Recently, someone asked me about my thoughts on tweaking the DC training program. He was having some difficulties getting his numbers up but was worried about not following the program to the letter. While I answer questions like this all the time, this one got me thinking about how unnecessarily complicated people make training out to be. And ironically, it was this exact same thing that started a miscommunication between my and the originator of DC training. We’re good friends now, but we started off on the wrong foot because of a misunderstanding. I'll tell the story and hopefully answer the question in the process.

Around 2001, DC training was first being written about online. Dante (the originator) never intended to release a training “program.” He replied on a training forum about why people don’t grow at the rate they want to, and the thread eventually grew to over 1000 pages.

Early on, when DC training was starting to grow in popularity, someone asked a bunch of really tedious, insignificant questions about little things like “where do you place your elbows when doing triceps press downs if the bar is two inches wider than the one you usually use?” My response was something along the lines of “Jeezus, it’s just weight lifting! Why does everyone have to make it so ridiculously complicated? It’s not rocket science. You lift hard, get stronger, eat more, and then grow. That’s all there is to it!”

Dante took it as a knock against his routine. That was all wrong. I was praising his routine because it isn’t rocket science. At its core, his routine is train harder, get stronger, eat more. The only response to that is for your muscles to get bigger.

I've trained with many top people over the years. I’ve literally trained with the strongest people on earth. I’ve trained with and competed with the best bodybuilders on earth. I’ve had discussions about their training, diet, and supplements. I have the actual printouts of all the “secret” supplement protocols that the top bodybuilders use. I know all the “secret” cycles that the strongest people in the world do before a meet. In all the time I’ve spent with those people, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about minute training details.

The one thing they all have in common is they don’t focus on the little details. They focus on going to the gym and lifting as heavy and hard as they can. They take pride in losing training partners on a weekly basis. They take pride in making sure “the new guy” doesn’t make it through his first squat session.

I’ve trained with Dante himself on multiple occasions. We even have some videos of it on YouTube. He’s a big dude. He’s always near 300 lbs and he isn’t fat by any means. Want to know how planned out our training sessions are? We decide what exercise to do about two minutes before we do it. Then whatever exercise we use, we make sure we do whatever it takes to get better, whether it be an extra rep on the first set of the rest pause, adding an extra 5-lb plate, holding the last rep’s negative a few seconds longer, or anything else that allows us to go to the log book and write down a new personal record next to that particular exercise.

Hard work is what pays off. The only thing you should ever really worry about is if you’re working hard enough. I’ve talked about this with many people over the years, but there is a very definite contrast in conversation between the “top guys” and the “local competitors.” Whenever I’ve spoken with a group of up and comers—the local guys just starting to do competitions—the conversation always revolves around the “secret” cycles, the exotic compounds, the rare products, the combination of supplements that only the “top guys” must know about. That’s always what the conversation turns to.

Whenever I’ve talked to the “top guys” in bodybuilding or powerlifting, the discussion is never about rare compounds or exotic products. It’s always about eating—how much, how often, what to eat, when, the time they spent $120 on breakfast at Bob Evans. That’s the difference. When I talk to Matt Kroc, we talk about food. After we talk about what to eat to get bigger, we talk about what training partner threw up after squats or deadlifts.

When a I meet a local guy at a show or at the gym, they never ask about food. It’s always about some exotic compound. The funny thing is nine times out of 10, I’ve never ever heard about the “magic” compound they’re talking about. I’m sure most of the top guys in the sport haven’t either probably because they were either in the process of chewing a big chunk of steak or their ears were ringing from the set of deadlifts they just finished.