forward faster than if they did it au natural.
RH: Obviously Dave Henry is the most visible example of what can be done with DC Training. Can you give me a couple other specific examples of the types of gains your clients have made?
D: I have seen some pretty amazing things in my time, some things I dont even have an answer for (laughing). Ive seen a person have their bodyfat measured before and a year later where it was a little over 1% higher and in that time he had gained 52 lbs. Ive made numerour lightheavies into superheavies. Ive made numerous middleweights into heavyweights. I think alot of people are coming to realize with all the posts and photos online involving my methods, that the old thought of "you can only gain 8-10 lbs of lean mass a year" is complete utter bunk. I would venture to say that I can't remember a trainee of mine that has been with me for a whole year that has gained less than 15 lbs of lean tissue. I did have a trainee one time who came to me after an injury so he obviously lost some previous muscle mass, but I saw the before and after pictures with body fat percentage measured and 8 months later he had gained 67 lbs.and he was completely natural. To this day, that shocks me. Those are elite genetics though and for anybody reading this article, Im telling you straight out, there ain't a chance in hell I can repeat that with everyone. In my mind that was and is still virtually impossible. I have made many, many, people 30-50 lbs heavier in a years time but those people have to be absolutely meticulous and follow exactly what I want them to do--which is pretty much eating like a 300LBER, but cardioing like a guy who is 8-9% bodyfat and turning your body into a muscle building fat burning blast furnace. You pretty much get to a point in which your tricking your body into becoming muscularly larger.
RH: Obviously you don’t have to name names if you aren’t comfortable with doing so, but are there any other pro’s or top amateurs you are working with or have worked with as a trainer?
D: There is another pro besides Dave Henry but due to his sponser's contract rulings I don't mention him publicly. I also have trained INPA Natural Pro Travis Macduff. As far as top amateurs.....how much space do we have? Junior Nationals champ Ralph Garcia, top NPC/USA competitor Rob Lopez, Junior USA champion Jason Wojciechowski, 2nd place Junior USA Tom Whorley, top Junior USA competitor Josh Barnett, top USA and Junior National competitor Joey Mobareki, Junior USA competitor Jason Hamner, Junior USA/National competitor Chris Genkinger, NPC competitors Scott Stevenson, Robert Hopper, Joey Bonacia, Joey Mobareki, Stone Laszly, Ramey Benfield, Mike Piacentino, Jason Torres, and a whole slew of others including Canadian and European champions like Ivan Gasser (two time Swiss champion)
RH: Do you train anyone in person? Are you available as such, or do you prefer to do everything online and on the phone?
D:I used to train people in person. But training people is just a side job for me and I usually reject 70% of the people who contact me regarding training them.. Im very particular on who i want to train. They have to have the right, determined mind set, and its my way or no way. This is my reputation on the line and Im not going to screw with that reputation by taking someone on who isnt going to listen to me. I'll train a genetically gifted pro or I'll train someone with genetics like Woody Allen, it does not matter to me. I just need to feel that we will work well together, so I have an extensive questionairre everyone must fill out before I make my decision.
RH: One odd thing is that you don’t believe in doing any direct work for the traps. What’s your reasoning for that?
D:Name the 2 bodybuilders out of the 400 pros that have the most gigantic traps. Ronnie Coleman and Johnnie Jackson. Everyone and their brother is doing shrugs but why did those two former powerlifters join the bodybuilding ranks and have traps that stand up to their ears? Deadlifts. In my opinion there isn't a 225-275lb shrug on this planet that could ever equal the trap size you can accomplish by doing 300-650lb floor deadlifts and rack deadlifts.
RH: Where do you stand on cardio? Do you believe everyone should do it year-round, that those trying to gain mass shouldn’t do it at all, or that it should never be done by bodybuilders?
D: I believe highly in cardio, almost universally. The problem is with most bodybuilders, thats the first thing they skip. The only people I believe should not be doing cardio are some severely ectomorphic people, with fast metabolisms and/or teenagers who could pretty much eat anything and not gain any appreciative bodyfat. I feel almost everyone else should do it to varying degrees according to that specific individual. Its very hard to give recommendations and cookie cutter that without knowing anything about the individual of course. One of the staples I've found through training people who had a difficult time gaining weight, was when I had them do cardio (walking on treadmill or around the neighborhood) first thing in the morning upon arising that the rest of the day they would be as hungry as a bull and would eat so much that they would finally gain muscular weight. Whereas they couldn't gain weight when they weren't doing cardio because their appetite was lacking.
RH: I also understand that you don’t believe in the concept of ‘bulking up,’ correct?
D: I believe in the following Ron, I am trying to get people to put on as much muscle mass in the shortest amount of time possible. I don't believe ANYONE should become a fat pile of crap in that quest. I have people eating gross amounts of food up to a new level in size, but I shore up bodyfat gain by limiting carbs at times during the day, food combining, cardio, carb cuttoffs and using certain fat burning supplements like green tea, etc. My trainees most likely eat more food than people "bulking up" per se but I am adamant about not letting people use the "bulking up" excuse to become sumo wrestlers in the offseason.
RH: Do you believe in taking scheduled breaks or layoffs from training?
D: yes, my whole concept is based on "blasting" and "cruising". I have every trainee of mine "blast" for somewhere between 6-12 weeks all out and then I have them do a cruising phase which is maintenance training for 10-14 (sometimes 21 days) depending on how long their blast was. It has to be done. The people who try to go all out all year round with this are the ones who go into overtraining mode and eventually recede in gains.
RH: Should a bodybuilder stay on the DC style of training year-round, or do you recommend phases where they do something different, like higher volume or a routine that features more isolation exercises?
D:I think as long as they blast and cruise correctly (some obsessive compulsive bodybuilders refuse to do so) they can do DC style training year round
RH: As Dave Henry put it, DC Training isn’t for everybody. What type of traits would you say an individual needs to possess to successfully follow it?
D:You have to be a bulldog, no doubt about it. And above all else you need to debrainwash yourself of the preconcieved notions that everyone in this sport has which come directly from being taught from an obsessive-compulsiveness viewpoint and reasoning. And I think you have to be a little bit crazy. If your 2 bolts short of a carwreck, DC training is for you jack!!!
RH: I doubt it’s possible to put a number on how many bodybuilders out there are using DC Training or have used it, but it does seem to be gaining momentum. Could you see a day when it becomes as widespread as standard volume training?
D:God I hope not, Im already overwhelmed and have too much on my plate currently. I had absolutely no idea of Dave Henry's following and fanbase until I started training him 2 years ago. Every time he does really well in shows my emails go thru the roof. He just got second in the Ironman Pro show and Im getting emails from Africa, Europe, all over the place about DC training. I had a priest contact me yesterday about "Dave Henry's training routine"...Amen
RH: Do you have any books or videos available on DC Training, or are any in the works?
D:I believe Dave Henry is doing a DC training video pretty soon so that will be available to the public in the future. I really should put a book out there for people to read but right now I have a rare disease that is keeping me from doing so called "being a slacker". In all seriousness my articles online are in the process of being copyrighted so Ill get some literature in book form out there to people as soon as I can free up some time.
RH: You are also the owner of a supplement company, True Protein ([url]www.trueprotein.com)[/url]. I know from a friend of mine that it’s a little different from the average supplement company in a few ways, right?
D:We are very different. We will give the buyer the highest quality supplements known for the best prices they will find. We are able to do this by buying the highest tested proteins/supplements in large amounts to get the price we want and then packaging it to the consumer in food grade jugs or food grade storage bags (their choice). So where the buyer wins out is he isnt paying for the 5000 dollar per page advertising campaign, the fancy jug label or the fancy packaging. People walk into nutrition centers now and plop down 30 dollars for 2 LBS of Whey protein concentrate. Compare this with two pounds of a top tested whey protein concentrate from Trueprotein which is going to cost you about 8 dollars. All because your not paying for all the frills/advertising going with it.
We allow people to custom design their own protein powders if they choose to do so. We have a specific part of our website that allows for this customization. Basically if you want it, we will make it for you. Alot of supplement companies will list the ingredients of their protein powder or supplements on their jug but they refuse to list the percentages of each component. Well that could mean you could be getting 98% of a very cheap lower quality protein, and 1% each of two high quality expensive proteins making up the rest, which really isnt fair to the consumer paying for it. We only offer the highest quality materials from all of the top manufacturers around the world, and we have the certificates of analysis to prove any and all of our products. If you tell us you want 60% of this and 20% of that and 20% of something else in your protien mix, be reassured thats exactly what your going to get.
Most of our customers understand and know what they are looking for, but if a customer is not comfortable or does not understand what would be best for them, we do have a few extremely well versed individuals on the True Protein team, that can help the novice up to the expert into offering them a better and more refined supplement for their needs and goals, all free of charge 7 days a week. We all started in fitness the same way, with most of us being bombarded with the marketed hype that many retail supplement products promise. Many would-be customers come to our website and become overwhelmed with the endless possibilities of supplement mixes, but we always encourage the novice to ask questions and to read through our unbiased information on our site to learn, after all it is your body. Ask our opinion on something and we will gladly give it to you.
RH: Hopefully this interview will solve the mystery of the mysterious Dante and give a clear overview of what DC Training is all about. I thank you very much for speaking with me.
D:Us Massachusetts guys have to stick together Ron! thanks for the interview
(please just list the exercise or exercises a client might use (since I know back gets two), and only indicate sets if it’s being done for straight sets rather than rest-pause)
****D:as said earlier any exercise that you can be progressive and safe on could be used but Ill list a short hypothetical sampling of what someone could do (after fully warming up thru progressive sets)
DC Training by bodypart
incline smythe press (11-15rp)
hammer strength press (11-15rp)
decline barbell press (11-15rp)
front rack chins (11-20rp)
close grip pulldowns (11-15rp)
front pulldowns (11-15rp)
Backthickness: (back thickness exercises and quad exercises arent rest paused due to safety reasons of fatigue and loss of form)
deadlifts straight sets (6-9reps) + (9-12reps)
T-bar rows straight set (10-12 reps)
rack deadlifts (6-9reps) + (9-12reps)
military presses (11-20rp)
hammer strength presses (11-15rp)
upright rows (11-20rp)
Quads: (quads are done again with no rest pause because of safety reasons, but after progressive warmups there is a heavy set and then what I call a "widowmaker set" for 20 reps with a still heavy, but lighter weight)
free squats (6-10 rep straight set) 3-5 minute rest and then (20 rep widowmaker)
hack squats (as above)
leg press (as above)
lying leg curls (15-30rp)
seated leg curls (15-30rp)
sumo press leg press (pressing with heels only- straight set of 15-25 reps)
preacher curls (11-20rp)
barbell drag curls (11-20rp)
dumbell curls (11-20rp)
pinwheel curls (straight set 10-20 reps)
hammer curls (straight set 10-20 reps)
reverse grip one arm cable curls (straight set 10-20 reps)
reverse grip bench presses (11-20rp)
close grip bench presses (11-20rp)
EZ bar tricep extentions (15-30rp) (elbow safety)
Calves: (all calves are done with an enhanced negative, meaning up on big toe, 5 seconds lowering down to full stretch and then a brutal 10-15 seconds in the stretched position and then back up on the big toe again. It really separates the mice and the men--this is an all straight set)
leg press toe press (10-12 reps)
hack squat toe press/sled (10-12 reps)
seated calf raises (10-12 reps)
Muscle Gain Truth: The Basics of Doggcrapp AKA DC Training
Welcome. This is an UNOFFICIAL guide to the basics of the advanced
bodybuilding routine known as DC Training, created by Doggcrapp
AKA Dante Trudel.
DC training is for ADVANCED LIFTERS ONLY. You should have at least 3 years of hard, heavy lifting experience before you attempt this routine, and you should have tried, and had success with, other bodybuilding and/or powerbuilding routines.
Before you attempt this routine, you should have already built a good foundation, stemming from years of good, heavy training. You should be able to perform ALL of the major lifts with correct form. You should be able to maintain that form, even under very intense lifting stress.
You should have your bodyfat percentage down to a reasonable level. If you need to drop bodyfat, consider something like P90x or Insanity, or if you know how to lose bodyfat and can put together a fat loss routine yourself, use it.
And you should have a membership to a gym that has a wide variety of both free weights and useful machines.
Most importantly, you shouldn't be a "routine jumper". Do you have the discipline to stick with one weightlifting routine for the long term? The answer should be "yes".
Be honest with yourself. Are you an advanced lifter? If you are not, there are many great beginner's lifting routines that will get you big, strong, and help you practice lifting with correct form. DC Training is for the advanced lifter who wants to take it to the next level.
Consider buying Jason Wojo's DC Training DVD if you want to watch lifting with good form. Or simply find reliable, professional lifters on Youtube.
Something else you will need as well: a logbook. Beating the logbook is the cornerstone of DC Training. A logbook is simply a notebook that you use to track your workouts, track your poundages and reps with each workout, so that you can track your progress and know when a lift is working for you, and if you can't progress on a lift, you can switch it out for another lift that works the same muscle group.
And very importantly, don't try to tweak DC Training. Do DC Training as it's written, trust the logbook, and trust the routine, and you'll gain more muscle than you thought you'd be able to gain after hitting past plateaus.
First published elitefts.com 2003
Introduction: The deadlift can be considered as one of the best tests of overall body strength (Groves, 2000). It is a multi joint movement that in simple terms involves picking up a barbell from the floor and standing to the erect position. The movement includes the recruitment of the muscles of the hip, lower back, upper back, quadriceps, hamstrings and abdominals. If used correctly, it can be an excellent exercise to use in the development of strength, speed and power. During this analysis, the objective was to compare and contrast the biomechanical efficiency of two types of deadlift styles and determine which type should be used for certain body types.
Procedure: The participant was given instructions on both conventional and semi round back deadlift techniques. The video recording equipment was set up at ninety degrees to the demonstration at a distance of approximately five metres away. This was to ensure parallax and perspective errors were each accounted for. Recordings were then made for a series of conventional and rounded back deadlifts. Multiple repetitions were performed in each style at approximately 80 percent of the lifters one repetition maximum. One repetition from each style was then analysed.
Participants: The participant for this study was one elite level power lifter who has been competing at national level for two years.
Apparatus: The equipment used was a Sony digital handicam 120x zoom video camera set up on a tripod to record the observations. A weights belt was used for back support, as well as an Olympic style barbell in conjunction with weight plates. All observations were conducted at Apollo Fitness Centre.
Literature review: In competitive powerlifting, the deadlift is the third lift in order following the squat and bench press. It often comes down to performance in the deadlift to decide the difference between winning and losing a competition. There is a saying in powerlifting circles that the competition does not start until the bar hits the floor, meaning that a strong deadlift will often lead to a good competition result.
Much of the research that involves the deadlift has looked at sumo and conventional styles. Sumo style is used with a wider stance in which the lifter grips the bar with the arms placed on the inside of the legs. Conventional style deadlifting involves foot placement at approximately shoulder width apart and gripping the bar on the outside of the legs (McGuigan & Wilson, 1996).
Both techniques have been used effectively in elite power lifting competition. Conventional style places a large emphasis on the use of the erector spinae muscles because in this position the trunk is normally flexed forward. Sumo style is performed with a more erect and upright back alignment that allows for greater recruitment of the hip muscles to perform the lift (Piper & Waller, 2001).
The sumo lift is considered to be the more biomechanical efficient lift of the both techniques (McGuigan & Wilson, 1996). It is suggested that bar travel is minimized with a shorter stroke and aids the ability to recruit a greater number of muscle fibres from the posterior chain. Studies have indicated that sumo style deadlifting can reduce bar travel by nineteen percent (McGuigan & Wilson, 1996).
Studies by McGuigan & Wilson (1996) have indicated that in elite competitive powerlifting the majority of world records are held by lifters using the conventional style. Sumo style deadlifting has not produced as many world records but has performed greater lifts in terms of relative body weight. This gives rise to the suggestion that conventional style deadlifting may be suited to lifters of larger body mass with longer arm length and sumo suited to those of smaller body mass.
The conventional style involves the use of the erector spinae, trapezius, quadriceps and hamstring muscles (Stone & O’Bryant, 1987). Further analysis of the conventional deadlift indicates that the gluteal, latissimus dorsi, teres minor subscapularis, infraspinatus, supraspinatus and biceps brachii all assist with the lift to some degree (Farley, 1995).
The kinesiology of the conventional style involves setting up with the feet spaced shoulder width apart. Common practise is to use an alternating grip which involves one hand pronated and the other hand supinated to assist with grip strength. Common practise to set up for the initial pull involves aligning the shins close to the bar (Farley, 1995).
Keeping the load as close to the body as possible should assist with increasing the mechanical advantage for greater force production (Stone & O’Bryant, 1987). In contrast to this, some literature has suggested that keeping the load too close to the body may cause excessive drag and friction against the body that may decrease the efficiency of the lift. Correct starting position indicated by many texts suggests that the pelvic girdle is in line with or slightly below the knees. The back should remain flat and at an angle of forty five degrees to the floor.
Additional support for this method put forth by Daniels (2003) indicates keeping the back flat and placing the hips below the half squat position. This position is said to put the initial load of the pull on to the quadriceps muscles without placing undue stress on the lumbar region of the spine (Groves, 2000).
elitefts™ sponsored lifter Zane Getting
Discussion/ Conclusion: Choosing a style of deadlifting can best be suited to a person’s individual body mechanics. Many variables come into play that may affect the efficiency of the lift. These factors include torso, leg and arm length (Stone & O’Bryant, 1987).
Movements are governed by physical laws. Understanding and applying biomechanical principles to deadlifting technique can result in the lift being more energy efficient and allowing greater peak performance. In contrast , poor body mechanics become less efficient and may cause injury (Stone & O’Bryant, 1987).
Mechanical work can be described as force exerted on an object over a distance it is dislaced (Siff, 2000). For efficient use of force, the displacement should be along the same line and in opposite direction to the resisting force of the load (Stone & O’Bryant, 1987). This gives additional support to keeping the bar close to the body while deadlifting which will assist with a more efficient movement and less wasted effort. This may be due to the reduced moment arm of fornce.
In contrast to much of the research put forth, I suggest a different starting position to the conventional deadlift that may assist those lifters who tend to be of taller stature with longer arm length. Both sumo and conventional styles have been studied extensively but minimal research has been done in what I call a semi round back style which may contra-indicate some previous research with regards to lumbar spine loading.
The semi round back style involves a similar initial set up to the conventional style but the hip girdle is set at a higher start position for the initial pull. This position would be almost a quarter squat position with the upper back kept flat and at a ten degree lean to the floor, as opposed to forty five degrees lean suggested in many texts.
Previous research has suggested that a person maybe more biomechanical efficient in the quarter squat position than in the half squat position. Studies have indicated that greater loads can be used in the partial quarter squat movement than the half squat (Siff, 2000).
The semi round method also allows for the bar to travel in a straight line. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, therefore this can decrease the distance of travel. The conventional method causes the lifters lower limbs to shift forward in the starting position. This will cause the bar to travel in a ‘S’ type motion with the load moving away from the body and then moving back towards the body once the load has cleared the knees.
This gives rise to the idea of trying to turn the deadlift into the quarter squat motion but the load being off the floor. For this to occur, the lifter must have an extremely strong upper and lower back. The higher starting position can reduce the displacement of the load and therefore in turn reduce the amount of work performed.
Studies by Horn (1988) suggest that electromyographic activity in the spinal erector muscles were twice as active in conventional lifters when compared with sumo technique. Cholewicki et al (1991) studied the lumbar spine load of both sumo and conventional technique. No significant difference was found in disc compression force at L4/L5 regions using both techniques. There were significantly greater L4/L5 moments and load shear forces in the conventional technique. This may suggest that the greater forward lean of round back technique may further increase L4/L5 moments and shear forces indicating that much caution must be taken when considering this method for athletes as for the increased risk of injury to the lower back region.
This type of lifting conflicts with much of the research that suggests correct deadlift form. In the absence of previous research, experiential evidence has indicated that using the semi round back method has resulted in three athletes breaking world deadlift records in WPC and WDFPL federations. Other competition results include a further five lifters who have broken Victorian state and Australian national records. This may be due to reduced bar displacement and therefore reducing the amount of work performed. This technique has only worked for taller type lifters, which may be more biomechanical efficient for those with longer type levers.
Much assistance work must be employed to strengthen the abdominal, spinal erector, hamstring, gluteal and upper back muscles for this method to be effective. Care and patience must be exercised if considering using the round back method as a preferred style.
Further research in this area is needed to investigate differential leverages and the muscles responsible for effective motion. When considering various techniques, individual body leverages need to be taken into account along with the assessment of the individuals muscle strengths and weaknesses. Caution should be used before considering this technique due to the increased risk of injury. If employed correctly, the semi round back method may lead to greater competition totals for the powerlifter.
Cholewicki, J., McGill, S. and Norman, R. (1991). Lumbar Spine Loads During the Lifting of Extremely Heavy Weights. Medical Science Journal of Sports Exercise. Vol 23, pp1179- 1186.Daniels, D. (2003). Deadlift 101, Part 1. Powerlifting USA. Vol 26. No.8.
Groves, B. (2000). Powerlifting: Technique and Training for Athletic Muscular Development. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
Farley,K. (1995). Analysis if the Conventional Deadlift. Strength and Conditioning Journal. Vol 15, No. 2, pp 55-58.
McGuigan, R.M. & Wilson, B.D. (1996). Biomechanical Analysis of the Deadlift. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 10(4), 250-255.
Piper, T.J. & Waller, M.A. (2001). Variations of the Deadlift. Strength and Conditioning Journal. Vol 23, No. 3, pp 66-73.
Stone, M. & O’Bryant, H. (1987). Weight Training: A Scientific Approach. (2nd ed.). Edina: Burgess International.
When we talk squatting, the first muscles that come to mind are almost always quads. The more advanced and educated will have a long list of additions: hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, and (last but not least) core. How do most training programs that are designed to increase your squat look? Sure, you will squat and then add in hamstring work, low back, and accessory quadricep movements. Finally, you will throw in some core training. Core training is usually placed last with little to no importance and is all too often thought of in specific exercises, not positional movements. Limiting energy leaks by having a strong foundation will have a profound effect on increasing your max lifts. This is because, core strength has a significant effect on an athlete having the ability to transfer and distribute force from the lower extremities (2).
What is a squat? It is the distribution of lower body force to a load supported by the upper body.
The question I always propose goes, “is it easier to push a plate across the ground with a metal rod or a wet noodle?”
Obviously we all know the answer, but this logic gets passed up in training.
Now, I’m not saying you are not training your core when you squat; you without a doubt are stabilizing and supporting the load — but could it be your weak link? Could it be holding you back more than all the squats and hamstring work in the world could do for you? More importantly, what if the way you breathe was the whole problem in the first place? Learn to breathe and you’ll learn to squat more weight. It’s not your training in the gym that’s holding you back; it’s what you are doing right now that’s killing your lifts: breathing.
I’m Breathing Wrong? Seems to Me Like I’m Still Alive
Core stability and strength are directly related to force production (2). There is evidence that diaphragmatic control is vital for core stabilization and control (3). Any exercise that optimizes diaphragmatic control is going to have a profound effect on core strength and ultimately stronger lifts (3). Diaphragmatic breathing or proper breathing mechanics transfers directly to better lifts. When the concept was first pitched to me, I was highly skeptical, too. I had a hard time grasping that I was breathing wrong, and that it could have any effect on my lifting ability. After a little homework and a couple of Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) courses, I was wrong. Our breathing patterns are affecting a long list of aches and pains and are limiting our ability to produce force. Learning and working on correcting your breathing patterns, not only helps alleviate these aches and pains it carries over to more stable lifts. Being able to properly align your spine into a true neutral spinal position was the link I was missing. My thinking was that I was lifting with a neutral spine; however, the issue was that my neutral was not true neutral. I was lifting with the best position I had at the time. My core strength had adapted to a lousy breathing pattern and was strong in a suboptimal spinal position.
Maintaining a ridged core can make the difference in all lifts. If you have an energy leak out of your midsection it needs to be filled. All the rollouts, leg raises, planks, and carries can’t correct faulty breathing mechanics. Even if your midsection is strong enough to take a punch from Bruce Lee, if it isn’t in the right position, you are setup for weakness. Kevin Lewitt states that if breathing mechanics are incorrect, no other movement pattern can be (1). If nothing is in the right spot, you can be strong in your movement patterns but, with proper breathing mechanics, you can be stronger. Hopefully I have you curiously asking a couple questions: do I have a breathing dysfunction? If so, how do I go about fixing it?
Signs You Are a Dysfunctional Breather There is no universally accepted assessment for a standard breathing pattern (3). But, there are widely accepted aspects of normal breathing. From that, we can see common signs of dysfunctional breathing patterns (3). The list of common signs includes:
This is far from a thorough assessment but without the help of a trained professional present or equipment, this is the best way to identify any breathing abnormalities. The two main ones that I see on a daily basis with clientele are lifting of the chest first and limited lateral rib cage expansion. Try to identify those first. Simply, take a breath while looking in the mirror. It isn’t hard to notice if you chest moves before your belly expands.
Quickest Way to Get Started I have selected the easiest way I learned to get you breathing in the right position while limiting learned compensation patterns. This will seem completely foreign, but the effects can be felt immediately. The exercise is easy to feel and when practiced on a daily basis will lead to a stronger, more aligned core. This exercise was taken directly from the PRI course Postural Respiration manual (4).
90-90 Hip Lift
This is a 15 part article that would be better thought of as a manual on deadlifting. This is not something you will sit down and read in one setting. I suggest you read this in sections and bookmark to reference later. I have never seen the need in using manuals as “bait” to get people to sign up for our mailing list. As a business owner I am part of hundreds if not a thousand mailing lists. They provide quick insight of what is going on in the industry (and others I follow) and inspire ideas. Almost everyone in the strength, fitness and conditioning industry uses this “bait” to get you to sign up for their list so it must work right? Maybe – maybe not but I still like the elitefts way better…Give you to the content first and let you decide if you want to revisit the site, subscribe to our newsletter (strength club), or support us with your business. Maybe it doesn’t work as well but you won’t have to keep closing annoying pop up screens so that has to be worth something. Enjoy this manual on The Deadlift. – Dave Tate founder Elitefts.com Inc
The first and simple reason why I hate the deadlift is that I’ve always sucked at it and making gains on it was the slowest process in the world. Actually the only real time I made decent gains was when I stopped doing them altogether.
I never hurt myself (seriously) doing the deadlift and was scared to do them (how can you be scared picking something up?) and they really aren’t that hard to do. Sure, if you do 20-rep sets they will kick your ass, but so will 20 reps sets on just about any compound movement. My point is that there really isn’t any real reason why I hate the deadlift so much, but I do.
To me, the deadlift was just that thing you had to do in a meet before you could go to dinner. I was NOT one of those “the meet doesn’t start until the bar hits the floor guys.” To me, most meets NEVER started on time and it sure as hell wasn’t when the deadlift began. To regress, deadlifting in a meet wasn’t that bad, it still sucked, but it was a means to a total and I thought that was always the most important thing. What I pulled was always more determined by what I wanted to total than by breaking a deadlift PR. Toward the later years of my career, I knew I could pull between 700-740 pounds on any given day, if I trained the lift or if I didn’t. What I ended up pulling was based on how I finished the squat and bench.
Training the deadlift was much worse. The BEST thing about when I trained at Westside was that we didn’t deadlift often (many times not once for months). We did pin pulls, close stand yoke bar low box squat, TONS of goodmornings, and special movements, such as reverse hypers and glute ham raises. Not only did these increase my squat (and deadlift), they also provided a means to NOT deadlift and that was AWESOME!
Now that I’m retired from the sport, I don’t care if I ever pull another deadlift in my life. I don’t write my own programs, but I will admit if I see the deadlift or pin pull in the program I WILL replace it – even if I have to do three extra movements for 12 extra sets, I would much rater do that then a few sets of deadlifting.
I CAN’T stand the deadlift!
That ONE day
There was ONE day where I almost liked the deadlift, but as usual with the deadlift, that got shot down. I have no idea why, but at a local Ohio meet back in 2002, I pulled my 650-pound opener and it was easy (it always was). I then jumped to 720 pounds for a PR total. Normally I would call it a day and pass the third, but the 720 was really easy. This isn’t “powerlifer talk” it was seriously really easy. I called for 770 pounds on my third attempt for a 30 pound PR. The bar flew up and right before lockout without even slowing down, my right hand popped open and the bar hit the floor.
At this point, I did the infamous “hand stare.” You’ve seen it. You may have actually done it. This is when you drop a pull and look at your hands like WTF just happened.
I was totally confused and did the hand stare for what seemed to be 20 minutes until Louie finally walked over and said, “Your pulls looked really good.” I asked him what the hell happened to my grip. His answer, while classic Louie, just made me hate the deadlift more, “You were never strong enough to have a grip problem before.”
At this point you may be asking why I’m writing this article. Here is the honest answer: we are having a Day of the Deadlift Sale the same day this article is launching, so it can’t help to have this extra promotion. Since I’m writing about something I can’t stand, the least you can do is check out the sale. Hahaha – wait! I’m serious.
I also figured if I’m going to do this, I want to write something that will actually help you all. I’ve been in the sport for a very long time and taught hundreds (if not thousands) of people how to deadlift. For many people it is really as simple as just bending over and picking it up, for others it is a real struggle to teach them how to pull effectively and correctly. Unlike the squat and bench where deep detailed instruction seems to work best, deadlift instruction seems to work best with very simple verbal cues.
This gave me the idea to send an e-mail to Team elitefts™ and ask them for their top three verbal cues when teaching the deadlift. At the end of their tips, I posted mine with a couple videos that I think might help you out.
These tips are listed as Sumo or Conventional. Some of the team provided just how they pull, while others provided tips for each.
Disclaimer: I’m such a non-technical lifter and still learning, so my thoughts may be completely wrong.
IntroductionThis is certainly one of the many questions in training that just doesn’t seem to ever end. Within the conceptual framework of strength training programs, the idea and implementation of momentary muscular fatigue is regularly discussed between coaches, trainers, clients, and athletes. Unfortunately, many coaches and trainers adhere to the mindset that if muscular ‘failure’ during a set isn’t achieved, the set will be counted as an additional warm-up set or that muscular failure has to be completed on every set. The concept of training to failure is certainly not new to resistance training. However, surprisingly there is little research to confirm or deny this premise. So, due to this phenomenon, let’s get right to it.
What is failure?Muscular failure during training represents the point when the neuromuscular system is unable to generate further increases in force to overcome a particular workload, set, or series of sets. Therefore, the individual has to stop or discontinue the set. This is followed by a brief recovery session where ATP is resynthesized. During this recovery time, some metabolic byproducts (i.e. hydrogen ions, lactate, creatine) inside and outside of the muscle fibers are removed or restored. Now, this is very important and probably a foundational basis of error. At this point, the muscle fibers involved are not completely fatigued. Simply, they just can’t generate enough force to overcome the particular load. This is why the overall load usually has to be decreased to a lighter load.
The theoretical basis of training to failure is based on, of course, motor unit recruitment and muscle fiber types. It is motor unit recruitment (and muscle fibers) that is the foundation of the force production needs of the muscle. To further illustrate this, see Table 1. In addition, if strength is the primary goal (which it almost always is), the magnitude of activation of motor units is directly linked to the magnitude of the strength training response.
Table 1: Fiber type characteristics
Training to failure literatureIf you really think about it, the concept of training to failure is deeply rooted in strength training but, overall, lacks a substantial amount of supportive evidence. To give some illustration of this, a review by Willardson (7) summarizes that some research is quite misleading. As the authors state, the subjects trained to a certain percentage of a one rep max (RM), yet the investigators didn’t designate if failure was attained (intentionally or accidentally).
An early study by Rooney, Herbert, and Balnave (5) investigated the effects of training to fatigue by examining strength increases produced by a training protocol in which subjects rested between contractions versus those individuals who didn’t rest between repetitions. Forty-two male subjects were randomly assigned to a ‘no rest’ group, a rest group, or a control group (who did no training). Subjects in the two training groups trained their elbow flexor muscles (biceps) with a 6RM load for 6–10 reps three days per week for six weeks. Participants in the ‘no rest’ group performed repeated lifts without resting whereas subjects in the rest group rested for 30 seconds between each repetition. Intensity and volume of training were equated. The study showed that subjects who trained without rest experienced significantly greater mean increases in dynamic strength (+56.3 percent) than subjects who trained with rest (+41.2 percent).
While failure can be a valuable tool in a bodybuilder’s training routine, there is some evidence to indicate that it comes with a significant cost. Izquierdo (4) found that training to failure every set significantly increased resting levels of the catabolic hormone cortisol and suppressed anabolic growth factors such as IGF-1. This investigation demonstrated a potential beneficial stimulus of non-failure for improving strength and power whereas performing sets to failure resulted in greater gains in local muscular endurance. This study may indicate that bodybuilders who take every set to absolute failure may put themselves at risk of impeding long-term growth.
From a metabolism perspective, Gorostiaga (3) found that training to failure significantly increased levels of the nucleotide adenosine monophosphate (AMP) versus non-failure. Simply, elevated levels of AMP are an indicator that the cell is depleted of energy. As a result, protein synthesis is reduced. Athletes need to be aware that this particular training approach can be taxing and should be used intelligently.
In contrast to the previous study by Rooney (5), Drinkwater and colleagues (2) examined 26 elite junior male basketball players and soccer players, all who had been doing resistance exercise for the previous six months. The subjects completed bench press training three times per week for six weeks using equal volume programs (24 repetitions at 80–105 percent 6RM). Subjects were assigned to experimental groups designed either to elicit repetition failure with four sets of six repetitions (failure) or complete eight sets of three repetitions not to failure (non-failure). The training to failure group demonstrated significant increases in strength (+9.5 percent) and power (+10.6 percent) over the non-failure group in strength (+5.0 percent) and power (+6.8 percent).
Although the results from these two studies are mixed, they provide insight into the fact that physiological and metabolic processes are linked with fatigue and contribute to the strength training response.
The Bodybuilding.com Exercise Database is home to hundreds of great movements. Check out the 10 highest-rated abdominals exercises, as chosen by our users!
by Matt Biss Jan 15, 2014
A chiseled six-pack is like your very own fitness billboard. It shows the world that you're dedicated to the fit lifestyle and aren't afraid of hard work. But your abs aren't just for show. As part of your core, the various abdominal muscles play many important roles and are involved in nearly every exercise.
The Bodybuilding.com Exercise Database hosts video demonstrations of hundreds of exercises with top models from the industry. It's a great place to learn technique, form, and research new movements. Below are the top 10 abdominal exercises, as rated by our users, with an explanation of each.
1. LANDMINE 180, RATING 9.5
The landmine is a versatile tool, but it isn't required for this exercise. You can simply brace a barbell in the corner and manage the same thing. You can grasp the barbell itself or use the handle attachments that often come with the landmine. This exercise is effective because it has both rotational and anti-rotational components to it, combined with a practical movement.
2. SPIDER CRAWL, RATING 9.4
Spider crawls are great as part of a dynamic mobility warmup. They involve all three actions of your abdominals: rotation, anti-extension, and even a small amount of flexion. You need to stay low to the ground to make these effective. Bonus points if you wear blue spandex and pretend you are crawling up a wall.
3. ONE-ARM HIGH-PULLEY CABLE SIDE BEND, RATING 9.3
I like cables for certain movements because of their constant tension and the freedom to apply force in certain directions. This movement is excellent for building your obliques. If you're targeting that area, remember that spot reduction is a myth, so you could be making your waist thicker by using too much volume here.
4. 3/4 SIT-UP, RATING 9.2
The sit-up is a classic abdominal movement. If you have problems in the lumbar, you might choose a more back-friendly move. Sit-ups heavily involve your hip flexors. If you wish to disengage them and make this movement more difficult, you can do them "froggy-style." Abduct your thighs, sticking your knees out to the side, and you reduce hip-flexor involvement.
5. PLANK, RATING 9.2
Abs aren't just about sit-ups and crunches. One of their primary functions is anti-extension, or stabilizing the core against its own force, external forces, and even gravity. The basic plank can become easy quickly. To increase the difficulty, progress first to single-arm and single-leg versions, and then to moving planks.
6. SLEDGEHAMMER SWINGS, RATING 9.2
Swings are the perfect movement if your goal in life is to be either a lumberjack or a ground-slamming marauder. Swings are great because they condition a lot of your trunk: your abs, serratus, lats, shoulders, and arms. You don't have to use a sledgehammer and a tire. I often use club bells, and instead of slamming a tire I sometimes use sandbags.
7. AB ROLLER, RATING 9.1
The ab roller devices are the only "As Seen on TV" gadgets that are actually effective. The rollout hits spinal flexion and anti-extension extremely hard and gives shouts out to your serratus and lats. If I were ranking this list myself, this movement would definitely be in the top three. You don't have to have the ab roller; this movement can be performed with a barbell.
8. BOTTOMS UP, RATING 9.1
This is a combo of two different exercises, the reverse crunch and the hip raise, which are both great exercises in their own right. If this movement becomes too easy, get rid of the knee bend and instead keep your legs straight. Perform a leg raise from straight out up to 90 degrees, and then transition into raising your butt off the ground.
9. CROSS-BODY CRUNCH, RATING 9.1
I still remember seeing infomercials showing how this style of crunch is the most effective ab move because it supposedly involves everything. Alas, this exercise actually misses anti-extension. It's a good entry-level technique, but it won't be long before you can knock out scores of these and will need to move on to something more difficult.
10. DECLINE REVERSE CRUNCH, RATING 9.1
This is an intermediate movement between a leg raise on the floor and a hanging leg raise. Most people don't perform hanging leg raises correctly—they're not quite strong enough and can't actually move their pelvis, which means they're using hip flexion rather than their abs. Do this move on an adjustable decline bench to allow you to progress from flat to vertical in a systematic way.
HONORABLE MENTION: HANGING PIKE
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Matt is the Training and Nutrition Specialist for Bodybuilding.com. He has studied Exercise Science and is a competitive strength athlete.