Written by Tim Rigby, M.A., NSCA-CPT and brought to you by PVL Supplements
Getting tired of the same ol’ 3 sets of 10 reps protocol for performing resistance exercises, but don’t want to switch to anything too complicated or fancy? The DeLorme Method is just what you’re looking for. This is a systematic, low-volume and low resistance approach to consistent gains in muscle that’s remarkably easy. In fact, unlike other high-volume protocols from which the human body typically requires a full week to recover, you can in fact train the same muscle groups using the DeLorme Method 3 times each and every week.
To begin, you determine the precise highest resistance for an exercise which you can perform 10 reps before failing. This is your “10-Rep Max” (10RM) which will serve as the baseline for your three sets, which you’ll then apply as follows:
Set Weight Reps Rest
1 50% of 10RM 10 1:30 mins.
2 75% of 10RM 10 1:30 mins.
3 100% of 10RM 10 All Out --
As you can see, the resistance progression from one set to the next is consistent. Your first set will likely seem effortless, or as if you might be performing it incorrectly because it feels too easy – take heart and remember that there’s a strategic method involved.
Your second set will feel more strenuous and as you’d expect, your third set will be grueling – after all, you’re going “All Out” and leaving nothing on the table as you grind out 10 reps (if you were to attempt an 11th rep, you’d fail). The idea here is that by completing a set just short of failure, you’re inducing an excellent muscle stimulus which will prime the target muscles for growth.
One of the many advantages of the DeLorme Method is that people who like to train often can virtually train until their heart’s content in terms of the same muscle group 3 times a week. The DeLorme Method works well on isolation exercises to bring them up efficiently, but if you want to talk rapid overall gains, this specialty technique is also wonderful on compound exercises. Whether it’s the barbell curl, seated cable row, bench press or lat pulldown, the DeLorme Method will send your gains through the roof if you perform it with good form, consistency and high frequency.
So how did this basic yet effective method adopt its name? Way back in 1945, an American army physician named Dr. Thomas L. DeLorme was looking to establish a protocol for rehabilitating soldiers who’d been injured in combat. The goal was to use resistance training to re-build lost muscle and strength which had deteriorated as a result of not being active. Initially, the method involved performing 7-10 full sets (70-100 reps), but in trial and experimentation, it was determined this was excessive. Eventually through some fine tuning, the modern standard of 3 sets has become the accepted norm for the DeLorme Method.
Keys to Success
Again, we must emphasize that gains will come, provided you put in the effort and train the same muscle group 3 times a week using the DeLorme Method. Hitting that sweet spot of just the right volume will produce the most gains and help you avoid overtraining.
Furthermore, don’t make the rookie mistake of assuming that you’ll be stronger each and every workout. We don’t blame you for the logic manifest therein; however, if you were to increase your baseline 10RM each workout, you’d ultimately find that on the third set you’ll often hit failure before the 10th rep – and that’d defeat the purpose.
Since your muscles are going to be not just active but trained with high frequency, we’d like to offer you a friendly reminder that the regular consumption of top-quality protein and post-workout amino supplements such as BCAAs and glutamine will be crucial to your muscle-building success using the DeLorme Method.
Don’t hesitate to get your hands on PVL’s industry-leading ISOGOLD 100% whey protein and consume a shake at least once a day – even on your off days. Also be sure to regularly consume EAA + BCAA COMPLETE from PVL each day (especially post-workout). Enjoy the DeLorme Method and watch those gains keep on coming!