Are you curious about the Dorian Yates Blood And Guts program?
Do you want to know Dorian Yates trained to become the 6x Mr. Olympia champion, and one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
In this comprehensive guide, I will teach you exactly how to use the Dorian Yates Blood And Guts program to take your training to the next level!.
- Part 1: Chest / Biceps
- Part 2: Legs
- Part 3: Shoulders / Triceps
- Part 4: Back / Rear Delts
Dorian Yates is one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.
He won the Mr. Olympia competition an unbelievable 6 times in a row from 1992 – 1997, and set a new standard for size and conditioning.
So how did he do it? How did Dorian Yates beat legendary bodybuilders like Flex Wheeler and Kevin Levrone – athletes who had superior genetics to him?
If you ask me, there is only one possible explanation: the Dorian Yates Blood And Guts Training Program!
So what is Blood And Guts, and why is it so effective for building muscle mass?
Blood And Guts is a high-intensity bodybuilding program invented by Dorian Yates. This program uses many high-intensity techniques like training to failure, forced reps, and the progressive overload principle to turn you into the biggest, strongest bodybuilder you can become!
Dorian says performing multiple sets per exercise is a waste of time.
He still thinks you should warm up to stay safe. However, after warming up, Dorian performed 1 all-out working set to failure per exercise with maximum weight!
“You’ve got to warm up to be safe and everything.
But the real sets, we’re going to go to absolute failure with forced reps and assisted reps, maybe extra negative reps.
So my thing is to go to exhaust everything so it’s totally fucked. You can’t lower it, you can’t lift it, it’s total failure.
If you do that once, then it’s time to move on to the next exercise.”
Don’t worry – Blood And Guts is not a “low volume” training program.
Dorian still performs anywhere from 3-5 exercises per body part to overload his muscles from as many angles as possible.
The big difference between Blood And Guts and more traditional bodybuilding programs, is Dorian performs 1 working set to failure per exercise.
He also uses high-intensity techniques like forced reps to build even more size and strength, and he always tries to use the progressive overload principle by getting stronger over time.
After all, if you aren’t getting stronger over time on key bodybuilding exercises, then you aren’t giving your body any reason to grow bigger over time!
Here is Dorian explaining this concept better than I ever could:
“Instead of saying, ‘right, I’m going to win this contest in 18 months time.’
That’s cool. But how are you going to get there?
That’s like saying you’re going to sail to Australia. But how are you going to get there?
Do you have a plan? Do you have a map?”
Dorian Yates believes the Blood And Guts training program is the fastest way to go from point A (mediocre bodybuilder…) to point B (super elite bodybuilder) as fast as possible.
But only if you have the “guts” to train with mind-blowing intensity and attempt to “beat the logbook” every single workout!
So how did Dorian Yates organize his workouts?
The truth is, he trained 4-5 days per week using a traditional bodybuilding bro split.
Here is the exact training split that Dorian Yates used during his professional bodybuilding career:
The Blood And Guts Training Split
- Day 1: Chest / Biceps
- Day 2: Legs
- Day 3: Off
- Day 4: Shoulders / Triceps
- Day 5: Back / Rear Delts
- Day 6: Off
- Day 7: Repeat!
Dorian Yates trained each muscle group once every 6 days using a traditional bodybuilding bro split.
He believes this split is better than the regular 5-day bro split, because you train each muscle group more than once per week.
This extra training frequency is very helpful for stimulating size and strength gains.
Now let’s take a closer look at the Blood And Guts chest and biceps routine. Check it out:
The Blood And Guts Chest / Biceps Workout
- Exercise #1: 30 degree incline bench press, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure
- Exercise #2: Hammer strength flat press, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #3: 30 degree incline dumbbell fly, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #4: Cable crossover (high to low), 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #5: 45 degree incline dumbbell curl, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #6: Standing ez-bar curl, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #7: One-arm machine preacher curl, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
**Train to failure, then perform 1-3 extra forced reps with the help of your training partner
Here is the training video:
Talk about an intense workout!
Dorian Yates trains his chest and biceps with 7 total exercises.
He performs 4 exercises for his chest, including 2 compound movements and 2 isolation movements, plus 3 isolation exercises for his triceps.
Some people simply don’t understand the point of Blood And Guts.
The goal is NOT to lift heavy for the sake of lifting heavy! Instead, Dorian is lifting heavy weights with perfect form to put maximum tension on his muscles.
For example, on his chest exercises, he is 100% focused on putting as much tension on his chest as possible.
“I’m going to make this exercise as hard as possible for my pecs and minimize the involvement of everything else. That’s the way you have to think.”
For chest, Dorian Yates likes to use 4 movements:
- Incline bench press
- Hammer strength flat press
- Incline dumbbell flys
- Cable crossovers
He says the first three exercises are his “money” chest movements.
He can safely use the progressive overload principle on these movements and really target his chest over his shoulders and triceps.
Dorian uses cable crossovers at the end of the workout, but he doesn’t think they are a particularly effective exercise.
Instead, they are the “icing on the cake” for his chest workout.
“It’s a decent isolation exercise. You’re not involving the triceps too much.
But would it be high on my list of things to do? Not really. You’re going to get much more involvement from pressing movements and dumbbell flyers and things like that.
I do cable crossovers just because shoulder injuries prevent me from doing too much pressing. It’s a decent compromise, you know?”
Unlike a lot of bodybuilders, Dorian Yates trains his biceps using the same “Blood And Guts” high-intensity training principles.
He trains to failure on all three exercises, and he even performs 1-3 forced reps at the end of his working sets to eccentrically exhaust the target muscle. Talk about intense training!
Now let’s look at Dorian’s Blood And Guts leg workout. Check it out:
The Blood And Guts Leg Workout
- Exercise #1: Leg extensions, 1 set of 8-12 reps to failure**
- Exercise #2: 45 degree leg press, 1 set of 8-12 reps to failure**
- Exercise #3: Machine hack squat, 1 set of 8-12 reps to failure**
- Exercise #4: Lying leg curl, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #5: Romanian deadlift, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure
- Exercise #6: Kneeling leg curl, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #7: Standing calf raise, 1 set of 8-12 reps to failure
- Exercise #8: Seated leg curl, 1 set of 8-12 reps to failure
Here is the training video:
Talk about an intense leg workout!
Unlike a lot of bodybuilders, Dorian never performs squats in his leg routine.
Instead, he likes to pre-exhaust his quads with the leg extension machine, and then perform heavy machine exercises like the leg press and hack squat.
Why would Dorian do this?
The truth is, Dorian has bad mechanics for squatting. He found he got better results using muscle-intensive exercises like leg extensions and leg presses to really target his quads.
Of course, he still trains to failure on all of his leg exercises! This is Blood And Guts training, after all!
“The bigger and stronger you get the smarter you have to be with your training and your recovery.”
Dorian’s hamstrings routine was very similar. He performed three major exercises:
- Lying leg curls
- Stiff-legged deadlifts
- Kneeling leg curls
On each exercise he performed 1 working set to failure. He even performed some forced reps on the two leg curl exercises to further exhaust his hamstrings!
If you’re wondering how Dorian Yates trained with mind-blowing intensity every single leg workout, the key is the training logbook.
Dorian recorded every single workout in a logbook, and each workout his goal was to beat his previous number for each exercise.
“I used to make notes. Every week I’d write down my diet.
Every single workout that I ever did from 1991 – 1997 I have in a training log.
It’s in all these little exercise books, you know. You can see the first one when I was 21 years old.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the training logbook is the single most important tool you can use in the gym.
If you aren’t using a training logbook, you aren’t training, you’re just pretending!
At the very least, you aren’t doing the full Blood And Guts program if you aren’t recording your workouts in a logbook!
Now let’s look at Dorian Yates’ shoulders and triceps workout. Check it out:
The Blood And Guts Shoulders / Triceps Workout
- Exercise #1: Smith machine overhead press, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #2: Seated dumbbell lateral raise, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #3: One-arm cable lateral raise, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #4: Standing dumbbell shrugs, 1 set of 8-12 reps to failure
- Exercise #5: Cable pushdown, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #6: Lying tricep extension, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #7: One-arm cable pushdown (underhand grip), 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
Here is the training video:
Talk about an intense workout!
Dorian Yates performed 3 exercises for his shoulders, 1 exercise for his upper traps, and 3 exercises for his triceps.
Let’s start by looking at his shoulder routine. Dorian performed 3 major exercises for his shoulders:
- Smith machine overhead press
- Dumbbell lateral raise
- Cable lateral raise
On each exercise, he performed 1 working set to failure.
Dorian believed that performing more than 1 all-out set offered no benefit, and would eat into his recovery ability.
If you want to train “to failure and beyond” like Dorian, then this is great advice. After all, nothing will destroy your progress faster than overtraining in the gym!
“Overtraining is a big thing. If you see the process for muscle growth is go in the gym and put stress on the muscle.
If you put stress that it isn’t used to then it will recover and grow. But you have to recover first. You don’t go to the gym and grow, then recover later. That’s not the way it works.
If you give your body some stress it’s not used to it will grow. But before you grow you have to recover.”
Yes, I’m aware that some über-dweebs on the internet believe overtraining isn’t a real thing, or that you don’t have to worry about it…
Let me set the record straight: if you are doing more work in the gym than your body can recover from, then you won’t get stronger, and you won’t make any progress!
You can call that overtraining, overreaching, training like an idiot, or whatever you want… If you overtrain, then you can kiss your hard-earned gains goodbye!
One of the reasons the Blood And Guts program works so well, is it eliminates this problem.
You only perform 1 working set per exercise, which reduces the odds of you actually overtraining.
Now let’s look at Dorian Yates’ infamous back and rear delts workout. Check it out:
The Blood And Guts Back / Rear Delts Workout
- Exercise #1: Nautilus pullover machine, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #2: Hammer strength pulldown (underhand grip), 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #3: Barbell bent over row, 1 set of 7-10 reps to failure
- Exercise #4: One-arm machine row, 1 set of 5-8 reps to failure**
- Exercise #5: Rear delt machine, 1 set of 8-12 reps to failure
- Exercise #6: Bent over rear delt dumbbell fly, 1 set of 8-12 reps to failure
- Exercise #7: 45 degree back extension (barbell on back), 1 set of 7-10 reps to failure
- Exercise #8: Dorian deadlifts, 1 set of 6-8 reps to failure
Here is the training video:
“Oh, that’s the way! C’mon, go again!”
Dorian Yates trains his back and rear delts with an unbelievable 8 exercises!
Let’s start by looking at his back routine. Dorian performs 5 major exercises for his upper back:
- Machine pullovers
- Machine pulldowns
- Barbell rows
- One-arm machine rows
Just like with legs, Dorian uses the pre-exhaust strategy for his back day.
He starts the workout with his all-time favorite back exercise: the Nautilus pullover machine.
He says this machine isolates the lats better than any other exercise, and is absolutely essential for maximum lat growth.
“We can’t talk about back training without talking about the nautilus pullover machine.
I started all of my back routines with that movement.
The nautilus pullover isolates the back, it isolates the lats with no biceps involvement.
There’s no other exercise that does that!”
Next he performs a variety of compound upper back exercises, including pulldowns, barbell rows, and 1-arm machine rows.
Finally, Dorian finishes his back workout with some heavy deadlifts from the ground.
One thing that really impresses me about Dorian’s Blood And Guts back routine is the extreme level of control he has on every exercise.
Unlike most professional bodybuilders, Dorian slowly lowers the weight down on every single rep.
This is important, because this slow lowering phase helps him to eccentrically overload his muscles.
“A lot of people concentrate on the positive part of the rep but they neglect the lowering part of the rep.
In order to tax the negative I tell people to slow down on the negative phase, so that you’re taxing the negative part.
Slowing down the negative phase of the rep and occasionally performing some extra forced reps or negative reps is critical for maximum muscle growth.
That’s why I only recommend 1 set per exercise – if you truly fail on the positive and the negative phase then your muscle should be f*cked and there is nothing left.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself! Dorian’s Blood And Guts routine is not about throwing around heavy weights with bad form.
Instead, it’s about performing exercises with absolutely perfect form, including slow and controlled negatives, and then getting progressively stronger over time while maintaining perfect form!
Now THAT is a recipe for rapid muscle mass accumulation!
Conclusion | The Dorian Yates Blood And Guts Program!
Dorian Yates used the Blood And Guts training program to become one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.
The fact that he beat bodybuilders with superior genetics, like Kevin Levrone and Flex Wheeler, is proof that Dorian’s training program is as good as it gets for building muscle mass.
If you are looking for a high-intensity bodybuilding routine to shock your body into growth, then you have to try the Dorian Yates Blood And Guts program.
It may be just what you need to take your training to the next level!
“If those guys with better genes trained as hard and intense as me, I wouldn’t stand a chance!”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!
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