Well after two full cycles, my shoulders have taken a battering already and rotator cuff is sore as hell (probably from the chest/shoulder/tricep combo every other session). It is also moving away from my goal, which is strength based. Although I’m a stickler for not changing your program unnecessarily, if it hurts, stop doing it!
Is it worth continuing through the pain (and probably making it worse!) when I’m not feeling fully comitted? Nope! As I’ve stressed before, a program is as effective as your commitment to it. If you are not motivated by it, you won’t put in the effort, nor reap the benefits. I have enjoyed the rest-pause training and the variation of lifts, but there are definite things that aren’t for me! I think this program is better suited for ‘enhanced lifters’ if you know what I mean!
I have decided to change to Wendlers 5/3/1 with the rest-pause training as detailed in his second edition of 5/3/1. This way I can still progress with my strength training on my main lifts and continue with the rest-pause training.
Wendler looking ‘Hench’
I will be doing the following:
Press 5 – RP last set
Deadlift 5s, then 65% max reps
Pull-ups warm-up set, RP set
Straight curls 50% x5, 60% RP
SLDL 50% x5, 60% RP
Bench 5 – RP last set
Squat 5, then 65% max reps
CG Bench 50%x5, 60% RP
‘T’ Rows 6-9, 9-12
RG bar curls 50%x5, 60% RP
Press 3 – RP last set
Deadlift 3s, then 70% max
Straight curls 50%x5, 70% RP
SLDL 50%x5, 70% max
Bench 3 – RP
Squat 3, then 70% max
CG Bench 50% x5, 70% max
Lever Row 50%, 70% RP
RG Bar Curls 50×5, 70 max
Press 5/3/1 as normal, then 75% RP
Deadlift 5/3/1, then 75% max
Chins (palms facing)
Straight curls 65%x5, 80% max
SLDL 65%x5, 80% max
Bench 5/3/1 as normal, then 75% RP
Squat 5/3/1, then 75% max
CG Bench 65%x5, 80% max
Cable Row 6-9, 9-12
RG Bar Curls 65%x5, 80% max
I’ll also be doing pass-throughs every day to help shoulder mobility and still working on loosening up my hip flexors!
The DC workout split is as follows:
Day 1 – Chect, Shoulders, Triceps, Back Width, Back thickness
Day 2 – Biceps, Forearms, Calves, Hamstrings, Quadriceps
I will be doing this split in a A/B fashion, training 3 times a week so every 2 weeks, I’ll do 3 of each session.
The idea is to pick your top 3 (or most effective) exercise for each bodypart and rotate through them over the sessions, thus giving 6 different workouts, but still adhering to the split above. Once you can no longer increase the weight/reps on a given exercise – change it out for a new one, then return to it again at the next plateau.
Rep numbers vary by exercise and their speed is generally a controlled eccentric or negative (lowering) followed by an explosive concentric (or 2-0-0). Most exercises are rest-paused with the exception of back thickness and quads (Calves are done as a 10 second negative, 20 second hold at full stretch and then explosive concentric or 10-20-0). After 3 rest pause sets, the exercise is followed up with a static hold of up to a minute, then extreme stretching of the worked muscle.
I took my intial measurements at the start which are:
Chest – 43″, Bicep (flexed) – 15″, Quad – 23.5″, Calf – 15″, Abdomen – 35″, and Hips 41″
After the 3 month period I’ll measure again to see what difference, if any, DC training has made.
So far after a week, I’m enjoying the change of workout and different exercises this type of split has bought. The rest-pause sets are harder than traditional strength training, but I like the change in intensity. I’m struggling with the static holds at the moment – after a rest pause set, I’m only managing to hold for maybe 20 seconds or more – The same goes for the extreme stretching! I’m hoping I’ll be able to improve on this as the sessions go on.
Well after sleeping on it, and the fact I still have DOM’s from Sunday’s Hack Squat’s! I decided to go ahead with DC Training again. I’m going to give it a good 3 months this time to see how much difference it makes to my current stats/strength. I’ll take my measurements later today and add to this post and then again after the three month trial period. Lowered the weight slightly as DC training requires a more controlled eccentric (lowering) phase and explosive concentric (lifting) than traditional strength training.
Decline Bench 100kg x11+3+2 RP – Shouldn’t have gone for a third on the last set! I had to set it on the pins and squeeze out from under the bar! (removed that from the video!) – I only managed about 15 secs of the static hold afterwards, forgot about how hard it is!
Seated DB Press 27.5kg x8+2+2 RP – Again only 15 sec hold, will keep it at that for now untill I get accustomed to it and increase when possible.
Close Grip Bench 90kg x8+2+2 RP – Arms are toast after the last two sets! could barely push the 90kg!
Chins x9+4+3 RP
Machine Lever Row 80kg x 11 – No rest pause on back thickness exercises, just one straight set for safety – I’m not sure this is always the case especially where chest is supported as this one is. I’ll read up more on this I think.
I had some time afterwards to take some more pictures for my book and noticed someone had left 200kg on the Lever Deadlift Machine so I went and gave it a go – smashed 10 reps so decided to increase to 240kg and it still felt OK for an easy 5, so then finished the set with 260kg x2 reps! As I said before a definite ego machine! I love it!
Not for the faint hearted, rest-pause training can help you through sticking points or simply offer something to break through boredom!
The basic principle is to extend the number of reps you perform with a given weight by taking very small breaks between sets.
There are a few different ways to use this technique, Mike Mahler for example talks of using singles with close to your one rep max and taking around 10-15 secs between reps. This way you can do 6 or more reps with what is normally your 1 rep max. Dante Trudel AKA Doggcrapp or DC, advocates higher reps for a single set (although different rep ranges for each bodypart) and then two rest-pause sets afterwards (approx 30s rest between sets).
However they’re done, they are brutal and only to be attempted if your headstrong about your training. Don’t bother with any isometric training for them, you can’t really increase the weight on a lat raise in the same way you can a military press for example, so won’t get anywhere near the benfit of this type of training.
I personally tried DC training some time ago, but at the time I didn’t feel I was giving it enough effort, so changed to something else. However I do prefer his take on RP (rest-pause) training. For example, on an incline bench press you would be aiming for 11-15RP – Which would look something like a set of 8, 10-15 breaths (approx 30 secs), another 3 reps, 10-15 breaths and finally, another 2 reps – Totalling 13 reps RP. In DC training this is then followed up by a static hold in a mid-point of the given lift to further stress the muscle, then extreme stretching (another long discussion on this one, so not going into it!). If you have the willpower, this is a great way to train to increase both strength and mass, you are aiming to add weight to the bar every workout. If you fall in the lower end of the reps (in this case 11), you would just try to increase reps, if you get higher into the range go for the weight increase.
According to bodybuilding standards, the calves should be the same width as the arms. Are yours? Do you give them the same amount of training? probably not! As they tend to remain hidden most of the time it is easy to forget them, but who remembers when Arnold steps out of the car in the movie ‘Twins’? .. Before you’d seen any more you knew this guy was going to be Hench! Having powerful looking calves makes a statement, whereas nothing looks less Hench than skinny little ankles and calves poking out of shorts!
The calves are notoriously hard to develop, most people hit them with a ton of volume to little or no avail. Yet again, it seems little to no results don’t seem to count for anything and people keep on plugging away .. Well, I can certainly advocate the Doggcrapp method, I’ve used it myself and it works. If you want to bring your calves up to standard try these out once to twice a week at the end of a session.
Single set of calf raises 12-15 reps (on a leg press, standing smith machine calf raise or any variation that gives a full stretch at the bottom. Aim for a 10-20 second negative (lowering) and a 10-20 second hold in the full stretched bottom position, then explode as quickly as possible back to the top. Be prepared to have your pain threshold tested!!
Well at least that’s his internet nickname! It is also known as DC Training to most – Dante Trudel has trained many bodybuilders and has a distinct knack for getting people into the 300lb category. His methods are extreme and sometimes controversial, but they work! Now I’m not saying I want to be 300lb, or a bodybuilder, but his basic principles can be applied to anyone – genetic potential and steroids aside, if you want to be the biggest you can naturally be, his methodology still stands. Here are just two of his excerpts:
“Training is all about adaptation. In simple terms you lift a weight and your muscle has one of 2 choices, either tear completely under the load (which is incredibly rare and what we don’t want) or the muscle lifts the weight and protects itself by remodeling and getting bigger to protect itself against the load (next time). If the weight gets heavier, the muscle has to again remodel and get bigger again to handle it. You can superset, superslow, giant set, pre exhaust all day long but the infinite adaption is load—meaning heavier and heavier weights is the only infinite thing you can do in your training. Intensity is finite. Volume is finite (or infinite if you want to do 9000 sets per bodypart)…everything else is finite. The Load is infinite and heavier and heavier weights used (I DON’T GIVE A CRAP WHAT SOME BUCK 58 POUND WRITER FROM FLEX MAGAZINE SAYS) will make the biggest bodybuilder (add high protein, glutamine and drugs to the mix and you have one large person).”
“No matter what the method someone uses to gain super strength gains-it’s imperative they do so. Again if you put someone out on a deserted island with 135LBS of weights he can superset, giant set, high rep, superslow etc etc squats, deadlifts and benches to his hearts delight…the sad story is his gains will quickly come to a halt because his limiting factor is the amount of strength he will gain. He has 135LBS to work with. You take that same guy on a deserted island and give him squats deadlifts, and benches and an unlimited weight supply that he constantly pushes, in 5 years I’ll show you a big Gilligan” – Dante Trudel
Notice I haven’t mentioned his actual programming, (I’ve tried it myself and it’s savage) I just wanted to illustrate the idea that it doesn’t matter what the programming is, it’s the progression that counts. If you want to be stronger, you need to need to add weight/reps every workout and give your body a reason to be! Whether you want to be a powerlifter, a bodybuilder or just a beast, the general principle remains. Get stronger to get bigger!