David Henry, Cedric McMillan, Steve Kuclo, and Mark Dugdale—what do these four men have in common besides IFBB pro cards? Answer: They’ve all utilized DoggCrapp. However, only Henry has remained committed to DC year after year. Now as another DC acolyte, Dusty Hanshaw, plots the final leg of his own journey to the IFBB Pro League, the question is, Should he continue toiling under ever-heavier iron DC-style or adopt a more traditional routine? And more to the point, should you be doing DoggCrapp all of the time, sometimes, or should you take the name as a warning and steer clear?
After winning the super-heavy class at the 2010 NPC Junior Nationals and finishing fifth (ahead of Steve Kuclo) the next month at the USA Championships—his first pro qualifier—no super’s stock was rising faster than Dusty Hanshaw’s. He stayed off stages for 16 months, though; and some predicted the resulting physique he unveiled at last November’s NPC Nationals would bring home the heaviest hardware. Not so fast. At 250, he was 18 pounds lighter than when previously seen, and so peeled that he seemed to have been turned inside out, but the subtractions had deflated him. His legs, especially, were undersized. In the aftermath, questions resounded as to whether DoggCrapp was limiting his progress and whether he should scrap it for more volume and variety.
Both Hanshaw and DoggCrapp creator Dante Trudel contend the former’s under-sizing was a result of over-conditioning in his Nationals prep. He succeeded in becoming the most high-def super-heavy on stage, but he catabolized too much muscle in the process. Trudel plots out only Hanshaw’s weight training, and both contend his wheels were fully inflated before and after the Nationals. They went flat because of too few carbs and too much cardio, not DoggCrapp.
Though his legs deflated because of his contest prep, Hanshaw isn’t satisfied with where they were last off-season. He wants to trade them in for a bigger pair. Over the 12 months between last year’s Nationals and this year’s Nationals, priority No. 1 is filling out his lower half to match his upper. “With legs, I got really focused on beating the numbers [of his previous best lifts],” he admits, ”but it became more about beating the numbers in powerlifting than bodybuilding.”
Trudel explains the hellish quad regimen he recently plotted out to transfer the focus away from the metal and onto the muscles. “Every leg movement—whether hack squat, squat, leg press, Smith squat, front squat, etc.—is going to be a count of four seconds down. There will be a two-second pause at the very bottom, and then he’ll raise up—not too explosively, but simply power up. And that will be ‘one rep.’ I made Dusty start with a paltry 135 pounds on squats. I’m going to brainwash him with light weights that this is the cadence, this is the way legs will be trained from now on: four seconds down, two in the bucket, power up. That’s going to become second nature to him, and with that he can start up the progressive ladder again.”
“He’s slowing me down so I’m no longer using the hips and connective tissue to move weights,” Hanshaw states. “It’s all on the muscle, and the time under tension is going through the roof. It’s taking time to get used to it. I have my training partner count out all my negatives and not match my pace.” Then he adds with a laugh, “It’s torture.”
Trudel details just how agonizing it is: “It’s an all-out blitzkrieg on legs, hitting them twice every eight days. Day 1 is based on a revolving trio of hacks, squats, and either front squats or Smith machine squats. That’s followed by high-rep, heavy, deep leg presses and the adductor machine. Day 2 starts with bike work and two sets of higher-rep leg presses, and then it’s three sets of 100-yard, heavy walking lunges. On days he doesn’t feel up to either of those workouts, he says, ‘Hey, let’s set my personal record for 35-rep squats using the four-second down, two-second pause, and power-up method.’ It’s going to be brutal, but it’s going to bring results. Dusty will strangely love it—the guy is a gladiator—and I’m going to crack the whip.”
Hanshaw originally did traditional workouts, but he began reading about DoggCrapp and, as he says, he pestered Trudel in late 2007 about working with him until the DC guru gave in and mapped out a program for him. Hanshaw has stuck to a DC regimen ever since. “The changes I made once I started working with him were night and day,” he says. “I had done enough homework and had a good enough feel about Dante, so I told him, ‘I’m not going to hire you for your expertise and then alter it.’ I stuck to his program to the letter. Most people take bits and pieces, and then they claim DC training doesn’t work even though they didn’t really follow it. They’re essentially saying that using 10% of DC training didn’t work or they didn’t give it time to work.”
Although Trudel doesn’t have a problem with bodybuilders choosing to utilize certain DC principles like rest-pause, widow makers, and extreme stretches without committing to the whole protocol, he does think DC is the best program for the long haul. “I think DC is a long-term philosophy. Try your best to keep progressive and injury-free. Growing stronger for reps is the ultimate key to training.”
IS IT FOR YOU?
The question remains: Is DoggCrapp, with its emphasis on continuous strength gains in the 11–15 rep range, the right system for you? Trudel contends, “It works better for organized and regimented people. They grasp the concept and how to get from point A to point B the quickest. The worst people doing DC are the young guys, because their training is built on ‘I want it now, and I want it fast.’ People who are 25 and up and have been around the gym for a while, they get it. They realize to hypothetically get up a mountain, you plan your course and pace yourself to get to the top. The young guys want it so badly that they try to sprint up the mountain and you find them clinging to a tree one-tenth of the way up gasping for air. They’ll repeat that scenario many times until they finally realize having a game plan is the way you actually make it to the top.” Though Trudel believes most under-25 bodybuilders don’t grasp the long-range nature of DC, he also cautions that bodybuilders over 35 should raise their rep ranges to avoid injuries while training progressive.
Hanshaw is blunt in his assessment that most people simply can’t hack it. “I don’t recommend it for most bodybuilders. First, you have to commit to it and run it the way it is. Second, if you don’t have it in you to train to your true physical barrier it’s not going to be enough for you. There’s definitely a difference between mental failure and physical failure. Mental failure is that point where you think you can’t do anymore. Physical failure is two or three reps after that. You have to have the ability to turn your mind off and keep going. So if you stop at mental failure, then there’s no way there’s enough volume. Honestly consider your own mind-set and body, and do what you think works for you.”
THE NEXT DC PRO?
Hanshaw knows what works for him, but we’ll have to wait until Nov. 16–17 to see whether the changes Trudel made to Hanshaw’s workouts fully inflate his wheels and fill out a physique no super-heavy can out-muscle. Hanshaw has the blueprints. One is the 12-month journey Todd Jewell traveled from ninth-place super in 2010 to overall Nationals champ in 2011. Another is a diet protocol from nutritionist Chris Aceto. And the third, and the one he says he’s committed to for as long as he has a gym membership, is DoggCrapp, the unfortunately named workout system that he is confident will grow him into the big league.
Air Force Master Sergeant Henry was deployed for six months last year and was unable to compete, but he’s now raring to pose in the new 212 division. “I told him, ‘If you want to beat Kevin English, you’re going to have to beat him at his own game [size], because you’re beating him on symmetry and conditioning.’ I’m pretty sure you’ll see the biggest Dave Henry ever next time he’s onstage.”
The 2009 Nationals champ, had an up (Europa Show of Champions, 1st) and a down (New York Pro, 11th) in 2011; and he’s looking to establish himself as a top-tier pro in 2012. “I helped Cedric training-wise about two years ago, and he got very big. Then he got away from it. A few months ago he looked at video from ’09 and wanted to get back to what got him to the dance, so I wrote up his training. Since then he’s put on 35 pounds. I don’t think many pros are going to like standing next to him at his next contest.”