12 Week Muscle Builder – Weeks 5-8. Ramp up the Intensity.


“Stimulate growth with intensity, load and isolation, then go home to grow.” – Dorian Yates

One thing I remember about doing the 12 week muscle builder previously, is that despite the build up in volume during first half of the program, nothing could have prepared me for the intensity that was required during the final 6 weeks.  Nothing prepared me for the near vomit-inducing, muscle splitting, lung busting workouts that were to come.  Second time round, it was no different.  DTP is fucking insane.  Program creator Kris Gethin does a good enough job in preparing you as best as possible.  Incceasing the volume as the weeks go by and including a video everyday with tips and his performance during the program.  Still…

You learn a lot about yourself performing over 700 reps of squat variations in one workout.  How strong you are mentally.  How far your body can push itself before giving in and just how much of a high it is coming through a workout like that.  Walking properly the next day is not an option. There is no doubt that my mindset is where I want it to be.  I’m salivating at the thought of each workout now, picturing crushing the weights in my hands.  I can feel my muscles splitting with every rep.  The pump is a sight to be seen.

Training – Weights


Week 5 – GVT

German Volume Training (GVT) was created by the German’s (no shit!) during the 1970’s.  The idea behind it is performing 10 sets of 10 reps on each exercise, with only a 60 second rest between each set.  It has come in for a bit of a hammering in recent years, with research suggesting that any more than 5 sets of the same weight and rep range is actually detrimental to muscle.  That said, enough bodybuilders have used it in the past successfully and Gethin determined that it was suitable enough to be included.

Whereas most weeks it is suggested that I work to failure, GVT does not allow that.  At least not every set.  The weight used should be a weight that failure is reached at 20 reps.  By set 6-8, this really takes it’s toll.  I was “rest-pausing my arse off”, to quote Gethin.  Form got sloppy, as I was struggling, especially on the pressing movements, to bring my arms down as much as I needed.  I looked like a human trifle when I performed shoulder presses.

Week 6 – HIT

Dorian Yates is a legendary name in the world of body building.  He has built his reputation on performing just ONE set of 8-12 reps, per exercise.  This was named High Intensity Training (HIT).  The thought process behind it is that all of your intensity, your focus and your mind-muscle connection goes into a single set to stress the muscle as much as possible.  It takes a particular mindset in order to achieve that level of concentration, with daily meditation highly advised to aid this.

With that in mind, Gethin devised this week to include 2 sets per exercise.  For regular gym goers like you and me, this allows for any slip ups in the intensity.  After the high volume training of weeks 3, 4 and 5, this almost felt like a week off during the workout.  Afterwards, the story was the same, leg day especially.  Like a man in desperate need of the lavatory, DOMS were felt to full effect.  I have such a love-hate relationship with leg workouts.  Though I come out of the session feeling like a machine, the struggles of walking are not fun.  I hobble around on the soccer field for the next 2 days.  The kids I work with must think I’m doing a Mr. Bean impression.

Week 7 & 8 – DTP

The first 6 weeks of the program are to prepare for this.  Dramatic Transformation Principle (DTP) training was designed to make men cry.  It has to have been.  Though I have benefitted from the positive effects of it before, that doesn’t make it any easier.  Performing as many as 12 sets on one exercises, all with varying rep ranges and loads takes a man into some deep dark places.  I don’t think I’ve wiped my brow so much since I met Natalie Portman back in 2007!

For weeks 7 & 8, the sets went as follows.

  • 1 x 30 reps, 1 x 25, 1 x 20, 1 x 15, 1 x 10, 1 x 5 (60 seconds rest between each set)

It is important that the weight was increased with every set, so that they were performed to muscular failure.  That is, not being able to perform another rep.  After that, I selected the weight I could perform 20 reps at and did the following

  • 1 x 5 reps (5 second rest), 1 x 10 (10 sec rest), 1 x 15 (15 secs), 1 x 20 (20 secs), 1 x 25 (25 secs), 1 x 30

Naturally, I lightened the load when I reached 25 (sometimes 20).  As Gethin wants focus on all areas of a muscle group (for example, upper, middle and lower pecs), all areas were targeted with this pyramid style rep and set range.

This type of training demands good cardio.  I felt like throwing up on more than one occasion, my lungs gasping for oxygen at the end of every set.  Despite the air conditioning, I have been sweating profusely through every workout, even with muscles as small as the biceps.

Diet & Supplementation

With my issues with feeling bloated, I spoke to a friend who suffers from gluten intolerance.  He suggested that I limit the food I was eating and drink juice only for a few days.  This would allow me to see which food was causing me issues by inroducing them slowly.  With these workouts however, limiting carbs was not an option.  Instead I chose to switch out the pasta for quinoa & sweet potatoes and change all meat (turkey, chicken and steak) to fish.

It’s amazing how much different I felt for the better.  There is plenty of evidence out there to suggest that meat is not the best friend of a human’s insides (article).  There is a big difference in the way our teeth are formed compared to natural carnivores .  We also lack the necessary acid to break meat down.  I was never one for believing this, being a fully fledged meat eater.  Consider me a believer now.

That’s not to say I will be eliminating meat entirely.  It’s tough to beat a good steak with a glass of red wine.  Fish will be my main protein source however.  My energy levels feel far better, I’m sleeping better and still getting the necessary protein hit to repair and rebuild my muscles.

I am finding quinoa far easier to digest than rice and pasta.  I can eat the same volume, but feel less full, less bloated and have less of a dry mouthh afterwards.  It is slightly more expensive, but for the sake of a dollar, I think I can prioritize my health on this one.  If you have never tried it, it also has a high protein content for a grain.  This is helping  me  reach the necessary amount of macros on a daily basis.


I’m very happy with the results.  Ignoring the farmers tan lines (a necessary evil of my job), my arms are looking bigger and feeling tighter in t-shirt sleeves.  My chest is looking more defined and my back is getting back to where it should be.  Of all the areas, it’s my shoulders that I most pleased with.  They are looking rounder and fuller.  The program targets shoulders on their own most weeks and the results are there for all to see.


  • Eat!  Carbs are your friend with workouts like this.  Don’t limit them.
  • Don’t skip the cardio.  Even on leg day, when you will be struggling to walk, it is an absolute must to supply the relevant amount of oxygen to your lungs and muscles with the high reps.




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Comments 7

  • Great work. That workout looks quite difficult but I imagine would give great results. That’s also great to include food intake to improve your success and how you feel.

  • What a great workout! I’m working on switching things up with my routine right now and transitioning to strictly HIIT workouts.

    • Good choice. The last 2 programs I have done have included HIIT cardio and it really has a positive impact on cardio vascular capacity in comparison to steady state, in a fraction of the time.

      May I also suggest considering Cardio Acceleration as an alternative. 60 minutes in teh gym with no rest, even between sets of weights. I felt like a machine when this was a regular part of my training.

  • Thank yo for this post. My sons have started working out and are doing some of the same things you are. Your article expands in a positive direction. Will definitely have the boys read this article.

  • Great read! How many minutes is the recommended resting time after doing 1 set?

    • It varies Jeff. Ideally it would be 60 seconds between 30 & 25 reps, then add 15 seconds every time the weight increases. Personally I aim for 60 seconds every set, due to trying to keep my time at the gym as tight as possible. Some days I will stick to the recommended rest periods, based on my energy levels. Definitely no longer than 2 minutes.

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