Dorian’s 5 Tips For A Perfect Workout

Dorian’s 5 Tips For A Perfect Workout

Thousands upon thousands of hours spent in a dark, cold dungeon named Temple Gym. Located in England’s second city, this is the place that forged the man who would forever change the bodybuilding industry. It is well known that there are two eras of bodybuilding… before Dorian Yates & after Dorian Yates.

The Shadow brought a new dimension, combining quality muscle mass with unparalleled conditioning, this is how the game was changed. Yes, Dorian packed his frame with heaps of muscle, but this was only half the story. What truly separated Dorian, was his unrivalled conditioning. He brought something truly unique to the scene of bodybuilding and that was his grainy and dense looking physique. This was never seen before on the Olympia stage and is damn near hard to obtain, it requires more than just diet… one must apply their mind to this goal, something that is very much often overlooked. This applies to both training & diet and takes time to perfect.

In this blog, we are going to be focusing on the training aspect and who better to give you all some training advice than 6x Mr Olympia, Dorian Yates. Known for his brutal, high intensity training sessions, Dorian studied the sweet science of bodybuilding and muscle growth to create the perfect formula for muscle building, with the backing of proven scientific methods. Inspired by legends such as Mike Mentzer and Arthur Jones, Dorian used a combination of trial & error, along with their teachings to create his own formula of training, which is today known as ‘Dorian Yates High Intensity Training’.

You can see this in practice in the famous ‘Blood & Guts’ training video in which you’ll see real, hardcore footage of a typical training schedule for The Shadow. He took a no-nonsense approach to this video and the cameraman was literally a fly on the wall, Dorian wanted to showcase his no ‘bs’ approach to training and this can be seen throughout the video… you just can’t pretend you’re lifting 405lbs on incline bench press… it’s real, real footage! So Dorian has put together his top five tips for a perfect workout, let’s check them out.

1. Preparation

As the old saying goes, “if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail”. Preparation is key, you must already have your workout planned from start to finish. This includes: exercises, goals, weights and reps. Dorian himself, even now is still a big believer in visualisation. Back during his competitive bodybuilding days, he would lock himself away in his gym office (incase you didn’t already know, he became the owner of Temple Gym) and read over his last workout and see where he was at with his goals. If the previous week he got 405lbs on barbell rows for 6 reps, then typically his goal for this workout would be to get 7 reps. He would do whatever it took to get that extra rep this week. In addition to reading over his past workouts, he’d sit and visualise how this weeks training session would go. Even to the minor details like the clothes he’d be wearing and the music that’d be playing! So, when you’re drinking your pre workout, such as our premium and rather appropriately named ‘Blood & Guts’ pre workout, be prepared for your workout. Ensure you have your training accessories in your gym bag too, such as your lifting belt, straps, wraps, chalk, elbow/knee sleeves and whatever else you need to get through your session.

2. Focus

We all know the importance of staying focused in the gym, but often we can become distracted. Ask yourself, “how important are my goals?” It’s easy to be derailed from your goals, even more so if you aren’t focused on the job at hand. Taking it a step further – you should be focusing on every set – yes we know this but delving in deeper, you should be focussing on every single rep and the muscles being worked. Focus and visualise each aspect of each rep: the concentric, the static and the eccentric movements are all key. Rather than simply lifting the weight from A to B without any real thought being paid to the motion, slow it down and control the movement. No extra momentum should be used, Dorian puts it this way for pulldowns for example: “If you’re doing pulldowns and you get the weight down to your chest and can’t hold it there for a second or two, then you didn’t get the rep through pure muscular power… you used momentum and shifted the focus away from the lats.”

3. Rest

Ofcourse rest is critical, absolutely, in fact there’s probably no bigger advocate of resting than Dorian himself. But here we’re talking about resting in between sets in the gym. The idea here is to rest sufficiently so that for your final set on the exercise, you reach muscular failure before cardiovascular failure. Generally speaking, for smaller muscles like biceps and triceps, because they require less oxygen we’re typically looking at 45-60 seconds of rest after each set. For the big movements for the big muscle groups like squats for legs and deadlifts for back, because they require more oxygen and require a lot of energy, we’re usually speaking of 2-3 minutes of rest.

When Dorian was training, he never looked at his watch to judge his rest periods. He always went on how he was feeling, he ensured he was 100% ready for the final set and was fully charged, raring to go!

4. Visualise 

See your training session as an hour a day where you forget everything else going on and just solely focus on one task – your workout. Dorian saw his training as a form of meditation because he’d have complete mental clarity on what he wanted to achieve and focussed completely on this one job. Use this time to destress and focus on your workout, Dorian strongly advises that you leave your phone behind and use this time to give yourself a break from using it. It’s so easy to become distracted from your workouts!

Your progress is a sum of all your workouts, so make sure you get absolutely everything out of each set and train with purpose and intensity… it’s all about hard work!

Dorian left it all in the gym, he left absolutely nothing to chance… it’s all what catapulted him to six consecutive Mr Olympia titles.

5. Breathing

This is something that is easily overlooked, but is absolutely vital to maximise your workouts. When performing an exercise, your breathing must be in sync with the motion being performed in order to gain oxygen and perform at your best. It’s simple but easy to forget, breathe in during the negative portion and breathe out during the positive portion. To put in practice, when performing the bench press, you want to inhale during the phase when you’re lowering the bar and exhale when you’re lifting the bar up. 

Bonus tip!

We’ve decided to add in a bonus tip so you truly can maximise your workouts!

So, Dorian doesn’t advise eating a meal too close to your workout time and even eating during workouts. He advises you to drink water or powdered amino acids during your workouts. Contrary to the popular notion of eating fast acting carbohydrates right before your training sessions, he instead advises you to have these post workout to replenish your depleted glycogen stores. He’s found that eating fast acting carbs before workouts can cause you to crash and feel drained.

So there you have it, altogether six top tips for a perfect workout by 6x Mr Olympia Dorian Yates!

Stay tuned for more blog posts with Dorian’s advice and if you have any suggested topics you’d like us to cover, email us at and we’d be happy to take a look.