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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

Evaluate Your Progress

Keep Warm-Up in Perspective


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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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Big Jim's Quick-Grow Routine
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Ellington Darden, Ph.D.

Big Jim's Quick-Grow Routine
Need a workout to shock your muscle mass into
some solid gains? Then, pay attention to
big Jim — big Jim Flanagan!


"I'm sore from my shoulders to my knees," Travis Hillpot said while stretching his chest and upper back. "It's weird, I can already feel myself growing."

It was November 26, 2006, and I had just joined Jim Flanagan and Travis at Starbuck's in Longwood, Florida. A day earlier, Jim had trained Travis in his home gym. And let me tell you, Flanagan's home gym could be easily mistaken for the original, 1973 Nautilus Research Center in Lake Helen, Florida. Both gyms featured tons and tons of old-school iron.

Jim Flanagan welcomes you to his home gym and challenges
you to a man-sized workout.

"Travis had missed a couple of workouts and he was a little stale. He needed something to kick-start him back into growth. That's why I administered one of my special routines," Jim said as he looked at me with a slight smile and a big wink.

I immediately knew where Jim was coming from. He and I had triangulated all kinds of "special routines," when we trained Casey Viator for the 1978 Mr. Universe contest.


JIM FLANAGAN

Those of you who have read The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results will recognize Jim Flanagan from page 112. Jim and I met Arthur Jones about the same time and we both trained under Jones's supervision at the DeLand High School Quonset Hut in 1971. And we both ended up working with Jones for the next two decades.

In October of 2006, I visited Jim and he told me he was still personally training 10 men (one of which was Travis Hillpot) once a week at his one-of-a-kind gym.

This shot shows one corner of big Jim's home gym. Old-school Nautilus guys will recognize the compound-position biceps and the compound-position triceps machines. Around the walls are more than 250 personally autographed
pictures from well-known athletes.

If you want to know more about big Jim Flanagan, dig into Chapter 11 of my new book. But size wise, he's 6' 5" tall and weighs between 265 to 285 pounds, depending on his training and appetite over the previous several weeks. For now, however, let's get back to his quick-grow routine that he's personally applied with some of his trainees.

"Jim," I said, "why don't you tell me more about that special routine? In fact, since I have my camera in the car, why don't we drive over to your gym, so I can share with the readers of my Web site exactly what you guys performed — exercise by exercise?"


THE QUICK-GROW ROUTINE

"There are 8 exercises in the routine," Jim said as we were driving over to his home, which is about 2 miles from Starbuck's. "But the thing that separates it from a lot of other routines, is what I had Travis do during exercises 1-6.

"On these exercises, Travis did an all-out, 1-rep maximum on the positive. From his previous workouts and my overall experience, I had a good idea what he could do one time — even though we don't train that way — on each movement. That maximum positive was immediately followed by a very slow negative."

"What was the count on the negative?" I asked.

"Our goal was 60 seconds, which Travis achieved on half of the exercises." Jim replied. "It was an eye-opening start."

"Start . . . you mean there was more?" I wanted to know.

"Yep," Jim replied. "When Travis finished that very slow negative, I quickly reduced the resistance on each machine by 40 to 50 percent and he did as many reps as he could, which usually was in the neighborhood of 6 to 8 — each one in good form (a 3-second positive and a 3-second negative)."

I grabbed a pencil as Jim talked and I listed the following six exercises:

Again, each of the above exercises is a 1-rep maximum (use as much weight as you can in good form) and then you try to lower that same resistance in an agonizingly slow 60 seconds.

"That max positive and 60-second negative," Jim noted, "make a beyond-normal inroad into your starting strength level."

"You're right about that," I said. "And add another 6 to 8 reps with less resistance to that and you've got close to a 50 percent inroad — which is very significant. No wonder Travis is having such a hard time moving around today. It will probably take him another three or four days to recover fully."


THE OTHER 2 EXERCISES

"Jim, what about the 7th and 8th exercises?" I asked. "What did Travis do?"

"The last two," Jim answered, "are finishers — and they can vary. During Travis's workout, he did pushups on the floor, performed in a slow 10-second up/10-second down style; then, the seated dip machine in a normal manner. My goal with those two was to really pump and finish his triceps, which we did.

"But in similar routines, I've used such exercises as the wrist curl, reverse wrist curl, grippers, neck machines, and abdominal movements. Any two of them will work well.

"Or, depending on the trainee and his strength level, I might NOT do exercises 7 and 8. With a lot of strong, advanced athletes — the final two exercises aren't necessary."

"Yeah, I agree with you on those advanced trainees," I said.


A FEW PHOTOS

After the 10-minute drive, we were at Jim's home gym.

"Okay guys," I said, "let's give the readers of my Web site a few pictures of some of the recommended exercises."

Travis looked like a whipped dog as he climbed into Jim's leg press machine.

"Come on Travis," I said in an upbeat manner, "repeating today what you did yesterday . . . is the best way to eliminate some of that pain."

Travis smiled and, while he knew what I was saying was true, he also knew all I wanted was a few demonstration-type pictures — not actual shots taken during his workout.

"I really like the MedX Avenger Leg Press/Squat machine," Jim said as he watched Travis position himself for the squat exercise and perform several repetitions. "The machine has almost no internal friction and the resistance curve is right where it should be." Travis, at 31 years of age, stands 6' 1" and weighs 225 pounds.


TIPS ON GETTING THE BEST RESULTS

Since I've talked with Jim and Travis, I've had a chance to go through most of the listed exercises applying the recommended techniques. Here are some guidelines for achieving the best results:

NOTE: This is strictly a machine routine. Substituting free-weight exercises for machines will not work well for most of the slow negatives.


PARTING WORDS

"You better be in good shape," big Jim said, "to tackle this special routine. It's definitely not for beginners.

"If you can withstand the initial shock and endure the ensuing pain, you'll be rewarded with a surge of quick growth."

Thanks, Jim, for your parting words of wisdom.


For information on the latest MedX equipment, visit Jim on his new Web site: ResistanceSolutionsInc.com.

 

Discuss this article | Text Version

DownUnderLifter

Great article Dr.Darden

That looks like one heck of workout.

I'm not surprised it's recommended that you do it no more than once per month!!

And I have to say Jim looks in good shape too.

Thanks for a great read.

Cheers
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Ciccio

Inspiring!

Yeah, there are no big guys doing HIT... ;)

I have one question though, Ellington:
Despite the notion not to substitute with free weights, I believe that it's quite doable, maybe not with squats (maybe leg extension?) but at least with chins and dips.
Comments?

Regards,

Franco
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cargo

Jim is the real deal for sure, a Class Act like no other.
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JimBryan

Florida, USA

Really nice article on a true Iron Man. Jim's home gym is as fine as any I have seen. It has been put together over the years with much thought and care. Vintage Nautilus, MedX, Southern Exercise, Free weights, and a short trip out the door to fall face down on the ground. Some just head for the restroom instead. When that happens Jim's in trouble :-)
Have known Jim for around 30 years and he's always been a complete Gentleman (unless he's chasing you) You won't find many that know more about the business of training than Jim. Always a pleasure going up to Longwood and catching up.

Other notable home Gym's I'd love to have: Doc Ken's, Steve Baldwin's, Kim Wood's.



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GatorFan

After reading the article yesterday, I added this rep style to a leg specialization this morning.

It went like this:

Front Squats - 1 set to failure
MedX Seated Leg Curl - 1 set to failure
MedX Leg Extension - 1 set of 6 to 8 reps, followed by 1 drop set of about 2 to 3 reps
MedX Leg Press - 1 rep max w/ a 60 sec. negative, reduced the weight by 50% and got 7 more.

Unfortunately I could only go for about 30 sec. on the negative, but I was not really surprised about that given the previous leg work.

In previous workouts I did the same routine, except I did 1 1/4 reps on the leg press.

I really enjoyed this rep style and will get in a full workout as described in the article soon.

Thank you Dr. Darden and Mr. Flanagan for the new technique!
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Bill De Simone

New Jersey, USA

This routine would have fit perfectly in the "Outside the Box" chapter.

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Al Coleman

Ohio, USA

Dr. Darden,

What would you think of changing the rep protocol for the reduced set? Do you think 10/10 reps would serve well?
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Al Coleman

Ohio, USA

Dr. Darden,

What would you think of changing the rep protocol for the reduced set? Do you think 10/10 reps would serve well?
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Ellington Darden

Al,

No. I believe faster reps, given that you've just finished a 60-second negative, would be better. Perhaps 4/4, 3/3, or even a controlled 2/2?

But you can certainly experiment with 10/10 and report your feelings.

Ellington
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Ellington Darden

Guys,

Here's another shot of Travis Hillpot, after completing big Jim's routine. "Over the last year," Travis said, "Jim has trained me an average of six times per month. As a result, my body weight has increased from 175 to 225 pounds."

Also, you'll notice on the wall behind Travis, there's an article and a poster about Clint Walker. Walker is an old friend of Jim's.

Ellington
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admnautilus

Washington, USA

I was there for one of Travis's workouts- all I can say is well done!!
This workout was brutal. It is no wonder why Travis has added so much new tissue. Train hard--Train brief, it always works. I have been training a client for 8 weeks and he gained over 18 lbs of new muscle. Of course genetics plays a big role but my client was astounded at his progress. Each workout last only 12 minutes--not bad!

Jim's studio is one of the finest I have seen. Jim is a one of the few geat trainers out there that trully get the meaning of HIT. Jeff
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cmg

Great article.

Thanks!!

Ron
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hdlifter

Ellington,

Is there a way to impliment the gist of Jim's ideas into a similar routine using barbells?
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Ellington Darden

hdlifter,

Barbell exercises don't lend themselves well to 60-second negatives. The resistance curve on most barbell exercises is simply not appropriate.

Ellington
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Trandahl

Tennessee, USA

This is really intriguing. It also seems like a good way to measure 1RM strength gains (if one would perform this routine every one or two months).
I may have to try it next next week.
I feel like a giddy schoolboy waiting for Christmas.
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

I haven't seen Jim train Travis, but I've met Travis a few times and am impressed by how much muscle he's been able to add. I have seen Jim train both David Landau and Josh Trentine, and he kicked their asses.
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HDLou

Anyone know what Jim's take is when it comes to diet/nutrition when training someone trying to put on muscle?
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

HDLou wrote:
Anyone know what Jim's take is when it comes to diet/nutrition when training someone trying to put on muscle?


Del Frisco's steak :)
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SanSooMan

Dr. Darden,
A question of recovery: You say only to do this workout one time a month. Now, I'm in the fold with Ken, hell my workout partner is a Master Superslow instructor. So, we have been beat in the head about recovery.

If my math is right, I've instructed close to 10,000 workouts in six years. Now it may just be that Matt(my workout partner) and I have good genes, but we both train NO twice a week for the last 6 months and only continue to put on muscle(Matt's unpumped right arm is 17.5" at 6' 3", 202lbs. and a 31" waist.

Not bad. From this artical, I surrmise that we are overtraing. BTW, I work 65 hours a week and get less than 7 hours sleep. So how important really is recovery? Thanks for your time.
PS, I asked my wife to buy me your new book for Christmas! Chris
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Ellington Darden

SanSooMan wrote:
Dr. Darden,
A question of recovery: You say only to do this workout one time a month. Now, I'm in the fold with Ken, hell my workout partner is a Master Superslow instructor. So, we have been beat in the head about recovery.

If my math is right, I've instructed close to 10,000 workouts in six years. Now it may just be that Matt(my workout partner) and I have good genes, but we both train NO twice a week for the last 6 months and only continue to put on muscle(Matt's unpumped right arm is 17.5" at 6' 3", 202lbs. and a 31" waist.

Not bad. From this artical, I surrmise that we are overtraing. BTW, I work 65 hours a week and get less than 7 hours sleep. So how important really is recovery? Thanks for your time.
PS, I asked my wife to buy me your new book for Christmas! Chris


Chris,

Do big Jim's workout and report back. With your NO experience, you should have a pretty good feel when you are recovered. After you believe you've recovered, repeat the workout again. Do the same thing for 2 more workouts. Keep records and let us know what happens?

Ellington

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SanSooMan

I will do. And repoet back. From what I've seen in my own body mainly and to a lesser degree in clients, your muscles will grow despite limited recovery. And I have read Ryan Hall's work, which is great. However, both Matt and I train to the point we are sick with NO on Negative Attitude machines and still grow with 2x a week and no layoffs.

And by grow, I mean measureable, I talked of Matt's progress, mine 15.5 to 16.5" arms, 44" relaxed chest, 24" thighs. 480 lbs NO bench on my part(He is bigger, I'm alot stronger). So, I love HIT, but Brian J. is on the $ when he says there is a fine and somewhat non-defined line between HIT and HVT.

I would say AJ is right when he said the magic is in the intensity, since I do 12 exercises, but dry heve on almost every one.
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MotorFed

California, USA

Chris,

Would you mind posting your workouts so we can see what they look like? Sounds like youre doing something right. Congrats on the good gains, my friend.

Dan
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JONKILCOYNE

Florida, USA

Although its important to stay on top of the latest word on the subject your interested in, an obsessive interest can be quite harmful. I seldom comment on these strength training forums due to the fact that a lot of what is said is just constant quibling by internet nerds(with exceptions of course) about details, details, details and the time spent (wasted) could probably be applied more productively to one's life. How about making a home improvement?, cleaning out a garage?, spending quality time with family?, playing sports and being active? Picking up Chicks? :) or at least spending more time keeping the one you've got. Time Flies. I saw this post and could not help but register on Dr.Darden's site to log my comments on "Big Jim Flanagan".
I met Jim Flanagan this past year on three seperate occasions through affiliation with Drew Baye, and I must state that I LEARNED a great deal from this man, some by stories and what he said but much more so by his ACTIONS. Jim is a man's man, the type of guy that unwaiverly looks you in the eye when talking. He is a generous giant of a man that Im thankful to have crossed paths with, and if anyone was sincerely interested in exercise equipment or training should try to get in contact with him. His history goes back to the beginning of Nautilus lore, even to the times of Milo. Jim what a wide and varied experience you have, and thanks again for the meals, advice, and example youve provided for many of us.
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raytate

North Carolina, USA

Jim Flanagan is one of the nicest men I have ever met.I am a friend of Wes Brown and with Wes calling ahead telling Jim that I was going to visit him in the old HQ in Lake Helen ,I was very warmly received.I met Dr. Darden that day and was taken through a routine that day by a man whose name I can't remember.

After the workout I was greeted by Big Jim.I think he was the biggest muscular man I had ever met.Even though he was dressed in a well tailored suit it was obvious that this was a hell of a man.I will never forget that day .A few years later I visited again and Jim took me out to eat at a joint called Angels that served deserts as big as Jim.Jim invited me to a Medx seminar the next day at the University of Fl.where I first met Arthur Jones .

I sat on the first row at the seminar heard Mike Pollock and then AJ.Arthur even used me a couple of times in demonstrations {the old strong back and weak mind line},Afterwards we were taken to a nice private club and served the best meal I've had in my life all at no charge to me and my wife.

This is the way Jim treated us and I will not forget you Jim.Dr Darden thanks so much for featuring Jim.A giant man with a giant heart.May God bless you Jim.
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