My Dramatic Transformation Principle Experience
There are things in this world that can never be eclipsed. Upon the sands of a fallen empire—and in the ruins of rust-covered gyms around the world—they will forever be. The pyramids have been a symbol of power and mystique not just for the Pharaohs of old, but for every gym rat and serious bodybuilder to ever grasp a barbell. Though some things stand the test of time and cannot be replaced, they can be learned from and, thus, improved upon.
Most bodybuilders who have trained for even a short period of time, have performed a standard pyramid. Starting with a higher number of reps and building up to an apex, the pyramid usually ends there. Unfortunately, this is short changing potential gains in hypertrophy. Once the apex is reached, the nervous system is primed and ready for intense muscular contraction. The heaviest set serves as the "switch" that turns on the machine. With the nervous system excited, you can now squeeze that muscle as if it owes you money. After all, a pyramid doesn’t have only one side.
For a long time I used “heavy drops” to get more out of my heavier workouts. During these sessions, I would build up to my apex set, drop the weight after a sufficient rest period, and perform higher rep sets—this worked like a charm for a while. Like anything else, this does not work forever and, so, must be tweaked. Thanks to a man named Kris Gethin, I found a program that would allow me to (a) flood the muscle with blood and (b) move some intense iron at the same time.
If you are familiar with some of my other articles here at Integral Strength,you know that I am a huge proponent of priming a muscle then pumping it into oblivion. The style of training I am about to describe will do just that—and then some! This will promote sarcoplasmic expansion (cell swelling) like you wouldn’t believe, and test your threshold for pain.
Welcome to DTP!
DTP, or Dramatic Transformation Principle, is based around picking just a couple of exercises for antagonistic body parts, and working them into the ground. You will construct one side of the pyramid, starting with anywhere from thirty to fifty reps and building up to an apex of ten to five, while increasing rest periods after each successive set. Upon completion of that, you then build the other side of the pyramid, starting with another heavier set, then going back down in weight with each set, decreasing the rest periods as you go.
Why it works!
The harder the contraction the better, and without a primed central nervous system, this will never be maximized. The first set will act as a "wake-up call" to the nervous system and it will activate neurotransmitters. In addition to waking up the body, this will also promote blood flow to the connective tissues which will prevent injury. After the initial set, I guarantee your joints will feel "like a million bucks", so to speak, which will amp you up even more for the heavier sets to come. Though you may be sucking wind after performing a set of fifty, the pump will make you almost forget about the gasping, thus, making you want to tear into your next set!
There are some who will argue that the pump does not cause muscle growth, and they are correct. Yes, I said that! While they are correct, they are also wrong. There is not one singular mechanism that causes growth. Cell swelling is correlated with hypertrophy, but, then again, so is mechanical trauma. With this program, you get both, and the added safety of having the joints well prepared for the sets that will cause the trauma. The pump indirectly will cause growth due to the fact that it enhances your enthusiasm about training. Nothing will make you want to pound out some hard, heavy reps like feeling “swole’’!
Details of the Devastation
Each of these “complete pyramids” will be performed with minimal rest between sets. After the first superset, you will rest for thirty seconds, then forty five, then a minute, then ninety seconds, and, finally, two minutes. Upon reaching the apex, you will rest two minutes, then begin going back down the other side, reversing this order. This will make it tougher as you go along. The lactic acid surge will be agonizing, and the pump will be almost unbearable, but if you get through it, you will experience a euphoria that can only come from completing a grueling session!
The Meat and Potatoes
Superset one: Incline Dumbbell Presses/bent over dumbbell rows (to the waist)8x 30,20,10,5,5,10,20,30
Superset two: Flat dumbbell Presses/bent over dumbbell rows ( arms bent and raising out to your sides squeezing your scapula together torching those traps!) 8x 30,20,10,5,5,10,20,30
Decline sit-ups 5x Failure. The number of reps here is not important at all. Squeeze until they cramp on each set, regardless of how many reps that takes!
Leg Presses (feet low on platform and around 9 inches apart)/ calf raises 5x 50,40,30,20,10
Leg Presses (feet high on platform and shoulder width)/Calf raises 5x 10,20,30,40,50
Leg Raises 5x Failure. Performed in the same as previous ab workout.
Behind the neck barbell Press(or in front, whichever you prefer.)/ Upright rows 5x 40,30,20,10,5
Seated dumbbell Arnold Press/Dumbbell Shrugs 5x 5,10,20,30,40
Cable pushdowns/cable curls 5x40,30,20,10,5
Skull crushers/barbell curl 5x5,10,20,30,40
If you cannot complete the number of reps designated, don’t sweat it. Simply "rest-pause" until you’ve hit the numbers. You may have to go beyond failure a couple of times, and that is perfectly fine! This is not meant to be easy. Like the building of any monument, it will take tons of sweat and effort. The epic tombs of the Pharaohs weren’t built easily, and neither is a massive physique.
It is now time to go build your own monument. Approach this pyramid with the determination of a warrior-king riding into battle. Leave your sweat and blood upon the sands of the gym, and let any weakness within you die and be forever buried within this place…..where the Pharaohs go to die!