Spring is finally here, praise Jeebus, and the results are in for 2013-2014 Winter Bulk Up: It didn’t go anything like how I planned. I mean that in a good way, though. Allow me to explain-
Mid way through last year, I got to talking to Mike from Danger and Play (the most helpful man on the planet) about some of his recommended programs/methods/techniques, especially bodybuilding style stuff. It was part curiosity, as I haven’t ever committed to that kind of training philosophy, and part fact finding, wondering if there were things I could incorporate into my training. In particular, he mentioned Doggcrapp style training, which looked pretty cool in its purported ability to put on size effectively *long with* strength gains, but at the time I was still fine tuning the intermediate program so I sticky noted it in the back of my mind and went on.
But the seed had been planted.
Week by week, I more frequently entertained the idea of trying out that style/philosophy and moving away from powerlifting into size and aesthetics. Additionally, Doggcrapp itself is a radically different method than the volume style training I get bored with and much closer to 5x3x1, which I enjoy, so that didn’t help my curiosity. Its grueling, all-out-on-every-set nature is much more in line with how I like to train, and everyone and their mom says it jacks you up so that’s icing on the cake.
Towards the beginning of February, I called Mike up on the way to the gym to clear up some last second questions about Doggcrapp and made up my mind right then. That first session was so ridiculous I was hooked. Body shaking, almost puking, collapse onto your bed afterwards type shit- it was awesome. I mean, I don’t leave anything in the gym as it is, but Doggcrapp takes it to another level. It forces you to unlock a new level you might not think you have.
Since then, I have been training Doggcrapp style continuously, with only a minor break for much needed rest after a St. Pat’s blowout.
So what is Doggcrapp?
Allow me to point you to the best explanation/introduction I can find, here.
In summary, DC is a style similar to 5x3x1, except instead of one balls-out set, you have three. Also, like 5x3x1, it’s not a program it is a method. You can mix and match whatever lifts you want. But, and this is what makes it interesting, the emphasis is on steady, methodical, movements with long, muscle shredding 5 second+ negatives and a controlled positive movement. You’re not trying to throw up as much weight as you can, you’re using the best weight you can to fuck your muscles up in 3 sets of controlled movements until failure (each set). Putting your muscles through incredible agony and fighting through it. It’s the kind of stuff Mike and Jay emphasize on their podcast when they talk about HIT training- recruiting every last muscle fiber is far more important than what is on the bar.
It’s so hard on you that it’s recommended you go one day on, one day off, with each day being either a chest/shoulder/tri/back session or a biceps/wrists/calves/hams/quads day. It’s an A1, B1, A2, B2, A3, B3 set up, so you have three chest, shoulders, quads, etc lifts that you rotate, going back to A1 after the two week rotation. For example, my chest lifts are dumbbell bench, dumbbell incline, and the iso lateral chest press hammer strength machine thing. The full rotation takes 2 weeks.
You do 3 sets to failure for each lift, utilizing the long negatives and controlled movement each rep. To make it more interesting, you only get 5-15 deep breaths of rest time in between sets (I use 10). So yes, it gets fucking intense.
Each day you’re trying to beat last session’s numbers- so if I got 7, 4, and 3 reps for a total of 14 reps for the 3 working sets on incline bench, the next time I did that lift I would want to get 15 reps or more. When you hit that 15 rep total, you can then choose to add more weight next time if you want. If you stall/plateau, you switch out that lift for a comparable one. Simple, easy to understand progression with easily trackable goals.
I’m 2 months in and just now wrapping up my fourth rotation and so far it’s been real good. I have yet to have a day where I didn’t do 2-3 more reps than last time, per lift, and I’ve moved up 10-15 lbs on every one of them since the start.
I did, however, have to start all over after the first week and drop down on most lifts because I was still going to fast and not controlling the weights. You will need to swallow your ego and re-orient your perspective on lifting if you want to do this right. I can’t stress that enough, it’s a total 180 from how many of us train for power.
For two months on DC, I’d say the results are trending towards awesomeness. I’m noticeably (but not hugely) bigger, and at the current rate of progression in a few months it’ll really start adding up.
Diet-wise, under further influence from Mike and Jay I’ve began to add more (clean) carbs back into my diet for growth. I’m still heavy on meat and protein intake in general (1.5-2g per pound bodyweight) and still taking some inspiration from the Apex Predator Diet for off days, but on lift days I’m eating rice and stuff like that with turkey, chicken, or fish. I’ve already began cutting down, and that along with going off Taze-3 has cause me to drop down from 207 late Febraury to 196 now. We’ll cover more of this in a Summer cut down post.
As your resident guinea pig, I’ll give a Doggcrapp update in June or July. Whenever the 16 week mark is (first full rest week). Those additional months will give me a chance to see more definitive results. If it’s anything like the last two months I doubt I’ll be disappointed, and if you’re at all interested in getting into this style of training I doubt you will be either.