Best of the Best. Any Changes?

In 2005 you described this as best ever routine. Would you stand by in 2020? Change 10-5 to 10-10? Or 30-10-30? Please and Thanks! :slight_smile: Your time and help are greatly appreciated! :slight_smile:

1 Squat with barbell
2. Pullover with one dumbbell
3. Squat with barbell
4. Pullover with one dumbbell
5. Leg extension/Leg curl
6. Lateral raise with dumbbells
7. Dip
8. Chinup
9. Negative dip
10. Negative chinup

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Just realized similar questions asked in other threads and may form part of upcoming book.

Here is a suggestion for exercises based on equipment I have access to or soon will

  1. Nautilus duo leg press
  2. nautilus pullover
  3. Nautilus next gen leg Press
  4. Nautilus pullover
  5. Nautilus nitro leg curl / hammer leg extension
  6. Hammer lateral raise
  7. Dips
  8. Chins
  9. Neg dips
  10. Neg chins

Look forward to suggestions on cadence/protocol for above

Plus frequency/volume adjustments for 62 year old who has been training hit for almost 40 years but refuses to accept genetic potential fully reaches. Lol

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At your age, I’d suggest that you shorten the routine to:

1, 2, 5, 6, 9, and 10 . . . and do the routine two times per week. After 4 to 6 weeks, you could add 3, 4, 7, and 8.

Then, after another 4 to 6 weeks, you might mix in some 30-10-30 and other techniques.

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Wow! So cool to be getting coaching from you. Currently trying to get from 12.5% to 9.9% BF by end of November so doing more abbreviated but will try then with slight caloric surplus. Maybe by 4-6 weeks, we’ll have a new book with cool new tweaks. Your time and help are greatly appreciated! :slight_smile:

After 2 weeks vacation I decided to change up my routine…day 1
Leg press supersetted with calf press
Pec deck superseded with machine incline press
Machine row
Machine lateral
Machine curl
Machine dip
Machine crunch
Db wrist curl

Day 2
Leg ext
Leg curl
Nautilus chest press
Nautilus pullover supersetted with nautilus pull down
Nautilus shoulder press
Nautilus abs
Nautilus low back

All exercises using 30-10-30

feels good, I love the 30-10-30 method



The great thing about the big routine is that it is built around what has proven to work over the years. High rep squats with pullovers, plus chins and dips.
We so often get carried away with advanced techniques, rep speed, equipment, etc ,which all have their place . But without working hard and consistently the are meaningless in terms of results, which any protocol is ultimately judged by.


I know Darden’s book says this is one of his most popular (i.e., most requested) routines. For the most part I can see why, except for the use of two sets of dumbbell pullovers. I’ve never liked that exercise, mostly because it loads your shoulders most heavily when they are in there most vulnerable position. It never felt like a good lat exercise, and I am way too old to experience any rib cage expansion (as are most of Dr Darden’s fans). I wonder if most people doing this routine end up using either a pullover machine, or make some other substitution?

As a substitute for dumbbell pullovers, I suggest bent-over rowing with a barbell or the seated pulldown with a lat machine. And both with a supinated grip.


Thanks for the suggestion. I thought maybe a straight arm pulldown on a lat machine might be the closest substitute for a machine pullover. Of the two you suggest, I’d probably favor the barbell row, just because the routine already has two sets of chins.

On second thought, the shoulder shrug would be a good substitute for dumbbell pullovers.

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I like that alternative.

I mentioned this a while back on the previous site but maybe it bears repeating.

My home gym pullover is to use ab straps in a pull down machine. Insert elbows into ab straps, sit, and push down. It makes for a single joint lat exercise but perhaps not quite the range of motion of an actual pullover machine.

You could always alternate between the shrug and the row.

I’ve done that myself.
It is a good occasional way of performing pre- exhaust training for the lats.

Or split the difference and use a Yates Row.

Average Al…I love Bill DeSimone’s idea of doing the straight arm pull down on an overhead pulley. I use a split stance and only one arm at a time, so that I’m not “pulled” by the machine’s weights. Great lat exercise.

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Also start with the arm no higher than level with shoulder height.

Dr. Darden, with your new beliefs on training just short of failure rather than to failure, would you now recommend following that principle with this “BIG” Routine and all of your other older routines?

Yes. But there would be some adjustments.

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Would these adjustments include the additions of loading methods such as 30-10-30, 30-10 and 10-30?