- Everything works
- Not everything works optimally
- Nothing works forever
Dan was a great thinker. He is responsible for a lot of advancements in the field of bodybuilding nutrition, supplements and performance-enhancing drugs. In those areas I would put a lot of trust into what he is saying.
However he never was known as a ‘‘trainer’’. That’s not to say that his idea do not have any merit. For example, his exercise recommendation is not unlike what Dorian Yates did. In the later stage of his career he would perform one work set for 4-6 exercises per muscle group.
I agree with Dan’s premise that his (Dan’s) system would not lead to a lot of neural adaptations. But the question is, does this lack of focus on the neural adaptations actually means more muscle growth? Some thoughts:
Muscle growth is all about progression, some peoples call it progressive overload. And progressive overload requires you to first become neurally efficient in a movement. Only when you have reached a high level of neural efficiency will you be able to stimulate maximal growth. Why? Because…
To stimulate as much growth as possible you need to maximize fast-twitch/high threshold motor units recruitment. To do this, you must become neurally efficient.
I really believe that to stimulate maximal muscle growth you have to progressively overload the muscles. And this requires actually progressing on the lifts you are performing. If your bench press goes from 225 x 10 to 315 x 10 your chest, shoulders and triceps will be much bigger. But it’s kinda hard to progress on a movement if you never stick to it.
Trust me, everything that can be tried to build strength and size has been tried! For example I am currently reading old books from the early 1900s and found several ‘‘new’’ exercises like the floor press. What I am saying is that the type of training that Dan talks about has obviously been tried by several peoples in the past, yet it has not really stood the test of time or became popular. While it isn’t a proof of anything, it does seems to show that it wasn’t all that effective otherwise it would be very popular nowadays.
Hello Christian, CT, Thib, whatever you like to be called,
I have been following your writings for quite some time and I would credit you with teaching me a great deal through your writings. I am sure you are well versed in A LOT of bodybuilding literature throughout the years.
Do you remember the articles in which Dan Duchaine advocated never repeating an exercise for more than one set? He stated for instance, that if you are going to do 8 -12 sets for a muscle group, that is usually spread out over 9 - 12 exercises, it is more beneficial to perform all sets spread out over 9 to 12 exercises for only 1 set each. He stated this would lead to more rapid size progress and less neural adaption, something he stated he was not concerned about much, if at all. I was considering trying this for a week, partially to take it easy for a week and to entertain myself and to see how it felt.
What do you think of this? I mean, I would find it annoying, changing exercises EVERY set for 9 sets!
Keeping track of the poundages of 9 sets for a muscle group? That is a lot of record keeping if you train two muscle groups at a time. I guess a chest workout using pre-exhaust could look like this:
Pec Deck fly
Incline dumbbell press
Hammer Strength machine flat press
HS machine decline press