Doggcrapp: An In-Depth Analysis of this Innovative Training Method

By Matt Walter
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Doggcrapp Training: An In-Depth Analysis of This Innovative Training Method

Doggrapp Training is one of those programs I find myself coming back to again and again, every time I get stuck or bored with what I’m doing.

And those of you who have followed me for a long time know that I get bored easily and often.

DC Training checks a lot of boxes: high intensity is paired with low volume (yes, you can go high volume and low intensity, too), training each muscle more than once a week, and a rotation of exercises that will keep you from being bored yet also allows for progressive overload.

Key Takeaways

  • Doggcrapp training combines long-range strength gains with moderate-to-high reps for muscle building.
  • The system balances failure training with optimal frequency for balanced, sustainable progress.
  • Key components include focused exercise selection, intense lifting techniques, and a carefully planned workout schedule.

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Doggcrapp: What’s With the Name?

This revolutionary (at the time) system wasn’t meant to be a system at all. It’s the brainchild of Dante Trudel, who posted the workout on a popular online lifting message board in 2000. Asked years later what he thought of the name, he said if he’d known it was going to blow up the way it did he would have thought of something cooler!

The name might be unconventional, but I want to emphasize the effectiveness of the Doggcrapp training system. It is designed to gain pure muscle mass and strength, and its supporters claim that it’s one of the best methods for packing on strength and lean muscle mass.

Although the name Doggcrapp might be hard to take seriously at first, it’s important to appreciate the unique approach of this training system. Developed for advanced trainees, DC training focuses on rapid hypertrophy, utilizing techniques such as heavy compound movements, rest-pause sets, and progressive overload.

Despite Dante Trudel himself expressing regret about the choice of name, the Doggcrapp training system continues to earn accolades within the bodybuilding community.

Doggcrapp: The Philosophy

Doggcrapp: The Philosophy

DC Training is elegantly simple but effectively brutal. Keep the following in mind and you’ll be chasing down gains in no time.

Frequency

First and foremost, the emphasis is on frequency. DC training promotes working each muscle group with greater frequency, as opposed to the traditional method of isolating each muscle once a week, AKA, the “Bro Split.” This approach has been shown to lead to faster growth and development.

Volume

Doggcrapp has a lower overall workout volume than many more conventional training methodologies. Instead of performing numerous sets for each exercise, the Doggcrapp system emphasizes intense sets to stimulate muscle growth. This means you’ll spend less time in the gym while still making significant progress.

Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is another critical aspect of Doggcrapp training. The goal is to gradually increase weight or repetitions in each exercise, thereby pushing the boundaries of our bodies and pushing us to continually adapt and grow stronger.

So keep a logbook!

Rest-Pause Sets

One striking characteristic of DC training is the use of rest-pause sets. Instead of straight sets, the focus is on rest-pause sets – performing a set to failure, taking a brief break (15-20 seconds), and then continuing until reaching the prescribed range of reps.

You’ll see the rep ranges listed as 11-15 reps (for example). That means you’re aiming for 11-15 total reps, when all three rest-pauses are added together. For example, maybe you hit 8 reps at 225 on bench, rest 15 seconds, hit 4 more reps, rest 15 seconds, and hit 2 final reps. That works out to 14 reps, which is in the 11-15 range.

For safety reasons, especially for your lower back, The DC System uses rest-pause for all body parts except compound quad exercises and back thickness exercises. instead, you’ll train 1-2 straight sets for 6-12 reps.

What exactly is failure? Focus on momentary muscular failure. This is where you can no longer perform another rep with perfect form.

Slow Negatives

The Doggcrapp philosophy also emphasizes the importance of slow negatives.

The eccentric (negative) portion of a movement has been shown to be more growth-stimulating than the concentric (lifting) action. By deliberately performing the negative portion of each repetition at a slower pace, we can create more muscle damage and potentially stimulate greater growth.

Extreme Stretching

Finally, a key element in the DC system is extreme stretching. After completing a rest-pause set for a particular muscle group, immediately engage in an intense, deep stretch for that muscle, often loaded. Loaded stretches place a ton of stimulus on the lengthened position of a movement, causing an incredible stimulus. Hold this position for as long as possible.

Examples of loaded stretches include holding a pair of dumbbells in the stretched position of a dumbbell fly, placing one leg up on a high bench and stretching the hamstrings, or hanging from a pull-up bar.

Choose and Stick With a Few Exercises Per Muscle

Stick with few exercises per muscle group

In the Doggcrapp training system, doing the same exercises consistently is crucial for muscle growth and strength development.

Consistency allows our muscles to adapt and respond to specific movements, leading to efficient progress. By repeating the same exercises, our muscles, nerves, and brain can work together to improve coordination, allowing for greater control and execution of the movements, as well as fully recruiting high-threshold muscle fibers (the ones that grow the most!).

The adaptability to the same exercises enables us to track our progress more accurately. For example, it’s easier to compare our strength gains or the increase in repetitions when we perform the same exercise from week to week.

Performing the same exercises regularly also helps in developing a solid foundation for strength and muscle growth. Our bodies are better equipped to tackle more advanced movements and variations after mastering the basics.

This also makes it the perfect system if you train at home and have limited equipment!

Aim to increase the weight or number of repetitions every time we perform an exercise. This stimulates muscle protein synthesis in the target muscle and aids in muscle growth and strength development.

You will notice there isn’t any direct trapezius or ab work in this protocol. This is a bare-bones, bust-your-ass, simple training plan. If you’re getting stronger at the movements we’ll discuss, those muscle groups are going to have to grow as well.

Benefits Of Doggcrapp

The Doggcrapp Method is a simple, straightforward training plan that can help you put on muscle and gain strength.

I don’t train this way all the time, but I consistently come back to it when I hit plateaus. The simple nature of the program and focus on high-intensity training techniques and progressive overload have always given me benefits.

The inclusion of rest-pause sets and the infamous widowmaker for legs push muscles to their limits with short breaks, stimulating growth and improving overall strength. Many athletes, like Mark Dugdale and David Henry, have praised its effectiveness, and I’ve personally experienced positive results from incorporating these techniques into my workouts.

To Cardio or Not to Cardio with Doggcrapp

Cardiovascular exercise is still recommended, even when trying to get bigger or stronger

I always perform low-intensity cardio sessions on non-training days. The older I get the more important it is that I focus on my heart health. Yeah, I want to be as big as possible, but I’ve also got to stick around for my family.

And this is recommended by Dante Trudel as well.

My goal on non-training days is simply to hit 10,000 steps a day. To track my steps I wear a MiFit step tracker.

It takes me 10 minutes at 2.9 mph on a treadmill to hit 1,000 steps. So, if I’m at 8,000 steps at the end of the day, I’ll put in a 20-minute walk and call it good.

How to Warm Up for DC Training

Before diving into the intense world of Doggcrapp training, it’s essential to properly warm up. Warming up helps prepare your joints and muscles for the challenging workout ahead.

But there’s no need to do anything crazy here.

A general warmup is any kind of activity that gets your body warm but doesn’t take away from the workout ahead. Something like walking on a treadmill for five minutes or three thirty-second bouts on an assault bike.

But I recommend a specific warmup. Starting your leg day with back squats? Get an empty bar on your back and perform 10 slow, controlled reps. Gradually increase the weight until you hit your working set for the day. Simple.

The goal here is to get a feel for the movement and further prepare your muscles for the main event. After the first exercise you’ll likely only need one or two warm-up sets for the rest of the movements that day.

I also like to put in a bit of light, dynamic stretching between the first warm-up set or two, for any body parts that feel they need it that day.

Doggcrapp Workout Schedule

Start by choosing 3 exercises per muscle group. You’ll rotate these each workout for three separate workouts per muscle group (A1, B1, A2, B2, A3, B3). 

For example, bench press, incline bench press, and dips for chest. Or front squat, back squat, and leg press for quads. I’ve written a sample A1, B1 routine below. Follow the template to create two more workouts for A and B and you’re off and running.

I recommend following an every-other-day training split, which helps to optimize both recovery and muscular growth. You’ll alternate between two different workout templates – A and B, each with three variations.

It’ll look something like this:

MONTUESWEDTHURSFRISATSUN
WK 1A1B1A2B2
WK 2A3B3A1
WK 3B1A2B2A3

Other options include a 3-day split and a 4-day split.

For a 3-day split, choose the three days each week that you’re going to train, and follow the outline I just listed. Spread the workouts so that you’re not training two days in a row.

For four training sessions per week, I recommend training A1 and B1 on two consecutive days, rest one to two days, then A2 and B2 on two consecutive days, and so on.

Here’s the basic DC Training Template:

A Workout:

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Back (width)
  • Back (thickness)

B Workout:

  • Biceps
  • Forearms
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads

Sample Doggcrapp Workout A – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Back Width, & Back Thickness

Workout A

Flat Bench Press (chest) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1 set x 11-15 rest-pause reps

Standing Military Press (shoulders) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1 set x 11-20 rest-pause reps

Overhead Triceps Extension (triceps) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1 set x 15-30 rest-pause reps

Reverse-Grip (supinated), Narrow-Width Pulldown (back width) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1 set x 11-15 rest-pause reps

Landmine Row (back thickness) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1-2 sets x 6-12 reps

CHEST Exercises and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout of 11-15 rest-pause reps

Horizontal Pressing: Flat, Incline, or Slight Decline Bench Press, performed with a barbell, dumbbells, selectorized (weight stack) or plate-load machine, or Smith Machine

Flys: Flat, Incline, or Decline, performed with dumbbells, cables, or a pec deck

Chest Dips (torso leaned forward); add weight when possible

SHOULDER Exercises and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout of 11-20 rest-pause reps

Vertical Pressing: Seated or Standing Overhead (Military) Press, performed with a barbell, dumbbells, selectorized or plate-load machine, or Smith Machine

Tip: Start this exercise with a push press to get the barbell overhead. That rep doesn’t count, just gets the bar into a better position to begin the movement instead of starting with it across your chest.

Push Press, with a barbell or dumbbells

Behind-the-Neck Press – not my favorite, but can be a great exercise if you’ve got the mobility

Upright Row

Side Lateral Raise, performed with dumbbells or cables, standing, sitting, or lying on an incline bench

TRICEPS Exercises and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout of 15-30 rest-pause reps

Close-Grip Bench Press

JM Press

Triceps Dip (torso upright and tall) – add weight when possible

Skullcrusher, with a barbell or dumbbells

Overheard Triceps Extension, performed with dumbbells or cables

BACK WIDTH Exercises and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout or 11-15 rest-pause reps

Pull-ups or Chin-ups – add weight when possible, and vary your grip when you fail to progress for more than two weeks

Narrow or Wide-Grip Pulldowns, using either a pronated or supinated grip

Hammer Strength Pulldown

BACK THICKNESS Exercises and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout of 1-2 sets of 6-12 reps without rest-pause

Deadlift, performed with a standard or sumo stance. If you’re interested in hypertrophy over strength and a sumo deadlift is more comfortable for your back, choose a stance that is just outside your hands, not overly wide.

Rack Deadlift

Snatch-Grip Deadlift

Barbell Row

Dumbbell Row

Pendlay Row

T-bar Row, Chest-Supported Row, or Seal Row

Seated Cable Row

Machine Row

Doggcrapp Sample Workout B: Biceps, Forearms, Calves, Hamstrings, Quadriceps

Workout B

Barbell Biceps Curl (biceps) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1 set x 11-15 rest-pause reps

Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl (forearms) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1 set x 11-20 rest-pause reps

Standing Calf Raise (calves) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1 set x 15-30 rest-pause reps

Barbell Romanian Deadlift (hamstrings), Narrow-Width Pulldown (back width) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1 set x 11-15 rest-pause reps

Leg Press (quads) — 2-4 warmup sets — 1-2 sets x 6-12 reps

BICEPS Exercises and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout of 11-15 rest-pause reps

Seated, Standing, or incline Dumbbell Curl

Barbell Curl

Barbell Drag Curl

Cable Curl

Preacher Curl

Spider Curl

Concentration Curl

Machine Curl

Hammer Curl

FOREARM Exercises and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout of 10-30 reps to failure without rest-pause

Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Reverse Curl, performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or cables

Wrist Curl with a barbell or dumbells

Reverse Wrist Curl with a barbell or dumbells

CALF Exercises and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout of 1-2 sets of 10-20 reps

Tip: Perform a slow eccentric, static hold with full stretch at the bottom, followed by an explosive concentric with no hold at the top.

Standing Calf Raise with a Machine, Smith Machine, dumbbells, or with a chain belt and weight plate hung from your waist

Leg Press Calf Raise

Seated Calf Raise

For doing calves at home, my favorite tool is the Calf Block by Ironmaster.

HAMSTRINGS Exerciss and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout of 15-30 rest-pause reps

Romanian (RDL) or Stiff-Leg Deadlift (SLDL), performed with a barbell or dumbbells

Seated Hamstring Curl

Lying (Prone) Hamstring Curl (Leg Curl)

Good Morning

Glute-Ham Raise

Back Extension

QUADRICEPs Exercises and Protocol

Perform 1 exercise per workout of 1-2 sets of 6-12 reps to failure without rest-pause. Optional additional “widow-maker” set of 20-25 reps to failure after finishing your 1-2 straight sets.

Barbell Back Squat

Front Squat

Leg Press

Hack Squats

Pendulum Squat

Dumbbell or Barbell Lunge, forward, reverse, or walking

Step-Up, performed with dumbbells or a barbell

Leg Extension

Sissy Squat

Implementing the Cruising Phase

Doggcrapp is broken into two phases. A 6-to-8-week “blast phase,” followed by a 2-week “cruising phase.” During the cruising phase, cut your volume and frequency and perform straight sets to non-failure.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Doggcrapp training differ from traditional workouts?

While traditional workouts often focus on higher rep ranges, Doggcrapp training emphasizes low volume, progressive overload, heavy weight, and rest-pause training. This method allows for rapid strength and muscle gains while keeping the overall workout time relatively short.

Is Doggcrapp Training Suitable for Natural Bodybuilders?

Yes. In fact, it’s an ideal training protocol for natural bodybuilders. The system is designed to stimulate maximum muscle growth and strength while reducing the risk of overtraining. However, keep in mind that individual results may vary, and it’s essential to listen to your body and adapt the program to your specific needs and recovery capabilities.

How do myo reps fit into the Doggcrapp training approach?

Myo reps, a high-intensity training technique, can be integrated into the Doggcrapp approach to further increase intensity and promote muscle growth. Myo reps involve performing an initial activation set followed by several shorter “mini-sets” with reduced weight and minimal rest. This technique can be applied to isolation exercises or used as a substitute for rest-pause sets when appropriate. However, it’s essential to monitor your recovery and avoid overtraining when incorporating myo reps into your Doggcrapp routine.

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AUTHOR

Matt has been a Certified Personal Trainer for more than 18 years. He is also a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, has a master's degree in teaching, and is a former competitive powerlifter and CrossFit athlete. His passion is helping others get in shape from mid-life and beyond.

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