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  1. #1
    You mirin? VTLifts's Avatar
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    Is Doug Brignole advice legit (no compounds, just limited isolation)?

    Just came across a Mark Bell podcast with Doug Brignole and ended up listening to additional interviews with him.

    www.dougbrignole.com

    I think he's 61, won Mr. Universe at 59. Been in industry for decades, so has lots of practical knowledge

    He used to train compounds, but now sticks to isolation and his core "20 exercises".

    He is entirely hypertrophy focused and approaches exercises with a pure biomechanics/physics mindset with the goal to maximize the difficulty for the specific muscle being targeted and nothing else.

    His advice is controversial as he trashes a lot of traditional thinking: i.e.:

    Hates barbell back squats, loves sissy squats and leg extensions
    Hates barbell rows, loves lat pull-ins (not pull-downs)
    Hates incline chest presses, loves decline DB
    Hates overhead pressing, etc..

    At first I thought he was just another fitness guy trying to be different just to get clicks, sell a book, etc.., but started to wonder if he's speaking some truth here as his explanations are compelling and people who have followed his methods rave about their results.

    Curious if anyone has spent more time understanding his philosophy, read his book, etc.. or just has general thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    I'd study his additional supplementation if you want to follow his philosophy, as that's likely a critical component if he truly only does isolations. (didn't click on link)
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    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    I got a red flag connecting the dots between

    "... mindset with the goal to maximize the difficulty for the specific muscle being targeted and nothing else"

    and

    "Hates incline chest presses, loves decline DB
    Hates overhead pressing, etc.."

    Bearing in mind, I myself have no titles...
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    Deadlift: 495

    "... But always, there remained, the discipline of steel!"
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    You mirin? VTLifts's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    I'd study his additional supplementation if you want to follow his philosophy, as that's likely a critical component if he truly only does isolations. (didn't click on link)
    It's a fair point.

    Some of the advice from "enhanced" lifters like him should be viewed with caution for the rest of us, but the core principles and rationales behind his exercises seems to make a look a sense in theory (and in practice from his results & those of his followers).

    He doesn't seem to be different just to be different and sell clicks, books, seminars, etc.., but maybe that's the case.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by VTLifts View Post
    It's a fair point.

    Some of the advice from "enhanced" lifters like him should be viewed with caution for the rest of us, but the core principles and rationales behind his exercises seems to make a look a sense in theory (and in practice from his results & those of his followers).

    He doesn't seem to be different just to be different and sell clicks, books, seminars, etc.., but maybe that's the case.
    Never know for sure until you try it... good luck!
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    Registered User paulinkansas's Avatar
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    My chemistry/physics instructor suggested the osmosis method for studying for a test.

    Osmosis def: a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane.

    What he was suggesting was to place your head on the textbook and take a nap. The information from the book would pass into your brain.

    Conclusion: Don't believe everything you read.
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    I have not heard of him. Purely for hypertrophy I think you can do very well without squats/rows. However, if you just rely on sissy squats/leg extensions you will likely miss out on a lot of strength benefits, health benefits regarding bone mineral density and connective tissue development, and athleticism benefits as well.

    If you think about the quadriceps specifically, there are 4 muscles, 3 of which only cross at the knee while the rectus femoris also crosses at the hip and aids hip flexion. Thus, any exercise involving knee extension will target the quadriceps. Then you can think about the strength curve of the exercise and if the resistance the muscles experience change throughout the range of motion. With a leg extension there is a lot of resistance at leg extension. This is not the case with a squat due to the axial loading being parallel to the muscle. Thus, leg extensions can provide significant loading through the quadriceps through their full range of motion while squats do not. For the rectus femoris as it crosses the front of the body if you keep your hips more extended with the leg extensions it will be more stretched (decreasing active insufficiency) and will likely experience a better training effect than if your hips are flexed when doing them.

    So it makes sense to me that leg extensions can help quadricep development moreso than squats if comparing the two separately, but for all the other benefits I would still do squats.
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    What do you mean legit?
    Can you get big without them.. Obviously.

    Do you need to avoid them to get big, definitely not.

    Does it matter to you?.

    If you want an excuse to avoid harder movements just leave them out.

    "there's no reason to live if you can't do deadlift"
    "you only need isolations"

    It's all nonsense. Everything has a place if you choose to utilise it, extremists just need a special box of their own that must be the best way.
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    Registered User Narrator02's Avatar
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    It's debatable if he's enhanced. He's been lifting for many years and he's not a mass monster at all. Very muscular and symmetrical but not massive.
    I've read his stuff and he bases his movements off the way he interprets muscle movement and function. He feels that his way is the most efficient to build muscle. Even if you don't agree with his theories, it's still an interesting read.
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Narrator02 View Post
    It's debatable if he's enhanced. He's been lifting for many years and he's not a mass monster at all. Very muscular and symmetrical but not massive.
    I've read his stuff and he bases his movements off the way he interprets muscle movement and function. He feels that his way is the most efficient to build muscle. Even if you don't agree with his theories, it's still an interesting read.
    He won Mr.universe lol, ped use is not in question lmao
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  11. #11
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Narrator02 View Post
    It's debatable if he's enhanced. He's been lifting for many years and he's not a mass monster at all. Very muscular and symmetrical but not massive.
    I've read his stuff and he bases his movements off the way he interprets muscle movement and function. He feels that his way is the most efficient to build muscle. Even if you don't agree with his theories, it's still an interesting read.
    Plenty of people are enhanced and not "massive", some aren't even all that muscular. This is a bodybuilding forum so not making a moral judgement at all, but let's be real.
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    Registered User JoeDelts's Avatar
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    Reminds of this guy. Another sauced up guy trying to re-invent the wheel in order to sell something. The basics are the basics because they work.

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    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    What do you mean legit?
    Can you get big without them.. Obviously.

    Do you need to avoid them to get big, definitely not.

    Does it matter to you?.

    If you want an excuse to avoid harder movements just leave them out.

    "there's no reason to live if you can't do deadlift"
    "you only need isolations"

    It's all nonsense. Everything has a place if you choose to utilise it, extremists just need a special box of their own that must be the best way.
    This is a little nitpicky but I am going to disagree with your example. Sigmarsson said that (obviously out of an enthusiastic flourish) as a powerlifter. Bodybuilding and physique training being the question here, I don't think that's a relevant quotation to make. There's no way around the Big 3 in powerlifting, of course.

    In a great stroke of poetic irony, he died literally while deadlifting; so those who don't deadlift and lead fulfilling lives have that on him. He would only barely be old today.
    Bench: 320
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  14. #14
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    Take it as you will.
    Ive been doing this stuff for forty plus years,what works for one doesn't always work for others.
    To me bodybuilding is a game of experimentation you need to try something first,sets,reps,exercises,protocols,give it a fair amount of time and come to your own conclusion.
    Doug is a very knowledgeable bodybuilder but he's basically giving you what works for him.
    Some exercises can be hurtful for some and beneficial to others.
    I would if your looking into his stuff,try it and see.
    Things like squats that he recommends you don't do can be modified, go lighter,under control,to just parallel and i think they would be just fine for anyone for developing muscle.
    Everyone has there own take on hypertrophy.
    Have an open mind but don't take his word for the only thing you should do.
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    This is a little nitpicky but I am going to disagree with your example. Sigmarsson said that (obviously out of an enthusiastic flourish) as a powerlifter. Bodybuilding and physique training being the question here, I don't think that's a relevant quotation to make. There's no way around the Big 3 in powerlifting, of course.

    In a great stroke of poetic irony, he died literally while deadlifting; so those who don't deadlift and lead fulfilling lives have that on him. He would only barely be old today.
    yeah i wasnt really trying to make sigmarsson out to be the tool this bodybuilder is.
    but people will take the you must deadlift or you must low bar squat as far as this guy takes the you should only do isolations.

    I'd much rather follow the likes of John Meadows for bodybuilding icons. even if i don't agree with a lot of his takes, at least they are logical and reasonable.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    yeah i wasnt really trying to make sigmarsson out to be the tool this bodybuilder is.
    but people will take the you must deadlift or you must low bar squat as far as this guy takes the you should only do isolations.

    I'd much rather follow the likes of John Meadows for bodybuilding icons. even if i don't agree with a lot of his takes, at least they are logical and reasonable.
    Or worse yet...

    “You have to squat or you’re a pussy”.

    -Mark Rippletits

    After looking at this guy, and reading some of his work, he reminds of Vince Gironda in a lot of ways. Always trying to work the muscles with a lot of direct work, actively contracting and feeling them move the weight, etc.
    Age: 29

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    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    yeah i wasnt really trying to make sigmarsson out to be the tool this bodybuilder is.
    but people will take the you must deadlift or you must low bar squat as far as this guy takes the you should only do isolations.

    I'd much rather follow the likes of John Meadows for bodybuilding icons. even if i don't agree with a lot of his takes, at least they are logical and reasonable.
    In college I worked out with a guy who was absolutely shredded and still had plenty of size. In neutral light he had visible striations on each deltoid head, biceps, etc., but this guy wasn't actually very strong. Hardly did compounds and when he did it was light and at extreme volume. Needless to say a lot of unimpressive physiques were far stronger than him.

    A mutual guy we worked out with is a competitive arm wrestler and he told me he's never seen the other guy do barbell squats (neither had I), for instance. Still though, amazing physique. He was able to achieve that with basically just isolation work. I would rather be strong and softer looking than shredded and weak, however.

    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Or worse yet...

    “You have to squat or you’re a pussy”.

    -Mark Rippletits

    After looking at this guy, and reading some of his work, he reminds of Vince Gironda in a lot of ways. Always trying to work the muscles with a lot of direct work, actively contracting and feeling them move the weight, etc.
    Did he literally say that?

    I mean, excepting those that literally can't without crossing an obvious breach of common sense, that's an agreeable point. I would have made a lot more progress and a lot faster, had I squatted seriously and consistently much earlier on. It's challenging and unpleasant, but it's rewarding and guys that squat heavy I think have the right to wear that as a badge.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    In college I worked out with a guy who was absolutely shredded and still had plenty of size. In neutral light he had visible striations on each deltoid head, biceps, etc., but this guy wasn't actually very strong. Hardly did compounds and when he did it was light and at extreme volume. Needless to say a lot of unimpressive physiques were far stronger than him.

    A mutual guy we worked out with is a competitive arm wrestler and he told me he's never seen the other guy do barbell squats (neither had I), for instance. Still though, amazing physique. He was able to achieve that with basically just isolation work. I would rather be strong and softer looking than shredded and weak, however.



    Did he literally say that?

    I mean, excepting those that literally can't without crossing an obvious breach of common sense, that's an agreeable point. I would have made a lot more progress and a lot faster, had I squatted seriously and consistently much earlier on. It's challenging and unpleasant, but it's rewarding and guys that squat heavy I think have the right to wear that as a badge.
    Point being, it is a bullchit statement. You do not have to squat to build stronger, sexier, BIGGER legs. On the rare occasion I squat with my safety bar, I can normally do more weight or more reps then I could before.

    Why?

    Because I do stupid amounts of heavy leg presses and hack squats, on top of single leg work and goblet squats with the heaviest DBs I can get my hands on.

    In closing, you’re not a pussy if you don’t squat. Stupid ass statements like that have turned more people off from lifting then anything else.

    DISCLAIMER: I always encourage people to some form of squat and some form of single leg work.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Point being, it is a bullchit statement. You do not have to squat to build stronger, sexier, BIGGER legs. On the rare occasion I squat with my safety bar, I can normally do more weight or more reps then I could before.

    Why?

    Because I do stupid amounts of heavy leg presses and hack squats, on top of single leg work and goblet squats with the heaviest DBs I can get my hands on.

    In closing, you’re not a pussy if you don’t squat. Stupid ass statements like that have turned more people off from lifting then anything else.

    DISCLAIMER: I always encourage people to some form of squat and some form of single leg work.
    If your stats are great on all these variations, then shouldn't it be pretty easy simply to put the weight on a bar and squat it?
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    If your stats are great on all these variations, then shouldn't it be pretty easy simply to put the weight on a bar and squat it?
    I DO squat.

    Just not always with my squat bar. Using a regular bar pisses off my shoulders, my left one in particular.

    Which further proves my point, no exercise is required, nor irreplaceable. And there will be carryover, strength wise, provided the execution is similar.

    Then there is the issue of technique, or the skill component, which is just as vital. Personally, I tend to get bored doing the same thing for more than a few months or I stall. So I switch to another variation.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    In closing, you’re not a pussy if you don’t squat. Stupid ass statements like that have turned more people off from lifting then anything else.
    From my observations, most guys want to be big without being strong. You can get big traps without deadlifts but shrugging 20 lb dumbbells isn't going to cut it.
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    From my observations, most guys want to be big without being strong. You can get big traps without deadlifts but shrugging 20 lb dumbbells isn't going to cut it.
    Agreed, to get bigger, you’re gonna have to move heavier things, for more reps.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Which further proves my point, no exercise is required, nor irreplaceable. And there will be carryover, strength wise, provided the execution is similar.
    Some are certainly better than others though.

    Have you considered PT for your shoulder? You seem to attribute a lot of complications in the gym to it. Maybe you could work through it.
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Some are certainly better than others though.
    100% subjective and depends on the individual.

    Have you considered PT for your shoulder? You seem to attribute a lot of complications in the gym to it. Maybe you could work through it.
    Went to PT. Didn’t help.

    I don’t have “complications” in the gym. Maybe you could elaborate?
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    100% subjective and depends on the individual.



    Went to PT. Didn’t help.

    I don’t have “complications” in the gym. Maybe you could elaborate?
    Well, you say that you don't do some of the most celebrated and beloved lifts in the history not only of the gym itself but also athletic sports, powerlifting, bodybuilding etc. because they piss your shoulder off, which leads me to conclude that that would be a complication. You must not like them for some other reason I guess. I won't put words in your mouth.
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    Notice how be built his base with big Compounds...
    In both senses 😉
    movement and chemical.

    Its hugely less efficient to just do isos..
    But at his age and pre development and supplements? Who cares.

    Certainly don't recommend anyone avoid big compounds, skip entire movement patterns or ignore completely axial/skeletal load in for the ENORMOUS Health benefits (bone density, working joints and connective tissues and the ability to be ambulatory at age)
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Well, you say that you don't do some of the most celebrated and beloved lifts in the history not only of the gym itself but also athletic sports, powerlifting, bodybuilding etc. because they piss your shoulder off, which leads me to conclude that that would be a complication. You must not like them for some other reason I guess. I won't put words in your mouth.
    Please explain how subbing, say, barbell bench press with hammer strength presses or CGBP or floor presses because it doesn’t put me in a compromising position based on my particular anatomy, is a bad thing.

    I also never subscribed to the idea that the bench, back squat and conventional deadlift are the panacea of lifting, because they simply are not.

    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    Notice how be built his base with big Compounds...
    In both senses
    movement and chemical.

    Its hugely less efficient to just do isos..
    But at his age and pre development and supplements? Who cares.

    Certainly don't recommend anyone avoid big compounds, skip entire movement patterns or ignore completely axial/skeletal load in for the ENORMOUS Health benefits (bone density, working joints and connective tissues and the ability to be ambulatory at age)
    Also this.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Please explain how subbing, say, barbell bench press with hammer strength presses or CGBP or floor presses because it doesn’t put me in a compromising position based on my particular anatomy, is a bad thing.

    I also never subscribed to the idea that the bench, back squat and conventional deadlift are the panacea of lifting, because they simply are not.



    Also this.
    But see, that's where it's different. You don't merely say that you cannot perform these exercises and so substitute alternatives, you actually pretty routinely make objective denunciations of them entirely. I recall reading at one time or another all of these, even recently:
    - Benching is chit
    - Direct core work is "boring" [in context implying it shouldn't be done]
    - Biceps are inconsequential muscles
    - Meh (to barbell lifting in general)

    Most of this tends to be unsolicited and you bring it up on your own and without instigation (such as this Rippetoe comment in this thread). Nobody is attacking you for choosing to do something else for your own lifting recreation, but it does get somewhat irritating that you consistently seem to shoot down others' enthusiasm for what you don't personally prefer. A lot of the conversation centered around these lifts and the standards being striven for with them are taken as given by default because they are as you doubtless know the conventional metrics for powerlifting and integral to bodybuilding, and many of the participants in those conversations are mindfully and deliberately participating in those pursuits, professionally or as amateurs; so when that subject matter is being discussed on its own terms and no one is on your case for being personally disinterested in that turf, it's off-putting that you so consistently do this to other people who aren't at odds with the conventions of their sport. I don't mean any rudeness in conveying my meaning and hope this makes sense.
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    But see, that's where it's different. You don't merely say that you cannot perform these exercises and so substitute alternatives, you actually pretty routinely make objective denunciations of them entirely. I recall reading at one time or another all of these, even recently:
    - Benching is chit
    - Direct core work is "boring" [in context implying it shouldn't be done]
    - Biceps are inconsequential muscles
    - Meh (to barbell lifting in general)

    Most of this tends to be unsolicited and you bring it up on your own and without instigation (such as this Rippetoe comment in this thread). Nobody is attacking you for choosing to do something else for your own lifting recreation, but it does get somewhat irritating that you consistently seem to shoot down others' enthusiasm for what you don't personally prefer. A lot of the conversation centered around these lifts and the standards being striven for with them are taken as given by default because they are as you doubtless know the conventional metrics for powerlifting and integral to bodybuilding, and many of the participants in those conversations are mindfully and deliberately participating in those pursuits, professionally or as amateurs; so when that subject matter is being discussed on its own terms and no one is on your case for being personally disinterested in that turf, it's off-putting that you so consistently do this to other people who aren't at odds with the conventions of their sport. I don't mean any rudeness in conveying my meaning and hope this makes sense.
    9/10 my responses are “there are other options” if something doesn’t agree with someone’s leverages.

    Take bench for example, a combination of long ass arms and ****ty insertions turn bench into a front delt exercise for me. So, I do something else. For someone else, it could be the GOAT chest exercise.

    I 1000% stand behind my statement that core work, as in abs, is incredibly boring. But I still do it. Ditto with biceps, but I do it with bands for higher reps.

    And I’ve said it (to you, no less) that I don’t disdain barbell training, but it isn’t some kind of holy thing, it is just another way to train. Oh, and I do a little bit of everything. Barbell, dumbbell, machine, bodyweight....a good program should include ALL types of stimulus.

    Can we get back to the OP now?
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    I myself have no titles...
    I dub thee Eli the Prophesized.
    Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
    Galatians 4:16
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