Bodybuilding legend Dorian Yates he stood out from the crowd during his professional competition days with his intense training methods. The English talent has led one of the most successful careers in the IFBB Pro League going against the grain when it comes to training philosophy. In a recent interview with Fitness escapedYates explained why squats aren’t necessary for muscle growth and started training four days a week for Mr. Olympia contests.
Dorian Yates has risen to prominence for his shocking muscularity, size and stellar conditioning as a contender at the Mens Open. He unquestionably exhibited the best back muscle development of any competitor in the history of the sport. After taking silver in his Olympia debut, Yates secured his first Sandow trophy in 1992. He proved to be a dominant champion racking up a total of six Mr. Olympia wins through 1997.
Yates was notorious for staying out of the spotlight in the offseason and only making his presence known for competition. His tendency to stay aloof and avoid media attention has earned him the nickname The Shadow. While most bodybuilders used the traditional approach of working for a fixed number of sets and reps, Yates focused on pushing himself to near failure in every single training session.
In November 2022, Yates reflected on the beginnings of his bodybuilding journey as a troubled teenager in prison. He opened up about the intense mindset he adopted where he was completely obsessed with bodybuilding. He credited the sport for helping change his life at a crucial point.
Bodybuilding veteran Rich Gaspari compared the backs of Yates and reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan to critique “The Persian Wolf” last December. He used the comparison to show that levels of conditioning had dropped significantly from one era to the next.
Dorian Yates maintains a high level of personal fitness. He reported excellent results after undergoing a health checkup and VO2 max test earlier this year. Although he was in his 60s, his biological age was estimated to be between 30 and 39 years old.
The Shadow offered barbell rows with an underhand grip as his favorite exercise for building a jacked back two months ago. Hence, he stressed the importance of maintaining proper nutrition and rest to optimize hormonal balance.
In another offering to fans, Yates provided some of his own high-intensity training techniques to increase the difficulty of the workouts. His next update has encouraged his fans to focus on completing a full range of motion and using slow negatives to boost muscle growth in the lower body.
Related: Ten Ways to Power Up Your Squat
Dorian Yates explains why you don’t need to squat
In a recent YouTube video, Dorian Yates explained why you don’t need to include squats in your workout plan.
I always ask why. That’s a big thing for me,” Yates said. “Squats are the best thing for the legs, everyone says. Why? All right, let me try something else. damaged my hip, so I had to try something else and found out you can do it another way. You don’t need to do squats. Everyone was working out six days a week and 20 sets and all this Arnold-era stuff and it made no sense to me.
Yates revealed that he follows the teachings of Arthur Jones, founder of Nautilus, regarding the frequency of workouts and the achievement of muscle growth.
I’ve read the writings of Arthur Jones who is the guy who built the Nautilus machines and looked into the real science of building muscle and such and Mike Mentzer obviously brought that high intensity training forward. So, he made logical sense to me. Then when I applied it in the gym, making notes and so on, I had great feedback from day one. I have noticed that if I train more often or increase the volume and time in the gym, I stop progressing. Okay, let me rest a couple days and go back to a more abbreviated routine, work out three days a week, no more than an hour, boom, start growing again. There is feedback.
Yates trained 4 days a week for Mr. Olympia
The Shadow revealed that he only trained four days a week with a maximum of one hour per session for the Mr. Olympia contests.
I was training three days a week initially when I started training because I was also working out and couldn’t catch up on training any more often than that. This is what the feedback showed me, so I listened to it. Later, training for Mr. Olympia, I was training four days a week and max one hour in the gym.
People struggle with this because they don’t understand the key. The key to stimulating muscle growth is the intensity of the exercise and the fact that you are progressively overloading and giving your body something it is not used to and needs to react to. Muscle growth is just a reaction to a stress that the body is trying to protect itself from.
The 61-year-old presented a straightforward approach to building muscle with efficient training and recovery.
This is the process, stimulation, overload, recovery, after recovery, overcompensation, growth, so if that period of recovery or stimulation isn’t enough, you’re not going to grow. There has to be a balance between all of that. Intensity and recovery. So if you’re going there to hammer your legs. You’re wrecking them and damaging them and they’re sore, and then four days later you train them again and they’re still sore, damaged, how are you getting anywhere? You’re really not getting anywhere.
Dorian Yates offered training and steroid cycles that he used while preparing for competition in his heyday. He also explained his reasons for him to use TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) after retiring from the sport. Recently, Yates described his experience with ayahuasca in the Amazon rainforest, which he says helped him achieve a new level of mental clarity.
Yates’ latest offering goes against the common belief that squats are a must in any muscle-building workout plan. Given his experience and accolades, Yates continues to be a service to the bodybuilding community.
You can watch the full video below:
RELATED: 6x Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates guides young Mr. Universe Kaya Yusuf through a brutal back workout
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