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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.

 

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Ellington Darden, Ph.D.

The New HIT Revolution


"Continuing to look for ways to perform more
exercise with less intensity has all but destroyed
the actual great potential value of weight training.
Something must be done . . . and quickly."

-- Arthur Jones, July 29, 2004



Muscular size and strength: I’ve been fascinated with them for more than 45 years.

It started in 1959 when, at 15 years of age, I purchased my first barbell set for $29.95. Healthways manufactured it and I followed the illustrated routines for at least six months with good results.

There was nothing fancy about any of the courses. They were composed of basic barbell exercises — such as the squat, overhead press, and biceps curl — which were performed progressively three times per week.

Today, I have those courses on the wall in my home gym as a reminder that muscle-building routines don’t have to be complex. Weather you’re using barbells, dumbbells, or the latest machine technology, achieving consistent results boils down to progressive overload and safety. You must lift heavier and heavier weights to get bigger and stronger, but you must do so in a way that doesn’t chip away at your joints and eventually prevent you from training heavy.


Confidence, Success, and Health

Why have I been interested in muscle for such a long time? Because displayed and applied properly, muscular size and strength are indications of confidence, success, and health. What man, at various times in his life, hasn’t wanted more of each of those traits?

From 1962 to 1972, I entered more than 100 bodybuilding competitions. If my memory is correct, I won first place in 19 contests, including Jr. Mr. Oklahoma (1964), Mr. Texas (1969), Mr. South (1970), and Collegiate Mr. America (1972), as well as several powerlifting events.

In 1973, after completing a Ph.D. in exercise science at Florida State University and a post-doctoral study in nutrition, my fascination escalated into my profession. That was the year I began my employment with Arthur Jones and his new company, Nautilus. Jones believed that most bodybuilders trained too much. He demonstrated to me convincingly that shorter, far more intense workouts were the most efficient way to stimulate muscular growth. Those types of workouts now are known simply as HIT, which stands for high-intensity training.

The Nautilus headquarters in Florida was a researcher’s dream, in that there was a steady stream of strength athletes — such as Casey Viator, Boyer Coe, and Dick Butkus — to test and train using the latest tools and equipment. Plus, Jones had an ongoing attraction for younger women, faster airplanes, and bigger crocodiles, which added to the excitement.

I worked closely with Jones until he retired in 1996. Combined, we wrote more than 600 articles and two dozen books on HIT.


The Present State of Bodybuilding

In one of my recent visits with Jones (July 29, 2004), he remarked once again that he was appalled at the present state of bodybuilding. The more-is-better training philosophy was making a rapid comeback.

"It’s worse than ever," Jones said, "much worse than in 1970. Something must be done . . . and quickly."

I could feel Jones’s concern and his tenacity heightened my motivation in a similar way as it had done more than 30 years earlier. I could sense a much younger Arthur Jones commanding me to not allow — what we had labored so consistently to establish three decades ago — evaporate and be forgotten.

The early 1970s — due to the increasing appeal of glossy muscle magazines — were flooded with multiple sets, split routines, and marathon workouts. A plan of combat — HIT — emerged. Jones’s finely designed Nautilus machines and our courses of action ignited a revolution that helped bodybuilders return to sound, safe, sensible training. Such sensibility, however, endured little more than a decade.

Look through any bodybuilding magazine printed in 2004 and you’ll see that there’s a major push back to high-volume training — but with a notable difference from 1970. Most of the current pictures of bodybuilders exercising have a posed, unrealistic look — because, they are posed and unrealistic. At least the guys in the old days tried to work hard — and many actually did, once they learned what was expected.

But what about those enormously heavy dumbbells and barbells, which many of the champions are photographed using during their workouts? It must take extraordinary strength to handle them. A little known fact is that the weight plates on this equipment are made of aluminum, not iron — which means they’re only for show. With those pseudo dumbbells, the requirements for a "great" workout are a make-up artist, a water bottle with a spray attachment to simulate sweating, a little acting ability, and a photographer with a digital camera.

Most competitive bodybuilders today avoid intense, progressive training and resort to drugs, injections, implants, and liposuction to get what they call a championship physique. Many of their body parts — such as their biceps, triceps, deltoids, and abdominals — don’t assume normal muscular shapes. They’re distorted, bloated, and unhealthy.

What’s wrong with developing the body in the old-fashioned way — by hard work? Once you’ve done it, it looks like real muscle because it is real muscle.


The Old-Fashioned NEW HIT

I haven’t had a hardcore bodybuilding book published since 1993. That’s soon to change with the publication of The New High-Intensity Training (September 22, 2004). What’s needed now is a second revolution, a return to the basics of HIT.

My new book combines the tried-and-proven routines of the 1970s with the best HIT techniques from more recent years. It’s time to turn bodybuilding right side up!

In this Web site, you’ll learn why HIT, when pursued drug-free, is the best way to build muscle safely.

I invite you to be a part of the new HIT revolution.

WAKE-UP CALL


Who, in their right mind, wants to spend:

 

Discuss this article | Text Version

Bubba Earl

Georgia, USA

Dr. Darden has written an excellent book. It is not only informative. It has several interesing stories about Arthur Jones and other H.I.T. advocates. Dr. Darden was there for it all. There is a part in the book that is about the "Not to Failure" concept that is very intriquing. That concept goes against the foundation of H.I.T., but what Dr. Darden says makes alot of sense. Dr. Darden still believes that "to failure" is one of the corner stones of H.I.T. , but by cycling in a "Not to Failure" routine at the right time during your workout cycle can actually help with recovery and progress. I am going to try it.

Brent
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JJ McClinton

Hey Ellington,
Have you ever considered writing a book purely about the life of Arthur Jones. I bought "And God Laughs" from the IART and found it to be one of the wildest reads ever. What I think is great about Arthur Jones is that people who don't really care about weight training seem to enjoy hearing his comments on politics and life in general. I had a physics teacher who I was talking to and when I brought up Arthur Jones in conversation he knew immediatly who he was and compared him to Einstein and Nikola Tesla. I think it would be great to read more books purely about the man and the many other accomplishments that he did that weren't related to weight training.
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Dustin Jordan

Florida, USA

Dr. Darden, thanks for giving us a new book with a focus on bodybuilding. The historical stories were very informative. I'm just starting to train again after many years off. Should the upside-down bodybuilding course giving towards the end of the book be followed after the begining and intermediate routines you provide, or can it be done as a beginner?
Thanks again for the great book.
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jrg25

I got the book a few days ago and read through it. I enjoyed the new ideas. I'm recommitted. I'm going to try the six-month plan and hope to prove to my wife, family, and myself that I can look great too! Thanks for the book and the renewed passion. Hopefully I can come back with similar great results over the next months.
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cmg

Ellington,

I always find your writing fun and interesting. I just purchased your new book and look forward to receiving it. I am 38 years old and plan to work out for many years to come. My joints are starting to give me some problems from sloppy technique in the past however I've cleaned it up the last couple of years. I know I will learn quite a bit and be entertained at the same time.

I'm also pleased to see you started your website again - I always thought it was the best HIT site!

Keep up the GREAT work.

Ron
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Carlos.Molina

to make it easier for me, can you give me your e mail address?

What is better, 2/4 or 10/10 or 10/5 protocol? Which is best on free weights?

carlo
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Ellington Darden

Carlo,

With free weights, probably a bit of all three protocols is better than any one exclusively.

Ellington
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Dave S

Ive just recieved the new book last week.One of the best arm or upper body routines ive done is in this book,from the old upsidedown bodybuilding publication.I think its on page 209.I train at home with machines and free weights.I do have a compound leg machine.I was in the hospital last week,ive come down with viral encephalitis,reading the book and resting is all I can do for a few weeks,when my Doctor give the ok I will be back at it.I was glad get the book.I hope Im not rammbling on but today is the first day im feeling up to checking out this web site.
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JThorpe

What are you latest thoughts on aerobic exercise? do you still think it is a waste of time or do you think a moderate amount can be beneficial?
Also what do you think about Bill Phillip's advice in
Body for Life, where he advises doing 20min of high-intensity aerobic intervals? It seems to me that his prescription would quickly lead to overtraining. My intuition is that doing a very moderate type of aerobics such as walking 30min would not interfere with recovery from high-intensity lifting.
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Ellington Darden

JThorpe,

I haven't changed my thinking about aerobic exercise. I still believe that with HIT, done properly, you can work your skeletal muscles as well as your heart and lungs. Doing separate sessions of aerobic exercise, such as running or swimming, can lead to overtraining, repetitive-type injuries, and a loss of muscle mass.

Bill Phillip's programs eventually lead to overtraining. They are not the most efficient way to build muscle or lose fat.

Light walking may be a benefit to a fat-loss program, if you perform it after your largest meal of the day. My book, A Flat Stomach ASAP, explains this concept.

Ellington
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leroyramos

hey dr. darden

i just recieved your book and i read it in 1 1/2 days. im really excited about getting started. my name is george and im 23 and gotten outta shape over the years. i have a bowflex ultimate at home and my budget doesn't allow for me to join a gym. i need to get lean like david hudlow. i was wondering if i can start the beginning hit program and try to get lean with the reduced calorie stated in your book at the same time and i was wondering if doing cardio 1 to 3 times a week would help? im 5'9 and weigh 189lbs. i have a tanita bodyfat scale whichs says i have 26% bodyfat.
my weakest body parts i would have to say is my shoulders, forearms, and back in that order. my chest and arms grow at a good rate but my arms started looking dumb because my shoulders wouldn't grow. i have naturally big calfs and legs although my glutes and neck need some work. I use to weigh 150lbs five years ago and gained about 40lbs in 5 years but gained muscle along with fat. i use to be able to see my top 4 abs and serratus and obliques fairly well but my bottom 2 were blurred and covered with fat. now i can no longer see any of them. lol. i would really appreciate and honor your thoughts and suggestions. thanks. alot.
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Ellington Darden

Leroy,

For the best dietary plan on losing fat, see my book A Flat Stomach ASAP. Combine the eating plan in the ASAP book with the beginning and intermediate routines in the HIT book and you've gat a great program. You will not require cardio. Read some of the other threads, plus the related chapter in the ASAP book, and you'll understand why.

Ellington
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Rich H

Dr. Darden,

Thank you so much for this book. It's the first thing I've read that made sense and gave easy to follow instructions. I'm a 38 year old male who hasn't trained seriously since high-school. At 30 of course my physical movement slowed and then so did my metabolism (I didnt get love-handles but I did get soft in that area) Before I got married at 35 over the years I'd had six month training stints here and there only to quit. I now know (finally) that I wasn't training hard enough but I was also not recovering, hitting a wall and giving up. I've spent the last month doing basic movements not to failure just to get my body ready to train again and hopefully achieve my life-long dream of my ideal physique. I don't need to be a Viator or Columbu (and I know I couldn't anyway), but I want to be what I can be, even this late in the game. I'm very much looking forward to starting the "Beginning HIT routine 1" on Monday. Thank you so much for what is probably some of the best advice I've ever read. It was actually my reading Mentzers HIT over the last month that introduced me to the concepts. I was in the bookstore and "stumbled" upon your book. Im so glad I did. This book needs to be on the shelf of anyone who uses weights to train. Thanks again.

Richard
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az1

Dr. Darden, great book, thanks for writing it...
I'd like to try the routines, but I have not leg ext./leg curl machine...
What exercise can I do instead of these?
Thank you,
az1
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CRMon1

DR. Darden,
I picked up the new book last week and loved everything I read, well, almost everything. In the book, on pg 223, you pose a question regarding Viator's possible steroid use. You say,"Viator was not on steroids when he trained with Jones."

In an interview with Brian D. Johnston, found at www.i-a-r-t.com/articles/viatorinterview.html Viator is confronted with this very issue. Although he does not openly admit to using them, he certainly doesn't deny it. The following is directly from the interview:

BDJ: It's apparent that you, as well as any top-caliber athlete or bodybuilder took anabolic steroids. How much do you feel they contributed to your progress?

CV: I don't encourage anyone to use steroids, however if people do, do it under a physician's guidance. I do feel it gives you an edge. Remember Ben Johnson, 100 meter sprinter expelled for his steroid use? He looked like a bodybuilder and he ran like he was shot out of a cannon. If steroids didn't help him, it damn sure didn't hurt him.

BDJ: Did you find that you became psychologically dependent on steroids during your competitive years and did you incur any long-term side effects?

CV: Steroids are used for a purpose. I know some people who take them just to attend a physique show, just to sit in the audience. Pro Ball players OK, Pro Bodybuilders OK, casual use for no reason definitely not.

What's your opinion?

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Ellington Darden

az1,

If you don't have access to leg extension and leg curl machines, you'll have to use the barbell squat and barbell deadlift, or variations of them.

Ellington
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Ellington Darden

CRMon1,

I do not believe Viator used steroids when he worked for Nautilus. That was from late June 1970 until mid-1979. Viator left Nautilus in 1979, moved to Los Angeles, California, and trained at Gold's Gym for the next four years. He entered a number of IFBB professional shows, including the 1982 Mr. Olympia, where he placed third.

I do not know what Viator did while he was in California. I did not see him or talk with him. But if he experimented with bodybuilding drugs, it would have been during the four years he lived in California.

Ellington

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leroyramos

Dr. Darden,

i started the beginning H.I.T. program 1 along with the flat stomach asap diet. I've been telling everyone at work about them and hopefully they will see tremendous results here in the next few months, buy December i hope, and hopefully they will believe in both of your programs. I'm getting use to the diet and have lost a few pounds, all fat i hope, and was wondering a few things. first i wanted to know if there are any exercises to target your glutes. second i wanted to know if i could do the specialized forearm workout at the end of my workouts and if when you do the forearms workout is it still a 4/4 cadence. lastly, am i suppost to do the ab workout to accompany the asap diet? thanks for introducing me to this great program.

george
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Ellington Darden

George,

If you are following the ASAP diet, please do not do more than the recommended number of exercises. Yes, you may substitute free weight or machine exercises for body weight movements, but do not start adding extra stuff. That means no forearm routine at the end. On a reduced-calorie diet, it's very easy to overtrain.

Ellington
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Gazz

Dr Darden

Congrats on the new book. It is inspiring reading. I'm setting up a new routine now and would like your advice.

I note that some of the intermediate routines work two alternating exercises from one workout to the next (presumably to avoid staleness, provide different stresses to the muscle and thereby avoiding overtraining). I was considering using three different exercises per muscle group alternating each workout eg Chest:Monday Bench Press, Wednesday Dips, Friday Flies. Is this feasible or would such variation be counterproductive.

Also I am looking to lose some bodyfat to begin with, beginning with the quick start diet in the new book. I note that over six weeks David Hudlow lost considerable bodyfat but actually gained a feww pounds of muscle. This seems to fly in the face of everything I've read regarding fat loss/muscle gain. The concencus is that different environments are needed to lose fat (negative energy balance) and gain muscle (positive energy balance). How are results such as Davids possible

All the best
Gazz
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Ellington Darden

Gazz,

Remember the rat research from the new HIT book (see sidebar page 228)? Evidently, if you train hard enough, even on a reduced-calorie diet, your body can pull calories from your own fat cells to build muscle. Since there are only 600 calories in a pound of muscle, your body may be able to build 5 pounds of muscle from 1 pound of fat, which contains 3,500 calories. But, of course, you have to stimulate that much muscle growth . . . which, as the rat study suggests, sometimes requires a do-or-die situation to put an individual's mind in the right state.

Casey Viator demonstrated this in the Colorado Experiment and so did Dave Hudlow in my new HIT book. Plus, I've seen others, to a lesser degree, do the same.

Ellington
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Gazz

Dr Darden

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I have read the sidebar (which I confess I missed on my first reading).

Do you have any thoughts on my proposal to alternate 3 workouts over the course of a week.

Also with regard to rep speed, I note from another thread that you now prefer a 3/3 or 4/4 cadence based on the reduction in friction of modern machines. What about those training with barbells and dumbells: would the same cadence be acceptable or is the old 2+ve, 4 -ve still recommended (I do not want to move into superslow yet: too damn hard!).

All the best
Gazz
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Ellington Darden

Gazz,

Try your alternating ideas for a while and report back to us.

With barbells and dumbbells, I'd apply 3/3 or 4/4 on most repetitions.

Ellington
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leroyramos

dr. darden,

I have a few questions regarding the workouts. I'm doing the beginners HIT program and the asap diet at the same time like you recommended, but I was a little confused about the workout schedule. I read that David H. first stayed on the fat loss program for 66 days, and then went to phase 2 after the 2 week layoff. Now he did routine a and b for 2 weeks and then went to phase 3 for 6 weeks before doing the specialized routine in phase 4. What I was wondering is if I just stick to the beginning hit routine and do all 4 until I reach my desired leanness level and just continue on to the 4 intermediate routines afterward or do I do the routine that David H. did in phase 2 and continue on for 2 weeks to phase 3 and 4. I also got a problem because all I have at home is a bowflex ultimate, a chin up bar and about up to 35 pounds each on 2 adjustable dumbbells. I can't do negative chin ups or dips. I was wondering what your thoughts and suggestions where.

thanks,
george
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