Sunday, August 7, 2011

Getting out of your comfort zone

So I went ahead and gave in to doing some bodybuilding style training.  I am going to be running the 3 way DC split for a while, doing a lot of rest/pause, and doing a lot of movements to shore up problem areas I have had.

I'm not doing DoggCrapp style training because I want to.  In fact, it's the opposite.  I didn't want to.  The reason I went back and forth all week on a training layout is because I was trying to avoid it.  However I eventually settled on it for a few reasons.

With DC training I can rotate in movements all the time as I get stale.  I think the biggest issue behind me dealing with injuries the last few years is simply overuse.  The style of training I do normally, will get you big and strong for powerlifting, no doubt.  However I noted to someone last week that "I see more injuries in powerlifting than I ever saw in bodybuilders."

And it hit me like a rock.

It's not just my style of training, it's THAT style of training. Training to squat, bench, and dead with little variation will get you good at doing those things, however the longer you run a minimized program, the greater your imbalances become.  You neglect filling in the gaps of musculature, and eventually those gaps will give.  If you don't believe me just talk to some powerlifters that have been at it a while.  They all have war stories like this.  And while there are some bodybuilders that seem to get injured a lot (Branch Warren and Yates come to mind), there are lots of guys that train hard and heavy almost year round that avoid injuries for the most part.  I don't particularly care for doing a lot of the things I will be doing.  High rep squatting is the suck, and rest/pausing big movements day in and out each week, takes a lot of testicular fortitude.  Constantly trying to beat the log book takes a toll, but it REALLY keeps you focused at the same time.

I am really having to put myself back in a place I did not want to go, but I am smart enough to see that its what is best for me.

Coincidentally, I talked to a guy that told me that a powerlifting legend that he trains with is always on his ass about getting better at the things he doesn't like doing.  This is exactly how I feel right now.  I need to get better at the things I don't like doing.  This will help me immensely in the short and long run.  I will shore up some imbalances, stay healthy, and get bigger and stronger overall.  

Obviously this is not something I plan on doing forever, but I am going to run it until I feel like it has served its purpose and my longing for caveman style training returns (squat, bench, dead, have sex and eat.)

My last training cycle before the meet served me well, and as I am dieting down, I see I added quite a bit of solid, quality mass.  I upped the reps and did a lot of things very similar to what I am doing now, and most likely my DC cycle will morph back into that.  Because that is my bread and butter.  But for now, I am going to do what I don't want to do, and reap the rewards of my hard work.  I'm already going to end up a LOT bigger 242'er after this last training cycle, so I have no doubt the next few months will even further enhance that.

I am going to try and do a better job of being more detailed in the training logs to talk about why I am doing certain things, and their place in my training.  I hope some other guys will learn from this as well.


  1. Paul,

    Are you going to rotate 3 movements per bodypart (a la DC), or just run one movement until it becomes stale?

    I've debated running the DC 2-way when I wanna get into bodybuilding training.


  2. Joe - Rotate 3 movements on the 3 way split.




  3. Doing what you need to... good stuff. For me I think that means addressing conditioning. I can get through my workouts but I feel like that's it. Feel out of shape in general when asked to do anything unfamiliar these days.
    I like the look of the conditioning block of Ultimate Beastdom - any thoughts on using that to also lose some fat?
    I don't want to jump in hardcore to conditioning and drop calories a lot all at once - seems like a good way to fail out. Anticipate just adding more conditioning by itself will get some of the belly burned off to start.

  4. Start by doing some steady state walking for two weeks. 3-4 times a week and push the pace each time just a little bit. It doesn't take a lot to start getting into shape.

  5. hey,

    just out of interest, what are the imbalances you need to work on.

    looking forward to reading your logs on this stuff, your take on training is always interesting and insightful.

    stay classy

  6. hey paul, i've got 2 questions for you. as i said, i'm doing a push/pull meet. since there's no squats, how do i fit them in my training cycle for the meet. i mean obviously there's a carry over to the deadlift, so i wouldnt want to cut them out. but, do i want to push them with my other lifts? second question, what, in your opinion would be the best way to train for this event. thanks.

  7. Mo - pretty much all my lower body, hams, quads, adductors, etc. Just need to get them stronger in some other ranges of motion. I also think that some variation in upperbody work will give me an increase in mass as well.

    Bruiser - use pause squats as your main squat. They have nice carryover to the dead.

  8. ok thanks Paul. i looked up some of your articles on here on the Raw deads, and Benching. i'm going to use your layout because they fit my meet schedule perfectly, and they just look like they'll work thanks.

  9. Nice read. I am getting out of my comfort zone by losing a few lbs (10ish), turns out I didn't have as much quality mass as I thought... :-)Considering upping my reps for some of the reasons you mention. Also appreciate the info on paused squats just above, not training for a meet, but currently trying for some deadlift focus right now, and wanting to keep some squats in there.


  10. I didn't realize you had lost 10lbs or so since the meet already. What advice do you have for cutting weight to minimize strength/muscle loss workout wise? (Will assume diet is not the problem) This has always been unsuccessful for me in the past and I'm getting close to my +15 goal but might go up another 10. Is it better to maintain weight for a bit or go immediately from bulking to cut phase?


  11. for any bodybuilding run before renewing strength training, what do you think the minimum time should be spent on a bb cycle? of course, everyone is different! but as a general rule of thumb do you have any thoughts?

  12. Andy - Never make an immediate transition. You need to hold a weight for a length of time so it becomes your new set point. So go into a maintenance phase for a while then start the slow dieting process. Generally this means just cutting out junk at first, and doing some steady state. Remember, baby steps in any transition.

    Anonymous - Generally 6 weeks, then do a self assessment on a week off. If you want to go another 6 weeks do so. Most BB'ing cycles will run longer because accumulation of muscle mass is not fast or easy.

  13. Hi paul, do u use the Smith Machine as a mainstay of ur DC routine? Thats the only fault i find in DC as benching using the smith gave me great stress on my shoulders. Just wondering if u had faced something similar and how did u solve the problem.

  14. I use it for incline, reverse grip bench (sometimes), front squats (sometimes) and rack chins (hah hah).

    I don't have the hatred for the smith that most guys have. Free weights are still superior but getting big and strong still comes back to putting more weight on (any) bar.

  15. Hey Paul,

    Just responded on P&B in the post on this article and DC training.

    My question:

    I have had extremely tight hip flexors for the last 3 or so months.

    I do my mobility, stretching and have temporarily dropped low bar squatting in favour of front squats (also ties in with your above theory: I've been doing the low bars twice a week for two years straight now, no other variations..). Even took two weeks off entirely due to illness/travel.

    However, there's been little improvement.

    Do you have experience with this? I have noticed I'm not the only one who has this problem when deep squatting a lot.