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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
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must be done . . . and quickly."
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krazy kaju

If Dr. Darden could come onto this thread and clear up the confusion, it would be great.

On his other website, Dr. Darden states:
After performing one set of 8 exercises twice a week for many months, is it possible to reach a plateau? Yes, I?ve worked with a few very strong bodybuilders who have done just that.

The next step is to reduce the exercises by two and adhere to the same frequency: one set of 6 exercises twice a week. Then, if another plateau is reached, I?d recommend decreasing the frequency, but increasing the exercises slightly. In other words, you?d go back to 8 exercises for one-and-one-half times per week ? which equals 8 exercises three times in two weeks.

Eventually, a few men may require once-a-week training. I?ve worked with only five men, who I would place in that category. That?s five men out of thousands that I?ve worked with over 50 years.

Can you reduce your training too much? Obviously, there?s a time and place in your life where less isn?t always better! More exercise might be a consideration (up to a point) during rehabilitation, recovering from injury, practicing maintenance, or perhaps in the senior years.

The vast majority of people involved in strength training and bodybuilding, however, do too much, rather than too little, exercise. Remember, if your progress is at a standstill, or if you?re dissatisfied with your results ? then train less . . . but work harder.

http://drdardenfitness.com/...of-less


But then, in another post in this forum, Dr. Darden stated:
My last chapter, "I would've trained less," in The New HIT (2004) started me thinking more in the less-is-best manner. Old friends, Jim Flanagan and Joe Mullen, shared with me that they had gone almost exclusively to training their clients one time a week.

Thus, in 2007, when I started my Intensive Coaching business in my private gym in Windermere, Florida, I began training my clients twice a week, rather than my normal three times per week. Results? I noted the same, or better results, with twice-a-week workouts.

After training these clients in this manner for six months, I cut each of their frequency to once a week. And guess what? Just like Flanagan and Mullen recommended a year earlier, the results were the same, or even better, than twice-a-week training.

Today, in 2010, once-a-week training is what I apply with most (not all) of my trainees.


But the duration of these workouts is not Mentzer's consoladation-type routines. I use whole-body routines composed of 8-9 exercises performed in the high-intensity style.

Why have I moved to this frequency of training? Because I've seen with my own eyes that it works equal to or better than three-times-per-week and twice-a-week training.

http://www.drdarden.com/...=558360


So which is it? This is conflicting advice - in one Dr. Darden says that once a week training is only efficient for a few select individuals, while in another Dr. Darden says that once a week training is what he utilizes for most of his clients and that he has seen the same or better results with once a week training than with twice a week training with his clients.

Am I right to be confused?
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Michael Petrella

Ontario, CAN

Looks like Dr. Darden has just evolved his views over time based upon what he has observed from his clients and talking to some of the other respected HIT guys in the field.

I will also add that current western diet are really hurting people's recovery. I will bet the average recovery ability of a trainee in the 70 was greater by a noticeable degree then that of today.

Michael
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Ellington Darden

You're right. Those two views, both from me, are confusing.

But you know what, sometimes training is that way.

At first, I thought I'd defend my first viewpoint. Then, I thought I'd take my second view. But then, I thought I'd use some of both.

Now . . . right now, I'm unsure which is best. I've got some interesting people that I'll be training, with some new and different techniques, over the next six months. I'll have more to say on this in July.

Ellington
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

Ellington Darden wrote:
You're right. Those two views, both from me, are confusing.

But you know what, sometimes training is that way.

At first, I thought I'd defend my first viewpoint. Then, I thought I'd take my second view. But then, I thought I'd use some of both.

Now . . . right now, I'm unsure which is best. I've got some interesting people that I'll be training, with some new and different techniques, over the next six months. I'll have more to say on this in July.

Ellington


==Scott==
Great answer Dr. Darden!! I especially like your honest approach that with all that in mind you still are unsure which is best. I think even though many of us think we know what is the best way to train we still have lingering doubts that make deciding on a one and only way next to impossible.

There are so many variables and people respond to things so differently that it is very difficult to just say way A is superior to way B in the end.
It's these kind of answers from you Dr. Darden that keeps me on this forum!!!
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Rikus

Great question and great response from Darden.

Darden and for some Mentzer are responsible for getting us started in this direction of training. They have the benefit of having experimented with many people. So when Darden speaks, we listen.

But in this age of the internet, we are now able to talk to each other and talk about what has worked and not worked. Another great collection of information to go with Darden's information.

Darden's books are responsible for me learning how to make progress. During three times per week I rarely found the third workout produced results. Good progress was made with twice week and then 3 times a fortnight. I reached my best in my late twenties training once per week.

Experiences on this board such as Turpin's preference to compound movements to improve arm and calf size conflict with other's experiences of requiring direct work to kick the smaller muscles to grow. I tried compound only and I get nothing. I hit the arms with 21's and dropsets and they grow (for a short time). I then cycle/wait a month and go again. Other's beleive changing routines so much is not required. Others use straight sets, others need more techniques like pre-exhaustion. I'm tall and have long arms, so maybe my muscles get a different degree of force or a poor moment arm during compounds to someone like Turpin. Muscle fibre variations? Something is different.

Darden has supplied us with lots of information, but it is great that his thoughts are adaptable and he admits they are still a work in progress, as our own personal research should be.

In short, its awesome that my experimentation on myself is now aligning with some of what Darden and others have found.

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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

deadmanemailing wrote:
...But in this age of the internet, we are now able to talk to each other and talk about what has worked and not worked. Another great collection of information to go with Darden's information.

Darden's books are responsible for me learning how to make progress. During three times per week I rarely found the third workout produced results. Good progress was made with twice week and then 3 times a fortnight. I reached my best in my late twenties training once per week.

Experiences on this board such as Turpin's preference to compound movements to improve arm and calf size conflict with other's experiences of requiring direct work to kick the smaller muscles to grow. I tried compound only and I get nothing. I hit the arms with 21's and dropsets and they grow (for a short time). I then cycle/wait a month and go again. Other's beleive changing routines so much is not required. Others use straight sets, others need more techniques like pre-exhaustion. I'm tall and have long arms, so maybe my muscles get a different degree of force or a poor moment arm during compounds to someone like Turpin. Muscle fibre variations? Something is different...


Wise words, great points, and very observant of everyone's differences. Perhaps posts are best done infrequently too!

Regards,
Scott
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

Michael Petrella wrote:
...I will also add that current western diet are really hurting people's recovery. I will bet the average recovery ability of a trainee in the 70 was greater by a noticeable degree then that of today.

Michael


I'll bet our sleep patterns aren't what they used to be either. Back in the 70s, the tube went off no later than 12 or o'clock on weeknights. Then maybe a bit of reading and off to bed.

"Gee Grandpa, tell us about when there used to be only 4 channels on the TV?"
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Turpin

simon-hecubus wrote:
Michael Petrella wrote:
...I will also add that current western diet are really hurting people's recovery. I will bet the average recovery ability of a trainee in the 70 was greater by a noticeable degree then that of today.

Michael

I'll bet our sleep patterns aren't what they used to be either. Back in the 70s, the tube went off no later than 12 or o'clock on weeknights. Then maybe a bit of reading and off to bed.



Very true Scott , and recent studies have also shown that both testosterone levels and sperm counts are less to-date in the modern male than in previous years also ( the former as we know being the major contributor to muscle growth.) and major contributing factors are stress , poor diet and sleep patterns.
Personally , I get at least 6-7 hrs sleep ( up at 5 AM on work days ) & 9-10 hrs on rest days. I also nap ( 1 hr ) during my lunch break at work.
Heres a couple of geat links that touch upon maximising recovery;

http://www.youtube.com/...feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/...h?v=CgpX2hccICY

T.

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fbcoach

Ellington Darden wrote:
You're right. Those two views, both from me, are confusing.

But you know what, sometimes training is that way.

At first, I thought I'd defend my first viewpoint. Then, I thought I'd take my second view. But then, I thought I'd use some of both.

Now . . . right now, I'm unsure which is best. I've got some interesting people that I'll be training, with some new and different techniques, over the next six months. I'll have more to say on this in July.

Ellington


Your post has actually cleared a lot of the confusion up.

Thanks to the OP for the thread. One of the best so far.
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Tony Williams

simon-hecubus wrote:
Michael Petrella wrote:
...I will also add that current western diet are really hurting people's recovery. I will bet the average recovery ability of a trainee in the 70 was greater by a noticeable degree then that of today.

Michael

I'll bet our sleep patterns aren't what they used to be either. Back in the 70s, the tube went off no later than 12 or o'clock on weeknights. Then maybe a bit of reading and off to bed.

"Gee Grandpa, tell us about when there used to be only 4 channels on the TV?"


Many times, when someone posts that he is not making progress, eventually the subject of sleep comes up -- kids, work, etc.

As the saying goes, "You can't fool Mother Nature".

In the '50s and early 60s, my dad erected a huge beam antenna so that we could pick up one TV station in Oklahoma City 90 miles away.

Tony
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krazy kaju

Thanks for the timely reply, Dr. Darden. Perhaps all that we can hope for is finding the volume that best works for ourselves and not necessarily for others.
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Tony Williams

Michael Petrella wrote:
Looks like Dr. Darden has just evolved his views over time based upon what he has observed from his clients and talking to some of the other respected HIT guys in the field.

I will also add that current western diet are really hurting people's recovery. I will bet the average recovery ability of a trainee in the 70 was greater by a noticeable degree then that of today.

Michael


Michael,

In the past 30 to 40 years, what are the specific changes in the diet that are most responsible for a negative impact on one's recovery.

Thanks,
Tony
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Jym1985

I think we have to look at the bigger picture regarding frequency. Predict what your strength gains would be after 1 month training once per week compared to twice per week.

Looking at it from workout to workout, and comparing once per week to twice per week, you will probably find that strength gains are pretty much the same or slightly better from training once per week. However, you will only workout 4 times in a month, compared to 8 times if training twice per week. You are therefore more likely to have gained more strength by training twice per week.

This is just from my experience. Others may not gain at all on twice per week.
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sonny153

It can be confusing, but I've noticed even with myself as I've evolved in my training I've had to make cuts in both number of exercises and frequency in order to make progress. Even on here I've posted workouts in the past that I've had to reduce since then so it looks like I'm contradicting myself. In a conversation with Andy Bolton he told me he has 2 maximum pulls that he can handle in a workout or a meet, then he needs about 2 weeks (or more) to make a maximum pull again. So who knows what the final answer is, if there is one.
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cmg

Ellington Darden wrote:
You're right. Those two views, both from me, are confusing.

But you know what, sometimes training is that way.

At first, I thought I'd defend my first viewpoint. Then, I thought I'd take my second view. But then, I thought I'd use some of both.

Now . . . right now, I'm unsure which is best. I've got some interesting people that I'll be training, with some new and different techniques, over the next six months. I'll have more to say on this in July.

Ellington



Hello Dr. D,

Do you ever employ the NTF workouts to help aid recovery and have the muscles have some tension between hard (very intense) exercise?

Thank you,

Ron
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HeavyHitter32

Once per week training vs twice per week training really just "depends." It depends on the intensity level, volume, types of exercises performed as some movements are obviously more demanding that others. I think this is why it can get confusing to some and why it will always vary.
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smanjh

HeavyHitter32 wrote:
Once per week training vs twice per week training really just "depends." It depends on the intensity level, volume, types of exercises performed as some movements are obviously more demanding that others. I think this is why it can get confusing to some and why it will always vary.


Yes, it is very confusing, no doubt about it.

My position is and has been since 2008 sometime that the recovery ability varies. Obviously this is true no matter if your intentionally using some form of organized training template or going by feel by adding/subtracting exercises.

Does it mean going NTF sometimes or decreasing/increasing frequency? This is the variable in which I believe I get the most trouble from, since each case of overtraining or over reaching is a bit different.

I can lie and present some reasons for it tied together, but nothing is conclusive across the board.

Turpin makes an excellent point about recover, well I guess Simon made the point about varying ability between now vs past eras of more sleep and less stress.

One other area of emphasis COULD be your drive and interest to train, which is most likely a direct cause of being totally recovered.

If your interest is gone and you do not feel physically able to go hard, maybe training very infrequently or just going NTF with maintaining in mind for a bit allows such along with total recovery, or as Coach would say, getting back into the proper balance.

The above is an elaboration on my application of the DFT, which explains why in somewhat abstract terms why this phenomenon occurs.

There will be ignorances following this post thinking I am pushing some special training program. Not at all the case. I am saying to be mindful of the aforementioned concept in your training with ANY method.
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fbcoach

smanjh wrote:
HeavyHitter32 wrote:
Once per week training vs twice per week training really just "depends." It depends on the intensity level, volume, types of exercises performed as some movements are obviously more demanding that others. I think this is why it can get confusing to some and why it will always vary.

Yes, it is very confusing, no doubt about it.

My position is and has been since 2008 sometime that the recovery ability varies. Obviously this is true no matter if your intentionally using some form of organized training template or going by feel by adding/subtracting exercises.

Does it mean going NTF sometimes or decreasing/increasing frequency? This is the variable in which I believe I get the most trouble from, since each case of overtraining or over reaching is a bit different.

I can lie and present some reasons for it tied together, but nothing is conclusive across the board.

Turpin makes an excellent point about recover, well I guess Simon made the point about varying ability between now vs past eras of more sleep and less stress.

One other area of emphasis COULD be your drive and interest to train, which is most likely a direct cause of being totally recovered.

If your interest is gone and you do not feel physically able to go hard, maybe training very infrequently or just going NTF with maintaining in mind for a bit allows such along with total recovery, or as Coach would say, getting back into the proper balance.

The above is an elaboration on my application of the DFT, which explains why in somewhat abstract terms why this phenomenon occurs.

There will be ignorances following this post thinking I am pushing some special training program. Not at all the case. I am saying to be mindful of the aforementioned concept in your training with ANY method.


Nice post Smanjh!
I don't think anyone believes you are pushing a specific application or high volume. Like you, most of us use a low volume approach and cycle intensities over time, based on a host of variables. Again, Good Post!
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smanjh

fbcoach wrote:
smanjh wrote:
HeavyHitter32 wrote:
Once per week training vs twice per week training really just "depends." It depends on the intensity level, volume, types of exercises performed as some movements are obviously more demanding that others. I think this is why it can get confusing to some and why it will always vary.

Yes, it is very confusing, no doubt about it.

My position is and has been since 2008 sometime that the recovery ability varies. Obviously this is true no matter if your intentionally using some form of organized training template or going by feel by adding/subtracting exercises.

Does it mean going NTF sometimes or decreasing/increasing frequency? This is the variable in which I believe I get the most trouble from, since each case of overtraining or over reaching is a bit different.

I can lie and present some reasons for it tied together, but nothing is conclusive across the board.

Turpin makes an excellent point about recover, well I guess Simon made the point about varying ability between now vs past eras of more sleep and less stress.

One other area of emphasis COULD be your drive and interest to train, which is most likely a direct cause of being totally recovered.

If your interest is gone and you do not feel physically able to go hard, maybe training very infrequently or just going NTF with maintaining in mind for a bit allows such along with total recovery, or as Coach would say, getting back into the proper balance.

The above is an elaboration on my application of the DFT, which explains why in somewhat abstract terms why this phenomenon occurs.

There will be ignorances following this post thinking I am pushing some special training program. Not at all the case. I am saying to be mindful of the aforementioned concept in your training with ANY method.

Nice post Smanjh!
I don't think anyone believes you are pushing a specific application or high volume. Like you, most of us use a low volume approach and cycle intensities over time, based on a host of variables. Again, Good Post!


Thanks Coach.

I believe, at the end of the day, there are always going to be slight differences between us. Again, I must stress the word 'slight'. I believe most of us fall into the type 'G' category.

The other side of the coin, the type 'S' people, they do need more, yet the conundrum of 'more' means different things in accordance to recovery ability and fatigue dissipation rates.

Again, the Darden vs Mentzer thread got me thinking about this. Pound it and it responds or emphasize recovery for the response?

The answer seems to be different based on who is going to get what specifically for best results, but at the end of the day the variances seem to suggest slight differences being needed to accomplish the same results.

NWLifter told me he had great results from something like a 10x10 type program. That sort of things murders my ability to recover, yet I can go to failure and beyond and tolerate it quite well where as that always deterred his progress. So, two people, both applying things correctly, different results.

My issues with HD were based on thinking you could not increase volume or frequency once reduced and in thinking of it as a linear relationship forever complete with exact numbers and so on forever. This isn't always the case as Turpin pointed out long ago.
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hdlifter

During the 80's, even early to mid-80's when running two martial arts clubs, I'd often train using every intensity enhancer known to mankind (forced reps, drop sets, pre-ex, rest-pause, etc.) with a partner - THEN rush off to a 2-3 hour martial arts lesson! If I tried that now, the hospital or morgue wouldn't be a far off.

I adhered to the routines from Ell's many books through the 80's... twice weekly was the norm, and I did OK, especially late 80's on BIG. Now, once weekly per muscle allows continual progress in reps and/or weight, often both.

That is where it's at, whether you HIT it once weekly or 3, 5, even 7 days a week. As long as you see regular and consistent progress, at least, every other week, then you are at the right frequency and volume to suite yourself.
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fishoil

Maybe Dr. Darden could comment on the diets of the people that he trained in the 70's to see the differences in the the dietary strategies?
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fbcoach

smanjh wrote:
fbcoach wrote:
smanjh wrote:
HeavyHitter32 wrote:
Once per week training vs twice per week training really just "depends." It depends on the intensity level, volume, types of exercises performed as some movements are obviously more demanding that others. I think this is why it can get confusing to some and why it will always vary.

Yes, it is very confusing, no doubt about it.

My position is and has been since 2008 sometime that the recovery ability varies. Obviously this is true no matter if your intentionally using some form of organized training template or going by feel by adding/subtracting exercises.

Does it mean going NTF sometimes or decreasing/increasing frequency? This is the variable in which I believe I get the most trouble from, since each case of overtraining or over reaching is a bit different.

I can lie and present some reasons for it tied together, but nothing is conclusive across the board.

Turpin makes an excellent point about recover, well I guess Simon made the point about varying ability between now vs past eras of more sleep and less stress.

One other area of emphasis COULD be your drive and interest to train, which is most likely a direct cause of being totally recovered.

If your interest is gone and you do not feel physically able to go hard, maybe training very infrequently or just going NTF with maintaining in mind for a bit allows such along with total recovery, or as Coach would say, getting back into the proper balance.

The above is an elaboration on my application of the DFT, which explains why in somewhat abstract terms why this phenomenon occurs.

There will be ignorances following this post thinking I am pushing some special training program. Not at all the case. I am saying to be mindful of the aforementioned concept in your training with ANY method.

Nice post Smanjh!
I don't think anyone believes you are pushing a specific application or high volume. Like you, most of us use a low volume approach and cycle intensities over time, based on a host of variables. Again, Good Post!

Thanks Coach.

I believe, at the end of the day, there are always going to be slight differences between us. Again, I must stress the word 'slight'. I believe most of us fall into the type 'G' category.

The other side of the coin, the type 'S' people, they do need more, yet the conundrum of 'more' means different things in accordance to recovery ability and fatigue dissipation rates.

Again, the Darden vs Mentzer thread got me thinking about this. Pound it and it responds or emphasize recovery for the response?

The answer seems to be different based on who is going to get what specifically for best results, but at the end of the day the variances seem to suggest slight differences being needed to accomplish the same results.

NWLifter told me he had great results from something like a 10x10 type program. That sort of things murders my ability to recover, yet I can go to failure and beyond and tolerate it quite well where as that always deterred his progress. So, two people, both applying things correctly, different results.

My issues with HD were based on thinking you could not increase volume or frequency once reduced and in thinking of it as a linear relationship forever complete with exact numbers and so on forever. This isn't always the case as Turpin pointed out long ago.


Good points. Age is a major variable that dictates volume, intensity, and frequency. I can remember using high volume (5x10 4 exercises 20 secs between sets) in my teens and 20s and even 30s. It worked great at the time, but it wasn't a protocol I would use indefinitely. I have always subscribed to a more abbreviated higher intensity workout philosophy. But, my best friend still trains high volume, and he can bench 400lbs at over 50. Go figure!! It all boils down to a host of variables, both physically and mentally.
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Zabo

Finally Darden is getting to once a week training frequency that Doug McGuff and some other people have been saying for at least a decade now.Darden's next step will be reducing the volume somewhat.It might also take him at least a decade or so but he should and will get there.Traditions are hard to change but eventually they go away.
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robinn3403

Ellington Darden wrote:
You're right. Those two views, both from me, are confusing.

But you know what, sometimes training is that way.

At first, I thought I'd defend my first viewpoint. Then, I thought I'd take my second view. But then, I thought I'd use some of both.

Now . . . right now, I'm unsure which is best. I've got some interesting people that I'll be training, with some new and different techniques, over the next six months. I'll have more to say on this in July.

Ellington


Dr. Darden,
A thought/hypothesis.
Could the reason some 'normal' trainees that make progress on once a week while others don't, be because of local recovery instead of systemic recovery?

In my experience recently, I've discovered that I waited 120 hrs between workouts of the same order and I was substantially stronger on a few movements ( strive ab mach ) but just barely got same reps as previous workout. Could it be the system favors one area more than another? Or because one might weaker in one area than another ( rarely train the abs directly ) that the recovery system is more effective there?
Thanks!
Rob
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