T Nation

Frequency - Still the Same Recommendations or Any New Revelations?

What you’ve noted – 1/3 the volume to maintain – sounds reasonable to me.

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One of the strongest guys I know trains once every 10 days. And he’s also over 65. So yes, you can keep the intensity high while decreasing the frequency.

I’ll allow it.

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Would that be Mr Flanagan Dr D?

You now train more frequently yet you also give an example of a strong guy only training 1x10 days?!

So what would your general recommendations be for trying to maintain muscle mass as you age i.e over 60?

Yes, that’s Jim Flanagan.

I’d recommend that you try both, and perhaps something halfway in between. In other words, give each of three frequencies a good trial. Then, do what you think is best for your body.

Yes, common sense is best I suppose! I just wondered if you seen whether a particular regime worked for a majority. Thanks.

Does Mr Flanagan train to failure with his low workout frequency?

On most exercises – yes.

I think you’re right. It’s more about the set up and programming one uses. I do think, though, that the mantra that you must regularly lift to failure to make progress is wrong (not saying you have are saying this, or Coach Darden). I have become such a believer that form, bar speed, and explosiveness is more important than the weight on the bar (from doing 531 as my regular program). That said, even on dips, rows, and pull ups I rarely go to failure and worry more about total reps over the course of a workout. I also think, as the years pile up, you need to find a training method that keeps you free from injuries and mentally able to keep coming back for more.

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“as the years pile up, you need to find a training method that keeps you free from injuries and mentally able to keep coming back for more.”

Excellent point imo. This is an important consideration and, as Mr Darden pointed out in an earlier reply, there’s a number of viable approaches to this.

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Could you give an example, or more details, of Mr Flanagan’s 1x10 day training routine please? It certainly seems to be very different from what is usually recommended for aging trainees! Thanks.

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Jim Flanagan is 6’ 5" tall, weighs 255 pounds, and is age 73. Over the last year, I’ve watched him train twice. I really don’t want to give you the blow-by-blow details of his training because you probably would not believe it. He’s one of a kind.

I’ll tell you what I’ll do. The next time I talk with him on the phone, I’ll ask him if I can share what I remember him doing in the June 2020 workout at his home gym. Jim’s a private guy and he’ll probably want to stay that way. But he’s also one of the nicest men you’ll ever meet.

Stay tuned.

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Absolutely no problem!
I was just interested in how his workouts were structured, in general terms, at his age (didn’t realise he was in his 70s! Wow - great work!) and with such a low workout frequency. It certainly sounds quite different from how most older trainees go and would make for an I teresting and unusual article!
Thanks for your responses on this thread, much appreciated.

Hi Dr Darden,

My first post in this forum, though having followed T Nation for a couple of years. Thanks for many good books, which have seriously made a difference my training, with amazing results! Since two months making progress on 30-10-30.

I’m a bit curious about your use of 30-30-30, 30-10-30 and 10-10-10 with your trainees. Do you shift them between excercises or hold strict to one of these cadences - during a session/program? I am considering such an attempt, to make my own program a bit more exciting. Will probably add the usual 3-5 sec up and 3-5 sec down on some excercises.

I would much appreciate your advise on this.

Using machines for my entire program these days (Nautilus and a brand called Gym80). The excercises are following the order as stated in your program (from week 6 and onward) from your latest “fat”-book. The question is whether you have noticed better results (hypertrophy) with a specific cadence on certain (machine) excercises? This implies training to failure in good form.

I will make sure to keep an eye on the progression of your forum. Keep up the good work!

/Erik Pettersson, Uppsala, Sweden


You already have a firm grasp on your training. I can tell by your comments and question.

Right now, I’m working on an eBook called “Backloading: New Discoveries in Negative Training.” If you examine Tim Patterson’s poll on what my next eBook should be about, you’ll see that the title is ranked the top choice of the readers of this forum.

This new eBook will cover all my latest guidelines on 30-30-30, 30-10-30, 10-10-10, and other negative techniques . . . and how to mix and mingle them into basic and advanced programs.

Erik, I don’t want to delve deeply into mixing and mingling of these concepts just yet. I want the eBook to contain fresh material.


Dr. Darden…what is your opinion of once a week full body training vs twice a week full body training
pros and cons of both

thanks, dan

Thanks for your reply Dr Darden,
I completely understand your standpoint, and will be the first in line to buy the backloading e-book. I wonder why I spent so many years doing high volume training, when there was a better alternative?

Arthur Jones once said: “Why do we get so soon old, and so late smart.
So true!! By the time I’ve figured out how to do certain things I’m too old to do it.

Interesting layout - minimalist lower body routine, but more upper body exercises. I can see some logic to that.

The absence of a low back exercise is notable for me, mostly because you come from a Nautilus background, and Arthur Jones spent so much time trying to develop a machine to isolate the lumbar extensors. What is the reasoning behind not including a low back and/or hip extension exercise?

I’m also curious about the 2 sets of leg press: anything special about how you perform these (i.e., different back angle, different cadence or technique, drop sets)?