“The mind always fails first, not the body. The secret is to make your mind work for you, not against you.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Drop sets are a form of training that take muscles to absolute failure. Though they do nothing for strength gains (highly advised against athletes adopting this technique), they do wonders for muscle growth. Henry Atkins devised the method in the 1940’s, noting that a number of muscle fibers are used when performing training this way. I have used drop sets previously. I have found them to give a great post lift pump. Saying that, I have also found them to make my muscles scream. Seriously, I think I heard them once shouting at me to stop!
DTP Extreme drop sets take that feeling an intensifies it by a thousand. Even now, 5 days after working my chest, I am still feeling slight DOMS. My legs are only just back to normal after over 1,000 reps of squats, leg extensions, leg curls and deadlifts. I’m glad I didn’t go for a beer at the weekend, as my shoulders would not have allowed me to lift it to my mouth.
My struggles were added to with a week’s vacation in Vancouver (beautiful city, go if you get the chance). Some much needed mental debauchery between week’s 8 and 9 led to a 3 sessions of wanting to throw up during my first week back. I’m pleased to say that I didn’t, but there was more than one occasion when the thought of running to the bathroom was a tempting one. The high of completing these workouts was unrivalled. I’d compare it to a night out in my 20’s, knocking back shots and getting a the phone number of an attractive girl. How age can change a person’s priorities.
Training – Weights
Week 9 – DTP Extreme
Increasing the intensity from week 8, Kris Gethin wasted no time in smashing the shit out of my legs. 3 sets of 50, 40 and 30 leg extensions was a baptism of fire after a week of boozing, relaxing and eating anything that said “this is bad for you” on the label. In hindsight, the timing of starting this program could have been better. Still, no arguments for the mental benefits of being able to switch off and forget about life while sitting on a ‘clothing-optional’ beach.
Tweaking the DTP method, the pyramid system saw decreases of weight during the extreme portion. The first 2 weeks of DTP asked for taking the weight I could perform 20 reps on, lifting 5, resting for 5 seconds, lifting 10, resting 10. This continued up to a set of 30 reps. I was to fail at 5 reps with a weight that allowed me to do so for week 9. Rest periods in between sets increased to 6 seconds. From here, the weight dropped for 10, then 15 etc.
The feeling of wanting to throw up has been consistent throughout the program. The high volume leaves muscles gasping for oxygen, which is why cardio is so important. I haven’t felt this way during the program, barring leg day on week 3. During week 9 however, I could have let everyone know what I had for lunch everyday! Even with the increase in rest periods. I’ve never felt this way when working out. As a skinny fella, my cardio vascular capacity has been a lifelong strength. It certainly opened my eyes to having poor nutrition only in moderation.
AKA, make or break week. Drop sets at the best of times are tough. Performing them in a DTP Extreme capacity, they take normal men and test them to their limits. The body can hack it, but whether the mind can push through is another matter. Week 10 beats the mind up, there is no two ways about it. On top of the burning sensation of the muscles when performing in excess of 6-700 reps a workout, with no rets period, there is the DOMS. Muscle soreness lasting for 3-4 days will test your will. I’m pleased that my mind is in a place where I can fight through this. With thoughts of attempting a half marathon at the end of this year, that mindset will come in handy.
DTP Extreme drop sets involve the usual build up. A set of 30 to failure, then 25, then 20, all the way down to 5. The weigt increases with every set. On the way back down, a set of 5 is peformed to failure. The weight is then dropped and set of 10 is performed with no rest. Then 15, 20, 25 and 30. All with no rest in between. I felt that people who were resting in between their sets looking at me. It’s hard to say whether this was curiosity, wonder or thinking I was some chinless wonder, unsure of what I was doing. I’m not in a position to let this bother me. I can see the results I want in my mind and nothing will stand in the way.
Diet & Supplements
After a week of enjoying pizza, sausage, beer & wine, my body was gasping to re-hydrate and replenish with good food. In as little as a few days, my energy levels were back to what they needed to be, even if my food felt like re-appearing.
I mentioned in a previous post just how much better I feel for changing my regular meat intake to fish. At my age, I’m not in a position to take liberties in what I eat. Even if I never achieve the Calvin Klein model washboard stomach, the benefits to my mind, energy levels, work production and all-round feel good factor is something I need. I’d go as far as saying it’s something everyone needs. As nice as the short term hit of a McDonalds or a Five Guys is, it cannot replace the long term happiness associated with clean eating.
A word on cheat meals – I’ve taken to making my own. As a follower of The Body Coach on instagram, I see some great, quick healthy meal ideas. These taste delicious and give the feeling of eating a cheat meal, without the high levels of trans fat involved in those bites from a burger joint. My favourite has been home made chicken tenders, on a wheat roll, with oven baked sweet potato fries. Delicious!
I feel thicker. My back is starting to look wider and I’m really pleased with how my shoulders are starting to round out. Building new muscle is hard. A lot of people who can miraculously appear ripped within a few weeks are often bringing back muscle that they once had. Us skinny fella’s don’t have the same luxury. However, I’m satisfied with where I am right now.
- Fight the pain and think of the final outcome
- DON’T skip cardio. I know that this has been a constant message, but it is so important.