I read a lot of different discussions on DC training to understand the routine. I initially tried the standard formula workouts based on what was available in a classic post "Cycles for Pennies." But like any training system, some tinkering was done to adapt the training method to meet my needs and likes.
What follows is my take on DC training, focusing on the things I've found that I liked and exploited to my advantage. I will state up front, this is how I incorporated the DC training methods, and I differ from what others would consider "pure" DC training.
I'm not sure exactly how this training method got the name of DoggCrapp, but it is a method that is easily identified by many in the iron game. It is the brainchild of Dante Bautista and there appears to be a love/hate relationship with his training philosophy among those in the sport - people either love it or hate it. There appears to be very little middle ground. I am not sure why this is, because the training style really isn't that radical.
As mentioned earlier, "Cycles for Pennies" laid out the basics of the training program. You can find some training logs with people using DC training. I perused a few of them and you most certainly should. These threads and logs show you how others are doing this training program:
|RELATED DC FORUM THREADS|
However, most training logs are generally short term, and provide limited insight and value.
So, what's the program, the buzz, and my take on it? That's what I'll fill in as I go. As far as the big questions:
- Is DC training effective?
Yes. I have seen significant gains in strength, size and weight.
- Is DC training tough to follow?
Depends. If you haven't trained with much intensity in your past, then it is a difficult system. If you are a novice trainee, I wouldn't recommend this training method. If you have been training for more than a couple of years, then this training isn't that difficult to follow.
- Is the DC training system the best method of training?
Better save this one for the end.
Although I am not the source or authority on DC training, I have enough experience to provide my interpretation and my adaptation. If you really want the true training and diet program, go directly to DC or one of his personally-trained trainers.
One of the bases of DC training is the liberal use of a seldom-used overload principle, rest-pause training. Rest-pause training takes you beyond failure, essential in providing a stimulus for muscle growth. Additionally, it allows you to recruit a maximum amount of muscle fibers to accomplish the work.
To do a rest-paused set for this training program, you start with a set to failure. After this first set is done, rack the weights and pause for a roughly 20-30 seconds. You can either count by time (20-30 seconds) or count the number of breaths between sets.
I use 12-15 deep breaths between sets. After the rest, perform a second set with the same weight, again taking it to failure. Take one last rest-pause and then do a third and final set.
For the entire set, you should be performing anywhere from 10 to 25 total repetitions. The breakout for the set could look something like this: 9 reps, then 4 reps, then 2 reps. For most exercises, I preferred the higher repetition range, between 13-18 reps.
Looking at the set, you see another plus of the system, use of both low and high repetitions sets. Combining the two in the workout stimulates both muscular growth as well as strength improvement.
DC training also limits the number of working sets per muscle group. Often this is one or two sets (most exercises are done in a rest-pause fashion when they can be done safely) and an extreme stretch. An explosive positive and controlled negative is used for set pace. Static holds are also considered in the program at more advanced stages - and are something I used sparingly.
The low volume of work enables more rapid recuperation and a shorter turnaround time between workouts. The whole body is trained over two workouts. The system is typically set up with training sessions on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday rotation. With this typical split, every bodypart is worked twice within an 8-day period.
Intensity level is high in this program. DC training has a High Intensity Training (Mentzer-style or Yates-style training) feel to it in that it focuses on performing a limited number of sets to maximum intensity. And like other high intensity programs, dense muscularity is a common result.
To View H.I.T. Training Articles, Click Here.
Three other important aspects to the training program are exercise rotation, record keeping, and breaks in training.
None of these principles are all that radical. Most any training program you can train with incorporates some of these elements. The DC training method just rolls them into one and sticks with them.
The program is set up with a 3-workout rotation. Each of these three workouts has distinct exercises. The rotation would be A1, B1, A2, B2, A3, B3, A1, B1, etc... with A being the first half of the body and B being the other half.
A second important aspect of the program is maintaining a training journal with your exercises, weights and repetitions. The idea behind keeping a journal is that more work must be preformed in each successive workout.
For example, if the bench press was used with 12 total repetitions at 315 pounds in the first A1 workout, you should be performing more repetition with the same weight or be using greater weight in the bench the next time you perform an A1 workout.
And when you think about it, you should be making progress each time you are training using this method. The exercise rotation provides a natural break of roughly 12 days from the first performance of an exercise to next performance of the exercise. This should be ample time to recover, grow and overcompensate, thus enabling more reps or weight to be used.
The last important aspect of the program is taking a break from training, or cruising. The break gives your joints, tendons and central nervous system time to recover. I was taking a week off from lifting roughly every 10 weeks. During the week off, I usually did one or two light weight-training sessions, no exercises to failure.
As mentioned earlier, I deviated from the basic program. To start, I used a three-day split. The three-day split is due to my time constraints and recovery ability. My commitments outside the gym often take precedence over gym time. I found that the typical two-day split workouts required too much time. Generally the three days I lifted were non-consecutive and varied from week to week based on my work schedule.
Although I used a limited number of working sets, I still needed adequate warm-up sets. Coupled with some cool-down after the workout and recovery between sets, the two-day split workouts were taking roughly 90 minutes to finish - a bit longer than I often had time for.
When I shifted to a three workout split, I was in and out of the gym in roughly an hour. To adapt things more to my liking, I used an exercise schedule and split like this:
|Training Split, Day One.|
|Training Split, Day Two.|
|Training Split, Day Three.|
As mentioned, there are a couple of things that I changed for my own liking. The program didn't include much direct deltoid work for the medial and posterior heads, since the program included deadlifts, rows, and presses.
I added the additional direct deltoid work when I wasn't using the heavy lifts that stimulated the deltoids indirectly. And like deltoids, I included some direct trapezius work. This traps training was done on back days when I didn't deadlift.
For most dumbbell work, i.e., lateral and curl exercises, I often used declining weights (drop sets) instead of keeping the weight the same. The reason for this change was to reduce the possibility of injury. I have found it unwise to use exercises like lateral rises for extremely low repetitions.
| What Is A Drop Set?
A drop set is a set where you do as many reps as you can with a certain weight, then immediately lower the weight and do more reps. There should be as little rest as possible between sets.
For quads, the program calls for a two sets. The first set would be 4-8 reps followed by a second set of 20 reps. The program calls for quads to be done last in the training session because you should be spent after training them. For regular squats, that is true.
However, I found I had enough left in the tank after hack squats, so I moved them before the remainder of legs. Additionally, I added a set of adductor exercises after hack squats.
Back exercises were of two varieties, either for width or for thickness. And like quads, back exercises should be done in a two-set manner to reduce the risk of injury. For deadlifts and rows, I used the two low-rep sets. For pulldowns and chins I did rest-pause sets.
Calves are also unique. DC training calls for 1 set. However, this set would be performed with a 10-15 second pause/stretch at the bottom of the repetition. I modified this by doing a set with the 10-15 second stretch for roughly 7-12 reps, followed by a set with no pause/stretch for about 12-20 reps.
Based on my energy levels, I often added an additional X-rep set to the training program. I particularly liked to use some of the machines available at my gym for the X-rep sets. I was usually performing one or two X-rep sets per training session. For example, I used the seated row machine at the end of the C2 workout and focused on reps from roughly 1/4 to 3/4 stroke.
The stretching in the program is unique and needs some further explanation. The stretch is used to stimulate fascia expansion, which manifests itself in additional size. Validity is questionable, but I do believe it the stretch also assisted my recovery. I'll go through the stretches for each bodypart.
On a flat or incline bench, take a pair of dumbbells to the extended, lockout position. Do a 10 seconds controlled negative rep into a deep stretch at the bottom of a press. Maintain the position by resisting at the stretch position.
Performed like an overhead dumbbell extension. From the extended overhead position, slowly lower the dumbbell down into the stretch position and resist the weight while leaning back slightly.
Face away from a squat rack and grab a barbell in the rack that's roughly shoulder height. While maintaining a palms up grip on the bar (hands below the bar), walk out until you are on your heels and the stretch gets painful--then roll your shoulders downward and hold for a minute.
Just like the shoulder stretch position but hold barbell palms down now (hands over the bar)--sink down to stretch your biceps.
Probably a little different than found elsewhere, I prefer a weighted hang from the chin bar. I like using two positions, one with my back contracted (lower back raised) and the other with my lats flared out.
Place one leg up on a high barbell, grab either your toe or the barbell and force your upper body to your knee. After a minute stretch, repeat it with the other leg.
Basically a sissy squat with the bottom position held as a stretch. The sissy squat should be with your weight on your toes and your upper body leaning back as far as you can go (head touching the floor is best).
Stretching for the calves is done as part of the exercise routine. Hold the stretch part of the exercises for 10-15 seconds.
A specific aspect of DC training is nutrition and, in particular, protein intake. Protein intake should be in excess of requirements during this program. The thought is that excess protein is the key to repair, recovery, and mass development. Most information on the "DC diet" recommends roughly two grams of protein for each pound you weigh.
During my take on DC training, I was consuming roughly 1.5 to 2 grams of protein daily. Diet and nutrition is a "black box" topic that isn't discussed by DC trainees. I would refer you to the DC gurus on this aspect of the program is you want the real deal. If you're looking for a general guideline, 1.5 - 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is fine and proved more than satisfactory for my results.
|PROTEIN NEEDS CALCULATOR|
Enter your body weight (in pounds or kilograms) and press "Calculate".
My training on this program was consistent for nearly 8 months. This was a more than adequate amount of time to evaluate whether or not my take on the program was successful.
My increase in gross weight was a little over 30 pounds. Lean muscle increase was slightly over 14 pounds. This is accurate as I proceeded to diet down to a similar condition I was in 8 months prior. Size increases were visible, although not measured.
Strength gains were considerable. I moved up significantly in each lift I was using. I can't provide 1-rep maximums (because I don't perform them), but the weight for my working sets all increased significantly.
The bottom line is that I was very pleased with the results. And, all this was done with average supplementation and average genetics. And the program was enjoyable - I liked hitting the gym to train this way.
Do I think I could have made similar results with other training methods? No, not as consistently as my past had proven.
Why did I stop? I started a contest prep diet and found my training results diminishing (training weight and reps dropping). My take on it, DC training needs to be further modified for contest prep.
Should you DC train all the time? For mass-gaining cycles, it is a great program to follow. However, if your goals vary, you should vary your training. And, as mentioned, I didn't respond well and eventually dropped the training program when preparing for a contest.
So, is the DC training program the best training program? Simply put, there isn't one "best" training program. However, DC training ranks up there as one of the best training programs for building mass that I have ever experienced. I have no problem recommending it to anyone.
My final thoughts are that DC training principles, and the various adaptations, are excellent for intermediate to advanced bodybuilders. The DC style of training is systematic and it works. And if you have a good base coming into the program (i.e., having lifted for a few years) and good nutrition, you can make some significant gains.
You can stay with a traditional DC program or follow what I outlined here. Or, you can further tinker with the program and make adaptations to fit your own needs and likes. To me, that is one of the essential ingredients for any successful training program. Whether the program is DC, my take on the program, GVT, Jay Cutler's, or any other training program - make the training program your own program. You will enjoy and stay with your training longer and reap more benefits from it.
The other essential ingredient for a good training program is that you actually perform it. If you don't go out and bust your butt in the gym and then provide some adequate nutrition and recovery, the program will be worthless. So, go out there and train hard!
Image of dog courtesy of National Human Genome Research Institute.