Doggcrapp Training 101 – The Ultimate Load

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Assuming you don’t live under a rock, you know that there are countless muscle building workout routines and approaches. Some of these approaches are designed using sound logic and progression principles, while others seems to be thrown together by your average Joe Gym-Bro after a night of drinking Jack Daniels.

The purpose of this article is to examine the training principles for Doggcrapp (DC) Training, a popular weightlifting approach in the bodybuilding community. This article also provides a sample routine and diet designed to optimize results while employing Dante Trudel’s DC training.

What is Doggcrapp Training?

DumbbellsIn short, DC training is a hypertrophy-oriented weightlifting approach created by Dante Trudel. This workout style utilizes high intensity, low volume, and high frequency training principles.

DC is not recommended for beginners or even most intermediates. It’s advised for use by later intermediates and advanced lifters with a very solid strength base and at least 2 to 3 years of time in the gym.

If you have to second-guess whether DC training is right for you, it’s best to wait a few more months before embarking on this high-intensity routine. However, if you’re at a point where DC training seems like a good fit, keep reading. Based on Ron Harris’ interview with Dante (found on Dante’s website, Intense Muscle), DC training employs the following principles:

Heavy Weights with Progressive Overload

To gain muscle and strength, you’ve got to give your body a reason to grow and repair. Using heavy loads forces your central nervous system (CNS) to tell your muscles to fire and recruit as many muscle fibers as possible.

Through the principle of progressive overload, you will be adding weight and/or reps each time you perform an exercise. This will ensure your muscles have to continue adapting and growing to the stressors you place them under.

Low(er) Workout Volume

Doggcrapp training is extremely intense. Don’t let the relatively low volume of working reps convince you otherwise.

For each exercise you will perform 3 to 5 submaximal effort warm-up sets followed by an all-out, max effort top working set (comprised of 3 sub-sets). At the end of this rest-pause style top working set, you should have NO reps left in the tank.

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High Frequency Training of Body Parts

Although the workout volume is low, the frequency and intensity by which you train a body part is high. For DC training, high frequency means hitting each body part 2 times every 8 days.

Multi-Rep Rest Pause Training

I’ve written about these before in my article “Top 10 Workout Intensifiers for Enhanced Gains”, but Dante Trudel takes a slightly varied approach. After performing your warm-up sets, select your top set working weight; perform as many repetitions (typically between 7 and 10) as possible until you reach failure, controlling the eccentric/negative/lower portion of each reputation and performing each concentric/lifting raising portion as explosively as possible.

After you’ve reached failure, you’re not done with this “set.” Take 10 to 15 deep breaths and then perform the same exercise with the same weight, to failure.

But wait, you’re not done yet! Take another 10 to 15 deep breaths and perform the same exercise with the same weight, to failure.

You don’t have to stay under, or continue to hold the bar during these deep breathing portions. The purpose is to expand your diaphragm as much as possible so that you maximize oxygen intake.

At the end of this “set” (comprised of 3 sub-sets and 2 deep breathing portions) you should have completed somewhere between 11 and 15 repetitions. If you complete less than 11 reps, then the weight is too heavy; lower the weight during the next training session.

If you complete more than 15 reps, increase the weight by 5-15lbs depending on the exercise and how many repetitions you completed. All exercises should be performed in a rest-pause manner except those targeting back thickness, quadriceps, forearms, and calves. You will target those four muscle groups using straight sets.

Extreme Stretching

Chest DipsExtreme stretching is an unconventional approach that is not found in most bodybuilding workout routines. The goal of extreme stretching is to expand your fascia, thus increasing the potential for muscles to expand and fill this stretched and expanded space.

After each exercise – or at the end of the workout – perform extreme stretches that target the muscles you’re working that day. Hold this stretch for a total of 30 to 60 seconds and make sure you’re trying to flex the target muscle the entire time you’re stretching. Don’t be afraid to separate this 30 to 60 seconds in to multiple intervals of 5 to 10 seconds.

In the case of extreme stretching, in line with Dante’s other DC training principles, quality is ESPECIALLY more important than quantity. If you search around Dante’s website forum you can find pictures and in-depth descriptions of extreme stretch variations for each body part. Don’t be afraid to vary the extreme stretch variation to ensure you maximize muscle belly and fascia expansion.

Carbohydrate Cutoffs

Dante believes in a carbohydrate front-loading approach. This means consuming a majority of your carbohydrates in the morning and tapering them off in the afternoon before cutting out direct consumption of carbohydrates in the evenings. It is acceptable to consume vegetables in the evening, even though they technically contain trace carbohydrates.

The only time you’ll be consuming simple carbohydrates is in the pre, intra, and post-workout timeframe. Now this doesn’t mean you can’t have a low/no carb meal during the day or a higher carb meal for “dinner,” but rather don’t save all of your carbohydrates until the evening.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Dante is a big advocate of low to moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity; regardless of whether a trainee is cutting, bulking, or maintaining. The only exceptions being extreme ectomorphs, blazing metabolisms, and/or still in their teenage years (don’t we all wish we could still eat anything and not gain an ounce of fat? Ah, the good ol’ days…

Given the intense nature of DC-style workout days, he doesn’t advocate the use of high intensity interval training (HIIT) techniques. The reasoning is that they could significantly hinder recovery and negatively affect progressive overload in the weight room.

If you’re not used to performing cardio, aim for 2-4 sessions of 30-60 minutes, preferably in the morning and in a fasted state. Utilize activities such as jogging, cycling, jump roping, elliptical training, or swimming. The idea isn’t to kill yourself during these cardio sessions, but rather to ensure your heart stays in top-notch condition.

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High Protein Intake

Although the most recent scientific literature supports a protein intake of 1 gram per pound of bodyweight (or lean mass) as more than sufficient for hypertrophy, Dante Trudel believes that trainees grow best when consuming 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Given this high protein requirement, many Doggcrapp trainees consume whey protein shakes or weight gainers from powder sources like MTS Machine Whey Protein or Muscle & Brawn Huge Gainer.

In addition to concentrated protein sources like whey, consume ample amounts of lean protein from sources like chicken, beef, egg whites, and fish.

Periodization

Through “blasting” and “cruising” phases (terminology commonly used in anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) community), Dante believes a periodization approach of about 6 to 12 weeks of all-out training (“blasting”) followed by 10 to 14 days of maintenance training (“cruising”). If you’re blasting closer to the 12 week mark, Dante does say that a cruise of up to 21 days is acceptable.

The goal of DC training is to provide you with an intense, hypertrophy-inducing approach that will allow you to make gains year-round. Be forewarned – if you skip the cruising phases or turn the cruising phases in to more of a blasting phase, you’re going to overreach/underrecover/overtrain/burn out quickly.

Sample Doggcrapp-Style Training Routine

Dante believes there is an optimal body part split for those looking to maximize hypertrophy. Doggcrapp training requires you to train 3 days per week using an A/B structure. Ensure each workout is separated by at least one rest day and that you perform each workout roughly twice every 8 days.

For each muscle group, you will perform 3 exercises, with one top working set for each exercise. While you can use isolation movements, ensure they only compromise only a small portion of your exercise selection. Dante Trudel clearly states that there’s much more room for progressive overload on a compound lift like the back squat compared to an isolation movement like leg extensions.

Performed Monday/Wednesday Friday or Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday. You’ll alternate A/B/A and B/A/B every week.

Please note that if you are unable to perform or do not have the equipment for any of these exercises, a related substitute exercise is acceptable. Once you understand and have experimented with the sample routine, feel free to tailor frequency, volume, and intensity to meet your goals and needs.

Workout A – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Back Width, & Back Thickness

Dumbbell PressChest (10-15 rest-pause reps, spread across 3 sub-sets for each exercise). Pick 3 of the following:

  • Flat, Incline, or Decline Barbell/Dumbbell/Hammer Strength/Smith Machine Bench Press
  • Flat/Incline/Decline Cable or Dumbbell Fly
  • Chest Dips (Weighted if possible)
  • Kneeling Landmine Press

Shoulders (10-20 rest-pause reps, spread across 3 sub-sets for each exercise). Pick 3 of the following:

  • Seated or Standing Barbell/Dumbbell/Hammer Strength/Smith Machine Overhead Press
  • Push Press
  • Behind-the-Neck-Press
  • Upright Row
  • Bulldozer Lateral Raises – inspired by Steve Shaw these are “explosive, provide better leverages, allow you to use more weight and they provide a better feel and contraction. Before each rep start with the dumbbell on the opposite leg, holding it into place. Release the dumbbell and explode it up, as if you were drawing a sword.”

Triceps (15-30 rest-pause reps, spread across 3 sub-sets for each exercise). Pick 3 of the following:

  • Close Grip Bench Press
  • Triceps Dips (Weighted if possible)
  • Flat/Incline/Decline Skullcrushers
  • Overheard Extensions

Back Width (11-15 rest-pause reps, spread across 3 sub-sets for each exercise). Pick 3 of the following:

  • Pull-ups or Chins up (weighted if possible; feel free to vary the grip if you stall)
  • Narrow or Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns
  • Hammer Strength Lat Pulldowns

Back Thickness (to prevent injury due to fatigue and form breakdown, perform these using straight sets of 6 to 12 reps; you can perform up to two working sets per back thickness exercise). Pick 3 of the following:

  • Conventional Deadlifts
  • Rack Pulls
  • Barbell or Dumbbell Rows
  • Chest Supported or T-bar Rows
  • Narrow or Wide Grip Seated Cable Rows

Workout B – Biceps, Forearms, Calves, Hamstrings, & Quadriceps

Seated Dumbbell CurlsBiceps (11-20 rest-pause reps, spread across 3 sub-sets for each exercise). Pick 3 of the following:

  • Seated or Standing Dumbbell Curls
  • Standing Barbell Curls
  • Standing Cable Curls
  • Preacher Curls
  • Spider Curls

Forearms (to prevent injury due to fatigue and form breakdown, perform these using straight sets of 10-30 reps). Pick 3 of the following:

  • Dumbbell Hammer Curls
  • Reverse Grip Barbell/Dumbbell/Preacher/Cable Curls
  • Dumbbell or Barbell Wrist Curls
  • Dumbbell or Barbell Reverse Wrist Curls

Calves (Dante takes a very unique approach to calf training; you will be perform these using straight sets but ensure the eccentric/lowering portion last 3-5 seconds, you hold the bottom stretched position for 10-20 seconds, then explosively perform the concentric/raising portion.) Pick 3 of the following:

  • Leg Press Calf Raise
  • Hack Squat Machine Calf Raise
  • Smith Machine/Barbell/Dumbbell Calf Raise
  • Seated or Standing Calf Raise Machine

Hamstrings (15-30 rest-pause reps, spread across 3 sub-sets for each exercise). Pick 3 of the following:

  • Romanian or Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
  • Seated or Lying Leg Curls
  • Good Mornings
  • Glute-Ham Raises

Quadriceps (to prevent injury due to fatigue and form breakdown, perform these using straight sets of 6 to 12 reps, with the optional 20-rep widowmaker set; you can perform up to two working sets per quadriceps exercise). Pick 3 of the following:

  • Barbell Back or Front Squat
  • Leg Press
  • Hack Squat
  • Dumbbell or Barbell Lunge
  • Dumbbell or Barbell Step-up
  • Leg Extension

Sample Muscle Building Diet

To maximize lean mass and strength gains on a Doggcrapp routine you have to eat BIG. This high frequency and high intensity routine is extremely taxing on muscles, ligaments, tendons, and the CNS. In addition to eating big, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to minimize your risk of overreaching due to under recovery.

According to Dante Trudel’s official website and forums, the exact macro, calorie, and number of meals can be adjusted and tailored to the individual based on fitness goal (fat loss, mass gain, maintenance), but the trainee should aim for about 8 meals (liquid or solid) per day and 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

The 3,600 calorie meal plan below assumes a 180lb male, so he will be consuming 360 grams of protein per day. The remainder of his calories will be comprised of carbohydrates and fats. Feel free to adjust this meal plan based on your goal, weight, and activity level; this is merely a starting point.

  • Meal One – 1 serving MTS Machine Greens + Multi, 2-3g EPA/DHA Fish Oil, and 5000IU vitamin D. 1 cup cooked oatmeal, 1 cup fresh blueberries, 6 egg whites, 1 cup skim milk. Nutrition: 470 calories, 35g protein, 61g carbs, 9g fat, 8g fiber
  • Meal Two – 1 serving (3 scoops) Muscle & Brawn Huge Gainer. Nutrition: 470 calories, 25g protein, 75g carbs, 9g fat, 0g fiber
  • Meal Three – 6 ounces cooked chicken breast, 1 large whole-wheat pita, 2 cups cooked spinach. Nutrition: 590 calories, 65g protein, 49g carbs, 16g fat, 13g fiber
  • Meal Four – 2 scoops MTS Machine Whey Protein, 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 medium apple. Nutrition: 460 calories, 50g protein, 42g carbs, 12g fat, 7g fiber
  • Pre-Workout – 1 serving (2 scoops) of MTS Clash + 1 serving MTS Vasky. Nutrition: 0 calories, 0g protein, 0g carbs, 0g fats
  • Workout – Workout as outlined above + 1 scoop MTS Machine Fuel intra-workout. Nutrition: 25 calories, 6g protein, 0g carbs, 0g fats
  • Meal Five – 6 ounces skirt steak, 2 cups steamed broccoli, 1 ounce shredded parmesan cheese. Nutrition: 570 calories, 65g protein, 19g carbs, 27g fat, 7g fiber
  • Meal Six – 5 ounces cooked ground turkey, 1 ounce almonds. Nutrition: 455 calories, 45g protein, 6g carbs, 29g fat, 4g fiber
  • Meal Seven – 2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp. peanut butter. Nutrition: 340 calories, 45g protein, 22g carbs, 8g fat, 2g fiber
  • Meal Eight – 1 cup low fat cottage cheese, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 serving Mygoenix Pro Fiber. Nutrition: 220 calories, 24g protein, 19g carbs, 5g fat, 9g fiber

Totals:

  • Calories: 3,600
  • Protein: 360 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 293 grams
  • Fats: 115 grams
  • Fiber: 50 grams
Reference

1) Trudel, Dante. “Forums.” Intense Muscle. N.p., 2015.

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Name: Nick Ludlow

Bio: When it comes to fitness I enjoy reading about historic weight lifters, non-conventional weightlifting approaches, nutritional protocols, and the science behind supplements.