DC Training: The Ultimate Guide!


DC Training

DC Training is one of the most effective bodybuilding training programs in the world. It was invented by Dante Trudel to help advanced bodybuilders build muscle mass as fast as humanly possible.

In this comprehensive guide I am going to teach you everything you need to know about the DC Training program, aka “Doggcrapp Training.” Whether you are brand new to DC Training or a seasoned veteran I am confident you will love this guide.

DC Training is a hardcore bodybuilding program that uses rest-pause sets, extreme stretches and lower-volume / higher-frequency workouts to turn you into the biggest, strongest bodybuilder you can become. 

Dante Trudel believes the key to building muscle mass as fast as possible is to make rapid strength gains on key exercises using the traditional bodybuilding rep ranges. It really is that simple.

Just take a look at the following lifts:

  • Back squat: 500 pounds for 20 reps
  • Conventional deadlift: 650 pounds for 10 reps
  • Incline bench press: 450 pounds for 10 reps
  • Rack chins: body weight plus 200 pounds for 10 reps
  • V-bar dips: body weight plus 200 pounds for 10 reps
  • Barbell bent over rows: 500 pounds for 10 reps

Dante believes that the day you match these lifts is the day you max out your bodybuilding genetic potential. You may never achieve all of these numbers. However, the act of TRYING to achieve these numbers will have you building muscle mass very, very quickly.

Don’t worry, DC Training isn’t just about getting stronger for the sake of getting stronger! After all DC Training is designed for bodybuilders, NOT powerlifters. Dante believes that rapid strength gains in the traditional bodybuilding rep ranges is the key to building muscle as quickly as possible.

I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen someone incline bench press 405 pounds for 10 reps and still have a small chest. If you turn yourself into an incredibly strong bodybuilder for reps then you will have built muscle mass at the fastest rate possible.

Many of Dante’s bodybuilding clients achieved levels of strength that rivaled some of the world’s best powerlifters. For example here is Justin Harris squatting 500 pounds for 16 reps on his DC Training widowmaker set:

This is what DC Training is all about: lifting huge weights for high reps with perfect form. Now THAT is a recipe for rapid muscle mass accumulation! If you are a bodybuilder who also loves to throw around heavy slag iron then you are going to love DC Training.

At the end of the day DC Training is all about trying to go from point “A” to point “B” as quickly as possible:

  • Point A —————— > Point B

Point A is where you are right now and point B is you being the strongest (and therefore largest) bodybuilder that you can possibly be.

So how do we go from “point A” to “point B” as fast as possible? Dante believes DC or Doggcrapp Training is the solution to this bodybuilding equation. Dante says “I am not claiming to have built a better mousetrap, but I think I’m showing how to catch the mouse quicker.”

If you understand this concept then the entire training program starts to make more sense.

I want to warn you right up front: DC Training is NOT for beginners. According to Dante Trudel you need to have at least 3 years of hardcore training experience before you can even think about attempting this training routine.

One of Dante’s original trainees has said that most trainees would be better off waiting 5 years before attempting something this intense.

Before you even think about trying DC Training you should know:

  • Which exercises work best for you for every major body part
  • How to safely push yourself to failure on a wide variety of exercises
  • How to auto regulate your training based on how you are feeling
  • How to eat when your goal is building muscle mass or losing body fat
  • How to optimally recover from intense workouts

And much, much more.

DC Training does not work for everyone. Dante Trudel believes that only a small percentage of bodybuilders have the “guts” to train this way. However, the bodybuilders who believe in the program 100% and train this way year-round always make the best gains of their life.

In case you were wondering Dante Trudel is one of the most respected members of the bodybuilding community. Dante has trained IFBB professional bodybuilders Steve Kuclo, Dusty Hanshaw, Cedric McMillan, David Henry and an army of high-level amateur bodybuilders.

Dante is also the co-owner of True Nutrition, one of the world’s best supplement / nutrition company. If there is someone you can trust in the bodybuilding industry it is Dante Trudel.

Here is an outline for the rest of the article:

  • Part 1: The DC Training Split
  • Part 2: Rest-Pause Sets
  • Part 3: Exercise Selection
  • Part 4: Optimal Rep Ranges
  • Part 5: Extreme Stretching
  • Part 6: Beat The Logbook
  • Part 7: Blasting And Cruising
  • Part 8: Nutrition And Cardio
  • Part 9: A Sample DC Training Routine
  • Part 10: Tips For Designing Your Own DC Training Routine
  • Part 11: Pre-Contest DC Training: Overview
  • Part 12: Advanced DC Training: Overview
  • Part 13: Advanced DC Training: Steve Kuclo
  • Part 14: Advanced DC Training: Dusty Hanshaw
  • Part 15: Advanced DC Training: Cedric McMillan
  • Part 16: Advanced DC Training: David Henry

I hope you have found this overview of DC Training helpful.

If you have three years of hardcore training experience under your belt and you think you are ready for DC Training then let me be the first to congratulate you. After all, you have stumbled onto one of the most effective bodybuilding training programs in the world and you are experienced enough to take advantage of it.

Note: if you have any trouble reading the routines presented here then check out this article on how to read a training program. Now let’s get down to business…

Part 1: The DC Training Split

DC Training utilizes an upper body / lower body split performed 3 days per week. You are going to train your entire upper body (minus your biceps and forearms) on the upper body day and your entire lower body (plus your biceps and forearms) on the lower body day.

Here is what the DC Training upper body day looks like:

DC Training Upper Body Template

  • Exercise #1: Chest, 1 rest-pause set —–> extreme stretch
  • Exercise #2: Shoulders, 1 rest-pause set —–> extreme stretch
  • Exercise #3: Triceps, 1 rest-pause set —–> extreme stretch
  • Exercise #4: Back Width, 1 rest-pause set ——> extreme stretch
  • Exercise #5: Back Thickness, 1-2 straight sets

And here is what the DC Training lower body day looks like:

DC Training Lower Body Template

  1. Exercise #1: Biceps, 1 rest-pause set —–> extreme stretch
  2. Exercise #2: Forearms, 1 straight set
  3. Exercise #3: Calves, 1 straight set
  4. Exercise #4: Hamstrings, 1 rest-pause set
  5. Exercise #5: Quadriceps, 2 straight sets ——> quad / hamstring extreme stretches

You are going to train each body part with only one exercise per workout. That’s right – you are only performing one exercise per body part per workout!

Dante believes that most bodybuilders are training with way too much volume. It is very hard to rapidly gain strength when you are performing 3-5 exercises per body part in a single workout.

Dante wants you to perform just one exercise per body part per workout so that you can rapidly build strength. Remember, Dante believes that rapid strength gains in higher rep ranges is the key to building muscle mass as fast as possible.

Don’t worry, you will be rotating through three different upper body and lower body so you will still get the chance to use a wide variety of exercises for every body part. I talk more about the 3-way exercise rotation a little further below in this section.

If you are new to DC or Doggcrapp Training then this upper / lower split probably looks a little weird. There are three things about this training split that immediately jump out to me:

  • The upper back is divided into “width” and “thickness”
  • Biceps and forearms are trained on the lower body day
  • The most demanding exercises such as squats and deadlifts are performed last

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

Factor #1: The Upper Back Is Divided Into “Width” And “Thickness”

The first thing you might notice is that the upper back is viewed as two separate body parts: “back width” and “back thickness.”

According to Dante the main muscle groups contributing to the width of your back are your lats and teres major. Dante’s preferred back width exercises include pull ups and cable pull downs.

On the other hand the main muscle groups contributing to the thickness of your back include the spinal erectors, traps and rhomboids. Dante’s preferred back thickness exercises include heavy rowing movements and all kinds of deadlifts / rack deadlifts.

Factor #2: Biceps And Forearms Are Trained On The Lower Body Day

It may seem very strange to perform bicep and forearm exercises on your lower body day but there is a method to the madness.

One of the problems that bodybuilders traditionally face when using an upper / lower split is that it is difficult to dedicate enough time to training the upper body. Dante has effectively solved this issue by just performing exercises for the elbow flexors before the more demanding leg work.

Don’t worry, your heavier leg work won’t be negatively impacted by a couple sets of curls performed earlier in the workout.

Factor #3: The most demanding exercises such as squats and deadlifts are performed last

This is something that Dante has received a lot of criticism for over the years. Why the heck would you want to perform the most important exercises at the end of your routine when you are already a little bit tired?

The answer is simple: Dante wants you to be able to put everything you have into your sets of squats, deadlifts, and rows before packing u and leaving the gym.

Trust me, after a couple of DC-style sets of squats the last thing you are going to want to do is keep training. If you placed these exercises at the start of your workout then your performance on all of the other exercises would be negatively compromised.

I am not saying that you should perform squats and deadlifts last in any other training program. However, in the context of DC Training performing squats and deadlifts last works like a charm.

You Want Me To Train Just 3 Days A Week!?

Dante Trudel believes that the fastest way for most bodybuilders to build muscle is to train 3 days per week using the 2-way split. This is a big shock for many people. After all, most bodybuilders are probably used to training 4-6 days per week!

Don’t worry, there is a method to the madness. Dante Trudel has you train 3 days per week because it is the fastest way that he has found to help you get stronger on the key bodybuilding exercises.

Here is what your weekly training schedule might look like:

Week 1

  • Monday: Upper Body
  • Wednesday: Lower Body
  • Friday: Upper Body

Week 2

  • Monday: Lower Body
  • Wednesday: Upper Body
  • Friday: Lower Body

Week 3

  • Monday: Upper Body
  • Wednesday: Lower Body
  • Friday: Upper Body

Week 4

  • Monday: Lower Body
  • Wednesday: Upper Body
  • Friday: Lower Body

And so on.

With the DC Training 2-way split you are training body parts 3 times every 2 weeks or about once every 4-5 days. This is one of the biggest reasons that DC Trainees are able to build muscle mass so much faster than most other bodybuilders.

Most bodybuilders are only training body parts once every 7 days. While the average bodybuilder performs 52 workouts per body part per year an experienced DC Trainee is able to perform 78 workouts per body part per year.

You are training body parts 50% more often than everyone else and that results in rapid muscle mass accumulation!

The 3-Way Exercise Rotation

One of the unique features of DC Training is that you are going to be rotating through three separate upper body and lower body workouts. Each of these workouts features a unique set of exercises that you only perform on that training day.

Let’s say that your three favorite chest exercises are 30 degree incline barbell presses, 30 degree incline dumbbell presses and flat hammer strength presses. These are the ones where you really feel your chest working and you can really move a ton of weight.

Here is how you would rotate through these chest exercises:

Upper Body Workout #1: 

  • 30 Degree Incline Barbell Presses

Upper Body Workout #2: 

  • 30 Degree Incline Dumbbell Presses

Upper Body Workout #3: 

  • Flat Hammer Strength Presses

Upper Body Workout #4: 

  • 30 Degree Incline Barbell Presses

Upper Body Workout #5: 

  • 30 Degree Incline Dumbbell Presses

Upper Body Workout #6: 

  • Flat Hammer Strength Presses

And so on. Every time you repeat a workout your job is to beat the logbook. In other words you have to beat your previous performance for that exercise.

If you incline bench pressed 200 pounds for 8 reps then you have to bump that weight up to 205 or 210 pounds and shoot for 8 reps.

So why are you rotating through three different exercises per body part? Dante found through trial and error that most bodybuilders make faster progress when they rotate through three different exercises. Basically every time you perform a rest-pause set for an exercise you are touching the central nervous system.

Your muscles may be ready to go 4-5 days later but your nervous system is still recovering. If you rotate through 3 different exercises you can overload your muscles more frequently while giving your nervous system more time to recover from each specific workout.

Lets use the back thickness exercises as an example. It would be suicide to train to failure on deadlifts every upper body workout. However, if you rotate through three different back thickness exercises like deadlifts, barbell rows and t-bar rows then it becomes much more realistic.

What To Do When You Stall On An Exercise

Eventually you are going to stall on every exercise that you use. That is just the way it goes. You might go 20 workouts in a row where you beat the logbook on a particular exercise or you might stall out after just 2 workouts. Don’t worry, that is all part of the plan.

When you stall out on an exercise it’s your job to pick a new exercise to use instead. For example if you stall out on the 30 degree incline bench press then you may want to swap it out for the incline smith machine press for your next workout. Then you start the war with the logbook all over again on the new exercise.

Your goal is to have a list of 5-10 exercises that you can rotate in and out for every body part. This will help prevent you from hitting a plateau in your progress.

In a few months to a year you can return to your favorite incline bench press or whatever exercise you stalled on. When you return to an exercise your goal is to build back up to your previous best and then surpass it. I talk about this more in “Part 7: Beat The Logbook!”

Part 2: Rest-Pause Sets

Rest-pause sets are the heart and soul of DC Training. Dante believes that rest-pause sets are the fastest way for a bodybuilder to build strength. If there was a faster way to build strength in the bodybuilding rep ranges then Dante would have used that training method instead.

Rest-pause sets are a high-intensity training technique where you train to failure three times in a row on an exercise with 20-30 seconds rest in between each attempt.

Here is the exact procedure for a DC-style rest-pause set:

  • Step #1: Train to failure in the 7-10 rep range. Your goal is to fail on the last rep! After you reach failure put the weight down and rest while you take in 10-15 deep breaths.
  • Step #2: Train to failure a second time with the same weight. Your goal is to fail on the last rep! After you reach failure put the weight down and rest while you take in 10-15 deep breaths.
  • Step #3: Train to failure a third time with the same weight. That’s it – you’re done!

Rest-pause sets are sort of like three separate sets performed to failure with short rest periods in between them. Here is Dusty Hanshaw demonstrating a rest-pause set on the incline smith machine press. Check it out:

As you can see Dusty takes three attempts with the same weight. He gets 9 reps on the first attempt, 3 reps on the second attempt and 2 reps on the third attempt. A DC Trainee would say that Dusty got 9/3/2 = 14 RP. Dusty also performs a static hold at the end of his rest-pause set.

The static hold an advanced technique that can be used on chest / shoulder / back width exercises to further exhaust the target muscle and accumulate more time under tension. The static holds are NOT required. However, they can be useful if you have very good recovery ability.

Rest-pause sets are so effective because they are an advanced form of cluster training. You are using very short rest periods to cluster together three separate sets taken to failure.

Rest-pause sets train your central nervous system to become more efficient while also creating a ton of muscular damage and fatigue. They are the ultimate training tool if you want to become big AND strong all at the same time!

With DC Training you are going to perform one rest-pause set per exercise for most body parts. This is why DC Training is called a low-volume, high-intensity training program. 

This is also why DC Training is for advanced trainees only. You only have one rest-pause set per exercise to trigger a growth response in the muscle. If you screw up that set or don’t push yourself hard enough then you just wasted that workout and you aren’t going to grow!

It is very difficult to train all the way to failure three separate times on a rest-pause set. Dusty Hanshaw says that the mind fails before your muscles do and he is absolutely right.

Most bodybuilders need at least 3 years of hardcore training experience before they can train hard enough to make progress with DC Training. This is not a program for beginners!

Rest-pause sets should be performed for the following muscle groups:

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Back Width
  • Biceps
  • Hamstrings

For each of these body parts you are going to perform one rest-pause set on one exercise. That’s it!

Of course there are a few muscle groups that are NEVER rest-paused:

  • Back thickness
  • Forearms
  • Calves
  • Quads

There are very specific reasons why Dante Trudel doesn’t want you to rest-pause these body parts. Check it out:

Exception #1: Back Thickness

Back thickness exercises are never rest-paused. This is done for safety reasons. Rest-pausing exercises like deadlifts, rack deadlifts, t-bar rows and barbell rows is a great way to injure your lower back. I don’t care how hardcore you think you are – never rest-pause these exercises!

Instead you should perform 1-2 straight sets on all of your back thickness. Dante recommends that his trainees perform one heavy set and one light set. For example you could perform one set of deadlifts in the 5-8 rep range and one set of deadlifts in the 9-12 rep range.

The rep ranges for heavy rowing exercises are usually a little higher. For example you could perform one set in the 9-12 rep range and one in the 12-15 rep range. If you are ready for DC Training then you should already have an idea of what rep ranges work best for you.

If you have a hard time recovering from 2 straight sets for back thickness then you can perform 1 straight set instead. Just make sure you give that one set everything you have. Remember, you only have one shot to create a growth stimulus for that body part so make it count!

Exception #2: Forearms

Forearm exercises are performed for one straight set of 12-20 repetitions. Dante found over the years that rest-pausing forearms was overkill and did more harm than good.

Exception #3: Calves

Calf exercises are performed for one straight set of about 7-10 reps.

Dante recommends that you use a slow eccentric phase and a VERY long pause in the stretched position on all calf exercises. Dante’s usual recommendation is a 5-second lowering phase and a 10-second pause in the stretched position.

In Dante’s opinion this technique is the fastest way for a bodybuilder to bring up their lagging calves.

Exception #4: Quadriceps

You do not rest-pause quad exercises for safety reasons. Instead you are going to perform 2 straight sets: a heavy set for 5-10 reps and a “widowmaker” set for 20 reps.

The widowmaker set is basically a 20-rep breathing squat. You are going to perform 20 reps with your 10-12 rep max. Dante calls this a “widowmaker” set because if you do it correctly you die and turn your wife into a widow! Of course Dante is joking but the widowmaker set really is the hardest part of the whole DC Training program.

Here is how you perform a 20-rep widowmaker set for your quads:

  • Perform 10 reps with your 10-rep max. After the tenth rep you lock out your legs with the barbell still on your back and take several deep breaths.
  • Perform 1-3 more reps, then lock out your legs and take several more deep breaths.
  • Perform 1-3 more reps, then lock out your legs and take several more deep breaths.

And so on. You repeat this process until you have performed 20 reps total.

Here is Tom Platz giving a perfect demonstration of a 20-rep widowmaker set on the back squat:

Talk about an incredible squat! Tom squatted 580 pounds for 23 reps. If that doesn’t inspire you to train then nothing will!

Don’t worry, you don’t have to perform the widowmaker set on back squats every single workout. With DC Training you are rotating through three different exercises per body part. This includes the quadriceps!

Dante recommends that most trainees start out by rotating squats, leg presses, and hack squats for their 3 quad exercises. The widowmaker sets on leg presses and hack squats are hard but nowhere near as challenging as the widowmaker set on squats.

Possible Exception: Hamstrings

I mentioned earlier that hamstrings are one of the body parts that you rest-pause. This is generally true. For example, it is perfectly safe to rest-pause hamstrings exercises like leg curls, glute-ham raises and sumo leg presses.

The only exercise that you should NOT rest-pause is stiff-legged deadlifts. Once again this is done to protect your lower back. If you have stiff-legged deadlifts in your routine then Dante recommends you perform 1-2 straight sets in the 6-12 rep range (or whatever rep range works best for you).

Part 3: Exercise Selection

With DC Training you are only performing 1 exercise per body part per workout. You only have one shot at creating a growth stimulus for that body part so you have to be sure you are using the best exercises for your body.

There are no “official” DC-training exercises that you have to use. You can use almost any type of exercise on this program. Barbell, dumbbell, machine, and even cable exercises are all fair game. But before you pick an exercise you have to ask yourself this question:

Can I Progress On This Exercise Over Time?

DC Training is all about making rapid strength gains in higher rep ranges. The best exercises are ones where you can train progressively over time. In other words the best DC exercises are ones where you can consistently make big weight jumps from one workout to the next over long periods of time.

DC Training is all about lifting heavier and heavier loads in bodybuilding rep ranges. If you are not getting stronger then you aren’t growing!

Now let’s look at some of the best DC exercises for every body part. Check it out:

DC-Approved Chest Exercises:

  • Incline or decline barbell presses
  • Flat, incline, or decline DB presses
  • Incline or decline smith machine presses
  • Flat, incline or decline hammer strength presses
  • Any other good machine press

The best DC Training chest exercises compound pressing movements. Barbells, dumbbells and machines are all fair game.

Dante recommends that you avoid isolation exercises like dumbbell flys or the pec dec for this program. These are not necessarily bad exercises. However, they are not a good fit for the DC Training 2-way split. You want to focus on the big compound chest exercises where you can move a lot of weight and train progressively over time.

Don’t worry, the chest extreme stretch will do more for your chest than any chest isolation exercise ever could!

It is very important to notice that the flat bench press is NOT included on this list! Dante is 100% against you using the flat bench press as a chest exercise.

Dante correctly points out that the flat bench press is responsible for more pec tears and upper body injuries than every other exercise combined. There are too many other safe chest exercises to bother with the flat bench press on this program.

DC-Approved Shoulder Exercises:

  • Barbell military press
  • Barbell behind the neck press
  • Seated dumbbell overhead press
  • Smith machine press to the front
  • Smith machine press to the rear
  • Hammer strength overhead press
  • Any other machine overhead press

Overhead presses are the way to go when it comes to training the shoulders DC- or Doggcrapp-style.

Dante’s reasoning is simple: he has never seen someone military press 315 pounds for reps who had small shoulders, but he has seen A LOT of wannabe bodybuilders with tiny shoulders who performed endless sets of dumbbell lateral raises.

It is much easier to progress on overhead presses than it is on any silly shoulder isolation exercise. Besides, overhead presses are the most bang-for-your-buck exercises that you can do for your shoulders.

If you are concerned about your side and rear delts not receiving enough work then I recommend you incorporate more seated DB overhead presses and barbell behind the neck presses into your routine. These exercises have been shown to recruit the side and rear delts far more than regular military presses.

DC Triceps Exercises

  • Close grip bench press
  • Reverse grip bench press
  • Smith close grip bench press
  • Smith reverse grip bench press
  • V-bar dips
  • Hammer strength dips
  • Dead stop skull crushers
  • PJR pullovers
  • Flat, decline, or incline ez-bar extensions
  • Flat, decline, or incline DB extensions
  • Flat, decline, or incline JM press

Dante is a big fan of using compound pressing exercises to build up the triceps. Some of his favorites are close grip bench presses, reverse grip bench presses and dips. These compound triceps exercises can be performed with free weights or machines (smith machine, hammer strength etc).

Dante likes his bodybuilders to perform at least 2 compound pressing movements for their 3 triceps exercises. However, this is not completely set in stone. If you are someone who has an extremely hard time recruiting his triceps then you may want to use more isolation movements.

However, as a general rule of thumb it is best to stick primarily with compound exercises for the triceps on DC Training. Once again you are going to have an easier time progressing on exercises such as dips and close grip bench presses than most isolation exercises.

Here are some training videos for some of Dante’s favorite triceps exercises that you may not know about:

For the smith machine reverse grip bench press Dante likes his athletes to lay down with their butt hanging off the bench. Jason Wojo demonstrates this perfectly in the above video. This keeps your chest up and reduces your risk of injury with this exercise.

The dead stop skull crushers, AKA “dead skulls” are another one of Dante’s favorite triceps exercises. These are one of the best exercises you can do for the long head of your triceps. If you don’t believe me just try them for one rest-pause set and wait 24 hours for the muscle soreness to kick in!

PJR pullovers are another awesome DC exercise for the triceps. The bodybuilding coach Paul Carter invented these. PJR pullovers thrash the long head of your triceps because you are performing elbow extension AND shoulder extension all in one movement.

DC Back Width Exercises

  • Rack chins
  • Wide overhand grip pull ups
  • Wide overhand grip cable pull downs
  • Wide neutral grip cable pull downs
  • Hammer strength pull downs
  • Any other machine pull down

For back width Dante wants you to focus on various pull up and cable pull down exercises. Dante believes that loaded stretching is the absolute key to a wide pair of lats.

Any time you are doing a pull down movement or any other exercise for back width you should think about emphasizing the stretched position. This may include inserting a 1-2 second pause in between every rep in the stretched position of your exercises.

Dante calls rack chins his “back width pronto” exercise. You can click right here for a perfect demonstration of rack chins.

Rack chins are kind of like wide grip pull ups with your feet resting on a bench in front of you. They put you in a perfect mechanical position to train your lats. If you are struggling to make your back wider then make sure these are one of your 3 DC back width exercises!

If you are determined enough you can work up to some extremely heavy weights on this exercise over time. David Henry worked up to performing rack chins with a 200 pound dumbbell in his lap when he was using DC Training. Talk about impressive!

DC Back Thickness Exercises

  • Deadlifts
  • Rack deadlifts
  • Barbell rows
  • Smith machine rows
  • T-bar rows
  • Seated cable rows

Dante believes the best back thickness exercises are deadlifts, rack deadlifts and heavy rowing exercises. These are the exercises that really build up your spinal erectors, traps and rhomboids.

I recommend that you always use at least 1 deadlift or rack deadlift exercise for back thickness. It is possible to use 2 different deadlift variations in your rotation (i.e. deadlifts and rack deadlifts) but you have to assess your recovery ability first.

DC Biceps Exercises

  • Incline DB curls
  • Preacher DB curls
  • Preacher ez-bar curls
  • Cable curls
  • Machine curls
  • Alternating DB curls
  • Any other curl variation

Dante Trudel believes it is of the utmost importance that you select bicep exercises that work well for your body. It is very easy to spend years on the so-called mass building biceps exercises such as standing barbell curls and standing dumbbell curls with nothing to show for it.

If you have a difficult time developing your biceps then you need to be a little more creative and focus on exercises where you can really feel your biceps working. Dante calls this “getting really weird with it.”

For example, Dante found through trial and error that the biceps exercises that work best for him are incline DB curls and preacher curls.

Both of these exercises place the biceps under a significant stretch and make it very difficult for you to “cheat” the weight up. EMG studies have indeed confirmed that failure and preacher curls recruit more motor units in the biceps than any other biceps exercises.

Whichever biceps exercises you choose to use it is imperative that you can “feel” the muscle group working. In some cases you will have to be creative to figure out what works best for you.

DC Forearms Exercises

  • Standing 1-arm cable reverse curl
  • Seated zottman curls
  • Preacher zottman curls
  • Reverse ez-bar curls
  • Hammer curls

When Dante talks about the “forearms” he is really referring to the brachialis, brachioradialis, pronator teres, and the rest of the wrist extensors. The best exercises to work these muscle groups include all variations of hammer curls and reverse curls.

Dante is particularly fond of the 1-arm cable reverse curl. He has gone so far as to call it the single best “forearm” exercise that you can do on DC Training. The key is to cock the wrist up and back throughout the entire movement. At no time are you to allow the wrist to bend forward!

If you perform this exercise correctly then I think you will agree it is one of the best forearm exercises you can perform in the gym.

DC Calves Exercises

  • Leg press calf raise
  • Hack squat machine calf raise
  • Seated machine calf raise
  • Standing machine calf raise

There isn’t anything special to report here in regards to DC Training exercise selection for the calves. The big basic movements are still the best.

Remember that Dante wants you to do a 10-second pause in the stretched position in between every rep. This technique is extremely painful but Dante has shown over and over that it can completely transform your calves in a very short period of time.

DC Hamstrings Exercises

  • Kneeling leg curls
  • Lying leg curls
  • Seated leg curls
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Sumo leg press
  • Glute-ham raises

Dante recommends that you use the go-to bodybuilding hamstrings exercises like leg curls and stiff-legged deadlifts.

The one exercise that you may not be familiar with is the sumo leg press. Basically it is a leg press where you put your feet as high and wide as possible on the leg press platform. You can click right here for a great video of this exercise.

If you have any history of knee problems then you will want to be very careful with this exercise. If your knees are healthy then it can be a great exercise for your hamstrings and your inner-thigh muscles. Just make sure you push your knees out as you lower the weight down!

DC Quadriceps Exercises

  • Back squats
  • Front squats
  • Machine hack squats
  • Leg press
  • Smith machine squats

Dante really believes in squats, hack squats, and leg presses when it comes to training the quadriceps. Don’t even think about using leg extensions as one of your 3 quad exercises!

Exercises such as walking DB lunges or split squats can be OK under special circumstances. However, for optimal results you really should stick with exercises like squats, hack squats, and leg presses whenever possible.

Part 4: Optimal Rep Ranges

Now that you know which exercises are most appropriate for DC Training let’s talk about optimal rep ranges.

Rest-Pause Rep Ranges

Any time you are performing a rest-pause set you are primarily focused on the total number of reps that you get from all three attempts.

For example, let’s say during your rest-pause set you perform 9 reps on your first attempt, 3 reps on your second attempt, and 2 reps on your third attempt. Your total number of reps is (9+3+2) = 14 RP.

Most of the time you are going to have a target rep range. For example, your target might be 11-15 RP or 20-30 RP.

For most body parts Dante recommends shooting for 11-15 RP. Some extremely strong trainees may want to use a larger rep target such as 11-20 RP. If you are anywhere in that range then you are doing just fine.

If you prefer to have a target number of reps for the first part of your rest-pause set then you should usually aim for 7-10 reps before hitting failure. If you are anywhere between 7-10 then you are doing great.

Rest-Pause Rep Range Exceptions

There are some exceptions to the above rule.

Any time you are using dumbbells you want to bump the target rep range up to 20-30 RP. This is because it can be very difficult to get the dumbbells into the starting position of an exercise when using lower rep ranges. This is especially true on the second and third leg of your rest-pause set.

Arm isolation exercises are also frequently performed for higher reps. It is a good idea to perform any triceps isolation exercises in the 20-30 RP range to keep your elbows healthy.

Of course you can still perform your compound pressing exercises for triceps in the typical 11-15 or 11-20 RP range.

Things are a little trickier for the biceps. Some people do great sticking with sets in the 11-15 RP range while others need to go a little higher such as 15-25 RP in order to feel the biceps working. The choice is up to you.

Straight Set Rep Ranges

Of course not every body part is trained using rest-pause sets. For back thickness you should perform 2 sets: one in the 6-9 rep range and one in the 10-13 rep range. You can adjust these numbers up or down depending on what you respond best to.

Of course some people cannot handle 2 working sets for back thickness and stick with 1 working set instead. The choice is yours.

Forearms are usually trained with one straight set in the 12-20 rep range while calves get one straight set in the 7-10 rep range.

Finally the quadriceps are typically trained with 2 sets: one heavy set in the 4-8 rep range and the 20-rep widowmaker set.

For All Lifters Over 34 Years Old

If you are at least 34 years old and are using DC Training then Dante has a recommendation for you: Consider bumping up your target rep ranges.

For example, if you used to train primarily in the 11-15 rep range then consider bumping that up to 15-20 RP. As you get older these heavy low-rep sets can pose you at increased risk for injury.

Don’t worry, you are not going to lose all of your hard-earned muscle mass by making this switch. If you normally do something like 8+3+2 = 13 RP then Dante wants you to consider bumping that up to something like 10+5+3 = 18RP or even 12+6+3 = 21 RP.

That isn’t such a big change now is it? In the long run this small change will keep you far healthier and allow you to lift for many years to come.

Part 5: Extreme Stretching

An extreme stretch is a static loaded stretch that you perform after you have warmed up or fatigued your muscles. Extreme stretches are a core part of the DC Training program. Dante believes they have a synergistic effect with the rest of the program and can dramatically speed up your overall progress..

Here is Dusty Hanshaw giving a perfect demonstration of a chest extreme stretch:

As you can see Dusty is holding the bottom position of a dumbbell fly for 60-90 seconds. This stretch is incredibly painful but it does amazing things for stimulating size and strength gains in the chest.

There are many reasons why extreme stretching works for building size and strength:

  • They stimulate mTOR, the “on” switch for protein synthesis
  • They preferentially overload your fast-twitch muscle fibers
  • They increase blood flow and induce hyperemia in your muscles
  • They release anabolic hormones into your muscles like MGF and IGF-1
  • They **potentially** stretch out the fascia surrounding your muscles
  • They **potentially** stimulate hyperplasia in your muscles

Extreme stretches do all of these things at the same time? Talk about a potent training method!

For almost every body part you are going to perform a rest-pause set or 1-2 straight sets to failure followed by an extreme stretch. You are going to hold the extreme stretch for 60-90 seconds.

Here are some videos of DC-approved extreme stretches for every body part:

These stretches are incredibly painful but they are a core part of the DC Training program. You are not allowed to skip them!

Here is what an upper body workout would look like with the extreme stretching:

  1. Chest rest-pause set —> extreme stretch
  2. Shoulders rest-pause set —> extreme stretch
  3. Triceps rest-pause set —> extreme stretch
  4. Back width rest-pause set —> extreme stretch
  5. Back thickness 1-2 straight sets

There are only a few body parts that you do not perform a separate extreme stretch for:

  • Back thickness
  • Forearms
  • Calves

For calves the extreme stretch is already built into the exercise. Remember, you are doing an 10-second pause in the stretched position on every rep!

It is very important that you start with light weights for all of your extreme stretches. Even if you are a very strong presser you should use no more than 30-40 pounds the first time you do the chest extreme stretch. It takes your muscles and connective tissues several weeks before they are used to being in that type of position.

Your goal is to stick with the same wight on the extreme stretches for as long as you can. At some point the weight will no longer be challenging anymore – that is when you increase the weight!

For example, on the chest stretch you may find the 30 pound dumbbells to be very challenging for the first few weeks. You can really feel your chest stretching out and opening up. However, after a few weeks you may find it harder and harder to feel your chest stretching against the weight. At that point you up the weight to the 35 pound dumbbells and start the process all over again.

Dante feels that extreme stretching is especially effective for the chest, triceps, lats and quads. This technique has the potential to radically change the way your muscles look in just a few short weeks.

Part 6: Beat The Logbook!

DC Training can be summarized in one simple phrase:

Beat the logbook!

Every single workout that you do is written down in a training logbook. When you go into the gym for any given workout you should know exactly what your objectives are on each of your five main exercises.

If you did a squat widowmaker with 300 pounds last time (2 weeks ago) then you know today’s goal is either 305 pounds or 310 pounds for the same 20 reps.

Every single day that logbook is going to be staring you down. It’s the one thing standing in the way of you reaching your goals. When you walk into the gym you should have one thing on your mind: total logbook annihilation!

If you kick your logbook’s ass day-in and day-out then I promise you that you will be on the fast-track to rapid muscle mass accumulation. On the other hand, if you fail to beat the logbook then I promise you that you are going to be stuck spinning your wheels for the next 1, 5, 10, or even 20 years of your bodybuilding career.

Here is what your logbook should look like every time you walk into the gym:

A1: 30 degree incline DB press, 1 x 20-30 RP, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed

  • LT: 120’s x 12/5/3 = 20 RP
  • TT:

B1: Hammer strength overhead press, 1 x 11-20 RP, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed

  • LT: 145 / side x 8/2/2 = 12 RP
  • TT:

C1: Dead stop skull crushers, 1 x 11-20 RP, 2/1/X/0, rest as needed

  • LT: 120 x 9/3/1 = 13 RP
  • TT:

D1: Rack chins, 1 x 11-20 RP, 2/1/X/0, rest as needed

  • LT: BW + 90 x 8/4/2 = 14 RP
  • TT:

E1: T-bar row, 2 x (8-10, 10-12), 2/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest

  • LT: 6P + 10 x 9, 5P + 25 x 13
  • TT:

Note: these exercises are taken from the upper body day #1 in the complete sample DC Training routine provided in part 11 of this article. The training weights are just examples of what an experienced DC-er might be hoisting around.

Note: if you have any trouble reading the above routine then I highly recommend you consult this article.

What we have here is a list of five upper body exercises to be performed on a DC-training upper body day. Below each exercise you will see the following abbreviations:

  • LT:
  • TT:

LT stands for “last time.” This is where you record your performance on this exercise from the previous workout. On DC Training you repeat workouts once every 2 weeks so you should have performed these exact exercises 2 weeks ago.

TT stands for “this time.” This section is blank because you have not yet performed these exercises on this training day!

Immediately before your 1 rest-pause set or your 1-2 straight sets you look at your previous performance. For example you know that you incline pressed the 120 pound dumbbells for 20 reps rest-paused. You are right at the low-end of your target rep range so you decide to stick with the 120’s today.

Your goal is to beat your previous rep target on this exercise. This means you want to hit at least 22 total reps rest-pause. Even more than 22 total reps rest-paused would be better.

After performing your extreme stretch for your chest you repeat this same process for every other exercise. You perform your warm ups for shoulders and then see what you did at the previous workout.

It is then your goal to beat your previous performance by getting more reps or increasing the weight. It is up to you which one you want to do.

If you are at the low-end of your rep range then focus on increasing the number of reps. If you are towards the middle or top of your rep target then it’s probably best to increase the weight.

For example, here is what your logbook might look like after you finish this workout:

A1: 30 degree incline DB press, 1 x 20-30 RP, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed

  • LT: 120’s x 12/5/3 = 20 RP
  • TT: 120’s x 13/6/3 = 22 RP

B1: Hammer strength overhead press, 1 x 11-20 RP, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed

  • LT: 145 / side x 8/2/2 = 12 RP
  • TT: 150 / side x 7/2/1 = 10RP

C1: Dead stop skull crushers, 1 x 11-20 RP, 2/1/X/0, rest as needed

  • LT: 120 x 9/3/1 = 13 RP
  • TT: 120 x 11/4/2 = 17 RP

D1: Rack chins, 1 x 11-20 RP, 2/1/X/0, rest as needed

  • LT: BW + 90 x 8/4/2 = 14 RP
  • TT: BW + 95 x 7/3/2 = 12 RP

E1: T-bar row, 2 x (8-10, 10-12), 2/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest

  • LT: 6 plates + 10 x 9, 5 plates + 25 x 13
  • TT: 6 plates + 15 x 9, 5 plates + 35 x 12

Notice that the weights or reps are increased on every single exercise. Believe it or not this is very typical with Doggcrapp Training. Rest-pause sets are THAT effective for promoting long-term strength gains.

Every single workout that you do is a life-and-death battle with your logbook. Your one goal when you enter the gym is logbook annihilation!

If you are successful then you will leave knowing that you have achieved a stimulus for growth and that you are one step closer to your goals.

Here is what a sample weights progression might look like for the incline dumbbell press over many weeks and months:

  • Workout #1: 120’s x 20 RP
  • Workout #2: 120’s x 22 RP
  • Workout #3: 120’s x 25 RP
  • Workout #4: 125’s x 22 RP
  • Workout #5: 125’s x 22 RP (Dammit! I still have some strength left here, I’ll get it next time…)
  • Workout #6: 125’s x 26 RP (Take that logbook!)
  • Workout #7: 125’s x 27 RP
  • Workout #8: 130’s x 24 RP
  • Workout #9: 130’s x 22 RP (OK logbook you win! Time to dominate a new exercise…)

Eventually your strength will reach a plateau on any one exercise. You cannot just keep going up in weight forever!

Dante believes that after 2 bad workouts in a row you should throw in the towel on that exercise. At that point you remove that one specific exercise from your rotation and pick a new one instead.

For example, let’s say you were doing incline dumbbell presses, hammer strength incline presses, and incline bench presses. After 9 workouts your incline dumbbell presses stall.

At this point you decide to swap out the incline dumbbell presses from your rotation and use flat hammer strength presses instead. You then go bombs-away up the strength ladder on flat hammer strength presses just like you did on incline dumbbell presses.

Eventually you will return to incline dumbbell presses after you stall on a bunch of other exercises. When you do return to it you will go flying past your previous best and hit a new PR on this exercise.

On some exercises you will reach your absolute strength plateau in 3 workouts while you may go 20+ workouts in a row beating the logbook on others.

It is impossible to predict how long you can grind out one specific exercise with DC Training. The important part is to not get discouraged when you lose an exercise and to just keep on grinding.

Your First 2 Weeks With DC Training

In the above example our hypothetical lifter is repeating exercises he has performed previously. He therefore has some specific numbers that he is trying to beat.

If you are new to DC Training then you will have to spend your first 2 weeks establishing “baselines numbers.” These first 2 weeks on a DC Training program are very difficult because you don’t have any specific goals that you are trying to beat. Just do your best to push yourself on every set.

After the first 2 weeks you will have some clear “baseline” numbers that you can reference for every workout. At this point the never-ending war with the logbook begins! Buckle up, buttercup – it’s going to be a bumpy ride!!

Part 7: Blasting And Cruising

DC Training uses a very simple but extremely effective form of training periodization. Periodization of course refers to how you structure your workouts over weeks and months of time to ensure long-term progress.

If you train balls-to-the-walls year round then at some point you will probably start to overtrain. This is definitely true with DC Training. After all, DC Training is one of the most physiologically and psychologically demanding bodybuilding training programs ever invented!

Dante Trudel uses a very simple form of periodization to prevent you from burning out. He calls his system “blasting and cruising.”

Basically you are going to alternate between periods of time where you train all-out and periods of time where you sort of relax and let your body recuperate.

The blast phase is the period where you do your regular DC Training workouts. These workouts are very demanding but your strength levels will increase very rapidly. Blasts typically last anywhere from 6-12 weeks depending on the individual.

The cruise phase is the period where you take it easy in the gym and take a break from hitting personal records. The cruise lasts for 1-2 weeks depending on the length of your blast. If your blasted for 6 weeks then 1 week is probably enough. On the other hand if you blasted for 12 weeks then 2 weeks is probably a better choice.

After 6-12 weeks of hard training you will find that your body is having a harder time recovering from the workouts. You might be more tired than usual, have more muscle soreness than usual or have a harder time beating the logbook. At this point you IMMEDIATELY stop what you are doing and enter a cruise phase.

Here are some sample blasting and cruising phases from some of Dante’s DC Training clients:

  • Blast 7 weeks, cruise 7-10 days
  • Blast 12 weeks, cruise 14 weeks
  • Blast 10 weeks, cruise 10 days
  • Blast 12 weeks, cruise 7 days

You don’t plan your blasting and cruising phases ahead of time. Instead you “listen to your body” and start the cruise phase once you feel like you really need it. This is one of the many reasons DC Training is for advanced trainees only – you have to know when you are on the brink of overtraining so you can back off and take a cruise week.

During your cruise phase you have 2 options:

  • Continue working out 3 days per week but use very light weights
  • Skip the gym entirely

Both options are viable. Some people find that they prefer taking a complete break from the gym to give themselves a mental break. Other DC Trainees find that they feel better if they go in and lift about 50% of their normal training weights on a handful of random exercises.

After you return to the gym you may find that you are a little bit weaker than where you ended your last blast. Don’t freak out, that’s perfectly normal. Within 2-4 weeks max you will be back to your previous best weights and from there on it’s total logbook annihilation!

The blast / cruise periodization model is as effective as it is simple. By taking a 1-2 week cruise every once in a while you practically guarantee that you are going to make great long-term progress.

As long as you alternate blasting and cruising phases you can perform DC Training year-round.

Part 8: Nutrition And Cardio

Dante Trudel’s goal with DC Training is to turn your body into a fat burning, muscle building blast furnace.

Dante has some very specific recommendations when it comes to nutrition and cardio. These recommendations are considered essential parts of the DC Training program.

Normally I avoid talking about nutrition here on Revolutionary Program Design. However I decided that it would be a disservice to the reader to leave out these strategies as they are just as much a part of DC Training as the workouts themselves.

Dante is a big proponent of the following five nutrition / cardio strategies: 

  1. Extreme protein intake
  2. Separating fats and carbs
  3. Carb cutoffs
  4. Fasted morning cardio
  5. Green tea intake

Let’s take a closer look at these strategies one-by-one.

Nutrition Strategy #1: Extreme Protein Intake

Dante believes that if you want to build extreme amounts of muscle mass that you need an extreme protein intake. Specifically Dante recommends 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

In other words a 200 pound lean bodybuilder would consume 400 grams of protein per day.

On one hand this is overkill according to the scientific literature. On the other hand there is no one who can match Dante’s track record for helping bodybuilders rapidly build muscle mass in record time.

Dante believes muscle growth is all about supply and demand. If you can create the demand for larger muscles (lifting progressively heavier over time in bodybuilding rep ranges) and you can supply the raw ingredients for larger muscles (extreme protein intake) then you will grow at the fastest rate possible.

Believe me when I say this extreme protein intake is necessary to recover from this program. If you are to make DC Training work then extreme protein intake is an absolute must!

Nutrition Strategy #2: Separating Fats and Carbs

Dante doesn’t have much of an opinion on high carb / low fat diets vs high fat / low carb diets. He believes nutrition is a highly individual thing and there is no one-size-fits-all.

However, as a general rule of thumb Dante believes DC Trainees should not consume large amounts of fats and carbs in the same meal. Basically Dante is trying to avoid large insulin spikes when there is simultaneously a lot of fat in the bloodstream. This is a recipe for rapid body fat accumulation!

Instead he feels you are better off eating primarily protein / carb meals and protein / fat meals. An example of a protein / carb meal might be some chicken and rice while a protein / fat meal might be a steak and a salad with olive oil.

Don’t get too picky about this rule – it is just a general guideline designed to keep you leaner while you rapidly build muscle mass.

Nutrition Strategy #3: Carb Cutoffs

Dante is a big believer in carb cutoffs. In other words he wants you to have a set time during the day where you stop eating carbs.

Dante himself often used a 6 pm carb cutoff during his mass-building days. He could eat carbs all he wanted before 6 pm but after 6 pm he was done for the day.

This is not a suggestion to pig out on carbs all day before 6. However, if you are using DC Training and you respond well to relatively higher-carb intakes then a great way to stay leaner during a mass-building phase is to implement a carb cutoff between 5-7 PM (or whenever you decide).

Nutrition Strategy #4: Fasted Morning Cardio

Dante is a big believer in fasted morning cardio. In fact you could argue that fasted morning cardio is a core part of the DC Training program.

If you are looking to drop some body fat or if you have a hard time staying lean while building muscle then this strategy is for you.

Dante’s protocol is to wake up, take in either a scoop of whey protein or some branched chain amino acids and then perform cardio on an otherwise empty stomach for 20-60 minutes. This can be done anywhere from 3-7 days per week depending on your needs.

Technically this is not “fasted” cardio as you are consuming some protein before you begin. Whatever you want to call it fasted morning cardio is a core component of the long-term DC Training game plan to turn you into a seriously impressive bodybuilder.

Nutrition Strategy #5: Green Tea Intake

Dante is a HUGE proponent of green tea for bodybuilders. Green tea has many benefits:

  • Increased metabolism
  • Reduced body fat levels
  • Enhanced recovery from hard workouts
  • More energy
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced risk of many chronic diseases (cancer etc.)

And much, much more!

Dante had all of his former trainees consume large quantities of green tea to help keep them lean year-round. You can either drink green tea or consume green tea supplement capsules.

If you are going to go the supplement route make sure that your capsules have 50% egcg. Egcg is the active ingredient in green tea that gives it its beneficial fat-loss properties.

Part 9: A  Sample DC Training Routine

This is perhaps the single most important part of the article. I am going to provide you with a complete DC or Doggcrapp Training program. I have included all six workouts (three for the upper body and three for the lower body) as well as sample training videos for every exercise.

Please understand that this is just a sample program. In an ideal world I would pick the absolute best exercises for your body. Obviously I cannot do that as I know nothing about you. However, I am confident that this program will be an excellent starting point for almost anyone ready to take up DC Training.

DC Training Upper Body Workout #1

  • A1: 30 degree incline DB press, 1 x 20-30 RP**
  • B1: Hammer strength overhead press, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • C1: Dead stop skull crushers, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • D1: Rack chins, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • E1: T-bar row, 2 x (8-10, 10-12)

**Performed as a rest-pause set.

Here are some sample training videos for this workout: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1, exercise D1, exercise E1.

DC Training Lower Body Workout #1

  • A1: 45 degree incline DB curl (supinated grip), 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • B1: Cable 1-arm reverse curl, 1 x 12-20
  • C1: Leg press calf raise, 1 x 7-10
  • D1: Kneeling unilateral leg curl (feet plantar flexed / pointing straight)
  • E1: Back squat (medium stance / heels flat), 2 x (4-8, 20****)

**Performed as a rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for quads.

Here are some sample training videos for this workout: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1, exercise D1, exercise E1.

DC Training Upper Body Workout #2

  • A1: Hammer strength flat press, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • B1: Seated barbell military press, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • C1: V-bar dips (upright torso), 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • D1: Cable pull down (wide / pronated grip), 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • E1: Barbell dead stop row, 2 x (8-10, 10-12),

**Performed as a rest-pause set.

Here are some sample training videos for this workout: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1, exercise D1, exercise E1.

DC Training Lower Body Workout #2

  • A1: Preacher ez-bar curl (close / supinated grip), 1 x 11-20 RP**, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: Standing bilateral DB curl (hammer grip), 1 x 12-20, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • C1: Standing machine calf raise, 1 x 7-10, 2/8/X/1, rest as needed
  • D1: Sumo leg press, 1 x 11-20 RP**, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • E1: Leg Press, 2 x (6-10, 20**), 2/0/X/0, 4 minutes rest

**Performed as a rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for quads.

Here are some sample training videos for this workout: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1, exercise D1, exercise E1.

DC Training Upper Body Workout #3

  • A1: Smith machine 30 degree incline press, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • B1: Seated DB overhead press, 1 x 20-30 RP**
  • C1: Smith machine close grip bench press, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • D1: Hammer strength bilateral pull down (supinated grip), 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • E1: Conventional deadlift, 2 x (5-7, 8-10)

**Performed as a rest-pause set.

Here are some sample training videos for this workout: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1, exercise D1, exercise E1.

DC Training Lower Body Workout #3 

  • A1: DB concentration curl, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • B1: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / pronated grip), 1 x 12-20
  • C1: Machine hack squat calf raise, 1 x 7-10
  • D1: Bilateral lying leg curl (Poliquin method*** / feet pointing in), 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • E1: Machine hack squat (medium stance), 2 x (4-8, 20****)

**Performed as a rest-pause set.

**Dorsiflex your ankles (point your toes towards your shins) on the concentric range and plantar flex your ankles (point your toes away from your shins) on the eccentric range. See the video below for more details.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for quads.

Here are some sample training videos for this workout: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1, exercise D1, exercise E1.

If you want to give DC Training a shot then I highly recommend you give the above training routine a shot. I am confident you will be happy with the results!

Part 10: Tips For Designing Your Own DC Training Routine

fast-twitch

Designing your very own DC Training routine can be a daunting task. If you are not sure where to start then the sample training program outlined in part 11 of this article is a great place to start. If you are determined to write your own routine then here are three helpful tips that you may want to incorporate:

  • Tip #1: Include a wide variety of exercises per body part
  • Tip #2: Use a blend of machines and free weight exercises on each workout
  • Tip #3: Keep squats and deadlifts far away from each other

Let’s take a closer look at each of these training tips.

Tip #1: Include a wide variety of exercises per body part

In my opinion it is extremely important to select three exercises per body part that are very different from each other. I think you will find that when you use a wide variety of exercises it is much easier to make long term progress.

When the three exercises are too similar to each other you end up stalling much faster. Imagine your three leg exercises were squats, front squats, and safety squat bar squats. I can promise you that you would stall on one or more of these exercises very quickly.

On the other hand let’s imagine you are rotating back squats, hack squats, and leg presses. Now you are using three different exercises that tax your muscles in three unique ways. Your odds of overtraining your central nervous system with this set up are greatly reduced.

Tip #2: Use a blend of machines and free weight exercises on each workout

This tip is especially relevant for your chest, shoulders, and triceps exercises. During each upper body workout you ideally want to use a blend of free weights and machines for these three exercises.

If you use too many free weights in a row you may find that you have a very difficult time stabilizing the loads by the second or third exercise.

For example, imagine you use incline dumbbell presses, military presses and V-bar dips for your chest / shoulder / tricep exercises. By the time you reach the dips it will be very difficult to control your body during the exercise and as a consequence you will have a hard time fully stimulating your triceps.

A much better approach is to use a blend of free weight and machine exercises for these three exercises during your upper body workouts. My sample DC Training workouts above show you how you might go about doing this.\

Tip #3: Keep squats and deadlifts far away from each other

This is an absolutely CRITICAL training tip for DC Training! For your first routine I suggest you use only one free squatting exercise and one deadlifting exercise.

I also recommend you keep these exercises as far apart as possible from each other. One of the fastest ways to overtrain on any routine is to over-fatigue your lower back. By giving yourself a full 7 days in between these two exercises you greatly increase your odds of success.

For example here is how I have organized the back thickness and quadricep exercises in my sample routine:

Week 1

  • Monday: T-bar Row
  • Wednesday: Squat
  • Friday: Barbell Dead Stop Row

Week 2

  • Monday: Leg Press
  • Wednesday: Deadlift
  • Friday: Hack Squat

As you can see there is a full 7 days of rest in between your deadlift and squat workouts.

It is of course entirely possible to use 2 different deadlift variations for your back thickness exercises. However, this should be reserved for people who have completed at least one blast of DC Training so that they can better assess their recovery ability first.

Part 11: Pre-Contest DC Training: Overview

DC Training was designed first and foremost as a mass-building program. The primary objective of this program is to turn you into an extremely advanced bodybuilder as quickly as possible.

The DC-training 2-way split (the upper body / lower body split) is ideal for rapid muscle mass accumulation. If you are in a phase of training where your goal is to build as much muscle mass as possible then you should absolutely be on the 2-way split.

With that being said you can use DC Training while dropping body fat or even while dieting for a bodybuilding competition. Most trainees find that it is difficult to make progress using the 2-way split as they progress further and further into their diet.

Dante has 2 other training splits that you can use as your diet progresses which will make it easier to continue beating the logbook. Dante gave the other two splits the following names:

  • The 3-way split
  • The 5-way split

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

The 3-Way Split

This split is essentially a push / pull / legs split performed 4 days per week. You will be training 3-4 body parts per day vs the normal 5. Many trainees find that this reduce workload per training day helps them to recover after many weeks on a diet.

The individual workouts are organized as follows:

Push Day

  • A1: Chest
  • B1: Shoulders
  • C1: Triceps

Legs Day

  • A1: Calves
  • B1: Hamstrings
  • C1: Quads

Pull Day

  • A1: Biceps
  • B1: Forearms
  • C1: Back Width
  • D1: Back Thickness

Some trainees prefer training biceps and forearms after their back width and thickness exercises on the pull day. The choice to train biceps before or after back is really an individual choice.

Dante generally prefers to place biceps first in the workout so that you can get up and leave after your heavy sets of deadlifts and rows. Ultimately you can choose whichever order works best for you.

Here is how the workouts might be organized over several weeks. For argument’s sake I am going to assume you are training on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. You can choose any 4 days of the week as long as you are not training more than 2 days in a row.

Week 1

  • Monday: Push #1
  • Wednesday: Legs #1
  • Friday: Pull #1
  • Saturday: Push #2

Week 2

  • Monday: Legs #2
  • Wednesday: Pull #2
  • Friday: Push #3
  • Saturday: Legs #3

Week 3

  • Monday: Pull #3
  • Wednesday: Push #1
  • Friday: Legs #1
  • Saturday: Pull #1

The rotation continues to repeat itself after the third week. As you can see you are training body parts about once every 5-6 days with the 3-way split. This is slightly below the once every 4-5 days training frequency with the 2-way split.

Dante is extremely confident that most trainees will progress MUCH faster with the 2-way split than the 3-way split during a mass gaining phase. That being said the 3-way split can be very useful while dieting.

5-Way Split

Dante has another split that he sometimes uses with trainees prepping for bodybuilding competitions. The 5-way split is primarily used during the last 1-2 months leading up to a contest.

This does not mean that all pre-contest bodybuilders should use this split. However, if both the 2-way and the 3-way split were starting to beat you up too much then this can be a viable option during the last few weeks of your diet.

Check it out:

  • Monday: Chest
  • Tuesday: Biceps / Forearms
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Thursday: Off
  • Friday: Shoulders / Triceps
  • Saturday: Back Width / Back Thickness
  • Sunday: Off

The 5-way split is essentially a bodybuilding “bro-split” where you train each body part once per week. These workouts are going to be extremely short. For example, your chest day would be one chest exercise rest-paused and an extreme stretch. That’s it!

Dante likes this split because you can do an ultra-abbreviated workout followed by some cardio if you need it immediately after the workout. Because the workouts are so short they are pretty easy to recover from.

The downside is that you are now training body parts only once every 7 days. You can’t expect to gain as much muscle mass training with this reduced training frequency but if you are deep into a pre-contest diet then that is a reasonable trade-off.

Your Pre-Contest Gameplan

There are three possible splits that you can use pre-contest:

  • The 2-way split
  • The 3-way split
  • The 5-way split

Your goal should be to stick with the 2-way split for as long as possible. Some people find they can use the 2-way split for the entire duration of their diet or contest prep. If this is the case then stick with the 2-way split and don’t change anything!

However, some people will find that the 2-way split is starting to kick their ass and it is very, very hard to consistently beat the logbook. At that time you would switch to the 3-way split.

Now your goal is to grind out the 3-way split as long as possible. If you can grind out the 3-way split all the way to the end of your diet then that is what you should do.

If you find that the 3-way split is starting to kick your ass too then you would drop down to the 5-way split for the last few weeks of your diet.

For example, here is what your progression from one split to the next might look like during a 20-week pre-contest phase:

  • Weeks 1-11: 2-Way Split
  • Weeks 12-17: 3-Way Split
  • Weeks 18-20: 5-Way Split

This is just a hypothetical example of how your progression might look. If you can use the 2-way split for your entire diet then use that! The 3-way and 5-way splits are just options you have if the 2-way is really starting to kick your ass.

Part 12: Advanced DC Training: Overview

Dante Trudel has some tricks up his sleeve to help highly advanced bodybuilders bring up their weaker body parts. If you are new to DC Training then you should absolutely be using the 2-way split and focusing on turning yourself into an incredibly strong (and therefore large) bodybuilder.

Most DC Trainees spend at least 2-4 years blasting away on the 2-way split before any changes are necessary. Even advanced bodybuilders such as David Henry and Dusty Hanshaw started out on the standard 2-way split when they first started doing DC Training.

However, if you are an experienced DC trainee and have some weaker body parts you want to bring up then this section is for you.

First of all if you want to bring up your weaker body parts then you have to switch over to the 3-way split. The 3-way split is a 4 days per week push / pull / legs split.

Here is how the body parts are organized on each training day:

Push Day

  • A1: Chest
  • B1: Shoulders
  • C1: Triceps

Legs Day

  • A1: Calves
  • B1: Hamstrings
  • C1: Quads

Pull Day

  • A1: Biceps
  • B1: Forearms
  • C1: Back Width
  • D1: Back Thickness

And here is what your weekly training schedule might look like:

Week 1

  • Monday: Push #1
  • Wednesday: Legs #1
  • Friday: Pull #1
  • Saturday: Push #2

Week 2

  • Monday: Legs #2
  • Wednesday: Pull #2
  • Friday: Push #3
  • Saturday: Legs #3

Week 3

  • Monday: Pull #3
  • Wednesday: Push #1
  • Friday: Legs #1
  • Saturday: Pull #1

You can train whichever days of the week that you want as long as you do not train more than 2 days in a row.

The 3-way split has a slightly reduced training frequency relative to the 2-way split. You also have fewer rest days during the week.

Over the years Dante found that most people make faster overall progress using the 2-way split. However, he found that he could bring up weaker body parts faster with the 3-way split.

In order to bring up your weaker body parts Dante recommends that you use what he calls a “widowmaker” set. This is NOT the same thing as the widowmaker that you do for quadriceps on the 2-way split. Dante admits that he should have used a different name for his technique to bring up weak body parts but it is what it is.

The widowmaker is a separate exercise that you perform every single time that body part is trained. The widowmaker is performed after your main rest-pause movement but before your extreme stretch for that bodypart.

For example, let’s say that your triceps are weak and you wanted to use a widowmaker to bring your triceps up to par with the rest of your upper body. Here is what your “push” days would look like:

Push Day #1

  • Chest exercise #1 rest-paused –> extreme stretch
  • Shoulders exercise #1 rest-paused –> extreme stretch
  • Triceps exercise #1 rest-paused
  • Triceps widowmaker –> extreme stretch

Push Day #2

  • Chest exercise #2 rest-paused –> extreme stretch
  • Shoulders exercise #2 rest-paused –> extreme stretch
  • Triceps exercise #2 rest-paused
  • Triceps widowmaker –> extreme stretch

Push Day #3

  • Chest exercise #3 rest-paused –> extreme stretch
  • Shoulders exercise #3 rest-paused –> extreme stretch
  • Triceps exercise #3 rest-paused
  • Triceps widowmaker –> extreme stretch

You rotate your 3 main rest-paused triceps movements as usual. However, after you perform your main triceps exercise for the day you perform the same widowmaker exercise every time.

It is of the utmost importance that you select the right exercise for your widowmaker, whether it is for the triceps or any other body part.

If you pick the wrong exercise then you are completely wasting your time with this technique. Picking the right exercise is THAT important.

Dante believes there are four main criteria for the ideal widowmaker exercise. It is not completely necessary that your chosen exercise fulfills all four of these criteria. However, the closer it gets to meeting all four criteria the better.

The Perfect Widowmaker Exercise Criteria

The perfect lagging body part widowmaker exercise meets the following 4 criteria:

  1. Deep weighted stretch
  2. Progression
  3. Power groove
  4. Taking balance out of the equation

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

Factor #1: Deep Weighted Stretch

Your widowmaker exercise MUST place the muscle into a deep weighted stretch at some point in the movement. This is of the utmost importance!

Dante really believes that these deep stretches have the potential to radically change even the most stubborn of body parts.

Factor #2: Progression

The second factor is progression. Can you make significant weight jumps on this exercise over months and months of time?

Remember, you are repeating this exercise every single time that body part is trained. You have to be able to beat your previous best on this exercise every 5-6 days for months and months at a time.

For widowmaker exercises Dante wants you to start out performing 30 reps per set. This set is NOT rest-paused – it is just one straight set of 30 reps. After the first workout you should have your form down and then it’s bombs-away up the strength ladder on this key exercise.

Dante wants you to up the weight almost every workout and slowly let your reps per set drop over months and months of time.

After 6 months to a year grinding it out on the same exercise you will be using a very heavy weight for 10 reps. At that time you would switch to another key exercise for your widowmaker and go bombs-away on that exercise as well.

By the time you tap out on a widowmaker exercise your body part will have taken 1 giant leap forward in terms of development.

Factor #3: The Power Groove

The third criteria for a widowmaker exercise is whether or not it places your body into a power groove. You want to pick an exercise where you feel “locked in” and you don’t have to worry about exercise technique too much.

For example, what puts you into a power groove: a tricep kickback or a smith machine reverse grip bench press? The smith machine reverse grip bench press! You can just grind, grind, grind on that machine all day long because your body is pretty much locked into place.

Factor #4: Not Having To Worry About Balance

Dante doesn’t want you to have to worry too much about balancing the weights for these weak body part widowmaker exercises.

That does not mean that free weight exercises are off the table. However, he wants your form to be locked in so that you don’t have to waste any mental or physical energy worrying about this.

Just think about a seated preacher ez-bar curl. Do you have to worry about balancing the weights with that exercise? Not at all! On the other hand a standing barbell curl would be a poor choice as you are constantly worrying about balancing both the weights and your own body.

A Sample Widowmaker Exercise Progression

I’m going to show you what your progress on a widowmaker exercise for a lagging body part might look like over time.

One of the absolute best exercises you can use for a triceps widowmaker is a seated hammer strength dip machine. You want to go as deep as possible on every single rep.

This exercise meets all four widowmaker criteria: the weighted stretch, progression, the power groove, and not having to worry about balancing the weights.

Here is what your progress might look like on this exercise over many months of time:

  • Workout #1: 180 lbs x 30 reps
  • Workout #2: 190 lbs x 30 reps
  • Workout #3: 200 lbs x 29 reps
  • Workout #4: 210 lbs x 28 reps
  • Workout #5: 220 lbs x 26 reps
  • Workout #6: 220 lbs x 27 reps
  • Workout #7: 230 lbs x 25 reps
  • Workout #8: 240 lbs x 24 reps
  • Workout #9: 240 lbs x 26 reps
  • Workout #10: 250 lbs x 25 reps
  • Workout #11: 260 lbs x 25 reps
  • Workout #12: 270 lbs x 24 reps
  • Workout #13: 270 lbs x 26 reps
  • Workout #14: 280 lbs x 24 reps
  • Workout #15: 290 lbs x 23 reps

You just keep bombing away on this exercise while slowly letting your reps drop over time.

There will be days where you decide to keep the weight the same and increase the reps. However, most of the time you should be trying to add weight to the bar.

Eventually you will get down to the point where you only get 10 reps and at that time you will have to switch to another key exercise for your widowmaker. However, by that time your triceps will have taken one HUGE step forwards in terms of their overall development.

The Best Widowmaker Exercises For Every Body Part

Let me make this clear: this is NOT an official list of the best widowmaker exercises for each body part. Picking the right widowmaker exercises is an extremely individual thing.

Two people with weak biceps may require completely different widowmaker exercises to bring them up to par.

Dante Trudel says that Dr. Scott Stevenson and Dusty Hanshaw are his go-to guys for DC Training information nowadays. If you want official DC Training advice regarding widowmaker exercises for weak body parts then I recommend you reach out to Scott or Dusty directly.

That being said here are some of the widowmaker exercises that Dante Trudel has used over the years for various bodybuilders weak body parts:

Widowmaker Exercises: Chest

  • Pec-dec push press
  • Incline smith machine press (wide grip)
  • Hammer strength decline press
  • Flat DB fly
  • Flat DB press

Two of Dante’s favorite widowmaker exercises to bring up a lagging chest include the pec-dec push press and the Incline smith machine press with an ultra-wide grip. Here is a great training video for the pec dec widowmaker:

The key on all of these chest widowmaker exercises is to really emphasize the stretch in the bottom position. You want to maintain the correct mechanical position with your shoulder blades pulled back and your sternum pushed up throughout the entire movement.

Widowmaker Exercises: Shoulders

  • Lateral raise machine
  • Cable upright row
  • Cable lateral raise
  • Cable rear delt raise

Probably Dante’s favorite exercise to use as a shoulder widowmaker is a machine lateral raise. You can click right here for a video of this shoulder widowmaker exercise.

There are three steps to the machine lateral raise widowmaker. Dusty calls this sequence the “tri-fuckta” which is a very funny but appropriate name. Check it out:

  • Step 1: Perform 10-30 reps to failure in normal widowmaker fashion. Make sure you take a slight pause in the top position on each rep.
  • Step 2: Perform 10-15 partial range of motion reps in the bottom position. Your goal is to lift the weight halfway up, hold for a split second and come back down.
  • Step 3: Perform a 30 second static hold half-way up. To do this you will have to flare your lats out to puff out your shoulders. This should feel similar to a “front lat spread” pose. The goal is 30 seconds and YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT!

So it’s steps 1, 2, and 3 all back to back with no rest in between. This is Dante’s preferred way of bringing up an advanced bodybuilder’s side delts. The “tri-fuckta”  is incredibly painful but the results are more than worth it.

Widowmaker Exercises: Triceps

  • Hammer strength dip machine
  • Smith machine reverse grip bench press
  • Smith machine close grip bench press

In Dante’s experience the hammer strength dip machine widowmaker works for almost everyone although there are other viable exercises that you can use.

Someone once asked Dante on an old bodybuilding forum for his advice on bringing up lagging triceps. Dante’s answered in his usual straightforward style: “Dips. Dips. Dips. Free Weight Dips. Hammer Strength Dips. Dip Till You Die.”

Here is Dusty Hanshaw demonstrating the hammer strength dip widowmaker:

It is very important to go as deep as you comfortably can on every rep of this exercise. The day you can perform seated hammer strength dips with 5 plates per side for deep, deep reps is the day you no longer have a problem with the size of your triceps.

Widowmaker Exercises: Back Width

  • Dante rows
  • Rack chins
  • Machine pullovers

Many DC Trainees such as Dusty Hanshaw and Justin Harris have talked about how “Dante rows” were the key to bringing up their back width.

The Dante row is a seated cable row where you really round your entire back. The movement becomes almost a hybrid between a pull down, a pullover and a row.

You can click right here for a video of Justin Harris demonstrating this exercise.

If there is one widowmaker exercise which can dramatically widen your back in record time this is it. Rack chins or nautilus pullovers would also be excellent choices for a back width widowmaker.

Widowmaker Exercises: Biceps

  • Preacher ez-bar curl (supinated grip, wide or narrow)
  • Unilateral DB preacher curl (supinated or hammer grip)
  • Incline cable curl
  • DB concentration curl

There are a number of exercises that you could use for a bicep widowmaker. As a general rule of thumb Dante really likes to use various types of preacher curls for this exercise. The stretch you get in the bottom position of the exercise is very helpful for what Dante is trying to accomplish.

Widowmaker Exercises: Adductors

Many times people who have weak quadriceps also have lagging adductor muscles. Just take a look at Tom Platz’s legs if you want to see what a well-developed set of adductors can do for someone’s leg development.

If you have lagging quadriceps and intend to use a quadriceps widowmaker to bring them up then you may also want to consider performing a widowmaker-style exercise for the adductors. You can perform either of these 2 exercises for your widowmaker:

  • Seated adductor machine
  • Seated adduction with cables

The machine version tends to work best but cables can also be used. For example David Henry uses the cable version of this exercise in his Advanced DC Training DVD “Beyond Motivated.”

Here is what your leg workout might look like on the 3-way split:

  • Calves (straight set)
  • Adductors (widowmaker set)
  • Hamstrings (rest-paused)
  • Quads (heavy set)
  • Quads (widowmaker set)

Widowmaker Exercises: Hamstrings

Dante has much less written material regarding widowmakers for the hamstrings. However, if you have weak hamstrings then the following exercises would work well:

  • Glute-ham raise
  • Sumo leg press
  • Leg curls

For example Dusty Hanshaw has used the glute-ham raise as a widowmaker exercise in the past to bring up his hamstrings.

Widowmaker Exercises: Quadriceps

Bringing up weak quadriceps with the 3-way DC Training split is a tricky subject. I will do my best to make this as easy to understand as possible.

In Dante’s experience 9 times out of 10 if someone is performing a proper widowmaker set for quadriceps on the 2-way split they will not have lagging quadriceps.

Remember, for the quadriceps widowmaker set you perform 20 reps with your 10-12 rep max. You start taking rest breaks with your legs locked out after the 10th rep so you can squeeze out 1-3 more reps at a time.

If you do this correctly on the 2-way split for months or years in a row then your quadriceps problem should take care of itself.

However, there are advanced bodybuilders who still have lagging quadriceps even after several years of proper DC Training. For these guys Dante has a trick he likes to use.

You are going to have 2 main quadriceps exercises on every lower body day. The first exercise will be performed for a heavy set of 10 reps. This “heavy” set can be done on a squat, hack squat, leg press etc. as usual.

The second exercise will be your widowmaker set and will be performed for 20-30 total reps. You are going to have a different rep goal for your widowmaker set on 3 different training days.

For example, here is how your quadriceps training might be organized:

Leg Day #1

  • Main quad exercise: hack squat x 10 reps
  • Quad widowmaker exercise: leg press x 30 reps

Leg Day #2

  • Main quad exercise: back squat x 10 reps
  • Quad widowmaker exercise: leg press x 25 reps

Leg Day #3

  • Main quad exercise: smith machine squat x 10 reps
  • Quad widowmaker exercise: leg press x 20 reps

Every time you repeat Leg Day #1 you are trying to beat your previous best 30-rep performance on the leg press. The same is true for your best 25- and 20-rep performances on the leg press on Leg Days 2 and 3. The leg press is still performed like a 2-way split quadriceps widowmaker.

For example, if your goal is 30 reps then you will select a weight that you can bust out for 15 reps in a row without locking out your legs. After 15 reps you start taking short rest breaks with your legs locked out so you can squeeze out another 1-3 reps at a time.

For your 25-rep set you would use your 12-13 rep max and for your 20-rep set you would use your 10-rep max. This is absolutely brutal stuff but YOUR QUADRICEPS ARE GOING TO RESPOND!

Please note: if your quadriceps are not lagging behind the rest of your body then you train your quads exactly the same as you would using the 2-way split.

You pick one quadriceps exercise for each lower body day and perform 2 working sets: 1 heavy set of 4-8 reps and one 20-rep widowmaker set with your 10-rep max.

Advanced DC Training: Putting It All Together

Let’s say we have a highly advanced bodybuilder who has been using DC training for 2-4 years. This bodybuilder has just started competing in national-level bodybuilding competitions. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 220-230 pounds in the offseason at around 10% body fat.

According to his nutritionist and the bodybuilding judges he needs to bring up his triceps, back width and quadriceps if he wants to be competitive at the national level.

Here is how he might organize his workouts using the advanced DC-training 3-way split:

Push day

  • A1: Chest
  • B1: Shoulders
  • C1: Triceps
  • D1: Triceps Widowmaker (Hammer Strength Dips)

Legs day

  • A1: Calves
  • B1: Hamstrings
  • C1: Quads
  • D1: Quads Widowmaker (Different Leg Press Machine)

Pull day

  • A1: Biceps
  • B1: Forearms
  • D1: Back Width
  • D1: Back Width Widowmaker (Dante Rows)
  • E1: Back Thickness

As a general rule of thumb you should perform widowmaker exercises for no more than 1-3 lagging body parts at a time. Trying to bring up more than 3 lagging body parts at a time may cause you to overtrain and make little to no progress in the gym.

Part 13: Advanced DC Training: Steve Kuclo

In part 11 of this article I have you a full sample DC Training routine featuring the 2-way slit. This sample routine should work EXTREMELY well for anyone new to DC Training.

It’s much more difficult to provide you with a sample 3-way split routine with widowmakers for lagging body parts because I don’t know which parts of your body are lagging! One bodybuilder might have lagging legs and a huge upper body while another might have a huge pair of wheels and lagging shoulders / arms.

Instead I thought it would be much more interesting to examine the exact DC Training 3-way split routines used by 4 IFBB professional bodybuilders who were personally trained by Dante Trudel himself.

Let’s kick things off with Steve Kuclo’s 3-way split routine.

Steve Kuclo trained with Dante before he became a pro and eventually used other training methods to earn his pro-card. Still, the amount of muscle mass he gained while working with Dante was truly staggering.

I pulled Steve’s workouts from the “Project Superheavyweight” training DVD he made with Justin Harris. You can watch it right here:

Steve only films 3 out of the 9 total workouts he was using at the time so this technically won’t be a “complete” 3-way split routine. Still I think you will find the following workouts to be quite instructive.

Push day #1:

  • A1: Incline bench press (medium grip), 1 x 12 RP**
  • B1: Flat DB fly, 1 x 20****
  • C1: Barbell hang clean and press, 1 x 12 RP**
  • D1: Seated DB lateral raise, 1 x 21****
  • E1: Dead stop skull crusher, 1 x 22 RP**

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

Legs day #1:

  • A1: Standing machine calf raise, 1 x 22  RP**
  • B1: Lying leg curl (holding DB with feet), 1 x 16 RP**
  • C1: Back squat (medium stance / heels flat), 3 x (6, 10, 20****)

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for quadriceps.

Pull day #1:

  • A1: Lat pull down (medium / supinated grip), 1 x 20 RP**
  • B1: Dante rows (rope handle), 1 x 20****
  • C1: Conventional deadlift, 2 x (3, 12)
  • D1: 45 degree incline DB curls (supinated grip), 1 x 20 RP**
  • E1: Alternating DB pinwheel curl, 1 x 12

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

Part 14: Advanced DC Training: Dusty Hanshaw

Dusty Hanshaw is one of the last trainees that Dante ever personally ever trained. Dusty was competing at a body weight of 224 pounds before working with Dante. After working with Dante for many years Dusty competed at a shredded 274 pounds and won his IFBB professional bodybuilding pro-card.

Here were Dante’s thoughts on Dusty’s progress:

“You don’t put on 50 pounds of muscle mass as a bodybuilder who has been lifting for a number of years… without big time hardcore heavy slag iron training!”

That quite pretty much summarizes the philosophy behind DC Training.

Here is one of the exact programs Dusty used while first working with Dante. Dusty used the 2-way split for about 6-12 months before Dante thought it was time to switch to the 3-way split.

Dusty’s back and arms were lagging behind the rest of his body at the time and he needed to bring them up fast in order to be competitive as a national level bodybuilder.

Here is the exact workout Dante put Dusty on to bring up his back and arms in record time while still having him grow reasonably fast everywhere else too:

Dusty Hanshaw’s Push Workout #1

  • A1: Smith machine incline press (medium grip), 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • B1: Paramount machine shoulder press, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • C1: PJR pullover, 1 x 15-25 RP**
  • D1: Hammer strength dips, 1 x 10-30****

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

Dusty Hanshaw’s Leg Workout #1

  • A1: Standing calf raise, 1 x 15-20 RP**
  • B1: Bilateral lying leg curls (feet plantar flexed / pointing straight), 1 x 15-24 RP**
  • C1: Machine hack squat, 2 x (4-8, 20****)

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style quadriceps widowmaker set.

Dusty Hanshaw’s Pull Workout #1

  • A1: Standing alternating DB curl (supinating grip), 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • B1: Reverse grip 1-arm cable curls, 1 x 12-20
  • C1: Preacher ez-bar curl (close / supinated grip), 1 x 10-30****
  • D1: Rack chins, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • E1: Dante rows, 1 x 10-30****
  • F1: Barbell bent-over row, 2 x (10-13, 7-9)

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

Dusty Hanshaw’s Push Workout #2

  • A1: Incline DB press 1 x 15-30 RP**
  • B1: Smith machine military press, 1 x 15-20 RP**
  • C1: Smith machine reverse grip bench press, 1 x 15-25 RP**
  • D1: Hammer strength dips, 1 x 10-30****

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

Dusty Hanshaw’s Leg Workout #2

  • A1: Leg press calf raise, 1 x 15-25 RP**
  • B1: Seated leg curls (feet plantarflexed / pointing straight), 1 x 15-24 RP**
  • C1: Barbell free squats (medium stance / feet flat), 2 x (4-8, 20****)

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style quadriceps widowmaker set.

Dusty Hanshaw’s Pull Workout #2

  • A1: Standing DB pinwheel curls, 1 x 20-30 RP**
  • B1: Reverse grip 1-arm cable curls, 1 x 12-20
  • C1: Preacher ez-bar curl (close / supinated grip), 1 x 10-30****
  • D1: Bilateral hammer strength pull down machine (pronated grip), 1 x 15-20 RP**
  • E1: E1: Dante rows, 1 x 10-30****
  • F1: Conventional deadlifts, 2 x (10-13, 7-9)

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

Dusty Hanshaw’s Push Workout #3

  • A1: Cybex machine incline press, 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • B1: Seated DB overhead press 1 x 15-30 RP**
  • C1: Smith machine close grip bench press 1 x 15-25 RP**
  • D1: Hammer strength dips, 1 x 10-30****

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

Dusty Hanshaw’s Leg Workout #3

  • A1: Cybex rotary calf machine, 1 x 15-20 RP**
  • B1: Unilateral kneeling leg curl (feet plantarflexed / neutral), 1 x 15-24 RP**
  • C1: Leg press, 2 x (6-10, 20****)

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style quadriceps widowmaker set.

Dusty Hanshaw’s Pull Workout #3

  • A1: Ez-bar drag curls (wide / supinated grip), 1 x 15-24 RP**
  • B1: Reverse grip 1-arm cable curls
  • C1: Preacher ez-bar curl (close / supinated grip), 1 x 10-30****
  • D1: One-arm seated hammer row, 1 x 15-20 RP**
  • E1: Dante rows, 1 x 10-30****
  • F1: One-arm dumbbell row******

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

******Performed with one knee on a flat bench. Perform with some “body English.” Form should be in between a strict DB row and a “Kroc row.”

Part 15: Advanced DC Training: Cedric McMillan

Dante Trudel originally said that Dusty Hanshaw would be the last bodybuilder he ever trained. At the time Dante was just completely burnt out with training bodybuilders. It turns out that Dante trained Cedric McMillan for a period of time around the year 2010.

Cedric had a pair of shoulders and arms that lagged behind the rest of his body and he teamed up with Dante to fix this problem as quickly as possible. These are the shoulder and arm workouts that Cedric used to bring these body parts up to par with the rest of his body.

Note: Dante did not reveal whether Cedric used the DC 3-way split or some other body part split. I will simply present the exercises that Cedric used each time these body parts were trained.

Cedric McMillan’s Shoulder Workouts

Workout #1: 

  • A1: Seated smith machine military press, 1 x 20 RP
  • B1: Lateral raise machine widowmaker, 1 x 10-30

Workout #2: 

  • A1: Seated smith machine behind the neck press, 1 x 20 RP
  • B1: Lateral raise machine widowmaker, 1 x 10-30

Workout #3: 

  • A1: Seated DB overhead press, 1 x 20-30 RP
  • B1: Lateral raise machine widowmaker, 1 x 10-30

Cedric McMillan’s Bicep Workouts

Workout #1: 

  • A1: Standing alternating DB curl (supinating grip / offset grip**), 1 x 20-25 RP
  • B1: Unilateral reverse grip cable curl, 1 x 12-20
  • C1: DB concentration curl (supinated grip), 1 x 10-30

**Press your pointer finger and thumb up against the DB during the entire movement.

Workout #2:

  • A1: Ez-bar drag curl (wide / supinated grip)**, 1 x 20-25 RP
  • B1: Unilateral reverse grip cable curl, 1 x 12-20
  • C1: DB concentration curl (supinated grip), 1 x 10-30

**During the eccentric range drag the ez-bar against your stomach. Your elbows should be behind your toros during the eccentric range – this is the key.

Workout #3:

  • A1: Machine preacher curls, 1 x 20-25 RP
  • B1: Unilateral reverse grip cable curl, 1 x 12-20
  • C1: DB concentration curl (supinated grip), 1 x 10-30

Cedric McMillan’s Tricep Workouts

Workout #1:

  • A1: Decline ez-bar extension (to forehead), 1 x 20-30 RP
  • B1: Hammer strength machine dips widowmaker, 1 x 10-30

Workout #2:

  • A1: Smith machine close grip bench press, 1 x 15-20 RP
  • B1: Hammer strength machine dips widowmaker, 1 x 10-30

Workout #3:

  • A1: Smith machine reverse grip bench press, 1 x 20 RP
  • B1: Hammer strength machine dips widowmaker, 1 x 10-30

Cedric’s shoulders and arms blew up so fast from this program it would make your head spin! If you are an advanced bodybuilder with weak shoulders and arms then Cedric’s program has your name written all over it.

Part 16: Advanced DC Training: David Henry

David Henry is perhaps Dante’s most famous trainee. David put 30 pounds of solid muscle onto his frame in 3 short years when he first started working with Dante. Keep in mind that David was already an IFBB professional bodybuilder before he started working with Dante.

Talk about impressive!

David’s weaker body parts were his chest and his quadriceps. Over the years David and Dante worked out some rather unique ideas to get these body parts to respond.

Here are three of David’s 3-way split workouts taken from his bodybuilding DVD “Beyond Motivated.”

Please note: these are not standard 3-way split workouts. If you have been using DC Training for 2-4 years and are interested in bringing up some of your lagging body parts then I highly recommend you take a look at the sample routines provided for Steve Kuclo, Dusty Hasnhaw, or Cedric McMillan.

If you want to learn more about David Henry’s advanced DC Training programs then I highly recommend you check out either of his bodybuilding training DVDs:

  • Beyond Motivated
  • Xtreme Measures

With that friendly warning out of the way let’s check out David’s advanced DC Training workouts!

David Henry’s Push Workout #1

  • A1: Hammer strength flat press, 1 x 14 RP*
  • B1: Pec dec push press widowmaker, 1 x 24**
  • B2: DB fly (eccentric emphasis***), 1 x 5/5****
  • B3: DB press (bottom-half only), 1 x 4
  • C1: Smith machine behind the neck press, 1 x 13 RP*
  • D1: Unilateral cable rear delt raise, 1 x 20****
  • E1: Smith machine close grip bench press, 1 x 13 RP*

*Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

**Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

***Lower the weight as a DB fly, then bring your hands back in and press the weight back up as a traditional flat DB press.

****Performed as a drop set. Perform 5 reps, drop the weight and rest 10 seconds, then perform 5 more reps with the lighter DBs.

David Henry’s Leg Workout #1

  • A1: Seated machine calf raise, 1 x 19 RP**
  • B1: Lying leg curl (DB held between feet), 1 x 18 RP**
  • C1: Leg Press, 1 x 10
  • D1: Leg Press, 1 x 17**
  • D2: Leg extension, 1 x 16 RP**
  • E1: Bilateral seated cable hip adductors, 1 x 20 RP

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style quadriceps widowmaker set.

David Henry’s Pull Workout #1

  • A1: Preacher ez-bar spider curl (close / supinated grip), 1 x 16 RP**
  • B1: Cable 1-arm curl (elbow behind torso), 1 x 22****
  • C1: Bilateral cable pull down (wide grip / separate unilateral handles), 1 x 20 RP**
  • D1: Nautilus machine pullover, 1 x 20****
  • E1: Unilateral hammer strength row, 1 x 16

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

****Performed as a DC-style widowmaker set for lagging body parts.

Conclusion

DC Training

I want to wrap up this article with a brief history of Dante Trudel.

Dante Trudel was a very, very skinny man before he picked up bodybuilding. At 19 years old he weighed about 130 pounds while being just over 6 feet tall. Dante was pretty much the quintessential ectomorph!

One day Dante lost a posing match with a broomstick and decided to start lifting weights.

Dante started out using a higher-volume training style like most other bodybuilders during the 1980s and early 1990s. Within 2-3 years he weighed 190 pounds and was starting to look like a normal person. Dante then spent the next 2 years using an extremely high volume training program.

He was training with a “3 days on, 1 day off” split. His leg workouts alone often took 2-3 hours to complete. He was under the impression that he must do this exercise and he must do that exercise or he won’t get “complete development” of the muscle.

One day Dante suffered a minor injury doing hack squats and was forced to take 2-3 weeks off from the gym. During this time Dante really thought about his training and came to a startling conclusion:

Nothing he was doing made any sense!

He was using a higher-volume training style with multiple exercises per body part because that’s what everyone else was doing. But why was everyone else doing it?

Sure, the ultra-high volume training style worked for the IFBB professional bodybuilders. But they could grow mowing lawns! The average person with average genetics didn’t gain diddly-squat training this way!

Dante then sat down and reverse-engineered this whole bodybuilding process. What do all the biggest bodybuilders of the 80s and 90s have in common?

  1. They all train incredibly heavy
  2. They all train body parts more than once a week
  3. They are all extremely flexible

That’s it! That’s the whole game plan!

You train incredibly heavy with heavy slag iron, you use movements that place the muscle in a deep loaded stretch, and you train body parts as frequently as possible (more than once per week).

And while you do this you use a logbook and go bombs away up the strength ladder on your key exercises in bodybuilding rep ranges. It really is that simple!

Dante put all of these concepts into a program that would eventually be called DC Training. He started his never-ending war against the logbook and worked his way up to a lean 303 pounds.

Before he knew it he was also training an absolute army of 250-300 pound lean amateur and professional bodybuilders. To this day no other bodybuilding coach can match Dante’s record for putting huge amounts of muscle mass on his trainees in record time.

Is DC Training for you? To be honest the answer is probably “no.” You probably don’t have the mental fortitude of a Dante Trudel, a Dorian Yates, a David Henry or a Dusty Hanshaw to wage that never-ending war on the logbook.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to prove me wrong? Are you going to start your own never-ending war on the logbook and turn yourself into a beast, a behemoth, a human forklift?

Or are you going to wuss out and stick with your “blood-volume mega-pump” training even though you haven’t built more than two pounds of muscle in your last three years of hardcore training? The choice is yours!

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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