Drug-Free Training Techniques Interview With "Doberman Dan" & Paul Becker By Doberman Dan
Paul Becker, from TrulyHuge.com.
I'm talking with Dan Gallapoo, from Drugfreebodybuilding.com.
Today we are going to discuss drug free training techniques for rapid gains.
Becker: Hey, Dan.
Gallapoo: How are you doing Paul?
Becker: Doing good.
Becker: One thing that we have both been trying to get across to people is that you do need to get stronger on the basic lifts. A lot of people aren't really putting in the hard work on basic lifts like squats, dead lifts, bench press, rows, overhead press, the real multi-joint, actual hard exercises. One of the reasons a lot of people don't do these exercises is because they are hard.
Gallapoo: That's right
Becker: The truth is, if you are going to do it drug free, and you want to get bigger, you are going to have to put in your dues and put in some hard work on these basic exercises. That's the bad news. The good news is, it works.
Becker: Yeah, exactly. And one thing is, these exercises, I mean, it's been shown through research studies, that somebody who goes and does a hard set of squats actually has testosterone and growth hormone elevated levels after the workout.
Becker: And things like a set of dumbbell curls or a set of lateral raises do not raise these muscle-building hormones.
Gallapoo: That's true. It's kind of like you're not just, with the big moves like squats, dead lifts, you are not just training certain muscles. Actually, there's some physiological things that are happening in your body as a result of working at those exercises real hard.
Becker: Exactly. It's not just like squats for the quadriceps and bench-press for the chest. You really are creating an overall body growth stimulation due to the nature of these exercises.
Gallapoo: That's true.
Becker: So, that's basically our first point of this, put in some hard work on the basic lifts. Don't spend a lot of time when you are trying to build size doing things like lateral raises and cable crossovers and these kind of things. You know, you have a limited amount of recovery ability and you want to use it the best way possible, and that's to really get stronger on these exercises. And, the truth is, the stronger you get in good form on these exercises, the bigger you are going to get. The other thing is, you don't want to work out too long or too often. Another study actually showed that after about forty-five minutes of weight training, the growth hormone and testosterone level start to drop and the cortisol level, and cortisol is catabolic hormone, which is what you don't want, a hormone that breaks down things, rather than build things up. That will start to rise after forty-five minutes. So, you want to keep your workouts under forty-five minutes.
Gallapoo: and less frequent throughout the week too.
Gallapoo: Unlike what most of the magazines suggest that more is better. But that seems to be the hardest thing to get people to buy into, is that more is not better. In fact, more will either cause you to gain slower or not at all. But, man, people have read for so long in the muscle magazines that you do fifteen to twenty sets per body part. You work out five to six days a week. And they have read that for so long, they have come to believe it as the truth. And then when somebody comes along and tells them by training less, using less exercises, less sets, less times per week, that they are going to gain faster, they don't believe it. That seems to be, at least for me, Paul, that's the hardest part of my job, getting people to buy into that. Most people won't. And the ones who do and try it are convinced. But getting people to try it is hard. Do you run into that?
Becker: I do run into that. The problem is that the major muscle magazines, the major color glossy magazines, present the body building champions in a certain light and they show how this type of workout, this kind of training…the first point is that they skirt the issue and don't tell you that these guys are taking numerous, different kinds of drugs that aid recovery and just someone who isn't taking these drugs cannot do these kind of workouts.
Gallapoo: That's right.
Becker: The other thing is, even the workouts that they say the champs do, aren't really the workouts that they do.
Gallapoo: We know that for a fact, don't we?
Becker: Yes we do and the fact is that some of these articles that are supposedly written by the champs, "this is my routine, this is what I do", the champion never wrote. It was ghostwritten by somebody and we know some of the ghostwriters so we know it for a fact.
Becker: And the truth is, that there was a writer in the sixties named John McCullum. He wrote a book called "Keys to Progress", which is an excellent book. He talked about similar things. A lot of the points that we'll talk about on this tape come from John McCullum and people like him, because they knew what worked for a drug-free training. He walked up to one of the champs in the late sixties and showed him a routine written on paper. And, he asked the champ, "What do you think of this routine?" And the champ said, "Well, that's too much. It's too long of a routine. It's too often." And he asked John, "Is this your workout?" and John said, "You know, according to the recent muscle magazine, this is supposed to be what you do."
Becker: And the champ really didn't know what to say to that, because he knew it wasn't.
Gallapoo: In one of my books, I wrote that the information that's in a lot of the glossy muscle mags has been repeated so often, that people believe it as true.
Gallapoo: Anything repeated often enough, even if it's totally erroneous, for some reason, that doesn't matter. Just by repetition, it's taken as the truth.
Becker: Right. Well, yeah. Well, I mean, people listening to this tape, I want them to think about it. I mean, the bodybuilding champs are on numerous drugs. Tens of thousands of dollars a year are spent on drugs.
Gallapoo: I was told anywhere from sixty thousand a year and up.
Gallapoo: in drugs alone.
Becker: And not only that, but their full time job is bodybuilding. Most of us have to do some kind of work for a living. We have family responsibilities. All this is going to have a negative effect on our recovery ability and if we really want to gain, we just gotta really do infrequent, shorter workouts but work harder on getting stronger on those basics.
Gallapoo: That's right.
Becker: What we are getting to now is, a beginner should concentrate on really getting perfect form on the basic exercises, start building his strength and finding out what kind of recovery ability he has, and how often he can workout and still gain, and things like that. Once he's got those points down, he's got his form in, he knows how his body is working with recovery ability and things like that, there are some tricks, not tricks, techniques, that he can use to really start using these basic exercises in different ways and really start packing on some muscle. Dan has had a lot of success with himself and training others on something called a "twenty-minute breathing squat". Why don't you tell us a little bit about that.
Gallapoo: Okay. Well, this was THE routine that people went on when they wanted to pack on size and strength, and do it quickly. This was THE routine that was prescribed. I mean, all the way back to the thirties. The thirties up through the fifties, and of course, this was before the anabolic steroids were ever used amongst body builders. But, basically the twenty rep squat, how you do it is: Once again, we are talking about, we are not only working your muscles when we do this. This is causing some physiological changes to happen here, growth hormone release, and increased testosterone. In the squat, if you were doing a normal squat, Paul, say you take a weight for ten reps, okay? And, you would squat down and you would probably take a breath and squat down, breathe out as you are coming up. Okay? And you do those reps in succession. A weight you could normally do for about ten reps, maybe twelve reps, would be a good goal to shoot for. Something in that typical style, one rep in succession like that. Whatever weight you could for ten or twelve reps. Take that weight and you are going to do twenty reps with it. Okay? Now everybody always asks, "How are you going to do that, if you can only do ten to twelve reps with it? How are you going to do twenty?" Well, this is where the breathing squats are a little bit different. First of all, you are going to be taking anywhere from two to three, five, even more than that if necessary, breaths in between each rep. You know, expanding the chest, taking as deep a breath as you can. Okay? You're going to squat down and exhale as you come up. Then again, before the next rep, you're going to go ahead and take those two to three deep breaths. And, one thing I found helpful as the set goes on, is taking more breaths between reps. You're going to keep doing that all the way to twenty. It doesn't sound that hard in theory while we're talking about this now but, actually, when it comes to doing it, this is the most difficult training I have ever done in my entire life, because you really, really want to racket that bar about the twelfth or the fifteenth rep. But, it's almost…Dennis Weis told me the way he imagines it…it's almost a rest, pause kind of training, which I think Paul, you are going to talk about a little bit more in detail later, right?
Gallapoo: Okay, so, it's almost like a rest, pause kind of training where, when you are getting really fatigued like after that tenth or twelfth rep, you are going to be taking more breaths. You're standing there with a weight still on your shoulders. You're going to be taking three to five, or however many breaths you need to take, in between reps, and you're going to squat down, do that rep, exhale on the way up and then take your deep breaths before the next rep. So, it's almost like you're resting between each rep. It's brutal. It is absolutely brutally hard. But, it's the most effective workout that I have ever done. After you do your twentieth rep and you rack the bar, I immediately have you go to a straight arm pullover, either with a barbell or a dumbbell, very light, not to tax the muscle, just to stretch out with. And you are going to do pullovers, once again, taking several deep breaths in between each rep, lower the dumbbell and exhale as you bring the dumbbell up, for twenty reps. Of course, I have some other exercises that I recommend in this program. But, the core is that twenty-rep squat and the twenty rep pullovers. I personally gained almost twenty-five pounds with that. I was eating a lot of food, too, and drinking a lot of milk. But, I gained a lot of muscle and a lot of strength very fast. Almost all the people who I have put on this program have made similar gains. The average seems to be between fifteen and twenty pounds in an eight-week period.
Gallapoo: That's for the people who do it as instructed. It's an intense program. If you're not used to working that hard, it's going to be tough and I have to admit, it takes some guts to stick with it for eight weeks. But, I've never seen anybody fail to gain on that. Guys who are extremely hard gainers, I normally recommend an abbreviated program in addition. By the way, that's only one set of squats and one set of pullovers. That's all I recommend you do of that, and if you ever try it, you will understand why. You won't want to do another set.
Gallapoo: The guys who are hard gainers, I recommend doing a set of bench presses along with that workout and maybe, a set of chins or bent-over rows. One set of each, from six to eight reps, and that's it. Even the hardest of the gainers, as long as they work intensely like they need to on that squat, and eat the amount of food that they need to eat, I have never seen anybody fail to make gains on that.
Becker: Yup. I personally did that routine and I was already fairly advanced. I wasn't a beginner. I had been training a long time and I was stuck. I hadn't gained any body weight, any real muscle size in a while. I did that program and gained sixteen pounds in eight weeks. You know, the real scientific reasons behind why this works exactly, I couldn't tell you but there is something about that deep breathing. By the time you are done with that that set of squats and that set of pullovers, you have taken a hundred or more really deep breaths and really oxygenated your system. There's something about that, combined with the hard work that just makes you grow.
Gallapoo: That's true.
Becker: It's really…it's something you've got to try and then you're convinced afterwards.
Gallapoo:You know, Perry Raider, who was the founder and publisher of Iron Man magazine, he was an extremely hard gainer and you know, I might not have these numbers exactly right but I know I'm pretty close. He gained over one hundred pounds of muscular body weight in; I think it was a year. Do you know the exact length of time?
Becker: I believe that's about right. I remember reading something like. I mean, he went from almost a skeleton of something like 120, 130 to quite a powerful man of 220 or so, in about a year.
Gallapoo: Yeah, it was about a year's time. Maybe a little less, maybe a little bit more. He did it on this program. The twenty-reps squats and pullovers. And, as I recall, he was such a hard gainer for the longest time, that's the only exercises he could do to gain. Any other exercises he added, he couldn't recover. It taxed his system too much. He couldn't recover and he over trained, and wouldn't gain.
Becker: That brings me to another point about squats in general. Squats, like we were saying earlier about overall body stimulation, the squat is going to give you the most overall body stimulation. In the thirties and forties, Olympic weight lifters used to go on a squatting program, where for a few months, they would do nothing but squat. They would pack on like twenty or thirty pounds of body weight in this time. They hadn't done any of their Olympic lifts for months. You know, back then, they would do three Olympic lifts, the snatch, the clean and jerk and the overhead press. They would just, after months of just squatting and gaining body weight, try the lifts again. And they would suddenly have twenty or thirty more pounds on their max on these things. The thing is, they weren't doing any particular direct upper bodywork, yet their whole body grew from this. The same thing with Perry and a lot of other guys who have tried this. This doesn't mean you necessarily HAVE TO only do that, but it's just a point. There are some people who come to me for training advice and they want to get bigger and, of course, they are not having that much success. I find out they are doing absolutely no legwork. They say, "Well, I jog or I walk a lot and I think my legs get enough work. I just want to get bigger in the shoulders and a bigger chest." Well, yeah, you're doing a lot work for your shoulders and chest, but how's the progress in your arms. Nothing's happening. Well, I tell you what. You start squatting, you're going to notice growth. There's something about heavy squats. I mean, you're working the biggest muscles in the body, which are the thigh muscles, the hip muscles and the buttocks. Now this doesn't necessarily mean you're going to end up with big hips and buttocks, but you're definitely going to strengthen these and that creates an overall growth effect in the whole body. When you really push the strongest muscles in the body to get stronger, it triggers an overall growth effect in the whole body.
Gallapoo: That's true.
Becker: Don't neglect hard work for the legs and the hip muscles. Things like squats, leg press…
Gallapoo: dead lifts
Becker: exactly, dead lift is an excellent lift. Actually, I'm going to talk a little bit about that in a minute.
Gallapoo: I don't know, I guess I forgot to make this clear too. Normally, that routine is only done about twice a week, like maybe Monday, Friday or Tuesday, Saturday kind of thing. Some people can tolerate it three times a week, like Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I personally over trained when I did it three times a week. Twice a week is all I did. That's what I recommend. I seriously doubt if you are working as hard as you need to work on that, three times a week,
Becker: First of all, I don't think it's necessary and second of all, I believe you are actually going to over train if you do that.
Gallapoo: Yes. It's just not enough time to recover. I personally was doing the routine, I think, once every five or six days…
Gallapoo: …and made really good gains doing it that way because when you're done with that, you feel fatigued. You need the rest and you want to give your body and mind and everything a chance to recover so you can come back stronger. The point is, each time you do this workout, you add weight. I don't know if we covered that.
Becker: Good point. That's right. That's an important part.
Gallapoo: Yeah, I recommend five pounds, add five more pounds on the bar every time you do that routine and you're going to think that I'm out of my mind because once you actually try this and do your first set, and you believe it's going to kill you, you barely make it through it. How are you going to add five pounds the next time? Well, as long as you've eaten correctly and allowed enough time for recovery, you're going to be stronger.
Becker: Exactly. Somehow you get through it. And that's part of the thing that makes this workout so growth producing. It really gets to be a point where you just have to have the will and determination to do that, set with another five pounds and just get those twenty reps.
Gallapoo: That's right.
Becker: It's one set. You just grit your teeth and get through it. You don't gotta do it again. Just put your all into that and like I said earlier, it's really something you're going to have to try to appreciate how well it actually works. The other thing is, sometime, you might want to try some variations of that. Perry Raider talked about doing dead lifts, high rep and breathing style. What you do there is, you get the barbell in front of you. Get crouched down holding on to the barbell. Take a few deep breaths, lift it up, stand up with the bar, lower it back down. You take your breaths with the bar on the ground in that particular technique. And, you do the same thing. You get out those twenty reps with a heavy weight and do more next time. Another workout that Perry suggested was actually the breathing clean and press, or somewhat of a clean and jerk. You get started with the bar on the ground in front of you, take a couple of deep breaths, clean it up to your shoulders, take a deep breath or two, get a little bit of a bend in your knees. Press, maybe slightly jerk it overhead. Use that momentum from straightening your legs to get it over your head. Hold it overhead, take a couple of deep breaths, lower it back to the ground. Start over. High reps…fifteen to twenty reps again. That works about every muscle in your body.
Gallapoo: No doubt that would be pretty killer.
Becker: Yeah. Plus, it's a change of pace and you're going to get overall growth stimulation and a lot of upper body growth stimulation too. So, that's definitely a technique you're going to want to try. One thing is, we are going to give a lot of techniques on this tape. The point is, don't try to do them all at once.
Gallapoo: (laugh) I'm glad you brought that up.
Becker: We don't want to confuse folks but it gives you some different things to try. Because, you know, after a while, if you don't go stale on it, you're definitely going to go mentally stale on a routine. You're going to get tired of it. And there comes a point, I think, where you stop gaining from a routine. If you experience that…
Gallapoo: Yeah, for sure. I mean, the body is going to adapt a certain amount and there is definitely the mental aspect. Someone can only mentally psych himself up to push so hard, so long on things like the breathing squats. That program should be done for about eight weeks.
Becker: That's what I recommend in my book. The main reason I recommended that is that you're just going to get tired of it. After eight weeks, you are ready for a change.
Gallapoo: Exactly. You have probably gained about as much as you can for that particular eight-week cycle. Pushing it much further, I don't really think you're going to gain that much. You really need…I even suggest to take a week or two off after that eight-weeks and then go to a slightly different program. You can go to one of breathing dead lift or breathing clean and press, or you can even do another one of these techniques that we are going to talk about to give yourself some variety. Variety in training is important. Most people overdo that in that I heard people go, "I've changed my routine every two weeks or once every week or once every three or four weeks." It's too often. The minimum time I think you should put in, in any exercise, is six to eight-weeks. Some of these programs I even suggest more, three to four months on them. The biggest point is, going back to my original tip, you have to get stronger in the basic exercises. If you change your routine too often, change exercises, do different things, you can keep changing and never get stronger in the basic exercises.
Becker: That's right.
Gallapoo: So the time to change a routine is when you're now stronger than you were before on some of these basic exercises. Like, let's say, you should always keep some of these exercises, or at least always go back to them. You want to make sure when you change your routine that now you beat your personal best from the last time you did that particular type of routine or exercise. And then, it's time to change. This insures that you are constantly getting stronger on these exercises and that you are constantly growing. Along this line also, the line of how to use these basic exercises and continue to get bigger and stronger, I do feel that sometimes you're going to want to do some low rep training, like three to five reps per set with a heavy weight. This is going to really hit the light muscle fibers, give you a lot of strength, muscle density and it's a change of pace and it's a really good technique to increase strength.
Becker: Didn't you use something along those lines when you were actually dieting and, what was your mindset behind that?
Gallapoo: Yeah. Some of those silly, traditional ideas that come out of bodybuilding just really don't work and one of them is that you're going to do high reps for definition. The point is that twelve or fifteen reps do not burn enough fat to create definition. What you actually do is lower the weight while you're on a lower calorie diet, which will most likely make you lose muscle. My mindset was, if I am going to lose fat, I want to keep as much muscle as possible, which means keeping your strength, or more desirable is increasing your strength while you lose fat.
So, Paul what you're saying is that while you're dieting, while you're on a restricted calorie intake, then, if you're using low reps and increasing your strength, your weight loss is more or less going to be from body fat as opposed to losing muscle and losing fat too, right?
Becker: Exactly. It worked real well for me. The other thought on this was that if you're going to eat a lower calorie intake, you only have so much energy and to expend energy on doing high rep training and a lot of things like that, just didn't make sense to me. You want to conserve your energy, low rep sets, even though they are heavy and hard, don't seem to take a lot out of you.
Gallapoo: That's good. I didn't think of that.
Becker: While I did this, I did drop about fifteen pounds of fat and kept all the muscle. I had my body fat percentage taken and I did not lose any muscle. I think I gained about maybe a pound of muscle, which isn't great, but while losing fat it was pretty good.
Gallapoo: No doubt. That's cool. The myth of doing high rep training, of "I'm going to burn in the cuts". Spot reduction is just exactly that, a myth. It doesn't exist and doing high reps isn't going to give you more striations or more definition.
Becker: Exactly. Well, I'm going to talk about high rep training later but it certainly isn't a definition technique. It's one good way to use the lower rep training, but also if you're on a gain program and on a positive calorie intake, you're going to gain some serious mass and strength while doing low rep training. Another thing going in this particular direction is even one rep training. I'm not talking about maximum singles here, which can be dangerous because most people loosen up their form too much on this anyway. I'm talking about rather than doing max singles with a hundred percent of one rep max, we're talking about maybe doing anywhere between eighty and ninety-five. One way to do that is with rest-pause. You'll take something like eighty to ninety percent of your one rep max and do a rep, put the bar down. Rest about thirty seconds or so and do another rep and get out about five reps. That would be a set. This really increases strength and muscle size and density too. It's not a technique that you train all the time but definitely for a change and really to get stronger on some of these basic lifts. It's an excellent technique. I know you talked to Rob Collasino about some one-rep training that was real interesting.
Gallapoo: Yeah. He did a unique training system. I actually did it for a while and got stronger real fast. He does one rep per body part. And nobody believes that when I tell people, "Man, you ought check out this guy's training system." His one rep for body part, they're like, "Oh, yeah, one set per body part, that high intensity thing." No! You didn't hear me. One rep! And everybody thought it was crazy. Basically what he would do is take extremely heavy weight. I don't know how close percentage-wise it would be to your max but he would do a super slow rep. When I asked him, "How long does this rep take?" He said, "It just depends. It may be forty-five seconds. It may be five minutes." He does an extremely slow, positive and an even slower negative. One thing he was doing, he would stop the weight at certain points. Like, on the incline press. Of course, that would start out with a negative. So, he would go extremely slow on the way down and actually stop at several points throughout the move. He would physically stop the bar at that point and hold it and then do a very slow positive. He said if you would watch him do it, it would actually look like he's in slow motion. On some exercises, sometimes he told me what he would do was almost like on some dumbbell curls or something like that…he would actually pretty much heave the weight up so he wouldn't be doing the positive portion of the rep. Then he would just lower the weight extremely slow and stop it at several points just in a super slow negative…minutes to do the negative. Then he said he tried, tried, tried, tried, tried to lift that weight, to do the positive portion. Basically, there were times when he couldn't move it but he's fighting against that weight for as long as he can, basically until he has totally exhausted that muscle and just has to drop the weight. He used extremely heavy weights. I tried it for…I think I did it for a little over a month and got strong fast, got real strong fast. It's tough to do though. You have to have a spotter for a lot of the exercises.
Becker: One point about that is, that one rep probably lasts as long as most people's sets. But the point is, he's using a heavier weight. So, the heavier weight is going to equal more strength and more muscle size. It's an excellent technique to try.
Gallapoo: Oh, I agree. It's not easy but I think Arthur Jones along time ago even talked about time under tension as opposed to counting reps. Here this guy is doing a negative that lasts a minute or longer. So, that muscle is under tension for that time, as opposed to people who are counting reps. Maybe in that same period of time somebody would do twelve normal reps. They still achieve the same time under tension but Rob's using a lot heavier weight.
Becker: Right. So, it's the same time under tension but that tension is a lot more and that's going to be more growth stimulation. Exactly. In that training, he's actually doing all the levels of strength. There's a positive level of strength, which is lifting the weight, lowering, the negative strength and a static strength, which is holding. He does a positive. When he does his negative, he actually does some holds. The next type of training I am going to talk about has to do with those different levels of strength. Actually, the lifting of a weight is our weakest level of strength.
Gallapoo: The positive portion?
Becker: Exactly. We can hold or lower more weight than we can lift. There is a time when you're going to want to do some of these other type of things like pure static work or pure negative work, when you kind of get to a plateau on your positive strength. Negative work is something that Arthur Jones worked a lot with and got some excellent results. The idea is you either get some spotters to lift the weight for you and this is more weight than you can normally lift, and you lower it as slowly as you can. I experimented with this type of training. I didn't have the ability to have these spotters around due to my schedule and I did some negative chin-ups. I'll tell you how I did them. I would put a chair or a step stool or a stepladder underneath the chin bar and hang some plates around my waist. Climb up into the top position, like the top of a chin, with your arms and lats contracted, chin over the bar and take my foot off that stepladder, then lower myself as slow as possible down. Then climb back up without my arms, just with my feet, get back into that top position and lower myself slowly down. It's kind of interesting. There were a couple of effects there. First of all, my biceps and back got very sore. The interesting this was, usually I get sore the next day. I was actually sore about five minutes after the workout. It was really interesting. I was using a lot more weight than I would normally use on a chin up. I built up to it but I got to a point where I had a lot of weight strapped on me, sometimes eighty or more pounds strapped on. I would do a heck of a lot of reps, anywhere between two, three, four reps. Something like that, because they were real slow. My back and biceps got a lot of growth stimulation. My biceps, which were normally, fairly flat before that, started really taking on a nice rounded look. It's a really good technique. If you can get spotters, you can do exercises like bench press, press overhead. If you can't, you could do the technique like I said with the chins. You could also do dips the same way, hard up to the top and lower yourself down. There are a couple of other exercises you can do. You can do negative lateral raises. You take the weight. Do a dumbbell curl up to your shoulders and then you kind of just shoot them out to your sides and just hold yourself out like an iron cross and just lower them really, really slow.
Gallapoo: That's cool. I never would thought of doing negative laterals like that.
Becker: Yeah. I'm not exactly sure where I learned that technique from. Somebody had mentioned it along the line.
Gallapoo: You could claim it as yours and say you invented it.
Becker: No. I definitely know that somebody told me about it.
Gallapoo: When you were doing the chins, what kind of grip did you use?
Becker: Most of the time, on any kind of lat work, I actually use a palm-up grip.
Gallapoo: Palm facing you grip? Or facing away?
Becker: Facing me. Palm up. Most of the time when I do rows, I actually use a palm-up grip which is opposite of what most people do because I feel it puts my biceps in the strongest position.
Gallapoo: That's interesting because like I told you, I had never really had been exposed to much of Arthur Jones' writing. I got watered down versions of it from other people but I just started reading some of his old articles in Iron Man, like back in the seventies. He was saying any kind of pull down, any kind of lat work, to use the same kind of grip you're talking about, where your palms face you. Only use, at the very widest, a shoulder-width grip. First of all, in any kind of back work, the arms are the weak link. That position puts your arms in the strongest position for them. That makes a lot of sense. Now, they are less of a weak link than they would be with an overhand grip with your palms facing away. He also said, and I wish I would have learned this years ago, this stuff about taking a wide grip on pull-downs and chins, how that builds you a wide back. That's not true. Look at any book on the function of muscles and by actually taking a wider grip, you just lessen the range of motion of your back muscles greatly. Actually a narrower grip works the muscles better.
Gallapoo: Anyway, that's why I asked you about that.
Becker: Well, I actually learned about the palm-up from Arthur Jones. Like I said, sometimes I will do rows for a few weeks differently, just for a change. But, most of the time, I'll do it with the palms up.
The static holds I was going to talk about next. But, I actually want to insert this one too. Another technique for building a lot of strength on the basic exercises is actually doing partial movements. You'll notice when you do squats or bench press, after you get past a certain sticking point, it's almost easy. Like that last couple of inches to lock out your legs or your elbows on a squat or a bench press is almost easy. It's because you have a mechanical advantage. At that point, you could actually press a lot more weight. One of the techniques is to just do that short range of motion like the top four to six inches on a squat or the top few inches on a bench press but really pile on the weight. Put on a lot of weight and just do a set in that range of motion. You usually need to do this on a power rack or a Smith machine. Actually, a power rack is better best because it has pins to stop you from ever going below that range of motion. Because if you get too low with a weight that's too heavy, you're not going to be able to get back up and you could also risk hurting yourself. It's best to do it in a power rack. You just set the pins for that short range of motion and put on a lot of weight. You can do this with the bench press, the press overhead, squats. You can do dead lifts from just above the knees. You really can lift a lot of weight. One thing is that your muscles and tendons are going to get stronger and be able to handle a lot of weight. There's also a mental effect from this that, you kind of don't fear heavy weights anymore. Let's say you're doing some partial range squats with six hundred pounds, you have a different attitude when you go back to doing regular squats like "I've done so much more weight than this." It's get rid of a fear and maybe even just changes your idea about how you think about really heavy weights. When you go back to some full range training, you're going to be a lot stronger and you're going to add muscle using this technique.
Gallapoo:It almost seems like whatever weight you normally train with, say in the squats, whatever the maximum weight you would train with, when you get onto the bar and lift it off the rack, it feels heavy. But, after you've done partials, because I think a lot of people will be surprised how much more they can use in partials. After you've done partials with a lot more weight, now all of a sudden, your normal training weights mentally doesn't feel as heavy.
Becker: When you take that and say, you go back and do something in the three hundred pound range, you've done some partials with a couple of hundred pounds more, and suddenly you unrack three hundred, it feels like nothing. You're not doing your full range reps. That's part of why that technique is so effective. Now I'm going to go back to these statics. It's very similar to these partials, except you're going to use even more weight and you're just going to hold it just a couple of inches below the lockout point, like in a press overhead. You're just going to hold it for somewhere around fifteen seconds, just below that lockout point. This is very similar to the partial rep training but you can actually hold a lot more weight than you can do the reps with. So this is very similar effect. You are going to gain the strength because your muscles do have to support this heavy weight and it's going to change your idea about what's heavy and what's not.
Gallapoo: That's true. I had done that a while back with one of those no-no exercises we're telling people not to do, the leg extension. Actually, in this case, I did a static hold with a leg extension and it was basically as long as I could hold it in that lockdown position. Then I did as low a negative as I could at that point and then immediately went on to the leg press. So, it was tough. It's a pretty brutal technique. You load up the bar, or whatever, and hold it. It's not as easy as it sounds.
Becker: Right. Even exercises we talked about doing, lateral raises and leg extensions, there is a place for these exercises too. But, the main body, when you're trying to build up size, the main part of your workout is going to be dominated by the big, hard exercises.
Gallapoo: Unless you're a genetic freak or using anabolics, you can toss all the information out the window. Because, anything those guys do, they will grow from.
Becker: We have really covered a lot of techniques. These techniques are going to take somebody to a point of being pretty big and strong. The next section of techniques we are going to start covering are for this person, someone who has really put on quite a bit of muscle, quite a bit of strength and now he needs a little more advanced techniques that are going to keep him gaining. But, the biggest point is that these more advanced techniques are going to always be alternated going back to the basic program, the basic exercises. They are something you are always going to go back to over your whole training career. You're always going to go back to a basic program of the hard exercises, the squats, the dead lifts, the bench presses, if you want to continue the game. You'll use an advanced technique for a certain time and go back to a basic program and then maybe you want to use another advanced technique for a little while and go back to your basic program. If you don't do it, most likely you're going to start getting into over-training. Maybe these advanced techniques are going to get you sore, but if they're not alternated with the basic strength-training program, you're not going to continue to gain the way you want to.
Gallapoo: Unfortunately, some of us have learned that the hard way.
Becker: Over the years of constantly, a year or two of really trying to push up more and more weight, inevitably, you're going to sacrifice some form. You should never try to sacrifice form but it's usually somewhat inevitable that someone's form has loosened up. I think that someone should go on a slow motion training program for a little while. One thing this does is really gets your form perfect again. You take a weight that's lighter than your usual weight, which is fine because you're going to go back to your basic program soon anyway to insure that you don't lose any strength. This program will actually make you gain strength when used correctly. You're going to do very, very slow reps, about twelve seconds on the positive and about six seconds on the negative. So, it's going to take you about twelve seconds to lift the weight from the beginning to the end and about six seconds to lower it. Between the two, you turn the weight around real smooth, slowly move from the positive to the negative. It's a technique you have to perfect. You're going to have to lower the weight to maybe thirty to fifty percent of what you usually use to get started with this. You're going to get some really deep burns on this and really hit some of the fibers that you weren't hitting before. Your strength is going to go up fast and you may even be handling close to or maybe even the same kind of weights you were usually handling in a fairly fast rep speed at this really slow rep speed. When you go back to your regular training, you're going to find you're a lot stronger and your form is really perfected. You're going to gain muscle doing it too.
Gallapoo: That's a good technique. I've had a lot of people who had trouble with their back training. The first thing I told them to do was, first of all, drop the weight that you're using. Use less weight and do your movements real slow, whatever they were doing, pull-downs, rows or whatever. Do your movements real slow and concentrate on pulling with the back muscles. A lot of people have told me that really ignited their back training and they were able to keep the good form and feel their back muscles working even when they started adding on more weight.
Becker: That actually brings me to the next technique that I want to discuss. I'm sticking to the outline. I remember reading in a report you wrote about genetically average secrets for faster gains. You had talked about for back training you like to use pre-fatigue training. Why don't you tell us a little about how you use that for your back.
Gallapoo: Well, as we talked about earlier, the arms being the weak link in back training…back training was hard for me. I was doing chins, I was doing pull-downs, I was doing rows, all the exercises that I was told would build a big back but it seemed like I felt it more in my arms than in my back. So, what I did and what I recommend other people to do is pre-exhaust the lats with a dumbbell pullover. I like to lie crossways across the bench so you are perpendicular with the bench. Basically with a dumbbell, not necessarily a straight arm, I bend my elbows just a little bit but I do a pullover and stretch just as far as I can go. I do a set of pullovers with that dumbbell that works the lats without involving the biceps. Then immediately after that, with no rest whatsoever, for however long it takes to get to the pull-down machine or the chin bar, I do a set of pull-downs with the palms up grip, the palms facing toward me. What I've done is, the lats are already fatigued and already worked from those pullovers but the biceps and the arm muscles are fresh. So now, I am able to further work my lats and I just seem to get a better back workout than just doing pull downs immediately because the arm muscles are smaller and they would be the weak link. They would fail actually before the lats had a chance to get totally worked. It's funny. In one of Arthur Jones' old articles, he talked about that too. When he first invented the Nautilus pullover machine, that was the super set he recommended too. Do the pullover and then pull downs or the chins. At that point, I was not strong enough to do a set of chins after that so I used the pull down machine.
Becker: Right. That first set takes a lot out of you.
Gallapoo: Yeah. No doubt.
Becker: This comes definitely under one of the techniques for somebody who has built up a really good body size and wants to get even bigger. Because the muscles like the thighs, the back, the chest and the shoulders are hard to really work as hard as you really are able to work them because of the fact that with squats or something like that, the lower back is actually going out first. What you do to avoid that is to do a set of leg extensions first and then immediately do a set of squats or leg presses or something like that. This really works those muscles hard. The back we discussed. Chest, you're going to do a set of flies immediately followed by a set of bench press or inclines or even dips. You're going to get an incredible pump and growth stimulation in your chest. On shoulders, you'd want to do lateral raises and a press behind the neck is usually best because it kind of isolates it a little more. Arms for pre-exhaust isn't really totally necessary but you can do some pre-exhaust things with the arms like a curl followed by a rawl, or there is another way to do it like you do a super slow chin, followed by a curl.
Gallapoo: Weren't you telling me that you had real good success with a curl, followed by a super slow negative chin with your palms facing you? Was that you telling me that?
Becker: It's actually…you do the chin first. The traditional way to do pre-exhaust is usually, you do an isolation exercise followed by a compound exercise. But also, usually you do some type of exercise to pre-exhaust followed by the exercise you usually do. Usually you do bench press, but then you do flies and bench press. So, you can use the curl as the second exercise. What you do is, you do a one rep chin, thirty to sixty seconds up and thirty to sixty seconds down. Then, you jump down from the chin bar, you pick up a barbell. You've got to use less than you usually use and you do a set of curls and it's not easy. It gets incredible pumps. You can also do the same thing for triceps. A traditional type of pre-exhaust would be a tricep press-down followed by a closed cut bench. This type of thing is the one rep dip, thirty to sixty seconds down, thirty to sixty seconds up, followed by the tricep extension, lying or maybe one dumbbell held in one both hands behind the head. That's the same thing. You do those two back to back for the biceps and triceps and you get an incredible pump in your arms.
Gallapoo:You know, I'm currently doing something like this for chest. I'm doing a pre-exhaust thing for chest, back and also sides. For me, I am the genetically average Joe. I'm a hard gainer and I recognize I've got limited recuperative abilities here. It's one set for me and that's it for my workout. Yesterday, I worked chest and back so I did peg deck and then immediately after peg deck, I did a set of incline barbell presses. That will do it for chest, one set of each. These are pretty intense. I think you could easily over-train by doing too many cycles of pre-exhaust supersets like that.
Becker: I don't recommend too many cycles, especially the more advanced you get. One cycle would be best. Just put your all into it. Use heavy enough weights to tax you and just work hard.
I would say no more than two or three at most.
Gallapoo: Like you said, the more advanced you get, the stronger you are so it's going to kind of make more of an inroad in your recovery ability so that actually when you keep getting stronger, you have to cut back on the volume when you're doing that, or for that matter, really, any kind of training. The pre-exhaust is so much more of an inroad into your recuperative ability.
Becker: Sounds like a good program! Another thing I want to talk about is, usually on the basic programs, you're not going to do much more than one or two exercises per body part. You really just want to concentrate on getting stronger in the basic exercises. So, one of the things that someone would want to do for a short time, and of course like we said, we always alternate this with the basic program, is do some multi-angular training, where you would use a few different exercises per body part. A lot of people do this wrong. They will do bench press, dumbbell bench press. That's essentially the same thing.
Gallapoo: Right. You're hitting the muscles from the exact same angle.
Becker: The best way I've seen, the most sensible way I've seen is the positions of flexion approach. Steve Holman is the one who originated this. He writes for Iron Man. His books are in Iron Man. I'll give you an example. He says you should hit the muscles from three different angles.
Gallapoo: In the same workout?
Becker: Yeah. He talks about the mid range exercises, stretch exercises and the contracted position exercises. For example, a barbell curl is hardest in the mid range. A good exercise. Dumbbell curls while you're laying back on an incline bench put a good stretch on the biceps and are harder in that position. Then concentration curls can get a good peak contraction. So you've got the three positions and you are hitting it at different angles. As long as you keep your sets down, I would say no more than one to two sets each exercise. So you might do three to six sets per body part. You're only going to do this for a short time too. You can use it full body or you can use it to bring up a leg and body part or something. But, if you're going to try the multi angle of training, I really think that's the most sensible approach to do it, rather than just the shocker approach of dumbbell bench presses, bench presses, and all these other exercises thrown together.
Gallapoo: Like you said, it's too much. That's the thing about exercise basically.
Becker: Another good technique is to mix up rep ranges. Something they used to do in the old days was a light and heavy routine, like one workout you'd do a heavy weight usually for around five reps. Then the next workout, you'd do a lighter weight and do about twelve to twenty reps. There is some scientific evidence that different rep ranges do affect different elements of the muscle. Of course, the white fibers are going to make up for the rest of the growth. But, doing higher reps sometimes will hit some of the other fibers and elements of the muscle and increase, even if you get ten percent more size because you hit these other elements, it's plenty worth it when you're getting more advanced. An extra ten percent, definitely worth your effort. You might want to mix this up. I've tried this routine and doing every single muscle group for a twelve to twenty rep set, sometimes really takes a lot out of you. So, you might want to mix it up like, one body part, do five reps and one body part, do the higher reps, twelve to twenty, and so on. But then the next workout, the body parts that got the low reps last time, get the high reps now, etcetera.
Gallapoo: I've found that if you've been used to doing lower reps, like six to eight, and you start doing sets of twelve, fifteen or twenty, it's difficult.
Becker: Yeah. You definitely get a lot of burn and a lot of pump. Like I said, if you can get an extra ten percent growth because you're doing some higher rep training, it's a good idea to give it a try. Also, there's some evidence that doing really high reps like thirty or more reps, will increase capillaries and capillaries take up space too and also stretch the covering, the fascia covering of the muscle, and basically give you a tremendous pump and just contribute more to growth. This isn't something you do all the time. You might just do even just specialize on a body part and try to do thirty or more reps for a few weeks, just really pump it up and try and increase the capillaries and other muscular elements that respond to the higher reps.
Gallapoo: It feels awful light when you first start it that way, with twenty or thirty reps. When you get about half way into it, that's when it really gets tough.
Becker: Exactly. What we're talking about now is kind of like pump techniques. Pump isn't in fact a necessity for growth, but there is a point in your training when it's going to help. It's not like you want to just make sure you get pumped all the time but there is a point once you've built up basic size that, if you're a body builder, you're going to want to do a certain amount of pump training and it will increase size. I know you just recently read that article by Arthur Jones about how he helped Franco get bigger arms.
Gallapoo: Yeah. That was pretty interesting. He was talking about how when he saw Franco in a contest and he had great torso. He was really wide but his arms just weren't up to the standard of everything else. I don't remember the exact measurements, but he measured his arm cold and then he had him do the Nautilus bicep curl machine immediately followed by the Nautilus triceps extension. He did five sets, never took a rest, did the curls, did the tricep extensions, back to the curls, to the tricep extensions for five sets of each of those. He measured his arms after that and they were pumped like an inch and a half bigger than the cold measurement. The next day, he measured them and they were still, I don't remember exactly. I wish I would have printed it out. They were still at least an inch bigger, if not more. And, he kept that size. It was just such a shock and such a pump that he kept that size.
Becker: What I actually refer to it as, is antagonistic super sets, because muscles work in pairs. They call them antagonists like a bicep bends the arm and the tricep straightens the arm. Let's say you do a set of curls, a set of tricep extensions, no rest. Back and forth, back and forth. It gives you an incredible pump. I would suggest, if you're really going all out, maybe three sets each, just one after the other though. You'll get an incredible pump. You could also do this even with things like rows and bench press if you really want to try to pump and put some size on your torso, leg extensions and leg curls, press and pull downs. Just work the muscles that work against each other and just back and forth, back and forth. You'll definitely see an incredible pump and some growth there. It's not something you can do for a long time. All these techniques are things that work for a short time and then they stop working. The problem is, people do them too long and then they forget to go back. They get all excited about these new techniques and they forget to go back to the basic program and make sure that they're increasing their strength, just even a little bit to keep that base there. If you get too lost in doing these techniques too much, unless you're on a lot of steroids or something, you're just going to spin your wheels. You'll get sore.
Gallapoo: Like you said at the beginning of the tape, you basically always come back to increasing your strength on the basic exercises, working on increasing your strength while keeping good form on the basic exercises. I don't think you ever get away from that if you're a genetically average guy or a hard gainer.
Becker: Right. Or, anybody who is really steroid free is really going to have to do that. Everybody hits a point where progress slows down, even the guys on a lot of steroids, how many of these guys change that much every year?
Gallapoo: That's right. They usually up their dosages and then there comes a point of diminishing returns on that too.
Becker: Another really good pump technique that you might want to try, this is an old technique, it goes back to the forties and fifties, it's hardly even known anymore…I don't even know many people who know about this. They call it cramping. What you do is, you start with a full range and as it got harder, you'd shorten up the range of motion. Let's say you're doing curls. You start with a lighter weight than you usually do because you're going to do fairly high reps on this. You start out with full range motion and then as the reps get harder, you're going to shorten your range of motion. Near the end of the set, you're just going to be doing small cramping, a few inch motions at the top. You gradually shorten the motion to get to that. You might end up with thirty or more reps by the time the set is over. You get an incredible pump and size increase. They used to call it a muscle molding technique way back when. Just like we're saying now, and this was in the days when there wasn't rampant steroid use, it was just something you used every once in a while on top of your basic strength training program. You could use this kind of technique, this cramping technique on things like curls, legs extensions, pec decks, maybe tricep push downs. Actually curls are better with a concentration curl. Something that has some resistance in the contracted position.
Gallapoo: I've never had the opportunity to try that.
Becker: It's a hard technique.
Gallapoo:I'm getting ideas of all kinds of things I want to try but we're presenting so much information at one time. I'm thinking, "I want to try this. Ooh. Now that sounds good too. I want to try that." You've got to remember, we're trying to give you just enough information for the rest of your training career. Don't be jumping from one thing to the next too much.
Becker: Exactly. Another pump technique, I think you've done this before, is a triple drop method.
Gallapoo: Oh yeah. No doubt. I did it a lot on dumbbell movements because it was more convenient. Let's take dumbbell curls for example. Let's say you start with forty pound dumbbells. You do your dumbbell curls until you reach positive failure, however many reps you can do. Immediately put those down and grab the thirty fives. Do a set with the thirty fives, as many reps as you can do until failure. Then put those down and grab the thirties. On a lot of sets, instead of going down another five pounds, I will go down ten pounds on that third set. So, maybe you grab the twenty five and then rep out with them until failure. That's where you get the name, triple drop. You drop the weight three times.
Becker: There are some people who really go down to almost an empty bar but I think it's too much who we're talking to, drug-free, genetically average trainees. I think a triple drop is plenty.
Gallapoo: I agree. You can do it with barbell exercises too. You really actually have to have somebody there if you're doing benches. You really almost need two people there to grab it off because otherwise you're going to have to get up from the bench, take a plate off one side, take a plate off the other side. Lay back down and start over. You've kind of decreased the effectiveness because you've taken a rest in between. The object is to do the sets right after the other.
Becker: Exactly. We talked about a lot of pump techniques and there is a secret that they use back in Vince's Gym on how to know when you have pumped enough. Most of us are only going to be able to get so pumped and then if you do any more, it's actually going to get smaller, or else you're going burst something. You can only pump it up so much. Now, how are you going to achieve the maximum pump without going too much past that? What they did back in Vince's Gym was to take a tape measure and somebody's arm…the biggest they ever pumped up to was sixteen and seven eights before. Now, they want to hit seventeen inches. What they do is, they do a few pump sets. A good one for this, for arms, would be antagonistic supersets. Do a couple of sets of curls and a couple of sets of tricep extensions, one after the other. Really get a good pump. Then you throw the tape around your arm real quickly. Let's say you pumped it up to sixteen and five eights or something like that. Do another set or two. Actually, at this point, do a set, do one set of each. Get as many reps as you can. Really pump it up and throw the tape around. Let's say you hit that seventeen inches, now. Don't get greedy. Stop. You did it.
Gallapoo: You've defeated the previous best pump you had.
Becker: Exactly. Next time you do this, you don't want to do this pump techniques too often either…you'll shoot for seventeen and an eight or more. Let's say you hit that sixteen and seven eights again and you do a couple of sets and then the next time you do a set, you measure and it's down to sixteen and five eighths. Don't keep going then. It didn't happen that time. Maybe, next time. Maybe you need a little more rest. Maybe you needed a little more of complex carbs in your diet to get it right.
Gallapoo: Diet can play a factor in that.
Becker: Sure. A pump technique's not going to work that great if you're on a low carb diet. It's just not something you combine with that. That's the secret to make it work. You check with a tape measure because it's always going to feel real pumped. The only way to really tell is to do that tape measure method.
Gallapoo:That's really good. That's something that I don't think is really ever shared anymore. Of course, Vince is dead now but I recall reading a report by Larry Scott where he was talking about that. He said he just kind of took it for granted that people knew how to use the tape measure and most guys were using it to take their cold measurements, which is good. It gives you a base to see where you are starting from. But, he said the same thing. He uses the tape measure to measure pumps after a workout. You know what? I had never heard that before until I read that from him.
Becker: Exactly. Well, a lot of what you and I have tried to do is resurrect these techniques that worked and kind of got lost because of steroids and things like that. Some of these techniques just kind of got forgotten about or lost but they work just as well. The human body has not changed. Some people may say, "Well, this is old" but, this works. Some of these things worked for decades and got forgotten about because of steroids. It's very easy to gain if you take enough steroids. What we are really trying to do is dig up what worked. I have nothing against new things. We are going to cover some new things too, things that are more recent. But, what we have tried to do is find out what works, past, present or future, what works, really works, what is proven to work and just tell people about it. Then let them try it for themselves and see that they do work.
Gallapoo: I had a guy who bought my genetically average Joe package from the book, the cassette and the video, and the reports and software. In the book, I've reprinted a lot of old stuff from fifties, just as an extra, an addendum to the book from Rio Blair because since Rio's partner, Freddy Lindblatt passed away, I think I am one of the only guys to have this old information from Rio Blair. Anyway, I don't really want to go into all the details as to who Rio Blair was. Regardless, back in the fifties, he was doing physique transformations that would rival what guys are accomplishing with steroids now and he was doing it naturally. The guy was a genius. This guy writes to me and says, "I noticed that your material seems dated. You have a lot of stuff from the fifties and some of the techniques you're recommending, you said even date back to the thirties. I need the most up to date, current information so I don't want your stuff." I was thinking, "What a moron." The guy is using the most up to date, current information. He's doing all the routines out of a magazine and he hasn't gained in years. But, just because we tell people that some of these techniques have been around for sixty or seventy years, doesn't mean that they are not any good. In fact, most of the time they are better than the crap that's being published now.
Becker: Exactly. Yeah, well, people don't realize that what worked twenty years ago, works now. It's proven. I have not been against anything new. The positions and flexions are a fairly new approach and I think it's totally viable and workable. People have been training with weights for a long time and even a lot of the new things, the things presented as new, aren't as new.
Gallapoo: Like the German volume training? Charles Policum was really promoting that. Read some of the stuff that Vince Charando wrote back in the fifties. He was recommending this.
Becker: Right. Vince was talking about ten sets of ten back then.
Gallapoo: They gave it a new name.
Becker: Exactly. Actually, I wanted to start talking about the correct way to do some volume training techniques. I do feel sometimes you will want to do a little more volume and some of these advanced techniques involve using higher volume for a short time and then alternating back with low volume training. The idea is that for a short time, the body is going to try to adapt to the higher stress level and then when you switch back to the lower volume, actually, it's high volume and/or frequency training that we are going to talk about, and when you switch back to the volume and/or frequency, your body should have built up a certain amount of extra adaptive energy and you should get a short period of accelerated gains. Some of these new Bulgarian courses are based on this but I think most of them are a bit much for the average person. We're going to talk about how to do it right.
Gallapoo: Paul, I've had some recent experience with some volume training. I think I can talk about how to do it the wrong way. The Bulgarian course…it sounded great on paper and I did it, and man, it was a lot of volume and it was training six days a week. It makes sense on papers. Another one of those things that makes sense on paper but doesn't actually always pan out. I did that for three or four weeks, which isn't even as long as they recommend in their book. I don't recall exactly, I think it's six-week cycles of three different routines. I don't remember, but after four weeks, I was so run into the ground. I got a severe tendonitis in my bicep tendon that took over a month to actually heal and I was run down. I was sore all the time. I actually sick. I got a sinus infection, which I would attribute to the fact that I was in systemic over-training. In other words, not only were the muscles over-trained, my whole system was over-trained and couldn't recover. My immune system was weak. I picked up a sinus infection, which turned into bronchitis, which turned into a slight pneumonia. So, I took a few weeks off to recover from that, actually, almost a month and what I should have done was started back in the gym on a basic program but I did another volume routine at the suggestion of this guy who owned the gym I was going to. So, sixteen to eighteens sets of body parts with supersets and all kinds of stuff…three, four and five days a week and got sick again. Got another sinus infection and bronchitis. I was just thinking, "Man, this sucks!" I was weaker. I dropped fifteen pounds. I was sick all the time. This is just absolutely nuts. Then, I felt like a hypocrite because here I am trying to convince people to do basic abbreviated, lower volume routines and I was doing the exact opposite of what I was telling them. I guess every now and then, we all need to reinforce what not to do. That reinforced what NOT to do. After taking a couple of weeks off to recover from all that, I got back on a high intensity, low volume routine, one where I only trained every four days. I was doing basically one set per body part. Every single time I went into the gym, I was stronger and getting bigger and putting back on the weight I lost. Volume is good but used for a limited period of time and doing it the right way, which we are going to talk about.
Becker: Exactly. The thing is with the Bulgarian training, they actually increase bulk, volume and frequency which I suggest for us natural trainers, you're going to do one or the other and it's just for a short time to get an accelerated growth when you go back to your regular training. Let's say you're normally doing one or two sets per exercise which was what I suggest for hard gainers and somewhat advanced trainees. Let's say you're doing hard sets of six, heavy sets, one or two sets per exercise of six reps. If you wanted to do some volume training for a short time, you actually take only sixty percent of what you've been using for your heavy sets. So, if you're using two hundred pounds in bench press, you're only going to do one hundred twenty, and you're still only going to do sets of six. But, you're going to do six sets of six with about somewhere between sixty to ninety seconds rest between sets. By the time you do that sixth set, it's going to be pretty hard. You're going to hit some deeper fibers due to cumulative fatigue and you're going to get some really good pumps. This is just something you do for a short time and you don't also increase your frequency. You might even take a couple of extra days because you're going to get sore, maybe take more rest than you usually take after a higher volume technique. Now, I'm going to talk about these separate, increased volume or increased frequency as a technique. If you're doing one or two all out sets per exercise, let's say for the next few workouts, add an extra sets until you're up to maybe three or at most, four sets per exercise. This is over a couple of weeks. Let say, you hit a body part once a week. Over the next two or three weeks, you're going to add a set and then the next week, you're going to suddenly drop back down to your one or two sets. Then you're really going to concentrate on increasing your strength over the next few weeks and then when your gains slow down, you kind of do this again. You up the sets, and that's based on that idea that your body is going to marshal up its adaptive forces and then you're going to make it easier for it to use those adaptive forces to make better gains. That's the basic idea behind Bulgarian training but the routines they suggest are just too much. It's really a good idea and it does work, but it has to be used right. Because even when you decrease, you're still training six days a week and that doesn't work. Another good way to really save your recovery ability on this is that you don't have to do it on every body part all the time. Do it on a lagging body part to bring it up to snuff. If you do it on every body part, you're going to wear yourself out. Somebody with good recovery ability might be able to do it on every body part but, you might want to only do it on a couple of body parts to just save yourself from getting wiped out.
Gallapoo: That would probably be the best way to start, I think.
Becker: Exactly. Now, the next one…increased frequency, I do actually suggest you're going to do this only on one or two body parts at a time. Most people who are getting to this advanced level, which are the techniques we are talking about now, are usually training a body part once a week, sometimes once every eight or ten days for each body part, even something like legs or some advanced power lift is only dead lift once every two weeks, because it does take time to recuperate from a heavy workout like that. Let's say you're doing once a week as an example. Here's an example of what you're usually doing. Let's say you take that body part, lagging calves and you usually hit them once a week. Then, you hit the three times in one week and then back to once a week right after that. The next week you're back to once a week. You should seed a quick surge of growth in that next week after you hit them three times. Like I said, it's something you do for very short times and then you go back to what you were doing before. A lot of techniques that the current bodybuilding champions are using are techniques, but they have forgotten that they are not how you train all the time. But, they get away with it because of the drugs. Even the thing that's real popular right now, which is the German volume training, the ten sets of ten, works. But, you have to do it right. Ten sets of ten is brutal but most people use way too much weight. You are actually supposed to start with a weight you could easily do twenty with and then you wait sixty to ninety seconds between sets and do ten sets with that body part. This is something you should actually work up to. Let say, maybe you do six sets of six. If you've done well on that, you might want to try ten sets of ten. The truth is, you should never do this more than three weeks in a row. That will probably only be three workouts for a specific body part. You're really only going to want to do one exercise per body area like squats, bench and rows, a good ten sets of ten routine. I wouldn't even do all of those in one day, maybe one or two exercises in one day. Take a couple of days off, do another one or two sets of exercises for a different area. Then only do it for about three weeks. Take a week or two off after that and go back to your basic program.
Gallapoo: You know what Charles Poliquin recommended when he wrote that article on the German volume training? I just remember one workout with the chest and back where he would do ten sets of ten, like a dumbbell, bench press and then ten sets of ten of pull-downs. Then he recommended a couple of isolation moves. You do your ten sets of ten with the dumbbells, bench press. Then you do an additional three sets of twelve to fifteen reps with dumbbell flies. The same with the back, you do your pull-downs, then sets of ten. Then he recommended three sets of twelve to fifteen of dumbbell rows. I thought, "You've got to be nuts." Anybody who's done ten sets of ten, if they can do an extra three sets of anything for that body part, I don't see how you can do it. Ten sets of ten. It's killing me.
Becker: Yeah. I would say, if you're going to go in and you did ten sets of ten for chest and ten sets of ten for your back, get the hell out of the gym. For a real hard gainer, which actually, I would include myself in that category, I would go in the gym and do ten sets of ten of squats and leave. Then I would wait two days, go in the gym, do ten sets of ten of bench presses and leave. Wait two days and do ten sets of ten of row and leave. Then two days and do it over and just do that for three weeks. Take a couple of weeks off, go back to my basic routine.
Gallapoo: Yeah. I think that's more realistic. Anybody who has tried this. You do ten sets of ten on the squat like you're talking about with sixty to ninety second rest in between, you're going to think that is the shortest sixty to ninety seconds in your life after about set five.
Becker: Get a wheel chair because you're going to have trouble walking.
Gallapoo: It's true, man. I was so sore, it was painful for a week.
Becker: Now, the last one that I have in mind is the one you had mentioned earlier. This is another volume technique. It's a volume and a pump technique. This was originated by Perry Raider in the forties. Everyone I've put on this technique has gained at least a quarter to a half-inch on their arms in one day. You need a whole day to do this. There have been some variations of this routine which have just exaggerated and overdone it, but I'm going to tell you the original way that Perry told us to do it and the way that works and has been working all this time. What you do is, you take an exercise for you biceps and exercise for your triceps. You're going to need a whole day to do this so you get up, you get ready. You're better off doing this in a home gym or with a home barbell set. You warm up and then you do your first set of each. You do eight reps of each to failure. The first set of the day, absolute muscular failure for your first set, about eight reps for curls and tricep extensions. Then, every hour after that, you take a weight that's maybe about fifty or sixty percent of what you did in the morning to failure and do ten or twelve reps, actually closer to twelve to fifteen reps. Get a good pump. Now, these shouldn't be hard sets. You want to get a big pump, but they are not going to be real hard. An hour goes by, you take your barbell and you do one set of curls, one set of tricep extensions, pump them up. Another hours goes by, pump up your arms. The idea was to keep your arms pumped up all day and you also want to take in a lot of protein that day and mostly just rest, train and eat in that day. Like I said, Perry said that people have put on as much as three-quarters of an inch on their arms in one day. People I have told about it and reported back to me, every single one is somewhere between one quarter and a half inch on their arms after that day is over. It is permanent growth when done right. The right way to do it is, the first set in the morning is to failure. The rest are pump sets and you do twelve workouts that day, that failure set and eleven more so it takes you about twelve hours to do the whole program.
Gallapoo: That would probably be ideal to do at home if you've got barbells at home.
Becker: Right. Now, you can do this for any…the thing is, this is really an advanced program. I don't suggest it…one guy who read about it on the internet, because I had an article on the internet about it, he did it and he wasn't an advanced guy. He only actually gained about a quarter inch on his arms. He probably could have gotten that quarter inch easily from doing other things, from just training intelligently. Then when he was bigger, he could have done this and maybe gained a whole half inch when he really needed it because this isn't going to work that often. If you did it for your arms, it's not going to work again. Maybe a year later, you could do it again and let's say you gained a half-inch this year. If you tried it a year later, you might only gain a quarter. You can't do it too often. The best results are going to be the first time. So, you want to save it for when you really need it.
Gallapoo:Didn't Perry Raider suggest no more than once a year or twice a year that you do this?
Becker: About once a year per body part. It's going to work the best the first time you do it so you might as well save it for when you really need it. Let's say your arms are about as big as you're able to get them, then you could throw on another half-inch maybe. That would be awesome. So, it's an advanced technique. That's why we are covering it last. It's probably one of the most advanced techniques. The other thing is, most people use it for their arms because not too many people have as big…everybody wants their arms bigger, no matter how big they are. But, it works for any body part. If you add leg and calves or leg and pecs or leg and shoulders, you can do the same technique. I suggest you do it with an isolation exercise like flies or if you're going to do chest or lateral raises because you're going to get a much better pump. You're going to isolate the muscle you want. If you were to do overhead presses, a lot of the muscles are getting stimulated. But, if you did the lateral raise and did it the way I explained, you're going to get the growth where you want it, in the shoulders.
Gallapoo: Right. That makes sense.
Gallapoo: That pretty much wraps up the techniques that we are going to cover right now.
Gallapoo: If that's not enough, then I don't know what to tell you.
Becker: Right. I mean, Dan and I are constantly testing new techniques. We're going to report on anything that's workable. Like I said, if you follow the advice on these tapes, it can keep you busy for the rest of your training days and will keep you gaining and you can get quite big without drugs or other silly means like implants or things like this.
Gallapoo: You know what? Not to interrupt you but we both have to get in our shameless plug for our websites here.
Gallapoo: You go first.
Becker: Okay. Well, there are a lot of books and courses at TrulyHuge.com. Some of them cover these techniques in more detail. There's a lot more information. One thing I was going to mention is, none of these techniques are going to work if you're chronically over-trained. So, the thing is, don't work out too often. Take occasional layoffs to recharge your batteries. A lot of my books and courses, especially Truly Huge, really tell you how to monitor your recovery ability and how to keep yourself gaining and avoiding plateaus. Visit my website TrulyHuge.com. We also have the top of the line supplements there if you do want to take supplements which I have always said aren't absolutely necessary but they can help a little bit.
Gallapoo: Plus Paul's got a discussion board that I like to go over to there. It's a great place to post questions and hear some other ideas on training. He's got a live chat room too which can be a lot of fun. When are your scheduled chats?
Becker: The scheduled chats are 8 p.m., Central Standard Time. Almost any time you go into that chat room, you'll find some people there. It's a popular chat room these days.
Gallapoo: Yeah, it's a lot of fun. If you want to come over and visit me, I'm at www.DrugfreeBodybuilding.com. While you're over there, find out, I do a free monthly email newsletter. Feel free to sign up for that. Is my shoulder routine, my free shoulder routine win book, is that still up?
Gallapoo:It's still up.
Gallapoo:At Christmas time, I was giving away a free shoulder specialization routine. It's actually on a secret URL. It's www.DrugFreeBodybuilding.com/download.htm. It's still up. We may leave it up for a few months more. It's a shoulder specialization routine. It's in what we call win-book format which is a digital book. You can view it on your computer screen or print it out on your printer. Sorry folks with a Macintosh, it doesn't work on Macs, only on IBM compatibles. But, it's a shoulder specialization routine. There's three routines in there. They are just to be done for a short period of time, for those who want to specialize on shoulders. Who doesn't want bigger shoulders?
Becker: Right. It's a volume technique, just to be used just the way we described in these tapes. I'll tell you what Dan, I think what we'll do is, we'll leave that up and the people who buy this techniques course, that's an extra free gift to them.
Gallapoo: Hey, great idea!
Becker: Not everybody knows about that secret so go download it and you get a late or early Christmas gift.
Gallapoo: Depending on what time of year you get the tape. Plus, you get to see a picture of Donner, the devil dog. You'll get to see the dog that was making all that noise in the background. That's his before picture in that course. We'll get his after picture after the Bulgarian super-growth puppy chow diet plan which I'm going to do a course about, I think.
Becker: Alright, Dan, I really like doing this tape. I'm looking forward to shooting the video with you in March.
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