7 Ways To Train Harder Like Greg Doucette!


Greg Doucette Training

Greg Doucette’s training philosophy can be summarized in two words: “train harder!” This may sound overly-simplistic but I believe there is a lot of truth to the statement. Just take a look around your local gym. Very few people are actually training hard!

Introduction

  • Part 1: The Greg Doucette Training Philosophy
  • Part 2: Supersets
  • Part 3: Tri-sets
  • Part 4: Giant Sets
  • Part 5: Drop Sets
  • Part 6: Mechanical Advantage Drop Sets
  • Part 7: Rest-pause sets
  • Part 8: Forced Reps

Greg Doucette is an IFBB pro with a very interesting approach to training. Of course Greg seems to spend most of his time attacking other fitness YouTubers but he also has some interesting things to say about bodybuilding program design.

Greg feels most trainees don’t train hard enough to make optimal progress. He believes most trainees leave way too many reps in the tank and rarely even approach true muscular failure.

Of course you don’t have to go to failure to build muscular hypertrophy. However, you’re never going to make optimal progress leaving 5+ reps in the tank on every set!

Therefore, the fastest way for most trainees to get better results in the gym is to just train harder! No advanced exercise or training technique is going to help you if you don’t have the guts to push yourself in the gym.

Is everyone really just training like a candy-ass Nancy-boy, as Greg Doucette suggests? Do we all just need to “train harder?” As you might have guessed I have some strong thoughts on this subject.

First of all, GREG IS DEAD WRONG!

I am sorry Greg, but it is NOT possible to train “harder than last time” every single workout! I mean it – it’s literally impossible!

For example, let’s say you are doing a giant sets workout for back. You do 6 exercises per giant set, and 4 giant sets total, for a total of 24 sets for back.

Not only that, every set is taken either to the point of muscular failure or one rep shy of failure. So far, so good.

But how in the heck are you going to “train harder” on your next back workout? Are you going to 5 rounds of this giant set? Or are you going to do six rounds?

If 24 sets for back is no longer enough to achieve a growth response then do we need to do 30 or 40 sets? 

If training for 60 minutes is good, why not “train harder” and train for two hours straight?

But why stop there?  Let’s train EVEN HARDER and go for 3, 4, or 5 hours in a row! It worked for Arnold, and he trained hard! Right!?

The same logic applies for more low-volume, high-intensity training protocols.

Do you think Dorian would have a wider, thicker back than he did if he just trained harder each workout instead of keeping his intensity level constant from workout to workout?

If 2 forced reps on each exercise is good, then why not try 5, 6, or 7 on the next workout? Why not just “train harder” forever?

At some point just training harder and harder is NOT the solution.

A training program is only as good as the time it takes for you to adapt to it. After 3-6 exposures to a workout it is time for most people to move on to something else.

This is why the accumulation / intensification periodization model is so effective – it forces you to radically change the training stimulus every 2-4 weeks which allows for continuous progress.

But before all of Greg’s fanboys start sending me hate mail, I have to admit:

Second of all, GREG IS 100% ON THE MONEY!

Yes, you head me right: most people don’t train hard enough to reach their goals! For these people training harder than last time is the correct advice!

Just take a minute to observe everyone the next time you walk into the gym. How many people are truly pushing themselves in their work sets?

I’ve trained in gyms all across the continental United States and the vast majority of trainees 3, 4, 5, or even more reps left in the tank on their heaviest sets!

No, I am not kidding.  Most people are are 3-5+ reps away from reaching failure on most of their work sets!

As Greg has correctly pointed out, how in the hell do you expect to make progress training this way?

Most people are just unable to or unwilling to push through the pain barrier to get the results that they want.

And no, this does NOT mean that training to failure is required. Stopping one or two reps short of failure on most of your sets is probably just fine in many cases.

But if you are putting up 8 reps with a weight that you could do 13 reps with if your life was on the line, then you aren’t training, you’re just kidding yourself.

So how exactly does one go about training harder?

If you are not used to taking your sets close to failure, then this is exactly where you should start. Greg Doucette is in complete agreement on this.

For example, start taking that set of 8 with your 13-rep max and shoot for 11 or 12 reps on it.

However, I know this doesn’t describe you. This site is for serious weight trainees only. Absolute beginners, trainees who have low pain thresholds, and individuals who just want to “tone up” can piss off for all I care.

Here’s why this is important: I know this doesn’t describe you. You wouldn’t be on Revolutionary Program Design if you weren’t deadly serious about reaching your goals as fast as possible.

So how does someone like YOU, the serious physique athlete, go about training harder?

I am sure you are already well versed with training close to or all the way to failure. And at some point just pushing your sets this hard won’t cut it anymore.

If you are trying to kill a fly then a fly swatter will get the job done just fine. However, if you want to kill an elephant then a bazooka is a better choice.

The muscles of an advanced trainee are like the elephant and in order to get them to respond we’re going to have to bust out 7 different types of bazookas.

There are countless high intensity bodybuilding techniques that you could choose to include in your training. In this article we will cover seven of the best:

Note: if you have any trouble reading the routines in this article then please consult this article. reading this routine, then you need to read this article: It will answer all of your questions! 😀

OK, I’ve made you wait long enough. Let’s get down to business…

Part 2: Supersets

Supersets are one of the classic high intensity bodybuilding techniques. It seems like they have been around for at least a century and they never fail to deliver results.

In reality there are a couple of ways to perform supersets:

  1. Antagonist supersets
  2. Agonist supersets

Antagonist supersets involve performing back to back exercises for antagonistic bodyparts. For example, you could perform a set of bench presses, rest a short period of time, and then perform a set of chin ups.

While there is nothing wrong with antagonistic supersets, when it comes to packing on slabs of muscle I find agonist supersets to be even more effective.

What are agonist supersets?

Agonist supersets involve performing two back-to-back exercises for the same body part with minimal rest between sets.

Agonist supersets work so well because they significantly prolong the total time under tension of a set. In fact, your muscles are working twice as long with an agonist superset when compared to traditional straight sets.

This prolonged time under tension is simply fantastic for quickly boosting muscular hypertrophy.

Of course you need to have enough pain tolerance to work through the incredible amounts of lactic acid that you will produce training like this.

Here is a biceps superset workout that you may want to try. It uses two of the most bang-for-your-buck biceps exercises and maximally overloads both the long and the short heads of the biceps brachii.

Check it out:

  • A1: 30 degree Incline DB curl (supinated grip), 4 x 10-12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 4 x 10-12, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2.

Post-exhaustion vs pre-exhaustion supersets

When selecting exercises for an agonist superset, it is very logical to pair together a compound movement and an isolation movement.

For example, you may pair together incline dumbbell presses and incline flies to maximally stimulate the chest.

However, one of the most common questions I get regarding agonist supersets is whether you should perform the compound or isolation movement first.

Put another way, which one is better: post-exhaustion supersets or pre-exhaustion supersets?

In reality post-exhaustion supersets are superior almost every single time! The scientific literature has clearly demonstrated the superiority of post-exhaustion supersets for stimulating hypertrophy.

Using our example, it would be far better to perform the incline dumbbell presses, rest 10 seconds, and then perform the incline fly’s, rather than the other way around.

Check it out:

  • A1: 30 degree Incline DB press (pronated grip), 5 x 6-8, 2/2/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: 30 degree Incline DB fly, 5 x 12-15, 2/0/1/0, 180 seconds rest

Here are some sample training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2.

You could design agonist superset workouts for every body part. Of course you are not limited to performing just one superset per body part in a single workout.

Here is a biceps workout featuring three seperate agonist supersets! You are going to have to perform 18 total sets of work.

This is an absolutely enormous amount of volume for a relatively small muscle group!

However, if you are stuck at a biceps training plateau then this supersets workout may be just what you need to stimulate growth.

Check it out:

  • A1: Seated zottman curl, 3 x 6-8, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Standing ez-bar curl (narrow / pronated grip), 3 x 6-8, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: 45 degree incline DB curl (supinated grip), 3 x 8-10, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B2: 30 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3 x 8-10, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • C1: Bilateral preacher DB curl (supinated grip), 3 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C2: Preacher ez-bar curl (close / supinated grip), 3 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest

Here are the exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2, exercise C1, exercise C2.

The first superset targets the brachialis and the brachioradialis. The second superset targets the long head of the biceps. Finally the third superset targets the short head of the biceps.

Literally all of your elbow flexors are going to be destroyed on this routine!

Make sure you are pushing all of your sets here to 1 rep shy of failure. This means your last rep is an absolute grinder but you are able to squeeze it out.

If you attempted another rep then you would not be successful in completing it.

Remember, these high-intensity bodybuilding techniques that let you train beyond failure are useless if you aren’t pushing yourself close to failure in the first place!

Or as Greg would say, “just train harder!”

Part 3: Tri-sets

I’ve written a lot about tri-sets before. And for good reason: tri-sets are one of the most effective hypertrophy training methods you can use!

In fact, it is probably one of the training methods that I use the most with many of my bodybuilding clients.

And there is a very good reason for this: tri-sets deliver on results!

They seem to be right in that sweet spot where there is enough volume to allow for an absolutely awesome stimulus for hypertrophy (and fat loss!), but without being too hard for most people to recover from.

If you are to design your own tri-set workouts, I would recommend performing 3-5 rounds of a given tri-set per body part.

For example:

  • Perform exercise A, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise B, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise C, rest 120-180 seconds, repeat 2-4 times!

Tri-sets are even more effective at prolonging the time under tension of a set relative to supersets.

If you are able to push yourself hard on each exercise within the tri-set then you will be rewarded with some unbelievable muscle gains.

In my experience tri-sets work extremely well for all major body parts.

Here is a triceps tri-set that you may want to try:

  • A1: V-bar dips (upright torso), 4 x 6-8, 3/2/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Flat ez-bar extensions (close grip, to forehead), 4 x 10-12, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Standing overhead rope extensions, 4 x 12-15, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3.

This triceps tri-set overloads all three heads of the triceps with a wide variety of highly effective exercises. The long, lateral, and medial heads of the triceps will all be absolutely smoked and primed for growth!

Here is a shoulders tri-set that you may want to try. It uses a variety of exercises to overload all three major parts of the deltoid muscle.

Check it out:

  • A1: Seated DB overhead press, 4 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Seated Poliquin lateral raise, 4 x 12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Seated band pull-apart, 4 x 25, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3.

The Poliquin lateral raise is a very interesting exercise. The idea behind it is to perform the concentric range with your elbows bent to 90 degrees.

Once you reach the top of the movement you straighten your arms back out before lowering them back down to the ground.

The Poliquin lateral raise actually allows you to overload the eccentric phase of the lift!

Trust me, you will probably find that it is more difficult to lower the weights under control on this exercise than it is to lift them concentrically with your arms bent.

This is a far superior solution to the “cheating” DB lateral raises that most people employ in the gym.

Cheating lateral raises boost your ego but do little to stimulate growth in the lateral deltoids. The Poliquin lateral raise is a far superior exercise and a great way to train harder!

Finally here is a fantastic tri-sets workout for the hamstrings that was invented by Charles Poliquin.

The idea is to perform 2 seperate tri-sets within a single workout: the first tri-set will work the hamstrings as knee flexors while the second tri-set will work the hamstrings as hip extensors.

Overloading the hamstrings with two different movement patterns in one workout is a fantastic way to stimulate new hypertrophy gains.

Check it out:

  • A1: Bilateral lying leg curl (feet plantarflexed / pointing in), 4 x 5-7, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Bilateral lying leg curl (feet plantarflexed / pointing straight), 4 x 5-7, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Bilateral lying leg curl  (feet plantarflexed / pointing out), 4 x 5-7, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: Standing good morning, 2 x 8-10, 2/0/2/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B2: Stiff-legged deadlift, 2 x 10-12, 2/0/2/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B3: 45 degree back extension (holding DB at chest), 2 x 12-15, 2/0/2/0, 180 seconds rest

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3, exercise B1, exercise B2, exercise B3.

This is a particularly brutal training routine and should be reserved for individuals during a hamstrings specialization phase.

Most beginner- and intermediate-level trainees spend far more time training their hamstrings than their quadriceps.

If this describes you then this hamstrings tri-set routine may be just what you need to balance out your legs! Just don’t forget to push yourself to 1-rep shy of failure on these sets.

Otherwise Greg Doucette will hunt you down and remind you to train harder!

Part 4: Giant Sets

Giant sets are not for the mentally weak. Oh no – this training method should be reserved for only the most hardcore of trainees.

Giant sets were arguably popularized by the legendary bodybuilder and coach Milos “The Mind” Sarcev.

Milos is an extremely accomplished IFBB professional bodybuilder and bodybuilding coach, having competed at highest levels of the sport and having trained countless bodybuilders to do the same.

Milos Sarcev almost exclusively trains his clients using giant sets.

As they say, success leaves clues. When one of the greatest bodybuilding coaches ever trains nearly all of his clients with a specific training style it is worth taking notice.

Giant sets involve performing at least 4 exercises back-to-back for the same body part with minimal rest in between sets.

For example:

  • Perform exercise A, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise B, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise C, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise D, rest 180 seconds, repeat!

This is in contrast to supersets and tri-sets, where only 2 or 3 exercises were performed back-to-back for a given body part.

However, 4 exercises should be read as the BARE MINIMUM. Milos often had his trainees performing 10 or more exercises in a row for quads!

Talk about pain!

Think about it – most people don’t have the balls to push even one set close to failure. Milos has his trainees perform up to 10 exercises to near failure back-to-back for the same body part!!

For example:

One of the most important rules for designing a giant sets workout is that you MUST select exercises that overload different points within the strength curve.

Every single exercise is going to overload your muscle(s) in the stretched position, the mid-range position, or the shortened position.

For optimal results you want to select exercises that target each of these points in the strength curve.

Let’s use the example of the hamstrings.

A stiff-legged deadlift will maximally overload the hamstrings in the stretched position.

Put another way, a stiff-legged deadlift is hardest in the bottom position of the movement where the hamstrings are maximally stretched.

An exercise like the 45 degree back extension, on the other hand, will overload the hamstrings in the mid-range position. 

The 45 degree back extension is hardest when your torso is parallel to the ground, or halfway through the movement.

Finally, the 90 degree back extension will overload the hamstrings in the shortened position, or at the very top of the movement where the hamstrings are maximally shortened.

Let’s say you wanted to design a hamstrings giant set workout to overload all points in the strength curve.

In that case, including the stiff-legged deadlift, the 45 degree back extension, and the 90 degree back extension (among other exercises) would be an excellent choice.

Here is a sample hamstrings giant set workout you may want to try:

  • A1: Lying hamstring curl (bilateral, feet plantar flexed and pointing out), 4 x 4-6, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: 45 degree back extension (with band resistance), 4 x 6-8, 3/0/X/1, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: 90 degree back extension (barbell held in front w/ snatch grip), 4 x 6-8, 2/0/1/2, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: Seated hamstring curl (bilateral, feet plantar flexed and pointing in), 4 x 4-6, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A5: Romanian deadlift, 4 x 10-12, 4/0/1/0, 240 seconds rest

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3, exercise A4, exercise A5.

Talk about a brutal workout! This is an absolute hamstrings massacre!

If you do this workout correctly, you may even find yourself feeling a full 2 inches shorter due to the lower back pump!

On the bright side you should be able to perform this workout in a about 30 minutes. This gives you enough time to get in some quadriceps work afterwards for a more complete workout.

If you go this route I recommend you stick to machine-based exercises to save your lower back from further punishment.

For example, here is a quadriceps workout that you could perform immediately after the hamstrings giant set routine:

  • A1: Leg press, 4 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Machine hack squat, 4 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Seated leg extension, 4 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: Walking DB lunges, 4 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

Here are the exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3, exercise A4.

The amount of lactic acid that you produce in your quads on this type of routine is absolutely horrendous. If you normally train alone then you may want to find a training partner to help push you through this routine.

If you manage to make it through all 4 rounds of this giant set then you will be rewarded with a pair of quads that would make Tom Platz jealous!

Part 5: Drop Sets

Drop sets are another awesome way to train harder and are definitely consistent with the Doug Doucette training philosophy of training harder!

Drop sets are similar to giant sets in that they allow you to significantly prolong the time under tension of a set. By forcing your muscles to work longer you create a fantastic cellular environment for muscle growth!

There are many different ways you can perform drop sets. Here are three drop set protocols that you can use to train harder:

  • 12/6/6 drop sets
  • Japanese drop sets
  • Mike Mentzer drop sets

Let’s examine each one in detail.

Drop Set Method #1: 12/6/6 Drop Sets

The procedure for performing a 12/6/6 drop set is pretty straight-forward:

  1. perform 12 reps, drop the weight by 10-20%, rest 10 seconds
  2. Perform 6 reps, drop the weight by another 10-20%, rest 10 seconds
  3. Perform 6 reps, DONE!

12/6/6 drop sets are a classic drop set protocol for boosting muscular hypertrophy.

For example, here is an arm workout using this set / rep scheme that you may want to try.

Check it out:

  • A1: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated grip), 3 x 12/6/6**, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • A2: Decline DB extension, 3 x 12/6/6**, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: 60 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3 x 12, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B2: Unilateral DB overhead extension, 3 x 12, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest

**Performed as a 12/6/6 drop set as descried above.

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2.

This routine is much more difficult than it looks. Of course the most demanding part of the routine is the 12/6/6 drop set performed on the first two exercises.

Your muscles will be screaming at you to stop but you have to push on through anyways. If you have the guts to complete this routine then you will be rewarded with some new-found arm growth!

Drop Set Method #2: Japanese Drop Sets

Japanese drop sets are a particularly brutal training method. Actually you have to be a little bit messed up in the head to attempt this type of routine.

As an alternative you can always just hire Greg Doucette to scream “train harder!” in your ear while you perform the workout.

A Japanese drop set workout is really just a twist on the classic 5 x 5 routine. The first four sets of five reps are performed as normal.

Things get a little crazy on the fifth set as this is when you perform the actual Japanese drop set. You are going to perform a quintuple drop set where you get 5 reps on each seperate attempt.

Here is what the drop set on your last set of five reps will look like:

  • Perform 5 reps, reduce the load by 10%, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform 5 reps, reduce the load by 10%, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform 5 reps, reduce the load by 10%, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform 5 reps, reduce the load by 10%, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform 5 reps, done!

Of course the 10% drop is just my best guess for what will work best for you. If you need to reduce the weight by more or less than this to get your next five reps then adjust accordingly.

Here is a fantastic lower body workout featuring the Japanese drop set protocol.

Check it out:

  • A1: Backs squat (medium stance / heels flat), 5 x 5***, 4/0/X/0, 100 seconds rest
  • A2: Seated leg curl (feet plantarflexed / pointing out), 5 x 5***, 4/0/X/0, 100 seconds rest
  • B1: Alternating stationary DB lunge, 3 x 8-10, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B2: 90 degree back extension (holding DB at chest), 3 x 8-10, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest

***Perform a Japanese drop set as described above on the fifth set of five repititons.

Here are the exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2.

Make sure you bring a “puke bucket” with you for the back squat drop set. You are going to need it!

Drop Set Method #3: Mike Mentzer Drop Sets

A little known fact about Mike Mentzer is that he invented rest-pause training. No, I’m not talking about Dante Trudel’s multi-rep rest-pausing technique made famous from DC training.

Instead, I’m talking about arguably an even more extreme type of training. Mike Mentzer’s rest-pause technique could also be called the maximal singles drop sets.

Mike would pick a weight he could perform one repetition with. After (barely) completing the single rep, Mike would take approximately 5-7% of the weight off the bar and repeat the process.

Mike would continue dropping the weight in this manner until he had completed a total of four single-repetitions. This constituted one rest-pause set.

This type of drop set is simply fantastic for recruiting and fatiguing the fast-twitch muscle fibers.

For example:

  • 100% load x 1 rep, rest 10 seconds
  • 95% load x 1 rep, rest 10 seconds
  • 90% load x 1 rep, rest 10 seconds
  • 85% load x 1 rep, done!

Why four repetitions?

Through trial and error Mike found that four singles provided the greatest benefit without risking central nervous system burnout.

Remember, there is such a thing as too much volume!

Here is how such a workout might look for the upper body:

  • A1: 30 degree incline bench press (medium grip), 4 x 1/1/1/1**, 4/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • A2: Narrow supinated grip chin ups, 4 x 1/1/1/1**, 4/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: V-bar dips (upright torso), 3 x 6-8, 3/0/X/0, 75 seconds rest
  • B2: Seated cable row (v-handle), 3 x 6-8, 3/0/X/0, 75 seconds rest
  • C1: Seated DB external rotations, 3 x 6-8, 2/0/2/0, 120 seconds rest

**Performed as a 1/1/1/1 drop set as described above.

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2, exercise C1.

Be warned:  only the rare individual who thrives on lower repetitions would do well with this routine.

And even then, it should be followed up with a higher-rep training protocol after 3-6 workouts. After all, a workout is only as good as the time it takes you to adapt to it.

Part 6: Mechanical Advantage Drop Sets

Mechanical Advantage Drop Sets

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: mechanical advantage drop sets are easily one of my favourite high-intensity training techniques for packing on slabs of muscle!

Seriously, mechanical advantage drop sets are incredibly effective. If you are looking for a great way to train harder along the lines of the Greg Doucette training philosophy, then look no further!

So what the heck are mechanical advantage drop sets?

Mechanical advantage drop sets can be thought of as a hybrid between giant sets and regular drop sets.

Both of these training methods allow you to prolong the time under tension a muscle is exposed to, either by switching exercises or reducing the load.

In order to perform mechanical advantage drop sets you are gong to pick an exercise where you can use multiple different grips or stances.

For example, a preacher ez-bar curl would be a great example as there are four different grips you can use:

  1. Wide pronated grip
  2. Wide supinated grip
  3. Narrow pronated grip
  4. Narrow supinated grip

Next, you want to figure out which of these grips / stances etc. allow you to use the most or the least amount of weight.

Once you have this figured out, you want to sequence the exercises so that you are performing the most difficult variation first, followed by the second most difficult variation etc.

For example, our ez-bar preacher curl would be sequenced like this:

  1. Narrow pronated grip
  2. Wide pronated grip
  3. Wide supinated grip
  4. Narrow supinated grip

This is because the narrow pronated grip is the hardest variation, while the narrow supinated grip is the easiest variation.

Now you perform this sequence of exercises just like a tri-set or giant set with only 10 seconds of rest between each exercise.

After you reach failure on your first (most difficult) exercise you simply progress to the easier ones and continue to bust out additional reps! This training method is every bit as effective as it is practical!

While it is not always possible to perform a true Milos Sarcev inspired giant sets routine in a commercial gym, it is always possible to do a mechanical advantage drop sets workout, as you only need to use one station at a time!!

Here is how you might perform the above mechanical advantage drop set for the elbow flexors:

  • A1: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow pronated grip), 3-4 x 6-8, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide pronated grip), 3-4 x AMRAP**, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide supinated grip), 3-4 x AMRAP**, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow supinated grip), 3-4 x AMRAP**, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

**AMRAP = as many reps as possible

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3, exercise A4.

There are of course many different ways you could set up a mechanical advantage drop set. However, this should give you enough ideas to get started.

Part 7: Rest-Pause Training

When I talk about rest-pause sets I’m typically not talking about the 1-rep max drop sets that were used to great effect by Mike Mentzer.

Instead I’m talking about a different type of high-intensity technique made popular by Dante Trudel of DC Training around the start of the 21st century.

Dante Trudel has described rest-pause sets as the fastest way for advanced bodybuilders to boost their overall strength levels.

While I won’t go quite as far as Dante, I am in complete agreement that rest-pause sets are by far one of the most effective high-intensity training techniques available for the advanced bodybuilder.

There are five basic steps to performing a rest-pause set:

  1. Perform a set to concentric muscular failure, typically in the 7-10 rep range.
  2. Rest while you take in 12-15 deep, slow breaths. This should take approximately 20-30 seconds.
  3. Go to concentric muscular failure a second time with the same load. You will probably only get 2-4 reps this time before failing.
  4. Rest while you take in another 12-15 deep, slow breaths. This should take approximately 20-30 seconds.
  5. Go to concentric muscular failure a third and final time with the same load. You will probably only get 1-3 reps this time before failing.

If that sounds easy, then perhaps you have the reading comprehension of a fourth-grader. Seriously, rest-pause sets are absolutely BRUTAL.

The key is that you are taking all three parts of the rest-pause set to technical failure. There is no room for stopping when the set starts to hurt a little bit. You need to actually FAIL on attempt during the rest-pause set!

This doesn’t mean you stop when things start to hurt. It also doesn’t mean that you stop after barely squeezing out one last rep. You actually go to failure three seperate times on one exercise!

Why do rest-pause sets work so well?

The bottom line is rest-pause sets kill two birds with one stone: they are fantastic for both size AND strength gains!

Dante Trudel has trained an absolute army of some incredibly strong bodybuilders using rest-pause sets almost exclusively. Two of his strongest clients included IFBB pro bodybuilders David Henry and Dusty Hanshaw.

David Henry has incline hammer pressed more than seven plates per side while Dusty Hanshaw routinely deadlifts at least 765 pounds for reps!

You don’t have to be this strong to reach your physique goals. However, getting stupid strong for reps is definitely one of the most effective ways to keep building muscle over the long haul.

Here is a sample back / biceps rest-pause routine that you may want to try:

  • A1: Rack chin, 1 x 7-10**, 3/1/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: Barbell dead stop row, 2 x 10-13, 2/1/X/0, rest as needed
  • C1: Kroc row, 1 x 20-30, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • D1: Incline cable curl, 1 x 7-10**, 3/0/X/1, rest as needed
  • E1: Bilateral seated zottman curl, 1 x 7-10**, 3/0/X/0, rest as needed

**Performed as a rest-pause set as descried above.

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1, exercise D1, exercise E1.

This is not a textbook DC training routine. However, if you are an intermediate to advanced bodybuilder then you can expect some unbelievable strength and size gains on this type of workout.

Just don’t forget to go to technical failure on every set!

Part 8: Forced Reps

Forced reps are another fantastic high-intensity bodybuilding technique that allow you to prolong the time under tension of a set after first reaching muscular failure.

However, unlike other high-intensity training methods, forced reps typically require a well-trained spotter. This is not the best training method to use if you train alone.

The procedure for performing a forced rep is fairly simple.

After you reach concentric muscular failure (ideally somewhere in the 5-10 rep range) your spotter will assist you during the concentric range of an additional 1-3 repetitions.

While your spotter is helping you on the concentric range, you are responsible for lowering the weight under control during the eccentric range of the movement.

Training in this manner allows you to further exhaust your eccentric strength levels after first achieving concentric muscular failure.

The end result is a potent stimulus for size and strength gains.

For example, here is Ronnie Coleman and his spotter giving a perfect demonstration of forced reps on the incline dumbbell press:

Watch closely:

Ronnie Coleman knocks out 5 picture-perfect reps on the incline dumbbell press with the 200 lb dumbbells (WOW!).

On rep number 6 Ronnie fails, but instead of stopping, his spotter helps him complete two more reps. So Ronnie does 5 reps on his own, plus 2 additional forced reps.

Talk about a potent training stimulus!

Of course Dorian Yates did more than any other bodybuilder to promote the use of forced reps. He used forced reps on the majority of his exercises and with appreciable results!

Here is the exact chest / biceps training routine that Dorian used during his reign as the 6 x Mr. Olympia. Dorian used forced reps on 6 out of 7 exercises on this training day.

Check it out:

  • A1: 30 degree incline bench press, 1 x 6-8, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: Flat machine press, 1 x 6-8**, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • C1: 30 degree incline fly, 1 x 6-8**, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • D1: Standing cable crossover, 1 x 6-8**, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • E1: 60 degree incline curl, hammer grip, 1 x 6-8**, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • F1: Standing ez-bar curl, wide supinated grip, 1 x 6-8**, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • G1: 1-arm preacher machine curl, supinated grip, 1 x 6-8**, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed

**Perform 2 additional forced reps with the help of a spotter.

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise B1, exercise C1, exercise D1, exercise E1, exercise F1, exercise G1.

If you want to train harder like Greg Doucette recommends then forced reps are easily one of the best ways to do it.

Conclusion

Greg Doucette is 100% on the money when he says the average trainee does not reach their goals primarily because they don’t train hard enough.

However, I know that doesn’t describe you. You wouldn’t be reading this article if you were afraid of pushing yourself in the gym.

But training really hard is only half the battle. You also have to be smart about how you train.

If you put in the work with any of the high-intensity training methods covered in this article then I am confident you will progress faster than you ever thought possible.

So what are you waiting for? Get in the gym and start training harder!!

Always remember: the mind is more important than the body. Where the mind goes the body will follow.

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.

Recent Content