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Does Fortitude Training Work In a Garage Gym?

I did Arnold and Francos routine in my twenties
Haney and Labrada routine in.my thirties
Yates and mentzers routine in my forties
Jones and Darden routines in my fifties

I used to squat 450 for six reps, deadlift 450, bench 300…until I injured my back digging ditches for a living

Therefore, like I said, my goals at 57 is not about building muscle like it was in my younger years…I train two to three times a week for a max of 30 minutes, walk five to six days a week 3 miles, practice my golf game a couple times a week, bowl once a week plus a 50 hour work week

Which is why asked my question in the first place, what are people expecting to achieve with Dardens training methods

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That some of these guys have the ability and enthusiasm to train at all speaks volumes.

How we evaluate what works depends on what stage of life you’re in.

Young pl’rs that are feeling their balls like to emulate Dave Tate when he was on top. They don’t quote him now when he says “I can’t reach my cup” or “I need an assistant to take a shit”.

Hard core BBr like to say “It ain’t nothin but a peanut!”

Not “Hand me my crutches!”.

Now, at the ripe old age of 49 with pretty advanced heart failure I can look at these guys and Darden and go “Hey! Maybe they’re on to something.”.

You can’t tell what these guys did 35 years ago. And if you think you’re going to look like you do or train like you do now in 35 years, you’re in for a surprise.


Recently, I expected arm hypertrophy from his “Skinny Arms Cure” and got zero.

Back in the day, I expected full body hypertrophy from the routines in his “New Bodybuilding for Old School Results” book and the only hypertrophy I saw was hypertrophy of my waist girth.

I know he’s hailed as one of the best, who has trained the best. But his stuff has never worked for me. And I’m on gear!

Yet every few months or so, I’ll see a new routine from him, claiming that if I just do X, I’ll experience growth “like never before.” When I occasionally try his stuff, I just experience growth like, never.

For what it is worth, you passed one of the benchmarks on Mark Rippetoe’s manliness scorecard. (“real men squat 450 Lbs”). And I’d guess you were probably over 200 lbs, which would have been another checkbox (“a full grown male should weigh at least 200 lbs”).

I’m sure you will sleep better knowing that you’ve been validated by such an important and insightful individual… :slightly_smiling_face:

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This is interesting and well worth another separate thread!

I have had sort of the opposite response. Did Arnold/Weider training for maybe 7 years with only a modest development at best (constantly overtrained). Doing Darden full body HIT training 2-3 times a week for 1,5 years resulted in a much better development for me. Bear in mind I am older now, and definitely need more rest days.

Maybe anything other than high volume training would have worked, but I searched for the most time efficient and rewarding program, and found it in Darden’s the new HIT.

As for his specialization routines, I love them. My all time favourite is the leg killer superset variation, available here on T-nation as an article. Never had more fun and pain training legs. In fact, still perform this routine regularly as a variation to Dr Stevenson’s pumpsets in Fortitude Training.

In the past (i.e., when I was younger), almost any kind of training that involved progressive overloading would produce some gains in strength, but then I’d plateau. For me, physique changes would sometimes be evident too, but they would generally be pretty modest.

It is probably the case that I ended up a little bit bigger when doing a higher volume of heavy compound movements for multiple sets, versus infrequent single-set-to-failure Darden style routines. But I’m not sure anyone else would notice the difference.

Compared to your average untrained 69 year old, I probably look like I workout. But compared to the Bro gods who live on T-Nation, no one would find my physique notable. For that crowd, I’m probably in “do you even lift” territory.

When I have the time, I will follow a higher volume more traditional program, just because I enjoy the training. But it would be hard for me to justify the extra volume and effort if I were to base that decision just on the results that were visible to others. Fortunately, I’m not training to impress anyone else; I’m just trying to preserve my health and functional ability for as long as I can, while keeping my training interesting.

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At the time I was doing 450, I weighed 180 lbs

Now I am at 200…trying to get back to 180

I, personally, don’t see anything on paper that makes me want to do a Darden workout. That’s nothing against his stuff at all, I think there is just a lot of personal preference in this venture, as nailed above.

What is coming through in this thread, that is cool, is that folks have been open to finding new things, found what worked, and focused there. That actually seems to be pretty rare for whatever reason.

For my own “HIT” background, I did pretty well with about a year of DC. I’m really not sure why I never returned to that


I think you get a pass on the body weight, if the squat is high enough. At least as long as you didn’t have visible abs… (Inside joke for Starting Strength haters)

You nailed it when you said personal preference…there are a millions ways to skinning a cat

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