In my last blog I mentioned that Dorian Yates only performed one working set per exercise. In this blog I will expand more. Dorian Yates took Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty Training concepts and perfected it, renaming it High Intensity Training. High Intensity Training is based around two main protocols. Firstly, you train a muscle intensely enough to stimulate growth, then you rest the body to allow growth to occur. This might seem obvious, yet even in 2017 with all the research into exercise some people still fail to give the body time to recover.
As far as one set per exercise is concerned, you don’t just perform one set and that’s it you do some preparation work first. Lets’ take chest training for example. Dorian Yates would warm up for ten minutes with some form of moderate cardiovascular work such as the Cross-trainer. He would then spend a further five to ten minutes performing upper-body mobility exercise to dynamically stretch out. Once he had done all of this he would move on to his first exercise. If that was the Incline Bench Press he would perform two warm up sets of 8- 10 reps. The first warm up set would be 50% of the weight for his main set. His second warm up set would be 75% of the weights. These sets wouldn’t be taken to muscular failure. He would then perform his main set for a minimum of 6 reps, only stopping when he could not physically perform one more rep. In total Dorian Yates would have performed three total sets of the first exercise but it would only be the last set that counted. The second exercise for chest would have one warm up set at 75% of the working weight, then he would perform his main set. His final two exercises for chest would go straight into his main set as his chest, shoulders and triceps were already warm enough. In total Dorian Yates performed 4 working sets for his chest. He would then train his Biceps with three exercises following the same principle. This might not seem like much, however with six straight Mr Olympia wins and only one second place finish in his first Mr Olympia competition who is to say he was wrong. As far as training frequency I have seen some articles that said Dorian Yates trained every other day and others that say he trained two days on one day off, two days on two days off. Whatever the truth is Dorian Yates made sure that he was fully recovered from one workout before performing another. As a professional bodybuilder Dorian Yates job when he was in the gym was to stimulate muscular growth and if he hadn’t recovered properly he couldn’t stimulate muscular growth.
It is worth noting that Dorian Yates was a professional bodybuilder, had he been a professional rugby player or professional boxer his gym training would have been very different. Athletes in other sports generally use gym training to improve performance rather than training specifically for muscle growth. Bodybuilders are athletes, the difference is that they train body parts instead of movement patterns.
Whatever your reasons are for taking up weight training keep your overall goals in mind and make sure your training program is designed to reflect those goals.