T Nation

Hardcore Bodybuilding: A Scientific Approach by Fred Hatfield


#1

Anybody read this book? Are Hatfield's training protocols legitimate? This is a summary of his program:

Does anybody think this Hatfield's book and program is worth reading? Your input will be highly appreciated :slightly_smiling:


#2

I read it years ago.

I don't know of anyone who follows the unusual practices he advocates there. There probably are other, more usual things said in the book that are sound. Hatfield is an intelligent man: I would certainly not say his book is not worth reading, but would say that the described workout method above has not stood the test of time.


#3

What programs would you personally recommend? I was gonna try HIT but after much research I've concluded its a waste of my time.


#4

What is your background in training?


#5

6 months doing Optimal Volumetric training.


#6

I remember it being one of the first books I read. As a beginner, it presents a lot of information you should hear and question, but not necessarily accept as law. Now that I'm a bit more well-versed perhaps I should revisit it.


#7

Anymore reviews? Thanks!


#8

I just bought another copy, my old one got loaned out and not returned. Reason is I am doing the ISSA personal trainer cert.
The study Dr. Hatfield did was while he was in Connecticut and it was more than just the training part, it was integrated with a zig-zag diet. He basically conducted a study as the director of research and development for ICOPRO, a bodybuilding and sports nutrition company, a division of Titan Sports, the parent company of the World Wrestling Federation. This book is the results of the study. He actually wrote another book earlier, which I also have, and great detail about muscle fibers was in it. The copyright on the one you want is from 1993.

From page 66 "Thirty subjects from gyms around Stamford Connecticut area participated in the experimental group... All were trained once or twice daily with sundays off. All followed precise integrated training schedules and routines very similar to those covered in this book." then it goes on with 4 pages of data and statistics about how the got more lean tissue, lost fat, got stronger etc.

I love the book, but only for the integrated portion. I got the ISSA cert book back in 2000 and just got the updated version for 2009 to finally take the damn test. Anyway, a lot of the ISSA "Fitness the complete guide" is cut and paste from the Bodybuilding book. Hatfield was a substantial contributor and editor, and the ISSA book is voluminous with several changes over the years.

I trained using the system from it for about 3 months in 2002, and found that when I tried to use the proper number of days of rest and split up the bodyparts, I would always wind up having some kind of hellish day with 3-4 bodyparts in the rotation on the same day, I should have pushed it/rescheduled it but was trying to "optimally" follow it to the letter.I did get leaner but was on a ship and not following the diet portion (couldn't). But one thing about the nutrition portion is that they recommend "eating for what you are about to do, not for what you just did" which flies in the face of more modern pre-, para- and post-workout nutrition (post workout shakes, etc.), but the daily modulation of caloric intake can be a helpful concept to understand (as opposed to having a "low day" or a "high day", think more like "lunch should be my biggest meal because I am going to workout in 2 hours this afternoon".

I also like the musculature description of how the muscles function based on their structure (unipennate, fusiform, etc), and specific exercises are listed to best accomodate the muscles based on that. Although Tudor Bompa used EMG in Serious Strength Training and it lists the exercises with the most activation, which I think is better. Also in Bompa's book he is a great advocate of using periodization, while the Hatfield book uses rep ranges that hit the entire spectrum of rep ranges to potentially stimulate every type of muscle fiber every week. Reminds me of some kind of Waterbury 3x a week routine where mon is 8-12, Wed is 3-6 and Friday is 15-20reps. You get the idea.

Sometimes you just have to buy it and try it and learn. After buying all these books over the years, I have learned a lot (albeit before the internet). Think of it as an investment. Or, you can look at tons of programs on this site, pick one, and try it and follow it and monitor your progress for free. Good luck!