T Nation

"Do Not Go to Failure" in Extreme HIT?

Dr Darden

I’m puzzled by the instruction in the Extreme HIT book not to go to failure. This was always key in HIT in the past. Can you explain more on what is behind this change?

Making a required inroad is more important than going to failure. If your negatives are done properly, and you have great form on your in-between reps, then the deeper inroad will assure good results. And you’ll be much safer, without all the moans, groans, twists, and grunts.

Thanks for the response Dr Darden.

For 30+ (give or take) years your public stance was that training to the point of momentary absolute failure was the single most important stimulus for muscle growth. In retrospect, were you wrong?


After observing thousands of people attempt to go to failure, the majority had form problems: especially on their last reps. Many times, their attempts were probably even dangerous or at least unproductive.

My new concept of 30-10-30, reduces the trauma of trying to go to failure, and allows a trainee time to focus on inroad by perfecting 30-second negatives.

30-10-30, once it is mastered, works well for both the young and old.

I think I some cases people who don’t seem to have success with 30 10 30 don’t take the form of the 30 second negatives and the other reps as seriously as they should. It’s easy to just glide through the reps without really concentrating on feeling them.

I would love to see some of the videos of the bad form if they existed…as I haven’t grunted, twisted and grind for years

1 Like

Dr. Darden…I am surprised you would allow your clients to have bad form, :laughing:

Here ya go. Bad form has made a lot of big strong dudes!

1 Like

I have no clients, but I still have managed to observe lots of other people training.

I have too…I meant if Dr Darden had any videos of the bad form of his clients

I don’t think he said clients? Who hasn’t been in a gym and seen several people throwing weights up and down ? I hope you don’t think he’s going to run over to every goof in the gym who’s using bad form and try and correct them?

Simply my observations, not my clients. Over the last 50 years, I’ve visited hundreds of gyms and fitness centers.

A serious attempt at safe inroad for resistance training is static contraction. I am amazed how easy I can train myself to breathe during statics. Statics eliminate moans, groans, twists, grunts more safely than any other method. They illicit more motor unit activity. Pete Sisco has a very simple method to approximate numerically the level of intensity. Drew Baye calls Sisco names, (he calls everyone names) , but offers zero alternatives. He even copies Sisco by admonishing a close to lockout position on his homemade static hip belt squats (tuck your hips under). Best advice is ignore jealous people.

Statics have long been dismissed by HiT, and Ken Hutchins promotes these, as Pete Sisco has for years. My experience shows static contraction is very good for generalized strength increases, and works for increasing muscle size. You can always do a slow negative after a static, however I find this unnecessary.

1 Like

That I am in total agreement with, the stuff I have seen in the gym just makes me shake my head

My bad for assuming you meant your clients

I stand corrected

No it has not. Thats a logical fallacy.
People who are the genetic elite and have great success many times get good results DESPITE their methods, not BECAUSE of them.
Elephants are huge despite the fact they are vegan, not because they are vegan cuz not all vegan animals are as big as elephants. I hope i managed to explain this.

1 Like

It sounds as if you’re describing a causal fallacy, but if that’s the case, your logic is as flawed as mine, because you’re saying I’m ignoring genetics, and I’m saying you’re ignoring their methods. What I’m describing is not a causal fallacy either way. I believe Tom Platz’s methods and intensity contributed to his size, as did the intensity of many who trained like him, and you don’t have enough proof to the contrary, or a glaring logical contradiction, to label that a logical fallacy. You managed to explain a causal fallacy with your Elephant analogy - it just doesn’t at all relate to mine, considering I’m discussing methods directly related to hypertrophy, whether or not you consider them to be effective.

Also - a big implied point of mine was that “bad form” is subjective, and changes over the years. Tom Platz was squatting with his knees over his toes a long time ago, and people have spent years avoiding that, when it’s not bad for the knees. I was taught to keep my shoulder blades pinned back during pressing, and it turns out that’s terrible for your shoulders. It’s cringey to watch what Tom Platz did, and yet he’s still pretty healthy as an old man. Could be genetics, could be that his methods weren’t particularly injurious.


I’m a bout confused. Drew Baye very much supports and promotes Timed Static Contraction training in the style developed by Hutchins.

I don’t know why you would make that kind of blanket statement. Hutchins promotes isometrics, and he is part of the HIT community. So does Drew Baye… He just prefers the longer duration approach of Hutchins, instead of the short duration stuff of others. John Little also promotes the use of statics, and he is clearly in the HIT camp.

1 Like