Ask Joe The Pro Vol. 11 - A Look At Popular Bodybuilding Workouts

Joseph Ohrablo
Written By: Joseph Ohrablo
August 10th, 2010
Updated: June 13th, 2020
Categories: Articles Training
14.7K Reads
Joe Ohrablo discusses many popular training systems: Doggcrapp training, Heavy Duty, FST-7, AGS-10, Blood and Guts, and Non-Linear Periodization.

Ask Joe The Pro

Layne NortonJoe with FST-7, NLP, DC training, HIT, CAMP and many more, which one is the right one? I am interested in trying them all lol – Keith Napidano

LOL. Keith I do too. I think every training system that’s out today has merit. I believe your body adapts to whatever you throw at it eventually and responds accordingly. Your body likes low sets, high sets, low, medium and high reps. It likes rest pause, drop sets, straight sets, more rest between sets, less rest, etc. There are so many training systems out there today you literally could cycle your training and try each one for 8-12 weeks and see which one works best for you.

I recently experimented with a few different systems and liked certain aspects of them and disliked others. I did Layne Norton’s power/hypertrophy split and got great pumps and was really sore from the increased frequency and volume, but my joints hurt all the time and I had to stop. I also tried the Y3T training where you periodize 3 weeks of different work loads, volume, reps, etc. I was into the high rep week where I realized I just didn’t like training that way. After 18 years of bodybuilding I don’t enjoy going to the gym thinking “I have to” do anything.

I enjoy training instinctively but with crazy intensity one week and heavy lifting the next. It's non-linear periodization at its best and simplest.  I seem to always gravitate back to that style of training, it works for me and on the intensity weeks I can play around with techniques like FST-7, rest pause, etc. So in conclusion you have to find a system that works for you and as you progress more and more with your training career you will have to listen to your joints and body more with regards of training heavy and or training more or less frequent. There is no “right” way to train. There is only the IDEAL way to train for your body and genetic make up.

I heard your doing an NPC show next year? Is this true? Why not stay in the natural shows? – B Walsh

Yes it’s true. Ever since I began bodybuilding I wanted to do an NPC contest. The NPC doesn’t have many natural contests around, so I figured why not do the show my wife did in April next year? It will give us a chance to compete together and honestly attending her show I would have been in the top 2 in the middleweight class if I came in with the same condition I did at my last show.

If I go in and place in the top 2 in the middleweights I will be very proud. Of course my goal is to go in as a NPA state show in June. I will keep muscle and strength up to date of my progress and promise to make my natural brothers and sisters proud!

Joe, do you include deadlifts in your routine? If so what kind? - J Heights

Yeah James, I include some form of deadlifts in my regimen. I believe deadlifts are just as effective if not more effective then squats for full body stimulation, testosterone production and overall mass and power. I prefer to do singles or doubles on deadlifts as I believe the uptake from the bottom position puts the lower back in constant danger as you do rep after rep.

My favorite form of deadlifts from the floor is trap bar deadlifts. It really allows you to use your lower body to help get the weight off the floor, keeps proper body alignment by keeping your back straight and you can really pile the weight on. I do believe conventional and sumo deadlifts are very effective as well. Even though when I tore both of my quad tendons back in December of 2008, it was with sumo deads, I still believe it’s a great exercise for adductors, glutes, traps and overall back stimulation. I also believe Romanian deadlifts are a great hamstring AND upper back exercise, and partial deadlifts in a power cage allow you to slam the plates on while protecting your lower back and generating a tremendous power output.

I believe deadlifts are just as effective if not more effective then squats

Can you break down all the famous training systems out there today and make a comment about each one?  - P Nash

Sure let's give it a whirl

  1. DC Training. AKA “Dogg Crapp”. This is a system made famous by a dude I use to chat with in the old bodybuilding chat room on AOL. Dante (not sure of last name). His system revolves around the rest pause technique and mostly compound movements. He believes in trying to reach a certain complete number of reps (11-15) and going through three failure points on an exercise. Let's say the exercise is incline hammer strength. You do four 45’s on each side and fail at 7 reps, you take 15 deep breaths and fail again but you get 3 reps, you do one more rest pause and fail at 2. You have done 11 reps. Now you write this info down and you have to beat these numbers the next time you get to that exercise. Dante also believes in “widow maker” sets where you do a lot of reps in one set and also “stretches”, at the conclusion of each bodypart you do extreme stretches with weight in an attempt to stretch the fascia. The system also calls for greater frequency and rotating exercises in 3’s. So an example would be chest workout: 1-incline hammer press, workout 2-incline dumbbell press and workout 3-flat bench smith press. The system works better if you use mostly machines because you can focus on failure in a safe manner and don’t have to waste energy on balancing weights. This program is great for strength, good for variety because your rotating exercises, but tough on the joints cause of the greater frequency and heavier weights, and your also doing 2-3 bodyparts per session.
  2. FST-7. A popular system created by “The Pro Creator” Hany Rambod. The basis of this system is simple. Choose a few compound exercises per bodypart, train heavy and at the end of the workout chose an isolation exercise and do 7 sets of 10-15 reps with no more then 30 seconds rest between sets and with flexing and drinking water between sets to enhance blood flow to the muscle. Again the extreme pumps supposedly stretches out the fascia and causes growth. I use FST-7 sometimes and I also use 10 x 10 (which seems like Hany borrowed his idea from) and I love the painful mind blowing pumps!
  3. Heavy Duty Mike MentzerHeavy Duty. Mike Mentzer’s style of training where after a short warm up you only do one set to failure for a given exercise. Mike believed that one set was all that was needed to “trigger growth’ and anything beyond that was over training. Mike believed the stronger and more advanced one gets the less he should be training. In “Heavy Duty 2 Mind and Body”, Mike suggests advanced bodybuilders train once every 4-10 days! Very low volume, low frequency and high intensity is what Heavy Duty is all about. The frequency (or lack there of) is A bit extreme in my opinion, but good for strength. I wouldn’t do Heavy Duty again but I urge beginners and intermediates to try it for 6-8 weeks and see if it works well.
  4. Blood and Guts. Dorian Yates' hybrid of Heavy Duty. Dorian agrees with Mentzer that, yes, one set to failure is all that’s required per exercise BUT a bodybuilder needs more then one exercise to stimulate each muscle group fully. Dorian advocates for back day 5-6 total failure sets (which is 5-6 exercises). I believe Dorian’s version of HIT is far superior to Mentzer’s. Dorian also advocates training 4 days a week, a far cry from Mentzer's once every 4-10 days. Dorian liked to use drop sets, pre exhaust, rest pause and negatives. I always go back to this style of training when I feel the need and I really love it!
  5. Non Linear Periodization. I’ve made the best gains of my life doing this style of training. This is nothing new and plenty of powerlifters, bodybuilders and strength advocates train this way. The basis of this system  is you simply can't train heavy on compound movements week in and week out and not expect joint issues, CNS burn out and mental burn out. So the solution is to rotate two weekly styles of training. Week one is power training. You pick a few exercises per body part and do a lot of warm up sets because your about to go REAL heavy and then you work into a 5, 5, 5, 2 work set mode with the last 2 sets to failure. For chest you may do flat bench dumbbell presses this way then do incline smith presses with 3 sets of 5 and then you could throw in “one hypertrophy’ movement where you fail in the 10-12 range for 1-2 sets. The second week is high intensity/higher volume. You rest less between sets, you do more sets to failure and incorporate “intensifiers’ such as drop sets, rest pause, static contractions, super and giant sets, FST-7 etc. Go back and forth this week gives the body a chance to recover from the heavy compound movements on one week and when your on the compound weeks you get a break from the crazy intensity and volume. I’ve trained this way on and off for 5 years and always go back to it when I’m really serious about gains and want to pack on strength fast.
  6. 10 Sets of 10. Very simply you do 10 sets of 10 reps. The rest between sets vary from person to person that describes the system. My understanding is it originated from some Russian weight lifters? I actually do this the way the people at Scivation describe ala AGS-10. I’ll go into that next. But 10 sets of 10 can be done a few ways, you have to play around with it to suite your liking. The pumps are unreal and after the 6th or 7th set you will be wondering WTF you got yourself into lol.
  7. AGS-10. Marc Lobliner the president of Scivation trains this way. His buddy Derek basically created the program. It's basically a hybrid of ‘Blood and Guts”. They believe in one set to failure per exercise (even though Marc does more lol) and utilize techniques just like Dorian, rest pause, drop sets etc. But because they also believe in pumping the muscle with blood, they advocate one either do a “volume set” or a “rep blast set”. A rep blast set is where you finish the workout with one set to failure in the 20-30 range and the “Volume set” is where you attempt to do 10 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest between sets, BUT if at any time during these sets you reach failure you're done! So if you’re on the 4th round and fail at rep 7 you don’t go for another set. I love this technique and it really engorges the muscles full of blood.

So I hope my brief synopsis of some of the more popular training systems will help you chose one you like.

Joe O
Posted on: Tue, 08/24/2010 - 08:08

hey jake sorry for the slow response. Yes you can do 3 sets when you add in the hypertrophy exercise on power weeks. And yes at your stage this style of training is fine! if you have any questions feel free to hit me up again!

Posted on: Thu, 08/12/2010 - 10:19

Thanks that really makes sense. I'll do the 5,5,5,2 protocol like you said. I got two more short questions, after the 5,5,5,2 when I do the hypertrophy could I do 3 sets with last set to failuere or just one total set which is to failure?

Lastly I've been training for two years, first year was on and off but the second year of my training has been fully consistent and my diet is good with enough calories to grow so Ive been way more serious. Would you say I have enough experience to do this kind of workout, I'd say im an intermediate lifer not an advanced one like yourself but Im kind of tired of doing straight sets and really like this kind of approach?

Thank you

Posted on: Tue, 08/10/2010 - 13:34

For NLP do you gotta do 5,5,5,2. I would like to do more something more like 8,8,8,6 for hypertrophy over strength but would this be less effective? And could I go back and forth from those to rep ranges every week to promote strength and hypertrophy the best?

Joe O
Posted on: Wed, 08/11/2010 - 22:16

Hey jake, thanks for reading man! If you do a 8 8 8 6 rep range you will still be in the strength range. Granted one can argue its on the higher end of that spectrum, but the main outcome would be strength. On hypertrophy weeks the goal isnt to do a structure similar to the power weeks, but rather to get creative and load up on sets, higher reps (10 or more), less rest between sets, overall more volume and intenisty. On power weeks its move alot of weight in the 5 5 5 2 rep range on 1 major compound movement. For chest power I may do this

flat dumbbell presses after warming up a 5 5 5 2 protocal
incline hammer strength 3 sets x 5 failing on last set
then include ONE hypertrophy rep range movement like incline flyes but only do one set to fail x 10-15

on intense weeks I may do

incline dumbbell press 4-5 sets x 10 failing on last 1-2
machine bench press 2 triple drop sets to failure..after failure go right into one set to failure on push ups
incline hammer strength 3 rest pause sets with the goal of a total of 10-15 total reps per completion of 3 rest pauses

then maybe FST-7 on pec deck

I hope this clears up any confusion!