Advice Before Revisiting Mixed Darden Routines?

Dr Darden,

I’m considering a return to my previously successful combination/mix of your three routines: 30-10-30, 30-30-30 and regular cadence 4/4 sec pos/neg. I really liked this combination, and made some great gains in strength and muscle. Thought of revisiting it after a 3 month interval of Fortitude Training.

Kept intact, divided into separate full body routines 2-3 times weekly. Adding negative chinups/dips as needed and the occasional intensifying leg killer super set routine.

Do you have any advice/suggestions before I head into my 2nd episode of this variation?

Thanks in advance - and a genuine thank you in general for helping me build a natural physique that I am proud of!

It sounds like you have a productive plan. Report back every two weeks or so.

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Thanks, Dr Darden!

Before I start again I will plan the excercises ahead.
I thought about doing machine only on 30-30-30, free weights only on 4/4 cadence and a hybrid on 30-10-30.

A personal question is whether you prefer machines or free weights on 30-10-30?

Mostly machines.


@Ellington_Darden, in your opinion, am I rebuilding the wheel? Would it be more productive to stick with 30-10-30 only?

The only argument I can think of in favor for my aforementioned plan, is variation against adaptation. Also, I previously had an issue with slight overtraining on 30-10-30 only - but that was til failure (not NTF). Not forgetting my previously great experience with the combination.

Any comments on this from other forum members? How have you thought re 30-10-30 long term?

I like your mixing ideas. Stick with them.

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I’ve found that the 30-10-30 didn’t work that well for me. However the 10-30 worked well. I had done 10-30 for ~ 2 month and went up significantly with weight and did increase about 3/8" on my arms. After the 2 months I started burning out and just have done TF workouts for another 1.5 months. I plan on going back to the 10-30 in another week. I did the workouts 3x/week - essentially Tuesday (10-30) Thursday (10 reps TF) Saturday (10-30).



Nice to hear how you tweaked Darden’s methods to suit you Ron.

Being the body is a dynamic organism, it makes sense to adjust and vary which tactics you throw at it as needed.

When you made your gains doing 10-30, how many reps did you “leave in the tank” before you started the 30sec negative? 1, or 2? Raise the weight when you got a full 30sec on the negative? Thanks.

Hello strengthmaster,

I’m not too good with holding back unfortunately and didn’t do what I was supposed to do. My final positive was my max. I know I could not get any more reps since I did a TF workout in between and used the same weight. My negative 30 seconds were always very difficult.
The difference is that I did reach rep as Dr. D stated - PERFECT. My form was spot on and I would make sure I felt each rep. I used to just go to failure and try to increase the weight. The issue is you start speeding things up etc. to get the weight up. After a while - you didn’t feel anything. Now I feel it (squeeze) and it was much better.


When I was chasing failure and was too concerned with adding weight or reps each week…form would get sloppy, reps would speed up and I was feeling disappointed in myself for not keeping good form and/or not making progress with the tools in hand…instead of focusing on the progress of the body…kind of like a artist focusing on the hammer and chisel instead of the sculpture he is achieving to create

When I started concentrating on the mind/muscle connection by using perfect form, controlled reps and the contraction of the muscle…I started feeling like I was making progress without chasing the weight

The obvious stares you in the face, :laughing:


I’ve believed for a long time, people who complain about getting “stronger,” yet not bigger, are really not getting that much stronger because of form deterioration and skill. It’s a bit of a deception really. And even very small unknowing adjustments especially on compounds can allow one to lift more and get more reps. I think in something very controlled (a good study or experiment) it would show lack of size and lack of true strength. I’m getting at consolidation training in particular.

Yes but when I go to failure I’m not chasing anything. My form is spot on and I focus on contracting and “uncontracting” the entire time.
Years ago I did notice that when trying to up my weights/reps every workout - after a while I didn’t feel the movement in the muscle anymore. Now - I’m not worried about using more weight. I just did a 8 exercise 1 set TF workout yesterday and am very sore. This was 3 days after my last workout. At 56yrs old - I’m in pretty good shape and keep a good amount of muscle. My arms will vary in size (depending on workout schedule etc) between 17-17.5" at 5’11". I’ve kept this condition for ~ 20 years. When I was younger I was larger but I assume that’s to be expected.
When doing 3 sets/exercise 2-3x/week I’m the same size as doing 1 set/exercise 2-3x/week.


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Dr Darden,

Rereading your books. In “The Bodyfat Breakthrough” you put Truck Brown into an A/B arm emphasized routine, with remarkable results. Worth mentioning is the A routine start with chinups, followed by dips - 30-30-30 style. Also, it has pre-exhaust super-sets on biceps/back and triceps/chest.

I tried that yesterday, and it certainly caught my attention. The chinup was a killer! For how long did Truck stay on this routine? Do you know how he continued to train after your study?

Truck stayed on the routine for 2 weeks. I believe he did 4 workouts in 14 days.

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This is a late report back. December was a month of recurring colds, one week working out, one week recovering.

My initial thoughts is positive though. The 30-10-30 workout is the hardest, tightly followed by regular 4/4 cadence. The 30-30-30 is somehow easier on the system, though the Truck Brown routine makes it more intense with pre-exhaust supersets. The three routines sure feels different from one another. I believe in this combination.

In the beginning my system wasn’t prepared for 30 sec negatives, lots of trembling and sticky points, before normalizing over time. I still perfecting the movement, as it’s easy to move too slow.

My plan is to shift specialization routines over time. Next up is a chest specialization that I consider implementing on the 4/4 routine. I think there is one in the new HIT book. Maybe I’ll combine this with the “leg killer” specialization on the 30-10-30 workout.

How do you feel about doing more than one specialization routine cycled like this? Should I stick to only one at a time?

Doing squats in 30-10-30 style is maybe the hardest movement I’ve experienced. Any considerations on this? How heavy did your trainees go on this? I am a bit cautious going too heavy. Is it better going lighter to superset it with a leg press?

I’d recommend doing only one specialization at a time. Go lighter with the squats in 30-10-30. Even 30-pound dumbbells can be difficult in this style.

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what about 1 set 30/10/30 everyday ? diferent movement and muscle groups ,very short workouts ?
my idea is high intensity and high frequency ,but almost NO volume CNS drain sesions ?

Doing that might be doable. Try it for a couple of weeks and report back.