T Nation

1st Week of Extreme HIT

When I first bought this eBook I didn’t know what to think. I actually laughed involuntarily. The whole program is not-to-failure? What happened to this guy I grew up reading? I’ve read Ellington Darden ever since I was a kid because my father and grandfather had the books. One-set-to-failure was dogma, period. Never questioned it - and thought Body By Science just solidified it further for the general population.

Then I did the first week of workouts and gained an immense amount of respect for a man who after fifty years was still open to experimentation and finding new answers. That alone was worth the $10 even if I never did the workouts. To see someone with an open-mind who was and is THE guy in a field of scientific endeavor continually willing to apply new methods if they seem reasonable is worthy of my entire respect. Thank you, Dr. Darden.

The workouts feel tailor-made for me. I feel like I can finally workout three times per week with all the benefits that has and not overtrain. I was down to a split workout that saw me hitting each muscle group just once every two weeks. I was missing out on the “protein synthesis” 24hr post-workout window that more frequent exercise bestows on the trainee, but I wasn’t recovering fast enough to use that as a tool. With Extreme HIT, I can perceive and feel the growth even just after one week.

I had a sore chest/heart after the third workout, so I’m going to watch that going into week two and see if it reappears. There were other factors involved that have been removed and I’m hoping to be able to continue the program as it was written.

I made a few minor adjustments to the program due to my home gym limitations. The adjustments have probably made the workouts more difficult than as originally written. I’ve substituted Barbell Squat for Leg Press and Leg Extension, and Deadlift for leg curl. I’ve also strategically used the push up instead of bench press so I can move faster between exercises while my awesome and loving wife sets up for the next set.

I don’t know how anybody does this without a training partner or machine equipment. I’ve been able to go from exercise to exercise without any rest in between for most of the workout. I had to up the weights a hair after the first workout, but I was able to get them dialed in quickly. Doing 30-10-30 prior to this was helpful in understanding what the weight needed to be.

I’m not using the nutritional supplements… because I’m on the Lion Diet (carnivore but just red meat). I don’t want to get too much into what amounts to a controversial topic. Last summer just short of my 32nd birthday I realized that I had low T. I started looking into possible natural remedies and this is one that showed up time and time again, with lab results to back up claims. I was unable to accept what came with low testosterone and this diet made a lot of sense to me.

To be clear: I don’t think there is one way to go about nutrition (or weight lifting) and I don’t feel religious about my diet. I only include this so that when I post my beginning pictures and ending pictures, along with measurements and feedback at the end of five weeks it can be taken in that context.

Thanks for putting out this material Dr. Darden. It is a pleasure to do the workouts. I hope that you consider self-publishing the book that the NY publishers would not publish. I’d rather pay $20-30 directly to you anyway.

I’m going to do these first five weeks and then I’m sure I’ll have questions about how to proceed forward. I like this method of lifting and I’d like to run it for a good while before returning to any MMF workouts.

Alex, Maryland.


Great to hear all this, but I wanted to ask, why don’t you post beginning pictures and measurements now ,in the beginning stage of the routine?


Your letter was very meaningful. Thank you.

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I echo your sentiments about the other book. Doc, self publish . . . heck, I’d Venmo you $30 just for the manuscript as it is right now.

I don’t know if this is what you are talking about but here’s my 2 cents worth . Even though I spend an enormous amount of time on this dumb computer, I’m a book person. I have quite a few of Dr Dardens books and I treasure them. E books?? Not so much. I hope someday he can get back to real books.

Bill Desimone published his last book (or about to be published) initiating a gofundme initiative… Have you considered that?.. I’d actually be happy to help… he got lots of support from HIT community…

I’ve been told by people in the know that the future success of my writing career depends on me getting more and more people on board who are not ages 50-80. In other words, young people between the ages of 15 and 30 – or perhaps as old as 40.

I have an 18-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter. Neither one of them likes to read printed books. They read what’s on their phones. Are they the only ones like this? No. And the age goes all the way to age 40 and beyond.

Yes, I agree with Scott, Gatorcpa, and many others on this forum: We like printed books. But bookstores are dying each day and so are publishers of printed books.

Do we adapt or die?


You’ve been extremely meaningful to my family. My wife lost 60lbs with “Killing the Fat.” From 212 all the way done to the mid-150s… and she added a lot of muscle as well. So thanks again for everything. I know that we’re just one of tens of thousands of people that have been directly benefitted by your work.

Which brings me to Ricky’s point - get your books out there. Self-publish eBooks. You’ve got a built-in audience of us guys who’re going to buy these books no matter what. It doesn’t matter what the contents are, as long as they the quintessential Ellington Darden that many of us cherish and love. Every time you come out with a book I put on more muscle per workout because I just get excited again. So please consider the adaptation route. There is no one out there to pass the torch to yet. HIT is still Darden, in my view.

Either way - definitely follow up this Extreme HIT because this is working ridiculously well for me. I feel like I’m finally getting the results of your case studies in previous publications. My man boobs are rapidly shrinking. You can’t beat that! :smile:

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== Scott==
I’m the same way , I sit here with this damn IPhone in my hand reading stuff non stop but that’s because its all here at the push of a button pretty much for free . Paying for that information is entirely different . Then I want the real thing, something I can put on the shelf and know exactly where it is when I want to see it. I don’t want to have to turn on the computer and search through files to find it.
Isn’t there some way you could do both? Have some books made with nice covers like your old high intensity type books for those who want a book in hand and charge twice or more for it and also sell the E version book for those that want that? Did you ever look on Ebay to see what some of your old books like the New Bodybuilding for Old School Results are selling for? It’s crazy!!

I’m 25 and I do love both the printed book and ebook. I have a lot of both! To be honest, I like whichever allows you to make max profits. I love that with “Extreme HIT” I was able to just spend the $10 and immediately stay up late reading it as soon as it came out. There’s a huge convenience there and it’s very easy for me to revisit. Whether it’s physical or digital, you can trust I’ll be buying and reading it and highly recommending it to my friends and family!

My sister is 69 and she reads kindle, have a few friends in their late 50s that read kindle…however, I prefer the printed book…its sad what the future will look like without the printed books
Whats also sad is cursive writing is no longer taught

It’s definitely a dying breed

Go back a few years, and you will find predictions that printed books were dead, and that everything will go digital. But I’ve seen a few articles recently suggesting that the situation has stabilized, and more likely the future will be a mix of printed and digital books. The trick will be to figure out which books sell best in print, and which will sell best as digital. I’ll bet the answer will vary with demographics, and content.

I have my own preference:

  • For text only fiction, I tend to prefer digital. I tend to read these straight through (linear consumption), and never re-read. I find an iPad or Kindle more convenient to hold while reading (relative to a large hardcover). The cost is usually lower than a first run hard cover, and you can usually get the title immediately. No need to wait for the paperback version, and I don’t have to decide what to do with a physical object when done (i.e., store or donate).

  • Reference books: definitely prefer paper.

  • Books which have a lot of graphics, drawings, or photographs; text books, how to books, etc., I have a preference for paper. The more visual, the more I prefer paper.

The other consideration is economic: Publishers are less of a barrier with digital distribution; but digital is more work for the author, and probably harder to reach an audience. Also, print books won’t get printed unless the publisher sees the potential for relatively big sales. There are shops that will print books for people with small runs, but I believe the costs are pretty high, and that limits the profit potential per copy. Typically described as Vanity Publishing, and they are mostly a good deal for the printer.

I’m guessing that Dr. Darden’s dilemma is economic: He has a track record of getting deals with publishers that probably give him a certain payout up front, and the possibility of more if the book does well. But then he is limited to titles that the publisher thinks have a big enough market. Self publishing feels a little more speculative.

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Im going to print it out on my color copier and put it in a 3 ring binder. LOL

Hello Dr Darden I’m 25 from italy, am I the youngest here? After years of unproductive volume training I started reading Stuart Mcrobert then I stepped into Hit, I read the nautilus bullettins, four of your books, and tons of AJ articles. I’m 5’’.8’’ and dont have super genetics, I tooked some rough measurement and based from what you said in the new hit book about muscle bellies lenght I have average potential. My ultimate goal is reaching 16 inch arms, that would be great.As you said most young people (like 99%) are into high volume training, but definetly there are some who are into hit, hope in the future hit will become more popular among young lifters.

== Scott==
Hmmm, I’m going to have to do some thinking on this. I’m around young people all the time and I observe what they talk about. Contrary to what I’d like to see I’m thinking this new forum has a good start on this because we don’t see all this old stuff about Arthur Jones and Casey Viator etc. Young people don’t give a crap what the likes of Jones , Viator or Mentzer said or did and are not the least interested in anything to do with Nautilus. For sure they don’t care what an old fart like me has to say. They don’t want to hear about back then or the good old days. I know this as I hear this and more from my son all the time.

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A couple of years ago, I decided to splurge a bit, and attended the Resistance Exercise Conference in Minneapolis. Dr. Darden has presented there in the past, and many notables from the HIT exercise community were in attendance. I met quite a few people who I knew as HIT guru’s from the internet. It was a fun weekend.

Going in, I half expected it to be a bunch of older guys reminiscing about Arthur Jones, Nautilus, and the good old days. There was a bit of that, but that wasn’t the overall vibe. I was really impressed, in particular, by the trainers I talked with from Discover Strength. They were all young (<30), and they were really into High Intensity Training as they were taught to instruct it by Discover Strength. They all seemed to hold a pretty pragmatic view of exercise: if it is intense, safe, and productive, you are good. None of the tribalism or dogmatism that you find in some HIT circles (arguments about RENEX vs McGuff vs Nautilus vs Mentzer vs whatever).

I came away with the feeling that this approach to training wasn’t necessarily a dead end for old guys, but it had a future. It just needs to get more visibility than stuff like Cross Fit, Power Lifitng, and the other stuff that is currently in vogue. But you can’t sell it to younger people by making reference to the legendary Jones, or Mentzer, or whoever, because they have no emotional connection to that era, and it is just a passing historical curiosity to all but the most studious trainer. The clients could care less. All the clients want is good results in a time efficient manner.

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I have to somewhat disagree, me and a lot of my friends are huge old school bodybuilding fans and got into HIT through Mentzer and Viator. I was a Nick’s Strength and Power fan and he introduced me to them as well as some of my dads old books on training like “REPS!” I think there are more young fans of old school bodybuilding than you might think.

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Dave, I totally agree with you. I’m 63 and Mentzer & Viator were my inspiration to adopt HIT back in 1976 or so.

I actually go back to the pre-Arnold days of guys such as Dave Draper, Chuck Sipes, Harold Poole, etc.

From my own perspective, I enjoyed reading about guys that were considered “old-school” such as John Grimek, Bill Pearl, Steve Reeves and the like when I started training back in 1967.

The past is prologue, as they say, and much can be learned by looking back. And like you wrote, "there are more young fans of old school body building than you might think…

Respectfully, Steve

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But Darden was talking about the need to reach people who are in the 15-30 age range today. He already has an audience in your demographic.

1976 was 45 years ago… Back then, you were young, and Mentzer and Viator were in their prime. I can see why they would provide inspiration to you back then. Do they have as much appeal to today’s young people? Seems like that crowd is more likely to follow current YouTube and Instagram Fitness “Influencers”.

I’m sure some younger folks have an interest in the old school ways. But do people like you exist in large enough numbers to sell a lot of books? Or is it just a niche market, meaning a small number of devoted enthusiasts, and relatively little mainstream traction?