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View Full Version : My Greatest Gains Ever: Dave Tate - What do you guys think?



Detard
06-22-2009, 09:31 PM
This is one of the newer articles on the EFS site. I'm interested as to what you guys think of this training. I know it's not ideal by any means for powerlifting, but i'm not a huge fan of the "bodybuilding" section of these forums, so thats why I post it here. I also dont plan on giving this program a try, I just am interested in all types of training, so I wanted to get some thoughts about it.

http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/my_greatest_gains_ever_dave_tate


My Greatest Gains Ever: Dave Tate
by Nate Green


Everyone's experienced that magical patch of time where they can do no wrong in the weight room. Heavy weight goes up with ease. Muscle packs on by the pound. Plateaus are blasted through, and new records are set. It hits, it sticks, and then it's gone. But it leads to the greatest gains you've ever had.

Whether it lasts one workout or a few weeks, most muscleheads are only lucky enough to experience it a few times in their life.

We asked TMUSCLE strength specialist Dave Tate how he achieved his greatest gains, and asked for the program that transformed him.

"The Idea Was Planted and I Just Couldn't Let It Go."

A few years ago, Tate was talking to Eric Serrano, his doctor and friend, about massive hypertrophy. "Serrano said something that caught my attention and put one and one together for me," says Tate. "According to some experiments he'd done with a select group of bodybuilders, he'd determined that maximum hypertrophy may take place when the muscle is under tension between thirty and forty-five seconds."

What may not seem like a big deal to most was an epiphany for Tate.

"Most guys who try to achieve that duration of tension will focus on the reps and how long each one should take," says Tate. "I took it differently and just decided to go for time."

So Tate made a four-week program with absolutely no repetition guidelines.

"Before this program my average sets usually lasted like 10 seconds," he says. "This was going to be hell and I knew it."

At the end of the four weeks, Tate had gained 10 pounds of muscle and looked harder and leaner than ever. His Extended Tension training program was officially born.

Extended Tension The Program

Tate's program consisted of four workouts per week, with one day of rest between each workout. He split his body as a typical bodybuilder might, and hit every muscle group twice per week.
The Split
Day 1 Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
Day 2 Off
Day 3 Legs, Back, Biceps
Day 4 Off
Day 5 Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
Day 6 Off
Day 7 Legs, Back, Biceps
Day 8 Off

Tate picked only two exercises per muscle group per day, and made sure they were movements he could do without a spotter. "I picked leg presses over squats, and dumbbell bench presses over any barbell work," he says. "You can't do barbell presses because you'll knock your ****ing head off. You gotta be able to bail. A squat would be horrible, too. I'm not saying you couldn't do it, but you probably wouldn't be able to do the rest of the workout. It'd be that demanding."

Tate also picked different movements for the same muscle group. For instance, on Day 1 he'd do flat dumbbell bench presses for chest, and on Day 5 he'd do incline or decline dumbbell bench presses for chest. But Tate urges lifters not to get caught up in the details.

"The movement really doesn't matter; it's the tension the muscles are under for that time."

Every movement was done for 30 seconds at first, and then increased by five seconds every week.

Sound easy? Think again.

"It sucks," he admits. "Next time you go into the gym, try it. Trust me, you have no idea how long 30 seconds really is. Thirty seconds when you're having sex feels like five seconds. Thirty seconds when you're in a middle of a balls-to-the-wall set feels like an hour."

Sample Workouts

Day 1 Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
Exercise
Sets

Time Under Tension

Rest
Flat dumbbell bench press
3

30 seconds

90 seconds
Machine flye
3

30 seconds

90 seconds
Dumbbell shoulder press
3

30 seconds

90 seconds
Dumbbell lateral raise
3

30 seconds

90 seconds
Dumbbell triceps extension
3

30 seconds

90 seconds
Triceps pressdown
3

30 seconds

90 seconds

Day 3 Legs, Back, Biceps
Exercise
Sets

Time Under Tension

Rest
Leg press
3

30 seconds

90 seconds
Stiff-legged deadlift
3

30 seconds

90 seconds
Chest-supported row
3

30 seconds

90 seconds
Wide-grip lat pulldown
3

30 seconds

90 seconds
Barbell curl
3

30 second

90 seconds
Hammer curl
3

30 seconds

90 seconds

Day 5 Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

Use different exercises from Day 1.

Day 7 Legs, Back, Biceps

Use different exercises from Day 3.

Loading

On each exercise, use a moderately heavy weight on the first two sets about what you could lift for 12 to 15 reps. Use about 50% of that weight on the third set, and go for as many reps as you can get in the designated amount of time.

Tate suggests taking a week to figure out what weights you should be using. "I wanted a moderate tempo," he says. "Thirty reps isn't going to make you big. I wanted to fall somewhere between 12 and 15 reps, because that's where I grow the fastest. But remember, it's not about how many reps you do. Just go heavy and bang 'em out."

Tate would also position himself near a clock to keep track of the time. "You can't do it with a wris****ch," he says. "You never know when the damn thing will beep. If you're busting through the set, you have to see where you're at and readjust."

Tate also knew how to make the set harder.

"If the weight felt heavy and I knew there was no way I was going to make it for the full time, I'd start doing static holds, partial reps, or just flex harder at the top for a peak contraction," he says. "You've got to do anything to make the time."

Conversely, if he went too light, he'd lift the weight more slowly to tire himself out.

Progression

Each week, Tate added five seconds to the time under tension. So his progression looked like this:

Week 1 30 seconds
Week 2 35 seconds
Week 3 40 seconds
Week 4 45 seconds

Once he found the perfect weight, Tate never increased it. "If I used 100-pound dumbbells for week one, I used 100-pound dumbbells for weeks two through four," he says. "The five-second increase every week is enough progression."

Rest Periods

Tate did a 1:3 work-to-rest ratio. So if his set lasted 30 seconds, he'd rest for 90 seconds.

Final Words

More often than not, a serious lifter's gains can be attributed to changing something in his program, providing his body with a new stimulus. On the other hand, when a lifter gets stuck in a period of muscular stagnation, his first instinct is often to go back to a program that worked well in the past, rather than trying something new.

So it made sense to ask Tate if he'll ever do this program again.

"Hell no! It was hard as ****. I'll just move on to the next program that'll kick my ass."

MarcusWild
06-22-2009, 10:02 PM
That could make a useful guideline for accessory work.

vdizenzo
06-22-2009, 10:41 PM
I thought the same thing. Could be worth a try. Then again, Dave is doing everything right along with this, I think any training would work in that situation.

Brad08
06-23-2009, 07:19 AM
So he switched from heavy, low-rep work to lighter high-rep work, and made gains. What's the question?

vdizenzo
06-23-2009, 07:57 AM
So he switched from heavy, low-rep work to lighter high-rep work, and made gains. What's the question?

I have trained with or around Dave 3 times now. He has been doing very little if any heavy weight low rep work.

Detard
06-23-2009, 08:03 AM
Brad - there is no question, I just thought it was a good read, and posted it for some discussion.

I never really gave much thought to the whole time under tension thing. Thats why I was interested in getting some more info about it.

MarcusWild
06-23-2009, 11:18 AM
Brad - there is no question, I just thought it was a good read, and posted it for some discussion.

I never really gave much thought to the whole time under tension thing. Thats why I was interested in getting some more info about it.

I think time under tensions matters. I always try to setup my ME movements so the TUT is the same or greater than a competition lift. I think this is where a lot of people go wrong with shirted boards. If you always do singles to a 2-bd, then you're not getting enough TUT. You should be doing doubles off the 2-bd. Same deal if you're doing rack pulls. You should do 2-3 reps so you get enough TUT. That's not to say there's never a time to do a single 3-bd to overload your CNS and get ready for heavier weights. It's just doing a full workout of 3-bd singles isn't really going to do a lot for you.

Now Dave us using TUT for a different reason. He's using the optimal time to promote hypertrophy.

Hazerboy
06-23-2009, 02:23 PM
I didn't find the article very surprising. This is COMPLETELY different from how he's been training for -what? 15, 20 years? Of course he's going to put on some serious mass.

Though I'd probably give it a try at some point anyways.

Tom Mutaffis
06-23-2009, 03:28 PM
This is nothing new; these programs have been around for a while and they do make practical sense.

Any type of training to failure will produce gains - high intensity (heavier) weights will produce more strength gains whereas lower intensity (weight) exercises will lead more toward hypertrophy.

Along the lines of what Vincent said, Dave Tate pays great attention to his diet and other factors as well. He could probably do just about any training program and realize some pretty good gains, especially with his powerlifting strength base and genetics.

It is always good to mix things up though and this could be a great program for someone looking for hyptertrophy who typically only spends 15-30 seconds under tension.

robchris
06-24-2009, 09:08 PM
What's this?? Dave Tate BBing!!??

Vin, say it aint so!

Detard
06-24-2009, 09:23 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I used a stop watch to time a few of my sets. Usually a heavier set of 10, will take me about 30 seconds or so. It kinda put things into perspective for me.

I also agree that no matter what program he is on, he can make some huge gains just on the basis of his diet, rest, etc..

chris mason
06-25-2009, 10:39 AM
In a way, this brings up an interesting point. There are some larger professional and national level bodybuilders who are VERY strong in the bench and the squat. These guys have raw lifts that are on par with some of the best powerlifters (not the VERY best, but the upper echelon).

Now, said bodybuilders certainly don't train like powerlifters. They don't normally train specifically for strength in the sense that they use higher rep sets.

This is actually a very interesting topic to me, but one which requires more writing than I have time for right now. I will say here that the extreme hypertrophy exhibited by said bodybuilders definitely aids their raw strength and training for hypertrophy is something that should be a greater part of the consideration for any strength athlete (I know about weight classes, different point - I am speaking of optimizing one's strength).

Brad08
06-25-2009, 10:55 AM
In a way, this brings up an interesting point. There are some larger professional and national level bodybuilders who are VERY strong in the bench and the squat. These guys have raw lifts that are on par with some of the best powerlifters (not the VERY best, but the upper echelon).

Now, said bodybuilders certainly don't train like powerlifters. They don't normally train specifically for strength in the sense that they use higher rep sets.

This is actually a very interesting topic to me, but one which requires more writing than I have time for right now. I will say here that the extreme hypertrophy exhibited by said bodybuilders definitely aids their raw strength and training for hypertrophy is something that should be a greater part of the consideration for any strength athlete (I know about weight classes, different point - I am speaking of optimizing one's strength).


You might also consider that some of these "professional and national level bodybuilders" likely have above average genetics for strength and muscular development. They too are the cream of the crop of their sport.