Home » How Dorian Yates trained as an amateur

How Dorian Yates trained as an amateur

November 23, 2023
Gary

MANY gym-goers put more effort into thinking about what routine is best than they do in actually training.

There are many philosophies – if you can call them that – with bodybuilders such as Jordan Peters claiming you need to “do your time” with routines such as full body before moving on to an upper/lower split, to Lee Priest who, in his style, says: “Just f***ing” train.

Others suggest you could “train like a pussy” and, if your nutrition is on point, you could still get good results, citing bodybuilders such as Paul Dillett, who reportedly was not someone who trained with maximum effort but looked incredible.

Dorian Yates began with a modest full body split, which he used for six months before progressing to an upper-lower [he makes no apology to Jordan Peters…], a routine he kept until winning his IFBB Pro card at the then EFBB British Championships in October 1986.

Writing in his book, A Warrior’s Story, Yates says: “When I began split-routine training, I weighed 180lbs and I kept on it for two years right through to my first novice contest in 1985, when I weighed 210lbs.

“In fact, I didn’t abandon this program until after I won the British heavyweight division in October 1986. I can give my first split routine no higher recommendation than, if I had to do it all over again, I would follow the same program.”

Initially, Yates implemented his upper/lower routine over four days a week, but said: “After a week and a half of adhering to this schedule, I felt tired and stressed out, as if my nervous system was out of whack.

“I was obviously doing too much and my body was sending me a distress signal. The schedule was revised so that I trained every other day, but even that proved too ambitious for my body’s reserves. Eventually, I settled on training three days a week, which meant that, over a 14-day period, I worked each half of my body three times.”

What is interesting is when he talks about what cycle the body follows. Many people like to count how many times a week they train to find out how many times over a year they are hitting each muscle group.

But Yates argues: “The premise that a training program should be in sync with a seven-day cycle was almost sacred back in 1983, but I had no qualms about breaking that tradition. Human physiology ticks to a 24-hour clock, not a seven-day calendar and I was doing what was best for Dorian Yates.”

It seems that premise is sacred even now in 2023 and it appears the fact your body does follow a 24-hour cycle is often forgotten. Indeed, so is the value of nutrition.

How often do you hear or have conversations about nutrition and diet versus the amount of times you are asked about training splits or which exercise is best for this or that? Even versus what anabolic cycle is best.

Look around your gym and most people are doing the same sort of training using the same exercises. But not everyone in that gym looks like a bodybuilder.

And that is because very few want to pay the attention outside of it to their nutrition.

Those who do invariably look how they want to look.

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