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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

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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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The 5-Minute Workout
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Marc Middleton

The 5-Minute Workout
I challenged Dr. Darden to design a hard-hitting, 5-minute
workout — and he challenged me to go through it.


Once we hit 20, the average American loses 5 pounds of muscle every decade. At the same time, we're gaining 10 pounds of fat.

That means we lose 15 pounds of muscle and replace it with 30 pounds of fat by the time we're 50.

The good news is — it's never too late to reverse this disturbing trend. The better news is that it doesn't take much time.

In a recent Growing Bolder segment, I asked Dr. Ellington Darden to create his shortest workout that can still achieve impressive muscle-building gains.

A while later, Dr. Darden invited me back to his private gym to try his routine. I made sure that I had my videographer along as Ellington instructed me through each exercise, repetition by repetition. From the first exercise, you'll see that it didn't take me long to feel my 56-year-old muscles contracting and stretching — with the necessary intensity — to become bigger and stronger.

Five minutes, two or three times a week, may be all you need to improve significantly your strength and fitness.

Watch the video and judge for yourself?

Discuss this article | Text Version

Ciccio

Ellington,

I couldn't see the vid. Don't know if it's an upload-problem or my firewall. Need to check this later from home. Anyways, Could you please describe the routine/some routines you think to be ideal for the 5-minute-workout?

Thanks,

Franco
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BretC

New York, USA

Great video. I would like to see more of these.

Bret
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Benjamin Dover

BretC wrote:
Great video. I would like to see more of these.

Bret


I'd second that.

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Zabo

So finally,We can see,all you need is a 3 exercise routine,which is very close to Mentzers consolidation routine.With this workout all major muscles of the body are worked.Why adding anything more than that?Darden is slowly but stubbornly moving to less volume.It was about time.Mike Mentzer must be certainly glad.Great work Darden.
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spud

Zabo wrote:
So finally,We can see,all you need is a 3 exercise routine,which is very close to Mentzers consolidation routine.With this workout all major muscles of the body are worked.Why adding anything more than that?Darden is slowly but stubbornly moving to less volume.It was about time.Mike Mentzer must be certainly glad.Great work Darden.


I don't see any of that. What I see is that you can get a surprisingly good workout from just 3 sets, provided they are performed in the right manner.

The guy in the video would probably benefit more from 2 or 3 of those workouts a week, with a tight diet than he would from doing endless cardio etc.

Why add anything more than that? Why not? Do you seriously think that a 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th or god forbid, an 8th set would instantly overtrain or possibly even kill that guy? Of course not!

Bodybuilding, I would definitely use more than 3 sets.

If a 3 set workout takes 5 minutes, then a 9 set workout would take 15 minutes. That's not exactly an inefficient use of time compared with the 5 minute version.

What this is designed to do is show that even with the bare minimum of HIT, you can get results, not show that 3 sets is optimal for everybody (and their differing goals) on the planet.

Stubbornly moving toward less volume? About time? How arrogant are you??

Do you seriously think that from now on Darden will never recommend more than 3 sets?

Note that the frequency is 2 or 3 times a week, not nearly as low as Mentzer recommended. Doing the workout in the video, less than once a week would not be as good as twice a week.



Franco,

Pick one exercise from each of these 3 groups:

Hip and Thigh

Leg Press
Squat
Deadlift

Upper Body Pulling

Row
Pulldown
Chinup
Pullover

Upper Body Pushing

Chest Press
Overhead Press
Dip

That's the workout.

In this video it's leg press, pullover, chest press.
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Ellington Darden

Spud did a nice job of explaining my views on The 5-Minute Workout. His note to Franco is also on target.

Yes, you can get a good workout in 5 minutes. But that time span is certainly not optimum for most most trainees.

Ellington
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

Ellington Darden wrote:
Spud did a nice job of explaining my views on The 5-Minute Workout. His note to Franco is also on target.

Yes, you can get a good workout in 5 minutes. But that time span is certainly not optimum for most most trainees.

Ellington


Here, here.

That vid should be required viewing for all those who say "I'd go to the gym, but I just don't have time..."

Doc, I'd like to see a vid of you putting someone through a non-gym version of that workout. Perhaps something like:

Wall Squats
Push-Ups
Broomstick Rows
(for beginners)

...and move up to Dips and Chins
(for advanced trainees)
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FiremanBob

Now that was really interesting. A great way to fit a decent workout into an overbooked schedule. I especially liked the discipline about moving a heavy weight slowly and smoothly.

Marc, I joined GrowingBolder but still can't quite figure out what to do with it. Any guidance would be appreciated.
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s153015

New Brunswick, CAN

Thank you for this! Doing a workout tomorrow morning, and it reminds me to sharpen up my form... watch for the video. I'm filming tomorrow's.

Rick
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Ciccio

Thanks spud and Ellington,

I still didn't see the video.
About the exercises, yeah, I guessed so.
I was moving in the same direction with my training the last monthes with some additions of R/P-reps (so, not really 5-minut-workouts, but only 3-4 exercises, 2-3x week).
It seems to work for me.

Franco
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spud

I could definitely see this 5 minute workout concept being used as a fat loss program for really busy people.

You'd have 2 different workouts you alternated, training twice a week.

Monday
Leg Press
Row
Chest Press

Thursday
Squat
Pulldown
Overhead Press

The thing that non HIT'ers will fail to grasp is that attention to diet, superhydration and resting between workouts would be massively important in the success of such a program.

As usual, non HIT'ers would probably just look at the volume and frequency of the exercise and say it's too little and then go back to some 4 day a week program that gives no better results.

This 5 minute workout concept is not new though.

If you look at any of the A and B routines that Drew Baye has posted on the site, you'll see that they are just a two different 5 minute workouts, as I described for Franco, but the addition of 4, 5 or 6 isolation exercises to each routine.

A:

1. squat
2. leg curl (negative accentuated)
3. chin up (negative only)
4. dip (negative only)
5. shrug
6. trunk curl
7. wrist curl
8. wrist extension

B:

1. deadlift
2. leg extension (negative accentuated)
3. calf raise (negative only)
4. row
5. incline press
6. side bends
7. neck extension
8. neck flexion

or perhaps this one

Workout A

1. barbell squat
2. weighted chin up
3. barbell overhead press
4. barbell curl
5. barbell shrug
6. trunk curl
7. barbell wrist curl
8. barbell wrist extension

Workout B

1. barbell deadlift (later shrug bar deadlift)
2. calf raise on a leg press machine
3. weighted dip
4. Hammer Strength isolateral low row
5. cable tricep pressdowns
6. back extension
7. Atlantis plate-loaded neck extension
8. Atlantis plate-loaded neck flexion

or this one

A:
Leg Press
Pulldown
Shoulder Press
Calf Raise
Wrist Curl
Wrist Extension

B:
Leg Extension
DB Deadlift or Stiff Legged Deadlift
Chest Press
Row
Lateral Raise
Grip

or this one

Routine A:

1. Shrug Bar Deadlift
2. Chin Up
3. Barbell Overhead Press
4. Barbell Curl
5. Lying Barbell Triceps Extension
6. Calf Raise
7. Weighted Trunk Curls

Routine B:

1. Barbell Squat
2. Barbell Row
3. Dip
4. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
5. Barbell Wrist Curl
6. Dumbbell Wrist Extension
7. Dumbbell Side Bend

You get the idea.
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Zabo

So adding some almost unimportant exersices like Wrist Extension,Wrist Curl,Calf Raise,Atlantis plate-loaded neck extension,cable tricep pressdowns
and even barbell curls,when you perform chin-ups and deadlifts in the same workout would make a huge difference in growth stimulation?

How do you know from which exersice the growth stimulation is coming to the biceps if you do barbell curl and chin-ups in the same workout?Is not better stimulation coming from the bigger one like chin-up?I think your head is getting too pumped and you may soon even write some book.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

Zabo wrote:
So adding some almost unimportant exersices like Wrist Extension,Wrist Curl,Calf Raise,Atlantis plate-loaded neck extension,cable tricep pressdowns
and even barbell curls,when you perform chin-ups and deadlifts in the same workout would make a huge difference in growth stimulation?


Extending the workout thusly, serves two purposes IMO:

1. Even if it didn't make you THAT much bigger or provide THAT much more "growth stimulation" (as you put it), it would still help "fill in the gaps" or round-out the physique.

Many who have done consolidated for long periods of time report that they just looked "bigger" like a powerlifter. They needed exercises like lateral raises, forearm exercises, calf exercises, and curls too, to bring-up the areas not stimulated sufficiently by consolidated routines.

Franco has another solution to this, where he is rotating a number of different routines. I believe he may be using a total of 12 exercises between the workouts --- and even those exercises are varied somewhat from workout to workout.
[F: I know it's more varied than that, but I just wanted to give 'em the Readers Digest version]

2. In addition, adding more exercises is also a question of overall fitness. The American Heart Association has long recommneded elevating the heart for at least 15 minutes, 3 times per week.
[Note: I will ignore the FDA's recent recommendation that people do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. To me, this was just one of their bull-session/brainstorm solutions to the U.S.'s obesity problems]

Recent research has shown the benefit of an exercise program with varied intervals of intensity. As little as 10 minutes can give one excellent cardiovascular benefits, with alternating periods of high intensity (i.e. a set) and low intensity (i.e. moving and setting up on another exercise).

Adding just 2-3 exercises to the base routine of Dr. Darden's can flesh-out the picture to 10 minutes and provide great overall fitness benefits. It will also flesh-out your physique.

Scott
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Zabo

OK good,so try to remove the big exersices like squats,deadlifts,benches and chins and concentrate on isolation movements.Lets see how far you get.Do them for a month or two and then get back to compound movements.You will see the loss of strength and muscles everywhere on your "big" body.And forget about filling some"gaps".It is only in your head.

If somebody is doing only and only compound movements and not some meaningless wrist curls and trunks and calf raises and so on,does it really make such a big difference in him becoming or not becoming quite muscular?Are you gonna get big wrists from wrist curls or deadlifts?I know the answer.
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spud

Zabo, it sounds as if you're head may be getting too pumped and that you may also write a book. Although I suspect it may read more like a puritanical rant in favor of consolidation training.

I assume your training contains NOTHING outside of the following exercises and their variations:

deadlift
squat
leg press
overhead press
bench press
dip
row
pulldown
chinup
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Ciccio

I finally saw the video. Awesome work, Ellington!
You obviously got Marc's attention! And I have to say that he looks quite fit and strong for his age. I think he's no total stranger to weight training or at least some other forms of fitness.

And Simon is about right with description of my training. There are other threads here where I go more in detail.
About the adding of 3-4 "isolation" exercises (I don't like that word, single-joint movements is more accurate) it depends on what exercises these are. Sure a wrist curl or calf raise will not do much harm but if we speak about things like heavy standing BB curls, they're taxing like hell! And I also wouldn't call them "isolation".
Especially if you add some rest-pause technique like I do.
And I also wouldn't call them "isolation". Even with perfect form you have to brace a lot of muscles allover to keep the balance.


Franco
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Jer Bear

Illinois, USA

I love this site! This is one of the best talks about HIT that I've seen in my very short time here. No name calling and nothing but logical points and counter points.

I can now post, so I won't be hijacking anymore also!

SPUDS-Thanks for the different routines. I like something different now and then.

SIMON-As always, great info.

I was thinking, I'm thinking of adding one of these "5 Minute HELL DRILLS" as my middle workout. I feel like I'm getting a bit too worn down by the third/last workout of the week. Staring out with three ecercises, then maybe one or two more from the upper body area if I feel like it. My lower body is just about dead by the last workout, but my upper body feels like it could still use that third workout.

Jerry
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

Zabo wrote:
OK good,so try to remove the big exersices like squats, deadlifts, benches and chins and concentrate on isolation movements.


Who the hell said anything about removing those exercises?! Not one person on this thread.

I (I won't speak for everyone else) am just suggesting having a core of big movements like the ones you listed, augmented with a few isolation movements to fill in the gaps.

Apparently, you're not even reading everyone's entire posts, just seeing what you want to see.
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NoDrugs

I have been doing a variation on this every 4 days for the last 32 and my strength AND size increases have been nothing short of phenomenal. The workouts I do are...

A.
Squats, chins, chest press

B.
Deadlifts, dips, rows

I alternate A and B and neither workout takes more than 20 minutes. For example, my strength on squats has increased from 150 lbs to 320 lbs and the other exercises have similar strength increases. BTW, this is 3 months post spinal surgery so I can say these workouts (and HIT in general) have been miraculous for me.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

Ciccio wrote:
...About the adding of 3-4 "isolation" exercises (I don't like that word, single-joint movements is more accurate) it depends on what exercises these are. Sure a wrist curl or calf raise will not do much harm but if we speak about things like heavy standing BB curls, they're taxing like hell! And I also wouldn't call them "isolation"...
Franco


BB curls are definitely an exception, with the lower back, delts, and rotator cuff muscles used to stabilize the torso and joints other than the elbows.

"Adding a few exercises" was just my broad swipe at the overall concept. Exercise selection would be key for anything you add.

When I design a well-rounded routine, I always incoprrate exercises that provide, how shal I say, varying degrees of megabolic and/or CNS stimulation.

I start with 2-4 of the basic compound movements. This includes squats, leg press, DLs, good mornings, presses, machine pullovers, rows, chins, and pulldowns.

Then I add 1-3 intermediate exercises (I ask openly if anyone has a better term for them). These would be exercises that may target select muscles, though still require stablizing input from other groups: BB curls, pushdowns, standing calf raises, shrugs, DB/BB pullovers, back extension machine, DB lateral raises, and forward or reverse flyes.

Finally, I fill-in with 1 or 2 low-CNS taxation (?) exercises like rotator cuff work, forearm flexion or extension, neck, some machine curls or extensions, etc.

Scott
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Zabo

spud wrote:
Zabo, it sounds as if you're head may be getting too pumped and that you may also write a book. Although I suspect it may read more like a puritanical rant in favor of consolidation training.

I assume your training contains NOTHING outside of the following exercises and their variations:

deadlift
squat
leg press
overhead press
bench press
dip
row
pulldown
chinup


Exactly.I dont need any direct neck exersices,because deadlifts and chins are more then sufficient for it.I dont need any direct forearm exersices because again deadlifts are doing the job.I dont need any direct abs movements because they get plenty of work from almost all compoud movements.The same goes for biceps,triceps,calves and shoulders.Thats my experience.

Most of you here I think are overtraining like hell,have average to below average physiques(which is O.K) and blindly agree with Darden on almost every subject.He is like your "Father"or big "Brother".Most of your progress is imaginary and you just fantasize about it.
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fantombe

Zabo wrote:
OK good,so try to remove the big exersices like squats,deadlifts,benches and chins and concentrate on isolation movements.Lets see how far you get.Do them for a month or two and then get back to compound movements.You will see the loss of strength and muscles everywhere on your "big" body.And forget about filling some"gaps".It is only in your head.


Of course you are assuming that big exercises work every muscle involved equally and will contribute to their development equally.

Here's a quick list of all the muscles that a chin up will work:

Latissimus Dorsi
Brachialis
Brachioradialis
Biceps Brachii
Teres Major
Deltoid, Posterior
Infraspinatus
Teres Minor
Rhomboids
Levator Scapulae
Trapezius, Lower
Trapezius, Middle
Pectoralis Minor
Dynamic Stabilizers
Triceps, Long Head

How many of those are being worked completely to failure through a full range of motion?

How many are being worked as stabilisers?

How many are being worked as synergists?

Etc., etc.

Because an exercise works a certain muscle in some capacity, doesn't mean it's being worked in the correct context of muscle building.

A barbell curl uses your thighs as stabilisers. Should we stop doing squats since the barbell curl covers that area already?

I would also recommend not putting words like "remove big exercise and concentrate on 'little' ones" into people's mouths.

No-one here has suggested anything remotely similar to removing any of the 'big' ones in favour of 'smaller' ones. We've only talked about supplementing the 'big' exercises with 'smaller' ones to match the trainees goal.

If somebody is doing only and only compound movements and not some meaningless wrist curls and trunks and calf raises and so on,does it really make such a big difference in him becoming or not becoming quite muscular?

I would agree. I would certainly prefer people perform meaningFUL sets of wrist curls, trunk curls, and calf raises than meaningless sets of anything.

It seems pointless to garnish a routine for no reason.

It's also important to distinguish between beooming 'quite muscular', or muscular in the areas the compound exercises will work dominantly, and building a well rounded, aesthetically pleasing, muscular physique.

I again would agree with you. You could become 'quite muscular' using only compound exercises, but I would wager most would prefer the well rounded muscular physique.

Are you gonna get big wrists from wrist curls or deadlifts?I know the answer.

Me too. Neither.

Wrists are mostly tendon with only a small amount of actual muscle in terms of volume. Neither deadlifts or wrist curls will have a huge effect on your wrist size.
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karma50

Ellington,
Bravo! You are a great example of a senior, experienced fitness teacher, and you continue to think of innovative ways to get us to exercise intelligently. Most people are not bodybuilders, and frankly have little interest in spending a lot of time in the gym. Also, a lot of senior bodybuilding types are not all that healthy, and we all know ageing "jocks" who don't move much anymore, let alone chase the kids and grandkids.
The amount of additional benefit achieved by working out longer may vary somewhat by individual, but it probably isn't much, especially for us over 50 types. Marginal utility is at work here. People probably get a huge benefit from that first few minutes/sets, and any extra is less valuable. Many folks who might start this way may see benefits and experiment with more sets to find what works for them, but this is probably a pretty good threshold minimum. Combined with a suitable diet, (probably the biggest factor) and some enjoyable general daily activity, probably optimum for many. Also, a lot of us out here do other physical activities, (swimming, hiking, dance, etc) and only strength train to compliment or enhance those activities, not as bodybuilders or weghtliters as such. Keep it up!
Griff
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Butters

spud wrote:
I don't see any of that. What I see is that you can get a surprisingly good workout from just 3 sets, provided they are performed in the right manner.

The guy in the video would probably benefit more from 2 or 3 of those workouts a week, with a tight diet than he would from doing endless cardio etc.

Why add anything more than that? Why not? Do you seriously think that a 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th or god forbid, an 8th set would instantly overtrain or possibly even kill that guy? Of course not!


You forget the whole point that Mentzer made with the consolidated routine. He wanted the trainee to gain as much muscle as possible in as short a time as possible then worry about isolation exercises for lagging body parts. The exact quote from his Underground Seminar is something like, "Get the 20 inch arm first, then worry about its shape."
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