T Nation


I wrote a little blurb in my web log last week about my experiments with full-body training, three days per week, two sets of each exercise. I decided to try this after talking to Tim Patterson, who told me that every natural lifter he knows who gravitates toward this type of program BLOWS UP on it.

Anyway, several people commented that it sounded a lot like H.I.T., High Intensity Training. Well, as most of our hardcore readers know, Tim worked with Author Jones, inventor (if that’s the right word) of H.I.T., and he’s been friends with Dr. Ellington Darden for years.

Dr. Darden is sort of the modern voice of H.I.T., or rather the “New H.I.T.” which actually sounds pretty interesting believe it or not.

Well, we built a site for Dr. Darden a long time ago called Classic X. Now that site has been changed to <a href="http://www.drdarden.com"target=“new”>DrDarden.com. Since this is a sister site to T-Nation, it’ll look very familiar to you.

Anyway, I’m intrigued by this stuff and the idea of a modern, updated, bullshit-free version of H.I.T. is appealing. I haven’t read the book yet but have one coming to me. Maybe we can T-Jack it and get some free copies into your grubby paws as well.

So, checkout <a href="http://www.drdarden.com"target=“new”>DrDarden.com. It’s worth a look.

Seems as though DrDarden.com will also be a great source for information.

BTW, depending on when you registered on T-Nation.com, you may have an account already set up on DrDarden.com. Since they’re sister sites, the database may overlap. To check, go to the log in page when you get there and enter your T-Nation username and password. Might work.

Is H.I.T. similar to HST by Bryan Haycock? In it, you perform 3 full-body workouts per week, 2 sets/exercise.

I was just intrigued by the statement that “every natural lifter blows up” on this style of training.


I’m not sure about HST, but HIT began in the 1970’s.

Hold up, I just found this from T-mag’s interview with Haycock here: http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=460663

T: Okay. Given the low volume, some are going to think of HIT when they see this program. What makes it different from HIT? What do you think of HIT overall?

BH: I used HIT-type training principles before I began to analyze muscle-cell research. It should be understood that HIT and Heavy Duty are not based on muscle-cell physiology. HIT and HD are actually based on Selye’s GAS (General Adaptation Syndrome) more than anything. Jones and Mentzer loved to talk about philosophy and logic, but seldom ever mentioned a sarcolemma, MAPk, myogenic stem cells, or even such obvious things as intracellular IGF-1. The reasons they chose to ignore such basic principles of muscle cell physiology remain with them.

HST differs methodologically from HIT primarily in the fact that HIT uses extremely infrequent workouts and requires that the lifter always use 100% RM weight loads regardless of the condition of the muscle. Conversely, HST incorporates a training frequency based on the time course of elevated protein synthesis after training, and weight loads sufficient to induce hypertrophy based on the muscle’s current condition. These types of things can’t be determined without acknowledging how muscle cells respond to loading, so HIT and HD couldn’t be expected to incorporate these methods.

My only other problem with HIT is its blind devotion to “intensity.” Intensity as described by Jones, is based on perceived effort, and doesn’t necessarily measure a set’s ability to stimulate growth of the tissue itself. The authors of HIT and HIT-type routines believed fundamentally in GAS, supercompensation, and the intensity myth perpetuated by popular muscle magazines in the 80’s. All three of these principles are, at best, only indirectly related to muscle growth.

We are checking on getting copies of this book for the T-Jack Reports now.

I would be very interested in this. I recently read Beyond Brawn by Stuart McRobert and found it a refreshing change. For about 3 months I was making good consistent progress with 2 workouts a week.

But then I got a power rack at home, got away from the commercial gym crap and have been carried away doing 6 day training for the last couple of months.

I am very much undecided which works best. I’ve made progress with both systems.

I received the book today. The cover blurb says, “Add up to 18 pounds of muscle in just two weeks.”

I also just scored an interview with Dr. Darden so I think my first question is going to be about that blurb! Should be interesting.

Well the stuff on his site was interesting, the stuff about Mentzer was good too.

I think I’ll risk it and get a copy of this one.

[quote]Chris Shugart wrote:
I received the book today. The cover blurb says, “Add up to 18 pounds of muscle in just two weeks.”

I also just scored an interview with Dr. Darden so I think my first question is going to be about that blurb! Should be interesting.

Yeah. I read that book the other day at Barne and Noble (for free) and didn’t think too highly of that statement. I would say 2 lbs of muscles and 16 lbs of water… I’ve gone to the site and it pretty much condradicts everything we’ve learned at this website. Hmm…

I used to read all the Darden books in the mid eighties and early nineties. They were basically my intro to lifting. It’s true he’s always fallen prey to hyperbole with his cover blurbs and ad copy, but I think that is more due to pressure from the publishing companies. Hype sells, it is one of the unfortunate side effects of capitalist/consumerism. But this does not change the efficacy of Darden’s programs. Overtime, I got into new ideas and new directions. Recently, though, I have come back to high intensity, partly out of necessity (too much on my table right now) and just because I’ve given everything else a shot and have reached the conclusion that this is one of the best ways to train (notice I didn’t say “only”), especially if you’re clean.
I posted my thoughts on this in the Strength section just the other day in response to rec. powerlifter needs help, so I’m not going to beat it to death. Suffice it to say, Mike Mentzer was a poor representative for high intensity training, and the only one given voice by the muscle mags. Consequently he is the only one known to many people in the lifting world.

Darden was the “voice” of Arthur Jones for years as his chief scientist. There is some dissension among the ranks of HITers, and differances in methodologies, but they all are some of the hardest trainers you’ll ever see, which is the gist. Not everyone can push themselves that hard-but if you can, you will get a LOT out of it. Other than Darden, Dr. Ken Leistner is one of the best reps for high intensity in my opinion. He’s been the voice of high intensity in powerlifting for years, and common sense. He is one strong hombre and has stellar character to boot. Also, the original writings of Arthur Jones are timeless and full of wisdom, and one can still pick up nuances from them after years of reading them. The man is a genius in the truest sense of the word, no doubt. His copius writings are out there on the web, check them out.
While you are at it, check out this for those unsure of what to expect from high intensity training:http://www.fitnessprat.no/forum/showthread.php?s=4fbd15ed5c0a2ce200fc8f721fec698d&threadid=6442

Good points. I think there’s a lot of confusion out there about Darden, HIT, New HIT, Heavy Duty etc. For one, most people are thinking of Mentzer, who as you said, wasn’t the best spokesman in his later years.

Also, I’m seeing a lot of people have a knee-jerk reaction to HIT ideas. They know Poliquin and Pavel made fun of HIT so they do too in true “me too” sheeple behavior.

Have the “me too’s” read the books? Nope. Tried the workouts? Nope. Even bothered to learn what it is exactly? Nope.

Don’t get me wrong, it may indeed suck donkey balls. I’m just now starting to read up on the new HIT ideas. But I’m going to read, research, and try out some of these things before I comment. (What a concept!)

And when I interview Darden, I’m going to toss the most common criticisms at him and listen to what he says. I might accidentally learn something.

Like I wrote in a prior thread, HIT training has its place. The old style my not have been the most effective but it worked for a brief time. This new HIT system looks promising.
I’ll comment further when I get my copy of the book.

my $.02…for what it’s worth…

I haven’t read the book…and I like to believe that I have an open mind about training…my training partners and I experiment with new stuff all the time…some times things work well and sometimes they don’t…however this statement:

“Add up to 18 pounds of muscle in just two weeks.”

is B.S… it is physiologically impossible for a human to accomplish this under any circumstances… this kind of obvious hyperbole causes me to become very suspicious of the authors credibility.

In case you think that all I am is a HIT basher, I use a kind of HIT training two weeks before and two weeks after every meet I compete in. HIT has it’s time and place but I’ve never met an individual that has made any kind of consistent gains from it over the long run.

There’s an interview with Darden posted on his website where he addresses that 18 pound in 2 week figure. Here I quote it:

"I know a lot of people believe that adding that much muscle so quickly is impossible. That?s why I had Hudlow?s resting metabolic rate checked before and after the 14 days. Not surprising to me, the addition of 18-1/2 pounds of muscle increased his resting metabolic rate by 530 calories, or 28.6 calories per pound of added muscle per day. That reinforced to me that the weight gain was added muscle and not just water brought about from the creatine loading. (The before-and-after photos confirmed that also.) I do think, however, that the creatine monohydrate formula was responsible for from 25 to 30 percent of the results.

Interestingly, I replicated the 14-day experiment with another Gainesville Health & Fitness subject, Michael Spillane. Spillane was younger, 21, lighter, 132 pounds, and had less genetic potential than did Hudlow. But he still added 11-3/4 pounds of muscle in 14 days."

(see www.drdarden.com)

Did he mean 18 pounds or 1.8 pounds?

It is unfortunate that people fall into the only HIT, or never HIT groups. Either ideology is blind. If it works, the why not?

Darden is the one who actually got me interested in Testosterone magazine. Before that my biggest problem was not understanding the importance of food. I had great results, but wish I had Berardi’s information back then.

We should quit thinking of it as an either or situation, and just put HIT into the toolbox along with EDT, HST, ABBH, Westside, and others.

The biggest problem with HIT is how hard it is. You can actually fool yourself into believing you have reached failure when you haven’t. Keeping up that intensity for any length of time is hard, and can discourage people to work out.

As far as Mentzer, he really knew nothing. He worked out at Nautilus, and suddenly thought he was an expert. I ran into a person following Mentzers philosophy, who was convinced that he could not work out more then once every three weeks.

If anyone is going to do HIT, I recommend they follow Darden’s philosophy. Just remember, if it doesn’t feel like the hardest thing you have ever done in your life, you are not doing it right.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
It is unfortunate that people fall into the only HIT, or never HIT groups. Either ideology is blind. If it works, the why not?[/quote]


Can’t agree more…I have tried Power of 10 and Super Slow and I believe it does. Power of ten principals are employed in HIT. However, it IS hard, very hard. In my opinion to be trully successeful with it one needs a personal trainer to follow the program at least for 4 to 5 month untill it is mastered. There could be some individuals that are talented in this way and able to achive the results just by following such a books, but in my opinion for the rest of us this book mainly is great source of information and isparation.

On what John K wrote:

Michael’s name sounds familiar. Interesting that the “study” was done in my hometown at GHFC.

Just mt two cents,

about 4 years ago I used one of Ellington Darden’s programs (i think it was in the book, “Grow”) and along with it being one of the tougher programs I’ve used, I put on about 8 lbs on a month, and in hindsight, I bet I could have put on more if I had known about “Massive Eating”.

Bottom line, whole body programs work really well, you just gotta know when to change things up.