Dan Gallapoo—aka Doberman Dan-is a well-known natural bodybuilding expert. He’s a smart guy with a bodybuilding philosophy that runs contrary to what you see in a lot of the magazines. According to Dan, his particular area of expertise focuses on helping hardgainers to pack on lean mass. As you probably already know-since this is the majority of the population-hardgainers are regular guys that aren’t “genetically-gifted” bodybuilders. These are the guys for whom packing on muscles is tough. During his more than 21 years of bodybuilding, Dan has developed some very successful strategies for helping hardgainers to put on mass. He’s compiled his strategies into his Hyper-Growth Muscle Mass Training Program (HGMMT).
Doberman Dan kicks off HGMMT with an excellent discussion about the basics-building a solid foundation and setting the stage. Afterwards, he quickly launches into the nuts and bolts of the program. A fundamental difference between HGMMT and other training programs is Dan’s belief that “muscular gains in size and strength are much more consistent if a bodybuilder only works to about 50% – 80% of his or her intensity level.” This is a concept that definitely goes against the majority of training philosophies, which focus on either “high intensity” or “training to failure.” Both of these are among the most common training strategies you’re likely to see any most any gym.
In HGMMT Dan says that while both approaches will most likely yield results, they also drain the body of nervous and muscular energy while simultaneously unleashing unwanted metabolic side effects. The consequence of this he says, is less than stellar results in terms of gains and a body that has been drained of its defense reserves. In contrast to the two tactics mentioned above HGMMT is based on the concept of reduced intensity and increased workload. According to Dan, this facilitates gains in size and increases the burning of fat without the metabolic side effects.
Dan makes it a point to say that other forms of training such as high intensity aren’t all bad. They have a time and a place, but they need to done properly and not for extended periods of time-say for more than 12 weeks at a stretch.
Time, volume and form are the three key components of HGMMT. The underlying concept of HGMMT is actually pretty simple:
- Reduce the weight by 25%;
- Perform 10 repetitions per set;
- Don’t perform each set to failure;
- Rest no more than 60-90 seconds between sets; and
- Increase the number of sets.
To determine how much to reduce the weight you start off by determining your max set point. This is the maximum weight you can lift for 8-10 reps for a given exercise. The number of reps can actually be from 6-20-the choice is yours. So for example, if your bench press max set point is 10 reps at 205, then you would reduce this by 25% for HGMMT. You would then perform 5-8 sets of 10 reps, resting no more than 60-90 seconds between sets. No sets are performed to failure. As you improve, you gradually reduce the rest time between sets.
As you move through the discussions in the chapters that follow, Dan discusses other important concepts behind HGMMT such as specific training timings for the various muscle groups, frequency of training (four days a week) and the necessity of taking 1-2 weeks off every 90 days. He also talks about when to increase the resistance and presents some thoughts on working in a “muscle shocking” workout once a quarter just to mix things up.
The next section includes sample training routines for the various muscle groups. Here are a few examples:
Bent over rows 6 x 10
Pull-downs 6 x 10
Seated Rows 8 x 10
Bench Press 5 x 12
Incline Flies 5 x 10
Pec Deck 5 x 15
This is followed by in-depth descriptions of exercises for all body parts. He also includes some blank workout logs-great for tracking your progress. The remainder of the book includes discussions of nutrition and supplementation.
So to wrap it up-while
there’s no doubt that some of Dan’s philosophies are not What you will typically see going on in your average gym, I’m convinced that he knows what he’s talking about, particularly when it comes to helping hardgainers achieve their goals. So if that sounds like you, HGMMT is certainly worth checking out. Or maybe you just need a break from high intensity training and want to try something new to deload your nervous system so you can go back to the high intensity workouts with a new fresh revived urgency.
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