Dramatic Transformation Principle

Today I tried a crazy workout I read about online. It’s called the Dramatic Transformation Principle and is a huge single-exercise workout.

Better Bodies On Tour DTP training from Smith Tree on Vimeo.

Basically, you take a single exercise and do it about a billion times. I’m barely exaggerating. You do 12 sets total, starting at 50 reps and going to 40, 30, 20, 10, 5 and then back up: 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50. You get one minute recovery between each set. The goal is to work with the heaviest weight you can handle for those reps, but if you can’t complete, you can drop down to the next lower weight. According to a write-up on bodybuilding.com*, “DTP targets both the fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers in order to both enhance and define your muscle. It provides an overflow of nutrient rich blood to the muscle group you are training to provide a fuller appearance and more separation to the physique, at the same time increasing the heart rate and the intensity to burn fat and build muscle as well.”

I was supposed to work my back today, but often after lat pulldowns I end up with a really sore neck, so I decided to go with chest-supported incline rows. I suspect I used my shoulders (rear delts) more than I should, but those could use work too so I’m ok with that. I actually love rows but I wanted to add in the chest support so that I wasn’t sagging, twisting or doing anything crazy as I got fatigued.

Does this look like fun? (And yes, I am that girl who hogs all the weights. There was no one else around!)

So how did I do?

50 – did 50x15lbs
40 – did 31x20lbs, dropped to 9x15lbs
30 – did 22x20lbs, dropped to 8x15lbs
20 – did 20x20lbs. As the number of reps got shorter, I had more confidence to grab heavier weight
10 – did 10x25lbs
5 – did 5x30lbs. Hurray! Now to work back up..
5 – did 4x35lbs, 1x30lbs
10 – did 10×30. Hey, this is more than on the way up! But I knew I wouldn’t squeeze out 20×30
20 – did 13x25lbs, 7x20lbs
30 – did 21x20lbs, 9x15lbs. By this time it was even tough to pick up the weights to re-rack them on my breaks…
40 – did 35x15lbs, 5x12lbs
50 – did 50x12lbs

For a total of 310 rows!

I was absolutely spent afterwards. I seriously just sat and stared at the wall for a moment. It was definitely a challenging workout. I think I pushed harder than I ever have before, lifting? The combination of both endurance and power was tough, and I was thankful there weren’t too many people around the women’s free weights as I struggled to complete my sets. Yes, even those 12lbs weights by the end were a struggle!

After I collected myself, I did some abs, and I actually came to muscle fatigue reasonably quickly (usually I give up on abs out of boredom). I think I did a good job at using up my resources so that the rest of my workout counted even more! After my ab work, I felt that good exhaustion, the kind that makes you just want to close your eyes and let your body recover. I updated my FB status about it, and a friend made a comment that “at least my thumbs weren’t tired” but I will admit it took some focus to get my hands to work: holding the dumbbells for that long, even with gloves, had also taken a toll.

I gobbled down a protein drink (with creatine and BCAAs), a protein bar and headed over to AllSports Recovery Club – I earned it!

*There was actually a series written about some guy who did this workout on various body parts: DTP – Changing Bodies and Lives.


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