Monday, February 16, 2015

High-Volume, Low-Frequency Training for the Ultimate in Mass Building, Part Two


High-Volume, Low-Frequency Training for the Ultimate in Mass-Building
Part Two
More of Dennis Du Breuil’s “Ultimate Bulk and Power” Rules

     After my brief interlude into the world of high-fat “anabolic” muscle-building diets, it’s time to continue with some more of Du Breuil’s old-school wisdom on building bulk and power, with some more than occasional comments from Greg Zulak, along with my wisdom—for what it’s worth—on the matter.  (If you haven’t done so by this point, read Part One first.)
Rule 4: Use plenty of isolation movements in your routine.  Of all of Du Breuil’s “rules”, this one is going to be the most controversial for many of you reading this.  It goes against a lot of the stuff you’ve read in other places—heck, it goes against a lot of what I’ve said (or seems to) over the years.
     But I think it has plenty of merit—for the advanced lifter, at least.
     First off, Du Breuil believed that beginner and intermediate lifters did need to focus on the big, compound lifts, but he believed that, once you reached a certain level of growth, you weren’t going to continue to make progress unless you also included plenty of isolation movements.
     Here are his words on the matter: “After we’ve conditioned our body with muscle-group exercises like the bench press and the squat, most of us find that we reach a point where we no longer gain, or, at least, we make progress very slowly.  Because a muscle can work harder against a contraction if it works alone than it can if it’s a member of a team, isolation exercises like triceps extensions and curls will work the muscle harder, stimulating further progress.
     “Believe me, if you are at a plateau, hard work on isolation exercises will make you grow.”
     Even having said all of that, Du Breuil, rather surprisingly, wasn’t an advocate of pre-exhaust training.  Instead, he believed that you should start with a heavy, compound movement to begin blasting the muscle group, and then finish with some very hard sets of isolation exercises.
     As I said, I think there’s some merit in this approach for advanced lifters.  Here would be an example of a quad routine using this principle, along with the ones we discussed in Part One:
  • Squats: 8 sets of 8 reps (Use a weight where you can probably get 16 reps—rest only about 30 seconds between each set.)
  • Leg Extensions: 3 triple-drop strip sets of 6, 12, and 20 reps on each drop
  • Negative-accentuated Sissy Squats: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Barbell Walking Lunges: 1 set all-out (Load a barbell with 135 lbs or so, and lunge until you damn-near puke)
Rule 5: Use a variety of exercises for each bodypart.  Here’s how Zulak explained it in his original MuscleMag article that summed up these principles: “Du Breuil believed that for each muscle group, you should use one basic exercise and several isolation movements.  Since there are various parts to a muscle, obviously several exercises are required to hit a muscle from all angles.  It is important for both size and symmetry to work the total muscle.”
     The previous quad workout would be a perfect example of what Du Breuil was talking about.
     Now, some of you may be saying “duh?” to this rule, but it’s still amazing to me that there are so many people who think they can make a muscle large, shapely, and symmetrical by using only one exercise alone.  Don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to the rule, but most everyone—myself included—needs more than one exercise.  And, no, this doesn’t fly in the face of what I’ve written previously when I recommend full-body workouts, and just one exercise per muscle group, per workout, because, even in those instances, you’re going to be using a lot of exercises over the course of a month or two.  Keep in mind that, when training with high-volume, high-intensity, and low-frequency, you really must hit a muscle with a variety of exercises.
Rule 6: Work fairly quickly.  This really goes back to our first rule.  When using Du Breuil’s techniques, remember, you’re trying to really pump a muscle with blood in the shortest amount of time possible, and you’re trying to build up fatigue products in the muscle at the same time (which goes back to the second rule).
     How fast is “fairly quickly”?  I would always perform your next set before you’re completely recovered from the previous one.  Now, you don’t want to train so quickly that it becomes a lesson in cardiovascular health, but you do want, with each subsequent set, to increase the pump more and more.
Rule 7: Light, flushing movements done at a separate time from your workout will remove the fatigue products and augment recovery, as well as reducing soreness.  At first glance, this may seem to go against the rest of Du Breuil’s theories on pushing fatigue products into the muscle, and on making sure you maintain a pump in the muscle for an extended period of time.  But, in this case, he’s referring to the recovery of a muscle once it’s already been flushed and pumped with blood, and been allowed to stay that way for some time.
     He recommended doing two or three very light, very high-rep, very low-intensity sets for a muscle group either hours after the muscle has been trained, or, possibly, the next day.
     I would perform this the day after you’ve trained a muscle.  For instance, if you performed the hellishly devilish quad workout above on a Monday, then on Tuesday perform 2 or 3 sets of bodyweight squats for sets of 30 to 50 reps.  If you’re supposed to train another muscle on Tuesday, that’s fine.  Do the bodyweight squats at either the beginning of the workouts as a warm-up, or at the end of the session—but don’t do it until at least 20 minutes after the workout’s over.  And if it’s an off day, that’s fine, too.  The bodyweight squats won’t cut into your ability to recover from your previous workouts.  They will enhance it.
Rule 8: Maintain at least a minimum amount of cardiovascular conditioning.  About the same time that I stumbled upon Zulak’s article on “Ultimate Bulk and Power”, I had also just read John Parrillo’s book “High-Performance Bodybuilding”.  (Parrillo, by the way, needs his own “It Came from the ‘90s” post.)  And Parrillo said the same thing as Du Breuil.  Which was odd, I thought, at the time, since both authors were concerned with packing on as much muscle as possible on their bodybuilders.  And I had always thought, up to that point, that aerobic training would adversely effect by ability to gain mass.
     But the more I thought about the rest of Du Breuil’s principles, the more it began to make sense.  Sure, you can’t train for maximum endurance and maximum size at the same time, but that wasn’t the point.  Here’s what Zulak wrote back in ’94: “The better condition you are in—cardiovascular-wise—the faster you will recover your wind between sets, so you can train faster without making the cardiopulmonary system fail.  And the because the blood supply must remove the waste products from the muscles, while delivering fresh nutrients, the more efficient the cardiovascular system, up to a point, the faster you will recover from your workouts, and the better progress you’ll make.”
     So, how much cardio work do you need in order to make your muscles bigger?  It depends, but I think 30 minutes-a-day, three-days-a-week would be a good starting point.  Zulak said that an hour per day should be the maximum, and I tend to agree.  Too much would hinder your progress, but done in the correct doses, and one should be pleasantly pleased with the gains that result.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

It Came from the '90s: The Anabolic Diet


It Came from the ‘90s:
The Anabolic Diet

     Today, I sat down at my computer to write the second-part in my Denis Du Breuil “rules of bulk-building” when something I was writing (about the benefits of carbohydrates) made me think—for some odd reason—about Mauro Di Pasquale’s “anabolic diet”, a diet I had great success with in the mid ‘90s.  One of my training partners had even better success with it—I remember it vividly because it was the first time that I witnessed someone get bigger while staying very lean.  (These days, bodybuilders tend to know better.  But back then, the over-riding philosophy was that you bulked up as big as possible in the off-season—gaining a combination of fat, water, and muscle—and then got really lean starting 12 to 16 weeks out from a competition—or the summer, if you didn’t compete.  Of course, “over-riding philosophy” didn’t mean that everyone did it—there were some bodybuilders sounding the trumpet against such bulking strategies, the staff of the old MM2K magazine being a prime example.)
     Then I thought about something else.  The most popular post on this blog the past year—by far—was/is my rambling semi-essay on “Big Beyond Belief, HIT, Phil Hernon, and Other Things that Came from the ‘90s.”
     The ‘90s were the heyday—for me—of bodybuilding.  I liked the training that was popular during those years, I enjoyed many of the bodybuilders—back when all the guys competing for the Mr. Olympia or the NPC Nationals didn’t look as if they were simply pumped-up clones of one another—and I spent the vast amount of the decade trying to put on as much muscle mass as was humanly possible on my frame.  (In the late ‘90s, strength and power became my “thing”, but I’ll save the specifics of that for another time.)
     And so, I thought if my Big Beyond Belief post was so popular, maybe I should do a series of posts entitled “It Came from the ‘90s!”  And why not start with the “anabolic diet”, since it’s what’s currently on my mind.
“Pork Chop Diet” Beginnings
     Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale, the creator of the Anabolic Diet, wrote a monthly column for MuscleMag International all throughout the ‘90s.  (I think he began writing the column in the ‘80s, but I may be wrong.)  It was entitled “The Doctor’s Corner”, and it had a plethora of good information that mainly dealt with overcoming injuries or dealing with minor pains of one sort or another, although it occasionally had information about steroid abuse effects—gyno, anyone?—or answered questions about various supplements from a medical point-of-view.  But I didn’t first read about the Anabolic Diet through MuscleMag but rather through an article that appeared in the September, 1992 issue of Iron Man magazine.  Greg Zulak wrote the article, and it wasn’t entitled “The Anabolic Diet” but, rather, its title was “The Pork Chop Diet”.  (Sometime within the next year or two, Dipasquale must have decided that the Pork Chop Diet wasn’t the best diet-name—it started appearing in bodybuilding publications with the name it’s had ever-since.)
     These days, low-carbohydrate diets don’t even cause people to bat an eyelash—with all of the crap like Paleo, Atkins, and South Beach that have been around for some years.  At the time, however, reading the article was quite a shock for me.  Everyone that I trained with, everyone that I knew, and all of the articles I had been reading for years told me that I needed to eat a high carbohydrate, moderate protein, low fat diet if I wanted to pack on the muscle mass and stay lean at the same time.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the book Super Squats taught me that it was a great idea to drink a gallon of milk per day if I wanted to grow massive, and quite a few articles from Zulak over the years before I read his pork chop-touting had espoused diets with plenty of fat in order to help build muscle, but no one was saying that an extremely high fat, high protein, low carb diet was great for getting shredded.
     Of course, eventually I realized that Dipasquale wasn’t really coming up with anything new.  Vince Gironda, the “Iron Guru”, had touted high-fat, high-protein diets for many, many years.  In the 1950s, Gironda got so ripped for bodybuilding competitions that he actually had points deducted by the judges for being too-damn lean.  And Gironda got that way by eating little other than whole eggs, steak, butter, and whole cream.  His favorite “protein shake”, in fact, was nothing but a dozen raw eggs and several cups of whole cream blended until smooth.
     Nonetheless, the “Pork Chop Diet” was a revolution to me in 1992.
     Here’s how Zulak described the diet in the ’92 article: “For five days (say, Monday through Friday) you follow a high-fat, high-protein, high-calorie diet, including less than 50 grams of carbs a day.  Then on the weekend, you have two days of high-carb, high-protein, low-fat eating.  Dipasquale said that a 200-pound man should probably be eating 6,000 to 8,000 calories a day.  Because so many high-fat foods are also high in protein, this includes about 350 to 400 grams of protein.”
My Experiment with the Anabolic Diet
     The original Pork Chop Diet article fascinated me, but I never gave it a test-drive until a few years later (’94 or ’95, I think).  By this time, it had re-invented itself as the Anabolic Diet, since it was supposedly capable of packing on mass, while staying lean, unlike anything else.  (It had also made a bit of a name for itself since Dispaquale was the resident doctor for the soon-to-be-defunct World Bodybuilding Federation headed by Vince McMahon.  The good doctor thought that the Anabolic Diet would be an excellent choice for the bodybuilders in the WBF, since the federation had issued a strict drug-testing policy.  It didn’t go over so well—to say the least—but that’s for another time and another story.  Maybe I’ll decide to do an “It Came from the ‘90s WBF special” at some point.)
     My training partner, Dusty, and I both experimented with it in stretches of 6 to 8 weeks.  Monday through Friday we would eat all we could possibly muster of steak, eggs, whole cream, butter, bacon, ham, sour cream, cheese of any sort, hamburger meat, sausages of all kinds, and, yes, even pork chops.  On top of this, we would often “swig” shots of vegetable oil throughout the day to make sure we were consuming the requisite number of calories.  And on the weekends, we basically ate whatever-the-heck we felt like eating, as long as we kept the carbs high and the fat relatively low.  This even included things such as donuts, ice cream, and beer—we loved beer; I still do.
     Did it work?  Yeah, I stayed lean, while gaining a few pounds of muscle.  For Dusty it worked even better.  His abs began to really show, he looked hard as a rock, and I think he gained 10 to 15 pounds of mass—probably a little water, but mainly it was hypertrophy.
     But I didn’t continue to do it.  I always felt the best while eating a good amount of carbohydrates when trying to gain muscle mass, and this is still the way I feel to this day—I eat vegan for at least half of the year, for God’s sake.  But it did work, while I think that diets such as Atkins, Paleo, and South Beach will very decidedly not work, and may even be dangerous, in the long haul.
Fast Forward to 2015
     When it comes to building muscle, gaining strength, and staying lean, I would stay away from low-carb diets.  Depending on your body-type, a traditional bodybuilding diet of 60% carbs, 30% protein, and 10% fat may be good, or it could be that you function on more of a 40-30-30 ratio of either carbs, fat, protein, or fat, carbs, protein.
     But, if I’m honest with myself, then I have to admit that a lot of people would do very well on the Anabolic Diet.  It also wouldn’t cause metabolic damage, a real problem on Paleo, South Beach, or other similar crap.  (If you doubt me, read this article from Scott Abel.  It’s rather enlightening.)
     The Anabolic Diet still works because, unlike Atkins, et al, its focus is not low carb, but, rather, it’s high fat.  (Read that sentence at least two more times to let it sink in.)
     Atkins, Paleo, and the others emphasize low carb, relatively high amounts of protein, and only a moderate amount of fat.  These diets will work for a couple of weeks, but then—even if the fat loss doesn’t completely plateau—the diet has the potential to really screw up one’s metabolism.  However, when a lot of fat is consumed—70% or more—the dieter’s metabolism stays healthy, and the fat loss is more continuous.
     A couple of months ago, Scott Abel wrote an article about real low-carb dieting for his own blog.  It was based on the diet of his business partner, and bodybuilding competitor, Kevin Weiss.  Here are some excerpts from that article:
     World Powerlifting Champ Kevin Weiss and I get together at least once per week for coffee.
     At our last get together I could tell Kevin had dropped a couple lbs.
     “Back on the high-fat diet” I asked him.
     “Yep”, he said.
     You see Kevin is just several weeks out from the next World Championships and he wants to make weight for a lighter weight class. And when dieting, Kevin—who is a natural “meat tooth” (in contrast to my “sweet tooth”)—always opts for the extremely high-fat diet approach.
     Now with Kevin, I would never ask “So, you back to low carbs diet?”
     That would be like an insult to him. Kevin is an astute student of the game. He knows that the term “low carb diet” has no relevance to what he is doing: it’s the extremely high fat diet that is more descriptive of his approach.
     And this is the mistake 99% of people out there make. Over coffee, Kevin explained to me why he gave up trying to help people with this diet: “Scott, they just won’t take their fats high enough to make it work long-term.”
     Right on top of it as always!
Weight-Loss Competition Diet
     Kevin needs to drop some weight but still be able to perform at his best. And if you buy into industry nonsense you would think that since Kevin is a powerlifter his emphasis would be on getting in enough protein.
     WRONG!
     His emphasis is in getting in a high enough amount of fat.
     In fact, the protein macro ratio of his weight-loss competition diet, is just over 12%! That’s right! 12% Protein!!! Read on. This is what the “low carbs diet approach” was supposed to be all along – AN EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY HIGH FAT DIET. So I got Kevin to scribble down his meals for that day for me, but I’ll only show you two. I had a great laugh out loud moment: Check this “weight-loss diet” out:
Breakfast:
3 whole eggs
4 slices bacon
4 tablespoons sour cream

2 slices cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup heavy cream
Lunch:
2 cups spinach

1 avocado

3 oz. regular ground beef

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 slice cheddar cheese
Meal Alternative:
Sometimes he’ll have this meal option:

2 teaspoons coconut oil

4 ounces prime rib

3 whole eggs

1 cup spinach

½ cup feta cheese

½ cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons sour cream
     OK, so you get the picture: the true essence of a low-carbs approach that can actually work and not negatively impact metabolism is that it is EXTREMELY high in fat.
     Kevin and I then discussed how many ladies we know who whine about being “carb resistant” would ever eat a diet high enough in fat to be metabolically constructive.

     After reading that, I thought more about why my training partner had such good success with the Anabolic Diet in the ‘90s.  And why it would still work for anyone today.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dennis Du Breuil’s “Ultimate Bulk and Power” Rules


     For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, forgive my long delay in posts.  I have been going through some personal stuff the last couple of months—some of which I may write about at some point—and have found it difficult to write things for this blog.  Hopefully this post will be the first in many to come over the next month or two.


High-Volume, Low-Frequency Training for the Ultimate in Mass-Building
Part One
Dennis Du Breuil’s “Ultimate Bulk and Power” Rules

     Most of what I write on this blog deals with more of my recent training tactics—and the stuff I’ve written about the most recently revolves around my recent training strategies.  One problem I’ve always had as a writer on strength-training and muscle-building is that I’ve always—or almost always—been the kind of writer that has trouble writing about training other than what I was currently doing at the time.
     When I first started writing for Iron Man magazine over 20 years ago, I wrote about high-volume, high-intensity, low-frequency training since that is the kind of training that I was doing at the time.  In the late ‘90s, early ‘00s, I switched over to all-out power training, and my writing switched to the same stuff.  (I must add here that, at the time, no one was writing about serious strength training—ultra-low reps, power training with multiple sets of low reps, 5x5 training, 10x3 training, that sort of stuff—in the major magazines other than Bill Starr and myself (nowadays, it’s much more commonplace).  Thus, power training became something of a writing boon for me.  I had stuff published almost every month for years in both Iron Man and MuscleMag International—sometimes in both mags in the same month.)  But I never really forgot my high-volume, low-frequency beginning—and the serious muscle mass that I put on back then—and I have occasionally returned to articles about that kind of training here at Integral Strength, but, for the most part, the writing on this blog has been decidedly power oriented, with the occasional forays into bodyweight-only workouts.
     A couple of weeks ago, when I returned from a funeral in my home state of Texas (I live in my adopted home state of Alabama), my oldest son Matthew—who is 15, and my workout partner these days—suggested to me that we perform what he calls “old-school” (for me, they’re not really “old-school”) bodybuilding routines: ultra-intense, high-volume, relatively low-frequency workouts with the sole intent of packing on as much muscle as possible and “for looking good” (to use his nomenclature).  I have almost always had us train with full-body workouts or two-way splits of one sort or another, but he has always listened to me regale him with tales from the early to late ‘90s when I trained one-bodypart-per-day and with the sort of intensity that would have envied the Golden Eagle himself.[1]  He has also heard my claims that I once packed on 20 to 25 pounds of mass in 2 to 3 weeks using such a routine, and other tales of yore (for him) that seem well-nigh impossible.
     So I relented.
     And we have been enjoying some of the best workouts over the last two weeks that we have ever had while training together.  And, for me, it has brought back memories of training from years’ past, and it has awakened training knowledge—gleamed from such ‘90s luminaries as Greg Zulak, Don Ross, Gene Mozee, and, hell, even Mike Mentzer—that I haven’t applied in many-a-year.
     And I decided it was time to once again write stuff using this dormant knowledge.
     I was also quite surprised when I finally got on my blog today—I haven’t looked at it in about 2 months—and found a comment from an occasional commenter, Alexander Nilsson, who asked for something on the very same topic.  (Odd how synchronous life can sometimes be.)
     One more word of note before we actually get started on the nuts-and-bolts of our mass-building rules: There are some things that I know now that I wish I would have known 20 to 25 years ago—this series of articles will include my acquired knowledge as well as what I learned in the past.
Dennis Du Breuil’s “Ultimate Bulk and Power” Rules
     For this article, I’m going to use the mass-building “rules” of Dennis Du Breuil as a springboard for discussing many of my thoughts and theories on high-volume, low-frequency muscle-building.  Du Breuil’s “rules” are a good starting point for this series of articles.  Du Breuil—for those of you unfamiliar—wrote an article for Iron Man magazine in 1976 entitled “The Ultimate Bulk and Power Theory” that laid out his thoughts on the best practices to build muscle mass.  I have never read that article.  Instead, I became familiar with Du Breuil’s theories via the May, 1994 issue of MuscleMag International, in an article written by Greg Zulak that was (aptly) named “Your Way to Ultimate Bulk and Power”.  Zulak outlined Du Breuil’s various rules of muscle-building, along with his own thoughts on the matter.  I’m going to pretty much do the same here by outlining Du Breuil’s and Zulak’s theories, along with my personal two cents worth.
Rule 1: There is a strong relationship between increased blood circulation and muscle growth.  Some of you may be reading this and thinking that it means “the more of a pump you get in a muscle, the more it will grow,” but this isn’t exactly what Du Breuil was getting at.  This is how Zulak explained it: “The better the blood circulation to a muscle, Du Breuil theorized, and the easier it pumps, the better the muscle will grow.  And it will recover better because the blood can carry away fatigue products and bring nutrition in.”  In other words, it’s not just the pump, but how easy and quickly a muscle gets a pump that will determine muscle growth.  It is also predicated upon how easy and quickly a muscle pumps using traditional training that will determine muscle growth.  After all, anyone can get a decent pump with really high-rep training, but this doesn’t mean that ultra-high rep training is the best for muscle growth.
     If you have been training for any length of time with more “generic” bodybuilding programs, then you know this rule to be true.  Your muscles that pump quickly using a moderate number of sets (6 to 10) combined with a moderate number of reps (8 to 12) grow with relative ease.
Rule 2: Work a small area of the body and then rest for at least 20 minutes.  Here is what Zulak had to say about this rule (which is pretty interesting if you have a knowledge of the ‘70s bodybuilding culture): “When Du Breuil wrote his article, Arthur Jones of Nautilus fame was considered the authority on muscle growth.  Nautilus machines were the hottest ticket going, and Mike Mentzer, whose heavy-duty system was based on Nautilus principles, was just making a name for himself.  Arthur Jones insisted that the whole body must be treated as a unit.  He said the best way to build a lot of muscle was to work the whole body in a single workout, and to train very fast, going from one set to the next with very little rest, until the whole body was covered.  However, many people discovered that such routines were actually better for conditioning than building size.  Endurance was improved, sure, but the muscles were not worked as hard as possible because the cardiovascular system gave out first before the muscles were worked to failure.
     “Du Breuil totally disagreed with Jones.”
     Now, to be honest, I think that both kind of programs build muscle, but for different reasons.  (If you want to read my thoughts on full-body workouts and how they build muscle growth, there are plenty of articles here on my blog, or stuff of mine you can find on other sites.)  However, you have to use Du Breuil’s method when utilizing high-volume and low-frequency.
     Du Breuil, for what it’s worth, advocated training on double, or even triple, split programs in order to achieve the end result.  In other words, his trainees would train chest, wait an hour or so, train shoulders, wait at least an hour or longer, and train arms, and so on and so forth.
     That is, obviously, impractical for the majority of bodybuilders.  (Hell, it’s impractical for me—for the most part—and I have a home gym replete with almost everything a hardcore ‘builder could ask for.)
     The solution lies in training muscle groups that are very close to one another in order to keep blood flow localized.  Your split may look something like this:
Day One: chest and shoulders
Day Two: quads, hamstrings, calves
Day Three: back
Day Four: biceps and triceps
Day Five: Off
     If you prefer to train more consecutive days in a row, then you could just train one-bodypart-per-day, and rarely, if ever, take a day off.  Here’s the example of a split with this kind of training in mind:
Day One: Chest
Day Two: Shoulders
Day Three: Triceps
Day Four: Legs
Day Five: Back
Day Six: Biceps
Day Seven: Repeat (take a day off whenever you feel as if you need one)
     Of course, in the above scenario, you do have to train each muscle group with extreme intensity (we’ll get to more of that in a little bit), but I have actually come to believe that the more days you can train in a row, the better.  I have often gone 7 or 8 days before taking a day off, and it didn’t matter what kind of training program I was following, whether it was Bulgarian training for extreme strength and power or Du Brueil’s style of blood-volume training.
     And I’m not crazy in thinking this—or, at least, not alone.  Top trainers such as Scott Abel and Christian Thibaudeau believe the same thing.
Rule 3: Work as hard as possible on every rep.  Du Brueil believed that most bodybuilders simply didn’t train hard enough—not just on every set, but on every rep.  He believed that the harder that you made every rep of every set, the better the results.  Here’s what Du Brueil had to say in his original article: “First, very few bodybuilders work as hard as they should for maximum gains.  It takes brutally hard workouts to produce the fast, superior gains we’re talking about.  And, second, most bodybuilders have no idea what really hard work is.”
     When training relatively infrequently, I agree wholeheartedly with him.  Once you are a few sets into a workout, it’s important that each set is pushed to the maximum.  You can do this with such intensity techniques as rest-pause training, strip sets (or drop sets, as they are often called), super-sets, tri-sets, and pre-exhaustion training, among others.
     Now, I don’t believe, typically, in using any of these intensity techniques in the first exercise of the program.  As I’ve said before, elsewhere, “it’s best to do less early, so you can do more later on.”  I recommend beginning with one exercise of straight sets, preferably a large, compound movement, then you would move on to the more intense stuff.  Here would be an example of a typical chest workout:
Incline Bench Presses: 5 sets of 8 -10 reps  (Only the last set should be all-out, where it’s hard, or impossible, to get the final rep.   At this point, your chest muscles will be neurally “primed” for the intense sets that follow.)
Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 16 to 20 reps (For these, you will use a rest-pause technique.  Perform about 6 to 8 reps, until you almost reach failure, rest a few seconds and crank out a few more reps.  Repeat this rest-pause technique until you get somewhere close to 20 reps.  The last couple of rest-pause “sets” should be until all-out failure.)
Wide-Grip Dips supersetted with Flat Bench Flyes: 3 supersets of 6 to 8 reps on the dips and 12 to 16 reps on the flyes
Cross-Bench Pullovers: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps—each set taken to momentarily muscular failure

     In the next installment, I’ll discuss the remainder of Du Brueil’s rules, and hopefully have some pretty cool input of my own on the topic.  Until then, eat big, train big, and, in the case of these workouts, rest big.


[1] If you don’t know who-the-hell the Golden Eagle is, look it up!