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.
- 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
DC Training is elegantly simple but effectively brutal. Keep the following in mind and you’ll be chasing down gains in no time.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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
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
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:
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:
- Back (width)
- Back (thickness)
Sample Doggcrapp Workout A – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Back Width, & Back Thickness
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
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
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.
T-bar Row, Chest-Supported Row, or Seal Row
Seated Cable Row
Doggcrapp Sample Workout B: Biceps, Forearms, Calves, Hamstrings, Quadriceps
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 Drag 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)
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.
Dumbbell or Barbell Lunge, forward, reverse, or walking
Step-Up, performed with dumbbells or a barbell
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.