One all-out-set per exercise! That is the basic principle of Dorian Yates' HIIT training system. Now, what does "one all-out-set" mean? It means taking a set to the point where you cannot physically complete another rep. To achieve complete failure it may be necessary to throw in some drop-sets, rest-pause sets, forced reps or partial reps.
Dorian believed that after you have maximally stimulated the targeted muscle with one-all-out-set, doing additional sets is not necessary because you have already created the stimulus for muscle growth. When you look at this concept from a scientific approach, it makes perfect sense. A heavy, all-out-set to muscular failure is going to recruit a large number of motor units, thereby overloading a ton of muscle fibers. Overload is the primary stimulus for muscle growth.
Doing another set after you just took the previous set to complete failure is not going to recruit additional muscle fibers and will most likely just fatigue you. In addition, your performance during that next set will most likely suck since you gave it your all for the previous set!
After seeing some videos of Dorian explaining his training principles and seeing them in action, I was instantly drawn to his method of training. Even before learning about Dorian's training I had often wondered if doing additional sets after taking the first set to failure was necessary. If my workout called for three sets of bench press, I found myself holding back on the first two sets then taking the third set to failure. But would I have been better off just doing one set to failure? What leads to more growth; doing a set of 6 reps, resting and then doing a set of 5 reps, resting and then doing a set of 4 reps or doing one all-out-set of 8 reps to complete failure?
It is my current opinion that doing one all-out-set will lead to more growth. The first option of doing three sets leads to more total reps being completed (greater volume), but the second option of doing one all-out-set to failure allows you to push yourself harder, leading to a higher level of overload with less volume.
I decided to give Dorian's HIIT program a go and fell in love with it. Knowing that I only had one set for each exercise allowed me to train harder and more intense than I had in a long time. I did the Dorian HIIT routine exclusively for a long time. After a while, even though I was seeing results, I decided to try out some different routines. It is human nature to always think there are better options out there.
After three months of trying various programs and setups I went back to what was working for me, the Dorian HIIT program. After a few months of doing the Dorian HIIT routine again human nature got the best of me and I began thinking of ways to make the Dorian HIIT routine more effective. Unlike before where I tried completely different programs, this time my goal was to build upon my current program and now I am confident that I have found a technique that will enhance your results!
Before I continue, I want to point out that some people may do better on a volume-style routine than a HIIT-style routine and vice versa. There is no "best" program for everyone, so I encourage everyone to try different routines and find what works best for them. One should note you need to give a routine enough time to produce results before dismissing it or praising it. It takes more than a week to get results, so don't label a routine as ineffective after just one week. I am by no means saying the below program is the best way to train. It's simply one effective strategy to stimulate muscle hypertrophy.
In addition, the below program is for advanced trainees with at least 3-5 years of consistent weight training experience. If you haven't done so yet I highly recommend that you first complete at least two run-throughs of my Tri-Phase program before trying the AGS-10 program. There are two reasons I make these recommendations:
- It takes time to develop the mind-muscle-connection and learn how to properly execute each and every exercise.
- It takes time and experience for your body to be able to recruit additional motor units and muscle fibers and you therefore may not be able to train intense enough for one set to be sufficient to stimulate muscle hypertrophy.
With that said let's get into the AGS-10 program!
This Program Is Not Intended For Beginners. Make Sure You Have 3-5 Years Of Consistent Training Experience.
Introducing AGS-10 (All Growth Stimuli) Training Program
As I stated in my Tri-Phase program, "In my opinion, consistently adding weight to the bar-lifting heavier weights and/or completing more reps-is the most effective way to add muscle and grow and should be your primary concern. The number of exercises, sets, rep ranges, etc. you use should be secondary to progressing with the loads you lift." If you want to grow, you are going to have to progressively lift heavier weights. The focus for any program should be beating your performance from your previous workout. Progressively increasing the tension/overload placed on muscle is the primary stimulus for muscle growth.
In addition to tension, fatigue also plays a role in muscle growth (note: a much smaller role than tension) and because of this you will complete a "Volume Blast" or "Rep Blast" for the final exercise for each muscle group worked. All other exercises besides the final exercise for a muscle group are one all-out-set-to-failure (along with intensity techniques) within the 4-10 rep range.
5-10 sets of 10 reps. Stop once you cannot complete 10 reps with the weight you choose. For example, if you completed 5 sets of 10 reps but on the 6th set you only got 8 reps, then your volume blast is done.
1 set of 20-30 reps. Choose an exercise that allows you to keep constant tension on the targeted muscle.
I recommend starting with 5-10 minutes of cardio to increase your body temperature and get blood flowing throughout your body. For your weight training I recommend 2-4 warm-up sets before the first exercise for a muscle group and then 1 "feel set" with 50% of the weight you are planning on doing for all other exercises for that muscle group. The feel set should not be taken to failure and should not be exhaustive, just a set to prepare you physically and mentally for that exercise and heavier weight.
- 3 Weeks completing one-all-out-set + intensity techniques per exercise and volume/rep blasts.
- 1 Week completing just one-all-out-set per exercise with no intensity techniques and rep blasts only.
|TERMS YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW|
|TERMS YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW|
- Incline Bench Press: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Flat Dumbbell Press Or Machine Press: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Cable Crossovers: 5-10 sets of 10 reps or 1 set of 20-30 reps
- Standing Calf Raise: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Seated Calf Raise: 5-10 sets of 10 reps or 1 set of 20-30 reps
- Deadlift: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Barbell, Dumbbell, Or Machine Shoulder Press: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Dumbbell Side Lateral: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- One-Arm Lateral: 5-10 sets of 10 reps or 1 set of 20-30 reps
- Barbell Shrug: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Dumbbell Shrug: 5-10 sets of 10 reps or 1 set of 20-30 reps
- Bent Over Row: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Reverse Grip Lat-Pulldowns: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- T-Bar Row Or One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Wide Grip Seated Cable Row: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Straight-Arm Pulldowns or Pullover: 5-10 sets of 10 reps or 1 set of 20-30 reps
- Bent Over Rear Dumbbell Lateral: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Triceps Pressdowns: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Close Grip Bench Press or Skull Crusher: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Overhead Triceps Extension: 5-10 sets of 10 reps or 1 set of 20-30 reps
- Dumbbell Preacher Or Machine One-Arm Bicep Curl: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Barbell Curl: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Dumbbell or Cable Curl: 5-10 sets of 10 reps or 1 set of 20-30 reps
- Flexion Barbell Wrist Curls: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Extension Barbell Wrist Curls: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Leg Extension: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Leg Press: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Barbell Squats: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Hack Squat: 5-10 sets of 10 reps or 1 set of 20-30 reps
- Lying Leg Curl: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Stiff Leg Deadlift: 1 set to failure within 4-10 reps
- Single Leg Curl: 5-10 sets of 10 reps or 1 set of 20-30 reps
The key to the AGS-10 program is finding what works best for you. By this I mean finding what intensity techniques for the exercises that give you the best results. For example, on my "Arm Training Day" I do the following:
- One-Arm Preacher Curls = 1 set of 4-8 reps + 2-4 forced reps
- Barbell Curl = 1 set of 4-8 reps decrease the weight by 50 lbs (drop-set) then complete as many reps as I can
- Dumbbell Curl = Volume Blast
There may be exercises where you do not want to use an intensity technique because one all-out-set is intense enough on its own (this is especially true for squats and deadlifts). You do not have to use intensity techniques on every single exercise. With some experience and experimenting you will find what works best for you.