For more information on the Bulldozer style of training, please read:
Bulldozer Training: A Rest-Pause Muscle Building System And Tool
Several years ago I began to play around with rest-pause training. I would load up the bar, knock out a set, and rest for only a very short period of time before performing another set. It didn’t take long for me to realize one thing…rest-pause style training was both brutal and effective.
I was spending less time in the gym training but waking up with an incredible amount of DOMS (muscle soreness). Limiting rest between sets was also making my workouts far more engaging. I had no time to stop and think. Every workout felt like warfare. I would crush it, rest for a short period of time (never fully recovering), and get after it again.
Bulldozer Training Basics
Bulldozer training is structured around the following principles:
Limited Rest Between Sets. Rest between sets is typically 15 to 30 seconds, but can run as high as 60 seconds for certain compound exercises, or for extended set schemes.
Shorter, But More Intense Workouts. Because of the restricted rest between sets you will spend less time in the gym on any given day, but your workouts will have a greater “per rep” intensity*.
Fewer Exercises Per Bodypart. You won’t need 4 to 5 (or more) exercises to hit a bodypart hard. Bulldozer training uses a higher number of sets per exercise than most workouts, so you will generally use no more than 2-3 exercises for a given muscle group.
Weight Progression Using Rep Goal Totals. You will add up the total reps performed for a given exercise, and if it reaches a predetermined goal, weight will be added the next time you perform this lift.
Mini-Sets and Macro-Sets. Groups of sets for a given exercise are called mini-sets. They are distinguished with a different nomenclature because they are not performed like most sets, when fully recovered. Macro-Sets are groupings of mini-set clusters.
No Failure. Do not train sets to failure. Stop every mini-set when you feel like you may fail on the next rep. If you are not sure, stop the set and rack the weight.
Same Weight. Use the same working weight for each mini-set of a given exercise.
*Intensity in this context does not relate to absolute strength, but rather the burden placed upon a muscle as it relates to muscle fiber unit recruitment.
Bulldozer Set Example and Explanation
Bulldozer sets use the following style of annotation:
Bench Press x 7 with 30/30/45/45/60/60
For this example, you will perform 7 total sets using the following rest periods between sets:
Perform set 1, then rest 30 seconds
Perform set 2, then rest 30 seconds
Perform set 3, then rest 45 seconds
Perform set 4, then rest 45 seconds
Perform set 5, then rest 60 seconds
Perform set 6, then rest 60 seconds
Perform set 7. Rest, then move on to the next exercise.
Rep Goal System
Bulldozer training utilizes the rep goal system. The rep goal system is a progression approach I developed that tells you when it’s time to add weight to a particular exercise.
The rep goal system works like this…you simply count the total reps performed for a given Bulldozer exercise, and when this total reaches the predetermined “rep goal”, you add weight to that exercise the next time in the gym.
When to Add Weight – Add weight (the next time you perform this exercise) when you reach the rep goal total for a given exercise.
I do not recommend adding more than 5 pounds to a lift at any given time. There is no need to rush. Remember that muscle building is a marathon, not a sprint. Adding 5 pounds per week might not seem like much, but it could theoretically move your bench press from 135 pounds to well over 300 pounds in a given year. Obviously, this is not likely to happen, but the point remains…trust the process and add only 5 pounds per lift.
Finding a Starting Weight
When trying to find a starting weight for each exercise, pick something you could easily perform 10-12 reps with.
Bulldozer training is deceptively simple. Try a moderately light day to get the feel of the system before going full speed ahead. Resist the urge to add volume or exercises. Trust the process and train with common sense. The combination of rest-pause training and progressive resistance will yield some fairly impressive muscle.
Bulldozer Training 4 Day Workout Split
Day 1 – Chest and Triceps
Day 2 – Back, Biceps and Abs
Day 3 – OFF
Day 4 – Shoulders, Traps and Forearms
Day 5 – Quads, Hamstrings, Calves and Abs
Day 6 – OFF
Day 7 – OFF
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