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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

The Secret


"Training secrets? There are NONE!" Arthur Jones often said.

"Just understand some simple rules concerning intensity, progression, and frequency — then, combine that with a few good exercises. That's all you need."

Jones with his rules, exercises, and commanding personality produced outstanding results for almost every man he supervised.

Arthur Jones, shown here from page 55 of The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results, certainly understood the HIT guidelines. But did he recognize
fully the secret revealed in this article? I don't think so.


For more than 30 years, I've preached and practiced successfully what Jones said. Learn the basics — and workout hard, in good form.

Recently, I've began to wonder if amongst the basics there was something hidden that actually contributed as much or more to Jones's and my training successes.

Jones's death on August 28, 2007, caused me to reflect like never before on those early days at Nautilus. Prominent in my mind were Casey Viator's all-out training, Arnold Schwarzenegger bagging it, Sergio Oliva sweating what seemed like gallons, The Colorado Experiment, The West Point Study, Mike and Ray Mentzer going through their workouts, Eddie Mueller getting pumped, hundreds of seminar demonstrations, and thousands of one-to-one exercise sessions.

What I'm about to share with you kept popping up after each prominent memory. The pops were small at first, but as I progressed, they became larger.


The Emergence of a Profound Element

After several days, those pops revealed a profound element in high-intensity training that I had failed to appreciate. That element had been there all along, in plain sight, rearing its head during almost every training session.

I hesitate to call it a secret, because it's sitting right in front for everyone to see — staring you in the face every time you train.

If anything the HIT crowd has tended to believe the opposite of this concept. I know, I have . . . all the while prodding, "Relax your face, breathe, keep the resistance moving, one more rep, fight the negative."

Applying the above guidelines, I was trying to teach self-reliance, the ability to understand all the fine points — so a person could eventually train himself.

But I was wrong . . .

Very few people retained the details. Most did NOT. Worse, many people didn't have the ability to understand. But the vast majority could, if they were in the ballpark, get good results — but nowhere near great results.

Note: Good is not the same as great. Most people want GREAT RESULTS.


The Unrealized Key

The unrealized key to great results, a secret, if you will, is simply: You can't train yourself.

But don't let that simplicity fool you. It goes way beyond just training harder. It has to do with FOUR elements:

Literally, no one can . . .

It just can't be done. Not by Casey Viator, not by Mike Mentzer, not by Arthur Jones, and not by me.

Let me repeat myself. It is NOT simply about busting your butt during each training session. It's much more than that.

You see, no one really views himself like other people do. In other words, you have a distorted self-image. We all do.

And you have a distorted view about what you need in the way of training. In fact, some, maybe even most, need the exact opposite of what they're feverishly striving for.

From professional bodybuilders to teenage trainees to the serious in-betweens, all of those who traveled to Florida for Nautilus seminars in the 1980s, not a single one saw himself with the same accuracy as the rest of the world.

How can I make such a statement? Because I was there . . . and I talked with each one.

For outstanding ongoing results from your training, you must have an experienced, objective, non-distorted view of what's happening to your own body — both in and out of the gym. Then, you must be able to balance your physique, and your life, to the reality of day-to-day living.

Perhaps a few, a very few, have been able to see, evaluate, and balance their bodies in a healthy manner. But if so, they don't attend fitness seminars nor frequent bodybuilding Web sites.


Are You Satisfied?

Take off your shirt and stand in front of a large mirror. Study closely your neck, upper chest, side deltoids . . . your biceps, triceps, and forearms . . . and, of course, your midsection and abdominals.

Be honest with your assessments.

Are you satisfied with what you see? Are you pleased with your muscular size?

Do you train yourself?

I used to observe Arthur Jones and marvel at his ability to plan individualized routines for people. He'd then put them through the best workout they'd ever had. And, afterward, over a meal, he'd explain what had happened and why.

Those enthused guys would return home to train themselves. After four weeks, we'd get a call, with something along the lines of: "My progress has stopped, PLEASE HELP?"


Help and More Help

And we'd help, with a slightly different routine, a new technique, or encouragement to revisit the Nautilus headquarters. It worked; growth would resume — for a short while. Then, the cycle would be repeated, again and again. And it went on this way for years, throughout the 1970s and the 1980s.

Gradually, as I observed, unlearned, and relearned — I reached a level where I could provide the same guidance as Arthur did. I authored a dozen HIT books, with case studies, to prove it. But neither Arthur nor I understood and appreciated fully that . . . You can't train yourself.

In other words, we were getting results, not from the teaching of the basics, as much as it was from the individual attention we were giving the subject.

Looking back on the Nautilus era, which stretched from 1972-1985, the practice that remains strong — in fact, even stronger today — is the one-to-one, personal-training concept.


Personal Coaching

Arthur Jones and Nautilus almost single-handedly started the personal-training industry in the 1970s. It's somewhat difficult for me to accept that one-to-one training may be more lasting than all the HIT techniques combined.

I should have recognized this more than a dozen years ago when many clients kept repeating my weight-loss programs at the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center. A dieter would lose 20 pounds, regain it, rejoin, and lose it again. One guy did this seven times over a five-year stretch.

In today's TV-marketing world of tasty, high-calorie foods, it's almost impossible to lose significant amounts of fat and keep it off permanently. Any lasting approach has to be grounded — not on self-reliance — but on old-fashioned coaching and someone to answer to. It's common to pay top dollar for this service.

Is supervised dieting any different from supervised training? No, the guidelines are similar and the application is the same: They both require coaching, measurements, hard work, and accountability.

The facts remain that you and I need help. We all need help and the right kind of coaching, based on experience and science.

One of my best training experiences involved Keith Whitley, a bodybuilder from Dallas. Keith responded by packing on 29 pounds of muscle. His complete training program and results are reported in my book, Bigger Muscles in 42 Days.


Private, One-To-One Workshops

Training people has been the core of my passion . . . at Nautilus in the 1970s and 1980s and at the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center in the 1990s. I like to work with people, people of all ages, in small and large groups.

With Jones's passing and my spending hours reflecting on my career, the most fulfilling times of my life have been training people one-to-one.

I especially remember those men who had a burning desire to improve and an unwavering commitment to success. Under my coaching they thrived and exceeded their own high expectations.

That's why I've decided to offer private, three-hour workshops from my new home gym in Orlando. I want to help. I want you to achieve GREAT results, the best-possible results, from HIT.

Stay tuned to this Web site for all the details on how to take advantage my training workshops.

Discuss this article | Text Version

marcrph

North Carolina, USA

I would love to see pictures of your new home gym!
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karma50

Dr. Darden,
Some of us who are interested in strength training have never had any interest in bodybuilding. The biggest problem I've had was getting taken in with "functional fitness" stuff. Fortunately it didn't last long.

I don't see how those of us out here where there are no Nautilus, Medx or HIT facilities can get training, except out of books and by our own experience. That's been my biggest gripe with a lot of HIT sites and trainers. They assume you have access to good equipment and/or facilities and coaches, when these things are in fact rare.

And, how are you training nowadays?
Stay well,
Griff
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Professor Chaos

Dr. Darden,

Fantastic! You're very right about not being able to coach yourself. It seems that no one truly has the ability to objectively analyze themselves.

I look forward to taking a trip to Orlando!

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Paul25

Excellent honest post Ellington and good on you for helping the masses train safely and productively! Look forward to the update.
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bengt

Sweden

? I don?t think I really understod the article! Are Hvt a better way to train? Because you can train yourself that way, econtrario conclusion. Are all the books I have bought worthless? I hope not.

I can see the point in your article and should like to go to Florida, but not all of us can do that, I envy those who can, but I wish theres is some hope for the rest of us.
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Ellington Darden

marcrph wrote:
I would love to see pictures of your new home gym!


I'll try to post some shots of my home gym soon.

Ellington

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Ellington Darden

bengt wrote:
? I don?t think I really understod the article! Are Hvt a better way to train? Because you can train yourself that way, econtrario conclusion. Are all the books I have bought worthless? I hope not.

I can see the point in your article and should like to go to Florida, but not all of us can do that, I envy those who can, but I wish theres is some hope for the rest of us.


HIT is the best way to train. But my point is, whatever way or system you are applying, you won't be able to train yourself correctly -- not for long and not consistently. There are too many distortions.

Ellington

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OSAKA/J

As always, an excellent post. And while your views on not being able to
assess yourself objectively are valid and duly noted, for some (many?) of us,
the possibility of personal coaching is,in reality, an impossibility.
Firstly, where I live, there are no facilities that have anywhere near the equipment needed. Thus, I have to make do with the basic barbells and dumbbells. This, in and of itself, while not ideal, is actually not bad, as it has forced me to be more creative and become more knowledgeable as to how to get the most out of the exercises I'm doing.
Secondly, there is a dearth of knowledgeable coaches versed in the
ways of HIT and exercise in general.
(This was covered in another post a
while back). In Japan (I live in Osaka) 99% of the trainers in the
commercial gyms (extremely expensive and understocked in the ways of machines and free weights) have
no clue as to the hows and whys of
general fitness training, much less
HIT. That is not an option for me.
Finally, a word about objectivity.
You mentioned that it is next to impossible to assess yourself objectively; I agree. However, most
trainers are not all that objective
either, and if THEY can't do it for you, who can? The only ones in the
business who are good enough are few
and far between, and for most of us,
the cost is, unfortunately, quite
prohibitive.
That leaves us with the only possible solution: self-training. And while it is far from perfect, it still gets us in the exercise mood, gets us conditioned, and has us feeling better about ourselves in general. What more could one ask?

Osaka/J
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Ellington Darden

Osaka,

I agree with you. Self training can get you good results. But that good won't be great, and I doubt that it will come efficiently.

Like almost anything in life, having a master teacher at the right time will make the learning -- and
the results -- better and faster.

Ellington
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rtestes

Mississippi, USA

Dr. Darden

I am not sure, we need trainers. First there are very few good ones. There are fewer, who believe that HIT has any value at all. So, the vast majority won't have a trainer available to them.

We look to the written word for the secrets. The burden lies with those that can express themselves in books. You do it well, You are the only one that provides the details surrounding HIT.

Even as we look at what Jones accomplished, it was not in the one on one training sessions with the extremely small numbers which he trained. It was the written word.

Now, You can touch the hundreds of thousands through the power of video. Something that you and Jones have never been successful in. Video is where you should attempt to pass on all the things you have absorbed on HIT. Video offers you the best way, in my opinion.

But I support any effort you pursue and hope you will do an "Eastwood" in your golden years.
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OSAKA/J

As an addendum to my earlier post, I
will have to second what rtestes wrote. Practically speaking, there are very few good "master trainers"
around. As well, many of the old-timers in the 50's/60's achieved
incredible results without the benefit of trainers. Examples would be Chuck
Sipes, Jack Delinger, Harold Poole,
Reg Park, and a lot of other greats.
They may have had spotters to help
out, but I believe they did it on their
own as they knew their bodies better
than anyone. Would a master trainer
have helped? Maybe; that's all I'll
say.
However, as rtestes mentioned, a
series of DVD's/videos would go a long way on showing us the "How-To" aspects of HIT. Granted, we still have to train HARD, but it would serve as a more practical aspect of how to achieve results.

Respectfully,

Osaka/J
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MitchA

I think I have read just about everything AJ has written, some articles over and over, I have seen numerous clips of video footage.
I personally feel it will never equate to actually experiencing being there, under the instruction of Arthur Jones.
Given the opportunity, it would have been the first thing I?d done.
I?ve always felt that video is not a good tool for learning in this situation, either is the written word.

Great thoughts Dr Darden. thank you

If ever I visit your country you followed by Dr Ken and Jim B would be my first port of call!!!
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shlevon

I do believe the phenomenon Dr. Darden is talking about is real. However, I think there's a better/easier solution than spending money for a guru.

Form or find a tight-knit fellowship with other lifters, and train with them. That group dynamic, where the members of the group hold each other accountable, help correct form deficiencies as they pop up, and push each other to strive harder is ENORMOUSLY important.

This sort of thing is pretty common in powerlifting, and it should be far more common for lifters in general.
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Ellington Darden

What I'm talking about requires more coaching than training. But still, the training must be targeted, precise, and evaluated constantly.

Ellington
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Dan_The_man

When I read it, this post just seems like common sense to me...all the best sports men and women have top coaches behind them...

Also in terms of the training...it only stands to reason that any individual will do better with someone watching over him...after all you can't do any given exercise and watch yourself do it...

And ultimately if your able to train in a gym that has no one else in it but you and your trainer...then you are ultimately working out in a fixed environment....if on the other hand you work out in a commercial gym...sometimes it is impossible to follow a routine as you have planned it....and so that mental set-back alone is enough to destroy any thoughts of positive results.

Despite all this however, personal trainers cost money...and unless there is money to spare or your Dad knows his stuff...then your pretty much on your own...the only cheaper alternative I could think of...is if you had a training partner...and you trained one another...

For me... In my five years or so of training...my results have not been great...at least by bodybuilding standards...but I am no where near as fat as I used to be...and I am certainly more muscular...

But now, in light of this discussion......

It will no longer be...my genetics won't allow for my muscles to grow any larger...Instead it will be.... I don't have a personal trainer...so I don't even know what my capabilities are...

Dan
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Ciccio

Ellington,

I believe your conclusions are very valid.
But like others pointed out already, the access to good trainers, especially HIT trainers is very limeted to most of us.
Obviously not a full substitution for a personal one-on-one training, but what happend to your announcement in TNBBFOSR about the video section to be on this site?

Franco
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Ellington Darden

Yes, "you're pretty much on your own," with most things in life that have meaning. That's why it's important to have teachers, coaches, and wise men and women available to help.

A good training partner can be a valuable addition, and many times, that's the only solution.

Ellington
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Ellington Darden

About the proposed training video section discussed in TNBBFOSR, when I was preparing the book (about 2 years ago), there was no such thing as youtube.com. My technical guys tell me that there's no need to get involved . . . that youtube fills that gap nicely.

Ellington
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Tom Traynor

When I decided to take up tennis....skiing....performance automobile driving....motorcycling...I hired a coach or did a "track day". And if I wanted to get really proficient, I would do this repeatedly. It helps get the most out of the endeavor--and be safe while doing so.

Intersestingly, as Casey Stoner, the rider for Ducati motorcycles in MotoGP racing (talk about gutsy guys: Over 205 MPH on 240 horsepower bikes with TONS of corners, off-cambers, chutes, etc...none of this strap in a cage. Turn left twice each lap stuff). won AGAIN (8 of 13 races) he made sure to add thanks for his trainer who keeps him strong enough to consistently drive his bike at the limit.
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Ellington Darden

Tom Traynor wrote:
When I decided to take up tennis....skiing....performance automobile driving....motorcycling...I hired a coach or did a "track day". And if I wanted to get really proficient, I would do this repeatedly. It helps get the most out of the endeavor--and be safe while doing so.

Intersestingly, as Casey Stoner, the rider for Ducati motorcycles in MotoGP racing (talk about gutsy guys: Over 205 MPH on 240 horsepower bikes with TONS of corners, off-cambers, chutes, etc...none of this strap in a cage. Turn left twice each lap stuff). won AGAIN (8 of 13 races) he made sure to add thanks for his trainer who keeps him strong enough to consistently drive his bike at the limit.


Tom,

You expressed my point better than I did. Thanks.

Ellington

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mpx

After signing the appropriate legal documents,do we get a partial reimbursement if we don't puke and collapse half way through?
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splice

Making a video is a great idea for sure. There is a post about p90x a program you buy off tv to " help" you get inbto shape. Even though they are not there you still push yourself alot more. I have the regular power 90 but i find just by watching this tape and hearing a voice tell you to do a few more gets you fired up.

HOWEVER i know this not as good as a coach but you will be suprised what you can do even when a tv is telling you to push yourself harder. Since there are no tapes out right now for h.i.t i consider these some of the top video tapes for now.
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AI1963

Dr. Darden:

I respectfully request that you post one or more proper workouts as performed or supervised by you. Perhaps the BIG routine and/or a good A/B routine.

A true HIT workout captured in real time would be both instructive and motivational.

I know this could involve some considerable time and effort on your part, not sure if you are inclined to do this. Many (most?) of us who frequent this site would GREATLY appreciate this.

What do you say?

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Ellington Darden

AI1963 wrote:
Dr. Darden:

I respectfully request that you post one or more proper workouts as performed or supervised by you. Perhaps the BIG routine and/or a good A/B routine.

A true HIT workout captured in real time would be both instructive and motivational.

I know this could involve some considerable time and effort on your part, not sure if you are inclined to do this. Many (most?) of us who frequent this site would GREATLY appreciate this.

What do you say?



We made a bunch of videos in the 1980s at Nautilus, but none of them was very good. In the 1990s, I invested a lot of time and money in videos again, with the same result.

That's why I've said previously that I'm not interested in being involved in any more videos.

I'd rather do books, seminars, and workshops, since I've had good experiences with them.

Ellington

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