This article series will dissect popular training systems, and look at how effective they are for natural bodybuilders. I will try to be as objective as possible. Please understand that mileage can vary, and that all weight training systems tend to work for beginners.
The Basics of Doggcrapp Training
There are eight basic training principles in Doggcrapp training: frequency, progression, bulking diet, rest-pause sets, slow negatives, training to failure, extreme stretching and functional pragmatism.
Doggcrapp training advocates hitting each muscle group with greater regularity. The driving force behind this philosophy is the belief that more workouts will equate to more gains.
“If you train chest 3 times in 9 days you are now doing chest roughly 136 times a year! So instead of 52 growth phases you are now getting 136 growth phases a year. I personally would rather grow 136 times a year than 52.”
A standard bodybuilding routine has you hitting each body part once a week, or 52 times a year. Doggcrapp believes that more frequent workouts equals more chances to grow. Of course, this is not a standalone training principle. Doggcrapp training advocates a lower volume, but greater frequency.
More is not better for natural bodybuilders. Steroid users require a greater number of intense contractions to spur on greater muscle mass growth.(1) Because of this, Doggcrapp training works very well for AAS users. But for most naturals, this training frequency is less then optimal.
More weight! This is the cornerstone principle of Doggcrapp training. Push for more weight on every set, and if you stagnate on a lift, temporarily toss it overboard and try something else.
Progression is the king of mass building techniques. Pushing for more weight on every set of every workout can turn even a poorly designed training system into something that works. Because of Doggcrapp’s focus on progression, it will work – and work well.
Natural bodybuilders need to adopt this focus on progression to pack on muscle mass as quickly as possible.
The Doggcrapp method of eating is very extreme, especially for natural lifters. The sample bulk diet advocates eating in the range of 7,000-8,000 calories per day, with protein consumption well into the 400-500 gram per day range.
Obviously, you can tell that this is an extreme approach.
The human body tends to remain very anabolic during 14 day bulking periods. During this time, muscle mass is added most efficiently. But after 2 weeks, this anabolic effect decreases severely.(2)
Steroid users are in a constant anabolic state, so a long term bulking approach is much more viable. Natural bodybuilders should never take the DC approach to bulking.
In DC training, you perform 3 rest-paused sets per exercise, racking the weight and taking approximately 10-15 deep breaths between sets. This is a solid training tactic, and can be effectively utilized by natural lifters as long as the focus on weight progression remains.
This is one of the more curious, and often neglected aspects of the Doggcrapp training method. If you research DC training on Youtube, it is very difficult to find a DC practitioner that is utilizing slow, 6 second negative eccentrics. Because of this, many DC training logs on the Internet often lack this training principle.
Slow negatives are a viable training technique for natural bodybuilders. It is debatable as to whether slow negatives should be practiced on every rep of every set. When utilizing this practice, it is much more difficult to use a weight you are capable of repping out with.
Take bench presses for example. Choose a weight that allows you to hammer out 8 reps, and which also takes you close to positive, concentric muscular failure. Now try to rep out with this weight utilizing slow, 6 second negatives. How many reps can you perform? Generally, a lot less.
When you compare slow negative sets with straight sets, both are useful approaches as long as progression of weight remains the key focus. I would recommend mixing up your sets if you plan on integrating negatives into your lifting tool belt. Don’t perform all your sets with negative reps. Get some heavier, normal rep range sets in first.
Training to Failure
This topic is a powder keg, waiting to explode! While I do not wish to weed deeply into the failure vs. not training to failure debate in this article, I do want to weigh in on one issue…lifting longevity.
Training to failure on every set is extremely taxing, mentally and physically. If you are going to train to failure, I recommend using a lower weekly training volume ala HIT training.
Pushing yourself to the edge on every set can beat up your body, especially when using heavy weights. You might feel fine in your 20’s, but the wear and tear will eventually catch up to you. Naturals should use all intense training techniques in moderation, including training to failure.
As with most things in life, if you give all your time and energy into one thing, you become unbalanced. Balance your training, and training techniques.
Extreme stretching is the practice of stretching a muscle for extended periods of time, generally up to a minute, with the hope that the muscle fascia will loosen, allowing for faster hypertrophy.
This is a very controversial practice, and should be approached with caution. Scores of bodybuilders over the last 6 decades grew muscle without this practice. That does not negate the possibility that extreme stretching is effective, but it does reveal that it isn’t needed.
In particular, this practice is not needed for natural bodybuilders. Each natural lifter has a pre-determined genetic upper potential. Achieving this potential rarely requires anything more extreme then proper training and proper diet.
Big term, but easy to understand. Pragmatism is a fancy word which simply means stick with what is working. I define functional pragmatism as the belief that, as long as you are gaining strength, you are gaining muscle and should stick with that exercise as long as possible.
Functional: “Designed for or adapted to a particular function or use”
Doggcrapp believes that training exercises function as mass builders as long as you are progressing with weight. When you can no longer progress on weight, the exercise is no longer functional, and it is not pragmatic to stick with it.
Is this making sense? I hope so!
This is not a bad approach to take for natural bodybuilders, although I do not recommend abandoning core training lifts. Putting aside the deadlift, bench press or squat simply because you have had 2 off training sessions is not an action that should be taken recklessly.
A lot can be learned from Doggcrapp training. Progression of weight, along with the training techniques of rest-pause sets and slow negative reps, are key core elements that can add muscle to the natural frame.
But there is also much to avoid in the DC system. The bulking diet, extreme stretching, relentlessly training to failure, functional pragmatism, and training frequency are all principles to use caution with.
Overall, I consider the Doggcrapp system, as is, a better system for AAS users. With that said, it provides a good skeleton structure that can be learned from, and modified, to meet the needs of natural bodybuilders.
1. Dharkam. “An interview with Dharkam.” Mesomorphosis Articles. 1999. <http://www.mesomorphosis.com/articles/dharkam/dharkam-interview.htm>.
2. Forbes, GB. “Hormonal response to overfeeding.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Abstracts. 1989. <http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/49/4/608>.