Who is he, and why is Doggcrapp training building so much muscle mass?
Interview by Ron Harris
RH: Would you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Let’s start with Dante, is that your actual name or an alias?
D: That is my actual name. It's my middle name but its what I go by, unless we are talking about the guy on the freeway yesterday who called me something else. (kidding)
RH: Do you have a background in sports, and how did you get involved in bodybuilding?
D:I have always been a good athlete in every sport, but back in the day, when I got into Junior High school something strange happened. I stopped growing. I went into my high school as the 3rd shortest person out of about 1000 people in the school and I was a complete stick to boot. My freshman year in high school I was 92lbs and I ended up graduating at 5'7" and a strapping, robust 122lbs (laughing). I had always excelled at basketball and baseball but found it very tough going-being so small. I grew 5.5 inches after high school and wound up at 137lbs at 6 foot tall at nineteen years old. While driving my car by a grocery store one day in my hometown of Gardner Massachusetts, I saw two time AAU Mr Massachusetts (and AAU America and Universe competitor) Donnie Lemiuex. The man was monstrous at 5'7" and a lean 240lbs and I was shocked to see someone look like that. I was determined right then and there to put my nose to the grindstone and I researched/studied every single facet about bodybuilding I could find right down from the basics to the molecular level. Donnie Lemiuex actually became my training partner later on and to this day we remain great freinds.
RH: Did you publish your own newsletter at one point?
D:Yes i published Hardcore Muscle from 1993-1995 and that is when I started to first put out my thoughts on multi-rep rest pause and other theories I had to the public. It was a very cutting edge newsletter and I was very proud to say that my readership was a list of who's who in bodybuilding at that time. I had a whole slew of pro's, top amateurs, doctors and researchers on that subscriber list. I was on the phone with Phil Hernon, Tom Prince, Curtis Leffler and a majority of other competing bodybuilders at that time gathering information for each issue. Even your old boss Lou Zwick was a reader of that mag Ron.
RH: Have you competed in powerlifting or bodybuilding? If not, do you have any desire to?
D: Three times in the last few years I have dieted down for shows and every time I pull out because of the same reasons. I have worked 2 jobs for a long time now (usually working 7 days a week) and I just get absolutely burnt out with the 1 hour of training and (up to 2 hours) of cardio I need to do to come into shows just absolutely shredded to the bone. I admire anyone that can compete in todays modern society working 40-60 hours a week because I know I sure as heck cant do it. This last time (early 2005) I was determined to follow thru and I went from 292lbs to 258lbs (15 weeks) but with 5 weeks to go my father was diagnosed with a tumor on his liver and both my wife (competing in figure) and I both pulled out of the show. Bodybuilding shows come and go but family is forever-that was an easy decision to make, and luckily my father was operated on and is fine and in good health now.
RH: How and why did you come up with DC Training? Had you grown frustrated with other styles of training? Did DC Training evolve over time?
D:I started out with the old volume training concepts just like everyone else does who reads what Arnold and the boys did and what the newstand magazines put out there as "the golden rules".....but I got to a point where I started thinking "there is no rhyme or reason to this". It all seemed based on obsessive-complusiveness instead of deductive reasoning to what truly builds muscle mass. I think alot of modern day bodybuilding routines are built on "the must principle" which is fanatical bodybuilders thinking "I must do inclines and declines and cable crossovers and flat bench and pec deck and flyes for chest this workout or I wont have all the bases covered and I wont grow". I think thats flat out wrong and again comes from direct obsessive-compulsiveness. DC training did evolve over time as I trained more and more bodybuilders and noted their results. Back in the early 90's it was the same basic concepts as today but had slightly more volume to it. Thru trial and error over the last 13 years or so Ive honed it down to what you see today.
RH: Why the name, ‘Doggcrapp?’ I mean, from a marketing point of view, you’ll remember it, but didn’t you have second thoughts that it would be mocked?
D:Yea that was a real ingenious move on my part was'nt it? I definitely should be nominated "idiot of the year" for that one (laughing). What happened was 6 years ago I was a member of a small but elite bodybuilding board on the net which had about 50 members. I never posted, I just read the board. I had viewed some posts by advanced bodybuilders on that board that I felt were very detrimental toward their health. I decided to respond and posted with the anomynous screenname of Doggcrapp. I thought it would be one post and kaput, done and over with. BIG BIG HUGE MISJUDGEMENT! People were intrigued with what I had to say and kept asking questions and I kept answering and it became an encyclopedia. That post became 118 pages long and had over a quarter of a million views. My posts back then were cut and pasted onto bodybuilding sites all over the net, people started using my methods and gaining rapidly, telling freinds....and it carried on thru word of mouth like a wildfire and sadly to say Im stuck with the name "Doggcrapp" now. If I could do it all over again Ron trust me, I would of given myself a much classier name.
RH: What are the basic principles of DC Training?
D:Heavy progressive weights, lower volume but higher frequency of bodyparts hit, multi-rep rest pause training, extreme stretching, carb cuttoffs, cardio, high protein intake and blasting and cruising phases (periodization).
RH: Can you give me an example of how the bodyparts might be arranged in a typical training week?
D: For the majority of bodybuilders who are in need of size the following works the best
monday=chest, shoulders, triceps, back width, back thickness
wednesday=biceps, forearms, calves, hamstrings, quads
friday-repeat of mondays bodyparts
monday-repeat of wenesdays bodyparts
This above way bodyparts are hit twice every 8 days or so
For advanced bodybuilders (and with that I'm talking very elite bodybuilders and extremely strong people) I sometimes go with the following
monday=chest shoulders triceps
tuesday=biceps forearms backwidth backthickness
thursday=calves hams quads
friday-repeat of mondays bodyparts
monday-repeate of tuesdays bodyparts
tuesday-repeat of thursdays bodyparts
This way bodyparts are hit twice every 9 days or so and I can work on advanced bodybuilders lagging bodyparts somewhat better with this split.
RH: One very radical aspect of DC Training is that there are no isolation movements. How do you answer those that believe muscles need to be worked from several angles at each workout for ‘complete development?’
D:Let me clarify that. My trainees have kind of put the notion out there that no isolation exercises are ever being used. I honestly dont care what exercise someone uses as long as he can be progressive on it over time. If someone really believes in an exercise then they can have at it. Obviously a tricep dumbell kickback which you can hypothetically go from 15 to 45lbs is going to be alot less effective than a close grip bench press where you can start at 200lbs and end up at 405 in my scheme of doing things. I think this all comes down to the "Must" principle again I was talking about earlier and obsessive compulsiveness. When Ronnie Coleman came into this sport from powerlifting did anyone see big gaps of muscle missing from his physique? Is Johnnie Jackson playing catch up with certain bodyparts from powerlifting all those years? I dont see distinct weaknesses in their physiques. They were just somewhat smaller versions of what you see today. People are doing every foo foo exercise under the sun thinking it bombs muscles from all angles and in my opinion all your doing alot of the time is wasting energy resources. Once a growth response is reached in a workout then pretty much everything done after that is just cutting into recovery time and burning up glycogen (and god forbid muscle mass). Steve Michalik and his gang were doing up to 75 sets per bodypart and with elite genetics to boot set absolutely no difference in size or advanced development than the people doing 20, 15, 10, 5, or even 1 set a bodypart (mentzer).
RH: Could you walk the readers through a set, DC style? Let’s assume the person is properly warmed up and ready to do a set on say, close-grip lat pulldowns.
D: They would explosively pull it down to the chest and then on the negative return they would resist (control) on the way up. I don't want specific seconds, or a certain time amount, I just want control on the negative to the point if they had to, they could easily reverse direction. They would keep going to the point in the set where they would reach failure, hopefully between rep 7 and 10. At that point, they would take 10-15 deep breaths (usually 22 seconds or somewhere in that area) and then start the exercise again and go to failure once again . Then another 10-15 deep breaths. And then once again to failure. During the rest pauses you do not stay strapped to the bar or anything, you take your 10-15 deep breaths and then get back in there. Oxygen is the key here. What I'm looking for in a restpause set usually is a 11-15 rest pause total (with 3 failure points in that set). That usually comes out to something like 8 reps (failure) ...10-15 breathes....4 reps (failure)....10-15 breathes.... 2 reps (failure) = 14 rp. (hypothetically a total of 11-15 rest paused reps is what im after).
RH: Because of the rest-pause nature of DC Training, there tends to be a good mix of machines used. Do you believe that machines like Hammer Strength can stimulate muscle growth as effectively as barbells and dumbbells?
D: I would like to see everyone build a base and use free weights whenever possible. If someone has a training partner, there is no worry at all using free weights with my methods. But sometimes my trainees don't have a spotter and in those cases I try to set them up on machines that they can "save" themselves on while going to the 3 failure points during a rest pause set.. For example, it's very easy to save yourself on an incline smith press at a failure point, you just turn the bar and rack the weight, while with the free weight barbell incline press, i would hate to see one of my trainees sitting there with a guillotine bar on his neck at failure and have no way to get out of it without screaming "help!" Regardless a lot of people misconstrue this as a love for machines when in actuality I'm trying to keep safety in mind for someone who does not have a spotter. Its as simple as that. If push comes to shove my choice would always be a free weight exercise over a machine if it can be done safely. Thats why I tend to use power racks and smythe machines alot, so someone can go to the well and back and not worry about becoming "tomato canned" for lack of better words (laughing)
RH: Here’s a direct quote from an Internet hater regarding DC Training: “It’s a lazy man’s training program guaranteed to turn you into a fat tub of lard.” How do you respond to a statement like that?
D:Well with any training routine regardless if it's mine or someone elses, if you throw cardio to the wayside and eat like a glutton your going to end up with an accumulation of adipose tissue (bodyfat). I have seen many people use different training methods while not having their diet dialed in - who end up eating gross amounts and the wrong types of food thinking thats the secret. They end up being a fat pile of "lard" and blame it on the training routine instead of the real reasons...lack of cardio and an idiotic diet.
RH: How is DC Training fundamentally different from other abbreviated training systems like Heavy Duty?
D:To be honest Ron this one always rankles me. The HIT advocates love to shove anything thats a lower volume training routine under their gigantic HIT umbrella. I don't beleive in Menzter's theories, I kinda though he went off the deep end at the end there getting crazy about overtraining and in no way want to be associated with "HIT" protocols. My methods are lower volume but extremely heavy. My whole mentality is based around progression over time. With the normal bodybuilder training a bodypart 52 times a year (once a week) and with my clients training bodyparts 75-92 times a year (hence that body part growing 75-92 times/yr instead of 52), thats how I am getting these guys up in muscle size so fast. I can't have them doing 15-20 sets per body part or I cant get them recovered and that defeats the purpose of this all. So its heavy, progressive, lower volume training with recovery in mind so I can get these guys training that bodypart frequently. People have such a hard time grabbing this low volume per workout concept. But in actuality Im doing the exact same things as most volume trainers out there if they look at the big picture. They might be doing 4 different exercises for their back in todays workout (hitting back once a week). Im doing those same exact 4 exercises in a weeks time, but in two separate workouts while training back twice in a week.
RH: From talking with Dave Henry, I understand that record keeping and ‘beating the numbers’ from the previous week is a critical component of DC Training. Can you explain why?
D: Progression. Simply progression. Some people go into the gym with no plan at all and just absolutely wing it. I've never understood that. I bet any money that if I logged their workouts that 2 weeks later or 6 weeks later or even 12 weeks later when they do those same exercises again they are probably using the same 120LBS or 225LBS or 315LBS they used 2,6,12 weeks previous. Thats not progression! Nothing has changed, that to me is repeating something you've already done and will not force the body to grow further. Thats a waste of time in my opinion. With my methods, you are held accountable for todays workouts versus the last time you did this workout. Trust me, when you have that kind of imperativeness and your log book is your arch mortal enemy, you are in for the fight of your life! You have the man in the mirror to answer to. Do you want to drive home knowing the logbook kicked your ass? Or do you want to drive home knowing you destroyed the logbook and showed it who the damn boss is around here?!?! My trainees look back sometimes on their log books and find out that they are 50 to 200 lbs higher on those exercises months later. What does that equal out into? Adaption and rapid muscle mass accumulation.
RH: Do you think a person would get better results with DC training as opposed to standard volume training if he was using steroids, not using steroids, or would that have no impact either way?
D: To be totally honest, anyone using steroids on any training routine known to man is going to advance forward faster than if they did it au natural.
RH: Obviously Dave Henry is the most visible example of what can be done with DC Training. Can you give me a couple other specific examples of the types of gains your clients have made?
D: I have seen some pretty amazing things in my time, some things I dont even have an answer for (laughing). Ive seen a person have their bodyfat measured before and a year later where it was a little over 1% higher and in that time he had gained 52 lbs. Ive made numerour lightheavies into superheavies. Ive made numerous middleweights into heavyweights. I think alot of people are coming to realize with all the posts and photos online involving my methods, that the old thought of "you can only gain 8-10 lbs of lean mass a year" is complete utter bunk. I would venture to say that I can't remember a trainee of mine that has been with me for a whole year that has gained less than 15 lbs of lean tissue. I did have a trainee one time who came to me after an injury so he obviously lost some previous muscle mass, but I saw the before and after pictures with body fat percentage measured and 8 months later he had gained 67 lbs.and he was completely natural. To this day, that shocks me. Those are elite genetics though and for anybody reading this article, Im telling you straight out, there ain't a chance in hell I can repeat that with everyone. In my mind that was and is still virtually impossible. I have made many, many, people 30-50 lbs heavier in a years time but those people have to be absolutely meticulous and follow exactly what I want them to do--which is pretty much eating like a 300LBER, but cardioing like a guy who is 8-9% bodyfat and turning your body into a muscle building fat burning blast furnace. You pretty much get to a point in which your tricking your body into becoming muscularly larger.
RH: Obviously you don’t have to name names if you aren’t comfortable with doing so, but are there any other pro’s or top amateurs you are working with or have worked with as a trainer?
D: There is another pro besides Dave Henry but due to his sponser's contract rulings I don't mention him publicly. I also have trained INPA Natural Pro Travis Macduff. As far as top amateurs.....how much space do we have? Junior Nationals champ Ralph Garcia, top NPC/USA competitor Rob Lopez, Junior USA champion Jason Wojciechowski, 2nd place Junior USA Tom Whorley, top Junior USA competitor Josh Barnett, top USA and Junior National competitor Joey Mobareki, Junior USA competitor Jason Hamner, Junior USA/National competitor Chris Genkinger, NPC competitors Scott Stevenson, Robert Hopper, Joey Bonacia, Joey Mobareki, Stone Laszly, Ramey Benfield, Mike Piacentino, Jason Torres, and a whole slew of others including Canadian and European champions like Ivan Gasser (two time Swiss champion)
RH: Do you train anyone in person? Are you available as such, or do you prefer to do everything online and on the phone?
D:I used to train people in person. But training people is just a side job for me and I usually reject 70% of the people who contact me regarding training them.. Im very particular on who i want to train. They have to have the right, determined mind set, and its my way or no way. This is my reputation on the line and Im not going to screw with that reputation by taking someone on who isnt going to listen to me. I'll train a genetically gifted pro or I'll train someone with genetics like Woody Allen, it does not matter to me. I just need to feel that we will work well together, so I have an extensive questionairre everyone must fill out before I make my decision.
RH: One odd thing is that you don’t believe in doing any direct work for the traps. What’s your reasoning for that?
D:Name the 2 bodybuilders out of the 400 pros that have the most gigantic traps. Ronnie Coleman and Johnnie Jackson. Everyone and their brother is doing shrugs but why did those two former powerlifters join the bodybuilding ranks and have traps that stand up to their ears? Deadlifts. In my opinion there isn't a 225-275lb shrug on this planet that could ever equal the trap size you can accomplish by doing 300-650lb floor deadlifts and rack deadlifts.
RH: Where do you stand on cardio? Do you believe everyone should do it year-round, that those trying to gain mass shouldn’t do it at all, or that it should never be done by bodybuilders?
D: I believe highly in cardio, almost universally. The problem is with most bodybuilders, thats the first thing they skip. The only people I believe should not be doing cardio are some severely ectomorphic people, with fast metabolisms and/or teenagers who could pretty much eat anything and not gain any appreciative bodyfat. I feel almost everyone else should do it to varying degrees according to that specific individual. Its very hard to give recommendations and cookie cutter that without knowing anything about the individual of course. One of the staples I've found through training people who had a difficult time gaining weight, was when I had them do cardio (walking on treadmill or around the neighborhood) first thing in the morning upon arising that the rest of the day they would be as hungry as a bull and would eat so much that they would finally gain muscular weight. Whereas they couldn't gain weight when they weren't doing cardio because their appetite was lacking.
RH: I also understand that you don’t believe in the concept of ‘bulking up,’ correct?
D: I believe in the following Ron, I am trying to get people to put on as much muscle mass in the shortest amount of time possible. I don't believe ANYONE should become a fat pile of crap in that quest. I have people eating gross amounts of food up to a new level in size, but I shore up bodyfat gain by limiting carbs at times during the day, food combining, cardio, carb cuttoffs and using certain fat burning supplements like green tea, etc. My trainees most likely eat more food than people "bulking up" per se but I am adamant about not letting people use the "bulking up" excuse to become sumo wrestlers in the offseason.
RH: Do you believe in taking scheduled breaks or layoffs from training?
D: yes, my whole concept is based on "blasting" and "cruising". I have every trainee of mine "blast" for somewhere between 6-12 weeks all out and then I have them do a cruising phase which is maintenance training for 10-14 (sometimes 21 days) depending on how long their blast was. It has to be done. The people who try to go all out all year round with this are the ones who go into overtraining mode and eventually recede in gains.
RH: Should a bodybuilder stay on the DC style of training year-round, or do you recommend phases where they do something different, like higher volume or a routine that features more isolation exercises?
D:I think as long as they blast and cruise correctly (some obsessive compulsive bodybuilders refuse to do so) they can do DC style training year round
RH: As Dave Henry put it, DC Training isn’t for everybody. What type of traits would you say an individual needs to possess to successfully follow it?
D:You have to be a bulldog, no doubt about it. And above all else you need to debrainwash yourself of the preconcieved notions that everyone in this sport has which come directly from being taught from an obsessive-compulsiveness viewpoint and reasoning. And I think you have to be a little bit crazy. If your 2 bolts short of a carwreck, DC training is for you jack!!!
RH: I doubt it’s possible to put a number on how many bodybuilders out there are using DC Training or have used it, but it does seem to be gaining momentum. Could you see a day when it becomes as widespread as standard volume training?
D:God I hope not, Im already overwhelmed and have too much on my plate currently. I had absolutely no idea of Dave Henry's following and fanbase until I started training him 2 years ago. Every time he does really well in shows my emails go thru the roof. He just got second in the Ironman Pro show and Im getting emails from Africa, Europe, all over the place about DC training. I had a priest contact me yesterday about "Dave Henry's training routine"...Amen
RH: Do you have any books or videos available on DC Training, or are any in the works?
D:I believe Dave Henry is doing a DC training video pretty soon so that will be available to the public in the future. I really should put a book out there for people to read but right now I have a rare disease that is keeping me from doing so called "being a slacker". In all seriousness my articles online are in the process of being copyrighted so Ill get some literature in book form out there to people as soon as I can free up some time.
RH: You are also the owner of a supplement company, True Protein ([url]www.trueprotein.com)[/url]. I know from a friend of mine that it’s a little different from the average supplement company in a few ways, right?
D:We are very different. We will give the buyer the highest quality supplements known for the best prices they will find. We are able to do this by buying the highest tested proteins/supplements in large amounts to get the price we want and then packaging it to the consumer in food grade jugs or food grade storage bags (their choice). So where the buyer wins out is he isnt paying for the 5000 dollar per page advertising campaign, the fancy jug label or the fancy packaging. People walk into nutrition centers now and plop down 30 dollars for 2 LBS of Whey protein concentrate. Compare this with two pounds of a top tested whey protein concentrate from Trueprotein which is going to cost you about 8 dollars. All because your not paying for all the frills/advertising going with it.
We allow people to custom design their own protein powders if they choose to do so. We have a specific part of our website that allows for this customization. Basically if you want it, we will make it for you. Alot of supplement companies will list the ingredients of their protein powder or supplements on their jug but they refuse to list the percentages of each component. Well that could mean you could be getting 98% of a very cheap lower quality protein, and 1% each of two high quality expensive proteins making up the rest, which really isnt fair to the consumer paying for it. We only offer the highest quality materials from all of the top manufacturers around the world, and we have the certificates of analysis to prove any and all of our products. If you tell us you want 60% of this and 20% of that and 20% of something else in your protien mix, be reassured thats exactly what your going to get.
Most of our customers understand and know what they are looking for, but if a customer is not comfortable or does not understand what would be best for them, we do have a few extremely well versed individuals on the True Protein team, that can help the novice up to the expert into offering them a better and more refined supplement for their needs and goals, all free of charge 7 days a week. We all started in fitness the same way, with most of us being bombarded with the marketed hype that many retail supplement products promise. Many would-be customers come to our website and become overwhelmed with the endless possibilities of supplement mixes, but we always encourage the novice to ask questions and to read through our unbiased information on our site to learn, after all it is your body. Ask our opinion on something and we will gladly give it to you.
RH: Hopefully this interview will solve the mystery of the mysterious Dante and give a clear overview of what DC Training is all about. I thank you very much for speaking with me.
D:Us Massachusetts guys have to stick together Ron! thanks for the interview
(please just list the exercise or exercises a client might use (since I know back gets two), and only indicate sets if it’s being done for straight sets rather than rest-pause)
****D:as said earlier any exercise that you can be progressive and safe on could be used but Ill list a short hypothetical sampling of what someone could do (after fully warming up thru progressive sets)
DC Training by bodypart
incline smythe press (11-15rp)
hammer strength press (11-15rp)
decline barbell press (11-15rp)
front rack chins (11-20rp)
close grip pulldowns (11-15rp)
front pulldowns (11-15rp)
Backthickness: (back thickness exercises and quad exercises arent rest paused due to safety reasons of fatigue and loss of form)
deadlifts straight sets (6-9reps) + (9-12reps)
T-bar rows straight set (10-12 reps)
rack deadlifts (6-9reps) + (9-12reps)
military presses (11-20rp)
hammer strength presses (11-15rp)
upright rows (11-20rp)
Quads: (quads are done again with no rest pause because of safety reasons, but after progressive warmups there is a heavy set and then what I call a "widowmaker set" for 20 reps with a still heavy, but lighter weight)
free squats (6-10 rep straight set) 3-5 minute rest and then (20 rep widowmaker)
hack squats (as above)
leg press (as above)
lying leg curls (15-30rp)
seated leg curls (15-30rp)
sumo press leg press (pressing with heels only- straight set of 15-25 reps)
preacher curls (11-20rp)
barbell drag curls (11-20rp)
dumbell curls (11-20rp)
pinwheel curls (straight set 10-20 reps)
hammer curls (straight set 10-20 reps)
reverse grip one arm cable curls (straight set 10-20 reps)
reverse grip bench presses (11-20rp)
close grip bench presses (11-20rp)
EZ bar tricep extentions (15-30rp) (elbow safety)
Calves: (all calves are done with an enhanced negative, meaning up on big toe, 5 seconds lowering down to full stretch and then a brutal 10-15 seconds in the stretched position and then back up on the big toe again. It really separates the mice and the men--this is an all straight set)
leg press toe press (10-12 reps)
hack squat toe press/sled (10-12 reps)
seated calf raises (10-12 reps)