The Dorian Yates Training Program!


Dorian Yates was one of the most successful bodybuilders of all time. He won 6 consecutive Mr. Olympia contests from 1992 – 1997. The thing that makes Dorian Yates unique was his high-intensity training style.

Find out the secrets to the Dorian Yates training program right here!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Who Is Dorian Yates?
  • Part 2: Overview Of The “Blood And Guts” Training Program
  • Part 3: Dorian’s Chest And Biceps Routine
  • Part 4: Dorian’s Leg Routine
  • Part 5: Dorian’s Shoulders And Triceps Routine
  • Part 6: Dorian’s Back And Rear Delts Routine
  • Part 7: Dorian Yates’ Training Principles
  • Part 8: Is The Dorian Yates Training Program Right For You?

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you everything you need to know about the Dorian Yates training program and how to set up your own high-intensity bodybuilding routine.

The Dorian Yates training program is a low-volume, high-intensity bodybuilding routine designed to help you build as much muscle mass as possible. Dorian performed one set to failure per exercise and used high-intensity techniques like forced reps to train beyond failure and absolutely annihilate the target muscle group.

This is an extreme approach to training but Dorian believes this is the fastest and most effective way to build muscle mass. As they say, you can’t argue with results!

If you want to take your physique to the next level then Dorian’s “Blood And Guts” training style is one of your best options. Now let’s get down to business…

Part 1: Who Is Dorian Yates?

Dorian grew up in a small town in Birmingham, England. He famously trained in what 4x Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler would call a “shithole” gym.

Dorian didn’t have the luxury of training with other professional bodybuilders. He was pretty much alone in his small gym in England. Most of the other top bodybuilders were training in Venice, California during this time. Venice was home to the world-famous Gold’s gym that Arnold and his friends trained at.

Dorian didn’t seem to mind the fact that he was all alone in England. In fact, he thrived on it. It gave him the opportunity to experiment on his own in the gym and figure out what kind of training style truly builds muscle mass as quickly as possible.

Most of the other bodybuilders during the 1970s, 80s and 90s trained with a high-volume training style. Arnold Schwarzenegger was famous for training 6 days per week and 4-6 hours per day!

Dorian’s approach to training could not have been more different from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approach. Dorian began experimenting with lower volume, higher intensity routines very early in his bodybuilding career.

At first he performed 2 sets to failure per exercise. However, he quickly discovered that 2 working sets per exercise was too much for him to recover from. Dorian then made the radical decision to perform only 1 working set to failure per exercise.

Dorian’s goal was to absolutely annihilate the working muscle in the least amount of sets possible: one. He performed every working set to total muscular failure and even used advanced post-failure training techniques such as forced to further destroy as many muscle fibers as possible.  

As they say, you can’t argue with results. Dorian won the Mr. Olympia title six times in a row from 1992 – 1997. Only a handful of competitors have won more titles than Dorian Yates:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger won 7 titles in the 1970’s-1980’s
  • Lee Haney won 8 titles in the 1980’s
  • Ronnie Coleman won 8 titles in the 1990’s-2000’s
  • Phil Heath won 7 titles in the 2010’s

Now let’s dive right into Dorian’s actual training program.

Part 2: Overview Of The “Blood And Guts” Training Program

Dorian trained four days per week during his reign as the Mr. Olympia champion. He organized his workouts with the following unique training split:

  • Day 1: Chest / Biceps
  • Day 2: Quads / Hamstrings / Calves
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Shoulders / Triceps
  • Day 5: Back / Rear Delts
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Repeat!

Dorian’s philosophy was to perform one working set per exercise. He would perform as many warm up sets as necessary to prepare for his one working set.

For example here is what Dorian’s warm-up sets might look like for the incline bench press:

  • Set #1: Warm-up set with 135 pounds for 10 reps
  • Set #2: Warm-up set with 225 pounds for 6 reps
  • Set #3: Warm-up set with 315 pounds for 4 reps

At this point Dorian would be fully warmed up and ready for his all-out working set with 405 pounds.

On every single exercise Dorian trained all the way to muscular failure. Whenever Dorian used machines or smaller isolation exercises he actually trained beyond failure using his favourite high-intensity training technique: forced reps.

After he reached failure his training partner would help lift the weight through the concentric range. Then Dorian would lower the weight back down all on his own. This process counts as 1 forced rep.

Dorian would perform 1-3 forced reps at the end of his all-out working set whenever he felt it was safe to do so. On exercises such as deadlifts he skipped the forced reps for safety reasons.

Now let’s take a closer look at the actual workouts that made Dorian Yates one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.

Part 3: Dorian’s Chest And Biceps Routine

Dorian’s first training day focused on his chest and biceps. These were always two of Dorian’s weakest body parts. This wasn’t necessarily Dorian’s fault – most people have body parts that are harder to grow due to their genetic blueprint.

Check it out:

Dorian Yates’ High-Intensity Chest And Biceps Routine

  • A1: 30 degree incline bench press, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure
  • B1: Flat machine press, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • C1: 30 degree incline DB fly, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • D1: Standing cable crossover, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • E1: 60 degree incline DB curl, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • F1: Standing ez-bar curl, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • G1: One-arm machine preacher curl, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**

**Perform 1-3 extra forced reps after reaching failure with the help of your training partner.

Here is Dorian’s chest training video:

And here is Dorian’s bricep training video:

Throughout most of his career Dorian preferred to start his chest workout with the decline bench press. Dorian loves the decline bench press for chest development because it matches the primary function of the pecs: pulling the arm down and across the body.

Unfortunately the decline bench press started to give Dorian’s shoulders some problems during his bodybuilding career. He ultimately had to drop the decline bench press in favor of the incline bench press.

Dorian thinks very little of the king of all upper body exercises: the bench press. Dorian feels that the flat bench press places unnecessary stress on the pec tendon where it inserts into the shoulder.

There is some truth to this statement: the flat bench press is responsible for more pec tears than all other exercises combined!

The rest of Dorian’s chest workout features a variety of free weight, machine and cable exercises to overload the chest from as many angles as possible.

Dorian’s bicep workout is very instructive. Dorian picks three exercises that overload the biceps in completely different ways. His first biceps exercise is the incline dumbbell curl.

The incline bench places your elbows behind your body. This is absolutely key for overloading the long head of the biceps.

Dorian’s second bicep exercise, the standing ez-bar curl, is a classic “meat and potatoes” biceps exercise. It overloads the mid-range of the strength curve and allows you to use a lot of weight.

Finally Dorian finishes his biceps workout with a machine preacher curl. This is a great exercise for overloading the short head of the biceps because the elbow is placed in front of the body. 

Part 4: Dorian’s Leg Routine

Dorian has said on numerous occasions that his leg workout is by far the most demanding part of his entire training program. Dorian often had to take 2 full days off after his leg workout in order to feel recovered.

Dorian was famous for never performing barbell squats in his leg routine. He suffered a knee injury when he first started training and lost the ability to squat.

Dorian admits that the squat never felt very natural to him so he wasn’t missing out on anything. Instead Dorian used a variety of machines to develop his massive quadriceps.

If you are looking for a way to build up your legs without squatting then it doesn’t get better than Dorian’s leg workout.

Check it out:

Dorian Yates’ High-Intensity Leg Routine

  • A1: Machine leg extension, 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure**
  • B1: 45 Degree Leg Press, 1 working set of 10-12 reps to failure**
  • C1: Machine hack squat, 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure**
  • D1: Lying leg curl, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • E1: Romanian deadlift, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure
  • F1: Kneeling leg curl, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • G1: Standing calf raise, 1 working set of 10-12 reps to failure**
  • H1: Seated calf raise, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**

**Perform 1-3 forced reps after reaching failure with the help of your training spotter.

Here is the training video for Dorian’s leg workout:

Dorian prefers to pre-exhaust his quadriceps with the seated leg extension machine before moving onto leg presses and hack squats.

The leg extension machine sometimes gets a bad rap in the bodybuilding world. It doesn’t have the reputation for being a “mass-building” exercise. However, Dorian found a way to make the most out of this machine.

Taller athletes like Dorian often have a problem recruiting their quadriceps during compound lower body exercises. By starting his quadriceps routine with the leg extension machine Dorian made sure that his quadriceps would be working as hard as possible throughout the entire workout.

Dorian’s hamstrings routine was a little more conventional. He used a variety of compound and isolation exercises such as lying leg curls, stiff-legged deadlifts and kneeling leg curls to maximally develop his hamstrings.

Dorian finishes off his leg workout with some direct work for the calves.

Part 5: Dorian’s Shoulders And Triceps Routine

Dorian’s shoulder and tricep routine is worth paying attention to. After all these were some of Dorian’s strongest body parts. To this day no one in the sport of bodybuilding has matched his world-famous side tricep pose.

His unbelievable shoulder and tricep development is a big reason why. 

Check it out:

Dorian Yates’ High-Intensity Shoulders And Triceps Routine

  • A1: Seated smith overhead press, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure
  • B1: Seated DB lateral raise, 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure**
  • C1: Standing cable lateral raise, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • D1: Standing DB shrugs, 1 working set of 12-15 reps to failure
  • E1: Triceps cable pushdown, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • F1: Ez-bar skull crusher, bar to forehead, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure
  • G1: One-arm cable push down, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**

**Perform 1-3 extra forced reps with the help of your training partner after reaching muscular failure.

Here is the training video for this workout:

Once again Dorian attacks his shoulders and triceps with a wide variety of exercises designed to overload his muscles from every angle possible.

Dorian may be famous for his low-volume training style but this workout is anything but low-volume.

One of the things that I like about his shoulder routine is he uses exercises that overload completely different portions of the strength curve.

When he performs his seated DB lateral raises the weight is “heaviest” at the top of the movement when his arms are parallel to the ground. However, when he performs his cable lateral raises the movement is actually hardest at the start of the exercise.

When you are using multiple exercises per bodypart it is very important to select exercises that overload your muscles in different ways. Otherwise what is the point of performing more than 1 exercise?

Dorian’s tricep routine is very straightforward. Just like John Meadows he prefers to start his tricep routine with a pushdown variation. This is a great way to safely pre-exhaust the triceps and force a ton of blood into the arms. They are also fantastic for making skull crushers and other heavy triceps extensions easier on your elbows.

Part 6: Dorian’s Back And Rear Delts Routine

When I think of Dorian Yates I think of his unbelievable back development. His back was so wide it nearly blocked out the sun!

In all seriousness Dorian has one of the widest and thickest backs the bodybuilding world had ever seen. Every muscle group on his back including his lats, teres major, traps, rhomboids, rear delts and spinal erectors was fully developed.

Only Ronnie Coleman could rival Dorian’s back development in his prime.

So how did Dorian build up his back? It definitely wasn’t with a low-volume routine. Oh no, Dorian performed 8 separate exercises for his back alone! This is a crushing number of exercises but Dorian thrived on this workout.

Check it out:

Dorian Yates’ High-Intensity Back And Rear Delts Routine

  • A1: Pullover machine, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • B1: Hammer strength pulldown (supinated grip), 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • C1: Standing barbell row to knees, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure
  • D1: Seated 1-arm machine row, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • E1: Bent-over rear delt machine, 1 working set of 10-12 reps to failure
  • F1: Bent over rear-delt DB flys, 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure
  • G1: 90 degree back extension (BB on back), 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure
  • H1: Conventional deadlift from floor, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure

**Perform 1-3 forced reps after reaching failure with the help of your training spotter.

Here is the training video for this workout:

It’s impossible to talk about Dorian’s back workout without discussing the Nautilus pullover machine. In Dorian Yates’ opinion this is the single most important piece of back training equipment in the world.

The Nautilus pullover was designed to fully isolate the lats through it’s entire range of motion. Dorian believes that anytime you perform a compound exercise for the upper back the limiting factor is always your biceps. Your biceps simply “tap out” before your lats are maximally trained.

Dorian’s solution to this problem was to take the biceps out of the equation by pre-exhausting his lats with the pullover machine. Perhaps Dorian was onto something. After all, his lats were his single best body part.

The rest of Dorian’s back workout focuses on a variety of big, compound exercises including pulldowns, rows and deadlifts. His lats were already pre-fatigued from the pullovers so he knows they will be the first muscle group to fatigue on every other exercise. 

Part 7: Dorian’s Training Principles

I find Dorian Yates’ training program absolutely fascinating. Dorian did a number of things differently from anyone else in the bodybuilding world.

If you are going to follow in Dorian’s footsteps then you need to be aware of the following training concepts:

  • Control The Eccentric Phase!
  • Train To Failure!
  • Train Beyond Failure!
  • Train In The 5-10 Rep Range!
  • Use Several Exercises Per Bodypart!
  • Use A Bodybuilding Training Split!
  • Beat The Logbook!

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

Blood And Guts Training Principle #1: Control The Eccentric Phase!

Take another look at any of Dorian Yates’ training videos. The first thing that really stands out to me is the fact that Dorian uses absolutely perfect form on every single exercise.

Every single rep that Dorian performs looks exactly the same. Ron Partlow calls these “robot reps.” Whatever you want to call them, it is critical that you use perfect form on every rep that you do.

This is true regardless of what training program you use. However, it is especially important when you use the Blood And Guts training program.

Remember, you are only performing one working set per exercise. You have to make it count! If you use sloppy form on that one working set then you aren’t going to accomplish anything!

One thing that really stands out in Dorian’s sets is the speed of his reps. On every rep he lifts the weight up as explosively as he can. However, when it comes time to lower the weight back down he does so very slowly and under perfect control.

He is trying to make his muscles work as hard as possible on both the concentric AND the eccentric phase of every rep!

Remember, the eccentric phase of the rep is the phase most responsible for building muscle mass and strength. If you don’t believe me then I recommend you read the following article:

The Science Of Eccentric Training!

The scientific literature has shown over and over that the lowering phase of an exercise builds the most muscle. If you want to train like Dorian then remember: you only have one working set per exercise.

Every rep has to be performed absolutely perfectly. This means you use an explosive concentric phase and a slow, controlled eccentric phase every time.

Blood And Guts Training Principle #2: Train To Failure!

Do you know what training to failure means? Do you really know what it means?

Training to failure does not mean you stop the set when it starts to hurt. It does not mean you stop the set when the barbell slows down or when you start to struggle with the weight. And it does NOT mean you rack the weight if your last rep was really hard and you don’t think you can get another rep.

It means you perform rep after rep until you literally FAIL on the last rep! You have to attempt the rep that you know you cannot get and give it everything you have!

Remember, you’re just doing one working set. This is Blood And Guts training – the warm up sets don’t count!

Take a look at the following performance on the incline bench press:

  • Set 1: 135 lbs x 8 reps
  • Set 2: 185 lbs x 6 reps
  • Set 3: 225 lbs x 5 reps
  • Set 4: 275 lbs x 3 reps
  • Set 5: 315 lbs x 7 reps

Most people would look at this performance and say Joe performed 5 sets of incline bench press. Dorian Yates couldn’t disagree more. To Dorian only one set actually counted: the all-out working set with 315 pounds.

This is the set that counts. That is the set that actually makes you grow.

Take another look at Dorian Yates’ training videos. He pushes himself to the brink of death on every single working set. He literally attempts a rep that he knows he cannot complete on his own.

If you are going to perform 1 working set per exercise then you have to give everything you have on every set. And that means literally failing on your last rep!

Don’t get me wrong, there is more than one way to skin a cat. If you don’t have the guts to train to failure on every single set, that’s OK. There are plenty of other training programs that will work for you. I would look into one of the many “high volume” training programs out there. 

Blood And Guts Training Principle #3: Train Beyond Failure!

When you perform one working set per exercise just training to failure isn’t enough: you have to train *beyond* failure! This is what Greg Doucette means when he says “train harder.”

Dorian Yates liked to use 1-3 forced reps at the end of his sets to train beyond failure. As soon as he failed on his last rep his training partner would provide a little bit of assistance to help complete the rep. Then Dorian lowered the weight back down on his own. This process was repeated for 1-3 total forced reps on most exercises.

The forced reps work so well because they allow you to overload your eccentric strength. Just think about it: when you reach failure you can no longer lift the weight but if you had to you could probably lower it under control a few more times.

Forced reps give you the chance to tax your eccentric strength after achieving concentric muscular failure. This means you are overloading both portions of the movement!

The forced reps are very taxing to your muscles and your central nervous system. They are big part of the reason why Dorian was able to get so strong so fast. If you have a training partner then make sure you train beyond failure on all of your work sets with 1-3 additional forced repetitions.

The only time you should not do this is on the big barbell lifts such as deadlifts and bench presses. On these movements the risk of injury is too large to justify the use of forced reps.

Blood And Guts Training Principle #4: Train In The 5-10 Rep Range!

Dorian performed almost all of his sets in the 5-10 rep range. Yes, there were exceptions on exercises such as leg presses and seated dumbbell lateral raises. However, for the most part he focused on the 5-10 rep range.

This is very good advice whenever you are using a high-intensity bodybuilding program such as the Dorian Yates training program. That is because the program relies on you getting stronger over time.

If you are using the exact same training weights month after month then you are not going to make much progress.

Remember, the training volume is already pretty low. You can’t rely on a large volume of sets to provide the stimulus for muscular hypertrophy. You have to use your “intensity” during your sets and ever-increasing training loads to drive the hypertrophy process.

If you start performing the majority of your sets in the 15-20 rep range you are going to have a hell of a time getting stronger week after week.

For optimal results I recommend you follow Dorian’s lead and perform most of your working sets in the 5-10 rep range. If you are truly training to failure or beyond failure with 1-3 forced reps then you can create plenty of muscle damage in these low-moderate rep ranges.

Blood And Guts Training Principle #5: Use Several Exercises Per Bodypart!

Most people think that Dorian’s routine is a “low-volume” training program.

To be honest I’m not sure I agree with this statement. I mean just look at Dorian’s back day: he is performing 8 different exercises in this one workout alone! A lot of “high-volume” back workouts include less than 8 total exercises!

I think one of the biggest reasons people get confused about this is the fact that Dorian doesn’t count his warm-up sets. Many other bodybuilding coaches count warm-up sets as part of the total number of sets.

Let’s say that Dorian performs 3 warm-up sets and 1 all-out working set for every exercise. That means he is performing (8 exercises) x (4 sets per exercise) = 32 sets for back! Most people would consider a 32 set back workout to be an extreme high-volume workout!

So which is it? Is Blood And Guts a high-volume or low-volume training program?

I say who cares! At the end of the day all that matters is results.

If you get your best results from the Dorian Yates training program then that is all that matters. Just make sure you perform at least 2-4 exercises per body part like Dorian does.

Blood And Guts Training Principle #6: Use A Bodybuilding Training Split!

Dorian built his physique with a very unique training split. In fact I have never heard of another high-level bodybuilder using the exact training split that Dorian used. Check it out:

  • Day 1: Chest and Biceps
  • Day 2: Legs
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Shoulders and Triceps
  • Day 5: Back and Rear Delts
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Repeat!

This training split accomplishes a number of things. First of all it allows you to train body parts once every 6 days. This is slightly higher than the more typical training frequency of once every 7 days for a lot of bodybuilding training splits.

This means that you are training body parts slightly more often than normal. This is a good thing as most people just cannot build muscle mass optimally when they train body parts once every 7 days. 

Blood And Guts Training Principle #7: Beat The Logbook!

Dorian Yates religiously used a training logbook throughout his bodybuilding career. In fact, Dorian kept detailed records of every single workout he performed during his bodybuilding career!

I know some of you reading this scoff at the idea of using a logbook. Aren’t they just for beginners?

In reality a training logbook is the single most important tool that you can use in your quest to build muscle mass and strength. If you want to pack on as much muscle mass as humanly possible then there is no way around it: you have to use a logbook!

Dorian looked at his logbook prior to every workout that he performed. He carefully reviewed all of his scheduled exercises including how much weight he lifted last time and for how many reps. His logbook told him exactly what he needed to accomplish in the gym.

If he lifted 300 pounds for 8 reps then he knew he had to bump the weight up to 305 or 310 pounds and shoot for 6-8 reps.

Here is what his logbook might have looked for his chest and biceps day:

Dorian’s Chest And Biceps Logbook

  • A1: 30 degree incline bench press
    • LT: 405 x 8
    • TT: 
  • B1: Hammer strength flat machine press
    • LT: 165 / side x 6 (+3 forced reps) 
    • TT:
  • C1: 30 degree incline DB fly
    • LT: 90s x 7 (+2 forced reps)
    • TT:
  • D1: Cable crossover
    • LT: 150 x 6 (+1 forced rep)
    • TT:
  • E1: 60 degree incline DB curl (supinating grip)
    • LT: 75s x 5 (+2 forced reps)
    • TT:
  • F1: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip)
    • LT: 150 x 6 (+1 forced rep)
    • TT:
  • G1: Unilateral preacher machine curl (supinated grip)
    • LT: 85 x 5 (+3 forced reps)
    • TT:

When Dorian looked at his logbook before his workout he knew exactly what he had to do. His mission was to beat every single one of these numbers by increasing the weight or performing more reps.

No, he did not hit a PR on every single exercise each workout. But the act of trying to do so meant he was climbing the strength ladder very, very rapidly.

There is another advantage to using a logbook: it quickly tells you whether or not your training is working. If you are getting weaker then you know something is off. Maybe you are doing too much volume. Maybe you are not doing enough! Maybe your training frequency is off or perhaps the rep ranges are not suited for your psychological profile.

The bottom line is the logbook keeps you in check. It immediately tells you if your training is working. This is important on every training program but it is ESPECIALLY important with something like Dorian’s training program.

Know this when you walk into the gym for your next Blood And Guts workout: you are going to beat the damn logbook. You are going to make it pay for getting in the way of you and your bodybuilding goals.

That damn logbook is laughing at you. It says you don’t have what it takes. It says you don’t have the balls to push beyond “mental failure” all the way to true “physical failure.” It’s your job to make your logbook suffer, to make it wish it had never been born.

In the words of Dante Trudel, BEAT THE LOGBOOK! 

Part 8: Is The Dorian Yates Training Program Right For You?

The Blood And Guts training program is an extreme way to train. It is definitely not for everyone. If you made it this far then you might be wondering if this training program is right for you.

In this section I will outline the core requirements for being successful with this type of program. If you do not meet one or more of these requirements then you should think long and hard before emulating it.

Here they are in no particular order:

  • You have at least 1 year of hardcore training experience
  • You train in a well-equipped commercial gym
  • You have a training partner
  • You are a hardcore bodybuilder
  • You have an extreme personality

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

Requirement #1: You Have At Least 1 Year Of Hardcore Training Experience

The Dorian Yates training program is not for beginners! You must have at least 1 year of hardcore training experience before you attempt this program.

Trust me on this one. takes at least a year before you can truly push yourself all the way to failure with good technical form.

With credit to Dusty Hanshaw there is a huge difference between “mental failure” and “physical failure.” Mental failure occurs when you stop during a set because your brain tells you to. You tap out because your muscles hurt too much or because you just don’t have the guts to keep on pushing.

Physical failure is something else entirely. It occurs when you push beyond mental failure and push to the point where your muscles tap out entirely. If you had a gun to your head you could not move the weight another inch.

If you are a beginner you simply cannot push yourself this hard during a set. There are plenty of other programs that you can use while you get some more experience under your belt. After your first year of training you will be in a much better position to train this way if you still want to.

Requirement #2: You Train In A Well-Equipped Commercial Gym

Dorian Yates used a wide variety of exercises. He used a combination of machine exercises, free weight exercises and cable exercises to build his unbelievable physique. Dorian believed that free weights and machines both had their advantages.

Free weight exercises are great because everyone has different body mechanics. With free weights you are not locked into a specific groove on an exercise. In other words a free weight exercise will work for almost everyone because the exercise is automatically adapted to your leverages.

Machines are just the opposite: they lock you into a fixed movement pattern. In many cases this can be a good thing because machines allow you to overload your muscles with mechanical positions that are impossible to achieve with free weights alone.

For example Dorian strongly believes that the Nautilus pullover machine played a crucial role in his ability to fully develop his lats.

Here is Dorian Yates himself talking about the benefits of using a variety of machines and free weights in your training:

The bottom line is if you want to train like Dorian then you need to train in a large commercial gym with a wide variety of exercises. If you don’t have enough exercises at your disposal then you will struggle to make long-term progress training this way.

Requirement #3: You Have A Training Partner

Training to failure without a training partner is a very dangerous idea.

If you are going to train to failure like Dorian Yates then you need a reliable training partner. There is no way around it. The training partner is necessary to save you when you fail AND to help you perform 1-3 forced repetitions at the end of your set.

Actually it is pretty much impossible to perform forced reps without a training partner. Yes, you can kind-of sort-of make the program work without a training partner. But Dorian is adamant that the forced reps are a big part of why he built so much muscle mass so quickly.

If you do not have a reliable training partner then I have 2 recommendations for you:

  • Make some friends
  • Pick a different program

It really is that simple.

Requirement #4: You Are A Hardcore Bodybuilder

Blood And Guts is an extreme bodybuilding program. Emphasis on extreme! If you are a serious bodybuilder who is hell-bent on building as much muscle mass as humanly possible then the Dorian Yates training program might be a good choice for you.

If you are not a serious bodybuilder then you are probably better off picking a different program. This program is so psychologically demanding that only the most serious of trainees would ever dare to stick with it.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with having modest goals. If you just want to build a few pounds of muscle and maybe lose a bit of body fat then there are plenty of other easier training programs that will help you reach this goal.

Requirement #5: You Have An Extreme Personality

You have to have the right personality to succeed on the Dorian Yates training program. Actually this is true for any of the low-volume / high intensity training programs such as Dante Trudel’s DC Training system. Specifically you have to be the kind of guy who just loves training to failure.

You have to love the feeling of pushing your body to the absolute limit on every set and then pushing some more. Rumor has it that a doctor took an x-ray of Dorian’s head when he was training for the Mr. Olympia competition. The doctor found a stick of dynamite ready to explode! 

Even Dorian Yates isn’t sure why he felt compelled to train so hard in the gym. Maybe he had a lot of built-up anger from his childhood that he used to fuel his workouts. Or maybe he just loved to lift weights and this was his way of expressing it.

The bottom line is you need to have an extreme personality to train this way. If I do a CT scan of your brain I want to see a stick of dynamite that’s ready to explode! That’s how you know your’re ready for the Dorian Yates “Blood And Guts” training program.

Conclusion

Dorian Yates will go down in history as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. If you are a bodybuilder who loves training to failure and beating the logbook then I highly recommend you give Dorian’s training program a shot. It is easily one of the most effective ways you can train to build muscle mass.

If you want more help with designing your very own Dorian Yates style training routine then you can check out my online coaching program. I have a lot of experience with high-intensity bodybuilding programming and I can help you get results way faster than you ever could on your own.

“Everyday is the first day of the rest of your life. Don’t dwell on your past mistakes, nor judge others for theirs. Never let those who lack belief in themselves rob you of yours!”

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

Dr. Mike Jansen

I am the creator and owner of Revolutionary Program Design. I help advanced athletes take their training to the next level and achieve results they never imagined possible.

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