T Nation

Does Fortitude Training Work In a Garage Gym?

The discussion over the in Darden forum regarding Fortitude Training got me curious about it. Instead of further de-railing that thread (not sure that’s possible) I thought I’d post a new topic.

I’m mainly wondering if the program can effectively be done in a well equipped garage gym. I have plenty of weight and a full set of dumbbells but zero machines. Any thoughts from those who have bought the ebook?

It may be possible but you will have to be very very creative with exercise selection. It really works a lot better if you have some machines or at least cables especially for Muscle Rounds. I do think it’s possible, just certainly not ideal. I’m in a gym and it’s a little under equipped for Fortitude, but I’ve found ways to make it work.


Thanks, I was hoping you’d weigh in. Sounds like this is probably not the best fit for my current situation.

1 Like

Anything goes, but there will be trouble during muscle rounds when you need to lower weights having reached your one failure point.

Maybe the solution for you is to start on a lower weight to make sure you fail on the 6th cluster set, and keep it that way while slowly progressing weights over time? The clusters have their magic to them no matter what “set” you fail on. Another solution might be to have one or two other barbells prepared beforehand? With dumbbells it is certainly easier. Give it a try and tell us what you think!

1 Like

Interesting comments. I did not appreciate that Fortitude Training had elements that really benefit from or require access to machines.

At present, I’m training at home with a single barbell, and a single set of adjustable dumbbells. Since it takes time to change weights or set up to a different exercise, I just structure my workouts accordingly. It has become so automatic, I tend to forget I’m intentionally programming around limits created by having a minimalist home gym.

How are you handling the Muscle Rounds with this setup?

To be clear, I’m not doing Fortitude. I saw a bunch of posts about it in the Dr Darden section, and did some reading about the program, out of curiosity. After my initial look, I decided it was more volume and frequency that I was up for. Then some folks pointed out it could be scaled back to lower volume and frequency. What I missed in my initial look at the program was the details of the muscle rounds. Just echoing the observation of others that those (muscle rounds) don’t look like a good fit for someone with limited equipment.

1 Like

Got it. Thanks for clarifying and for the feedback.

I never had any real issues training at home on Fortitude. Some extra tools, e.g. Landmine, Swiss bar, etc, gives some flexibility. I recall also doing stuff like tyre drags for pumping the quads.

When I was pushed for time, or on more of a maintenance phase, I just did muscle rounds on an upper/lower split. I was training out of the garage and never had issues using free weights. In fact, it’s perfect for unilateral exercises. I recall really testing exercises like DB lunges from a deficit.

The wider issue is exercise variety. Fortitude uses the DC idea of rotating workouts. This can be addressed easily in some areas, e.g. flat/incline/decline DB press for pecs. For other movements you may just have to repeat it next workout.


Thanks! I’m already a little limited on some of the exercises I can do given past injuries and/or beat up joints, so that plus the fact that being in a garage sounds like it doesn’t lend itself to this program is going to make me take a pass on it.

I’m convinced that none of Dr. Darden’s methods work unless he is there to personally supervise your workout.

I have tried so much of his stuff over the years and saw zero results from it.

Given his credentials, I chalk this up to my not performing the routines as he intended.

His articles make for great reads and fun stuff to try if you enjoy self-torture, though.

You couldn’t pay me to do a Darden workout.

Fortitude Training is the brainchild of Dr Scott Stevenson and it is definitely effective no supervision required! I’ve gotten greater results from Fortitude and DC training than I have from anything I’ve tried from Darden or elsewhere.

May I ask what kind of results you were expecting from a Darden workout

bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting, marathons, or just general fitness?

I have done all different types of routines, at this point in my life I find Dardens methods to fit my goals

My primary goal is always to build as much muscle as possible. Darden workouts do work for that purpose, I’ve just found that those 2 training systems work the best for me amongst things I’ve tried. I love Darden’s books though.

1 Like

Really? I have not seen one impressive physique. Most of the guys posting look old and out of shape. A bit delusional as well.

1 Like

Well if you’ve already been doing something that’s more optimal for building muscle you might not lol I think I actually lost some muscle during 30-10-30. Then Fortitude helped me add about 12 pounds

It’s not just about building muscle for me, I found a way to build some muscle, with some cardio benefits and enjoy the rest of my life doing other things…
Too old to be living in the gym and being afraid to miss a training day, lol

What is some muscle? Are you not overweight? At your age people should be looking to maintain not build. Seems you did not train effectively with any routine including Dardens.

I train 3-4 days a week for around an hour. I do no direct cardio.