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HIT Theory for Powerlifting?

Dr Darden
For most standard HIT routines we train 2-3 days per week. Being that powerlifters train 3 main lifts, how would you structure a routine?

  1. Would you do a bench day, squat day, and a deadlift day?
  2. Taking bench for example, how would you
    Structure a bench press workout where strength is the only goal.

Great question…Hope Doc Darden responds …I’m very curious about that myself…Respectfully, Steve

I don’t know if your planning on using 30-10-30. If so never do it with the deadlift. If your planning on powerlifting you should be able to do your assistance exercise at 30-10-30 if you wanted.

Dick Conner mixes Hit with powerlifting. That is if you want to be a powerlifter. He was a powerlifting coach.

Other than that he does not recommend you train like a powerlifter if your not going to compete.

Train six times a month. Monday,Friday,Wednesday ect

On the squat day warm ups and 2 sets of five. Do the negative real slow and push up with power.

Bench press. Warmups plus 2 sets of five pausing each rep at you chest.

Deatlift day is warmups plus one set of 10

If you want I can break down the whole routine. I will list it for you. He likes 10/10 superslow for the assistance exercises. That is why I said you could do 30-10-30 instead.

I’ve been out of powerlifting for more than 20 years. But I know Dick Conner and I trust his powerlifting guidance.

Would be awesome to see the complete routine.

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Over the years, I’ve stumbled on articles about Dick Connor and his training methods. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a detailed description of the HIT programs he would use with power lifters. The closest thing I can find is this description from a reprint of a 1998 article from Hardgainer magazine:

Justin had been convinced by his past training to spend many hours in the gym, but for some reason he listened to my half-hearted reasoning to train less, and so he went to twice-a-week training. His program consisted of bench work on Mondays along with about six assistance exercises of one work set each, so his Monday workouts would have about eight work sets, two of them on the bench.

We trained the squat on Friday one week, and the deadlift on the next week, so during a given month we would train the squat twice, and the deadlift twice too.

On squat day we would work again about eight work sets, two work sets on the squat, and one each for the six assistance exercises. The deadlift workout was the same except that the deadlift substituted for the squat, and just one work set was performed for the deadlift (rather than the two for the squat). I have never got it in my mind that you can do over one work set of deadlifts correctly.

It would be very interesting to know what assistance exercises were combined with the main lifts! Were they just the normal HIT machine exercises everyone uses? Or was there some magic sauce in terms of how these were selected to reinforce success in the contest lifts?

Dick Connor’s approach sounds interesting. Problem is, I went to his website and it looks as if it hasn’t been updated for five years.

I think he retired about 15 years ago. At this point, he is probably in his 80’s, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he is no longer very active in coaching.

Note this is for powerlifting It is not a basic HIT workout. Speaking for myself Dr.Dardens routines should be for anyone who is NOT a powerlifter.

If you want to train for health and strength you don’t really need to deadlift.

From a Hardgainer article
note when I list exercises as 10/10 I’m talking superslow protocol. So your can use Dr. Dardens 30-10-30 if thats what your were wondering about in the original post.
6 work outs a month Monday,Friday, Wednesday ect.

WO #1
Deadlift: warmups plus one hard work set of ten.
Leg Press: 10/10 5 reps
Hyperextension: 10/10 5 reps
Side bend: 10/10 6 reps

WO #2
Bench Press: warmups plus 2 sets of 5 pausing each rep on your chest.
Dumbell Row: 10/10 5 reps
Pushup: 10/10 6 reps when you get 6 reps have someone add weight. Such as putting a plate on your back.
Lying triceps press: 10/10 6 reps
L-fly 15 smooth reps each side.

WO #3
Squat: warmups plus 2 sets of five. Doing the negative phase real slow and pushing up with power.

Hyperextenion or box deadlift. That is a deadlift while standing on a 4 inch platform. 10/10 six reps. Note I used to talk with Dick about 12 years ago. I think he would prefer the Hyperextension.

Maybe even using manual resistance. I see he made a comment in Hardgainer the thought that might be the best low back exercise.

Note: I’m saying this not Mr. Conner but I have learned exposing the deep low back muscles to a slow rep speed can cause injury. I’m talking deadlift. I’m not sure but I think the box deadlift in a SLDL so beware.

Seated Dumbell Press 5 reps 10/10
Negative chin or pulldown. Negative chin 10 reps of 10 decents

Situp: 10/10 six reps.

Thats it. I think you could substitute machine exercise for the DB exercises. ect.

I saw a different deadlift and assistance routine he wrote. I think is about powerlifting too.

Imo…the best routine for powerlifting has nothing to do with HIT or slow cadence…and that’s the barbell prescription…its 3 barbell exercises 3 days week…i followed a routine similar to this in my 20s and got pretty strong…its 5x5 of squats, deadlifts and bench presses
At a bodyweight of 175 I was able to achieve 465 squat, 450 deadlift and 315 bench…until I hurt my back…therefore, my powerlifting adventure ended

I find a pyramid set approach works best for max strength. Remember, neuromuscular skills are key for powerlifting.

I would think it would be worth the time to look up what Arthur Jones had Bill Bradford doing at DeLand high school back in the day. His teams were quite successful from what I’ve read.

One thing to be aware of is the role selection bias plays in a sport like powerlifting. Just because the top powerlifters train a certain way could mean that it’s the best way or it could simply mean that selection bias has come into play. Naturally strong people are attracted to powerlifting just as tall people are attracted to basketball, they have a built in advantage and can be successful. In some sports the champions are simply the ones who can survive the training without being run into the ground or injured.

Bradford’s success, at least to me, showed that championship level lifters (at least on the high school level) could be developed with non-traditional training methods.

Assistance exercises in powerlifting need to be based on where you are weakest in the competition lift. I.e. if it’s a lockout problem on bench then triceps would get extra work. For a beginner starting out the assistance work would be spread out to all points of the lift until weaknesses showed themself.

Was that routine you outlined from HG?

What was the “different deadlifting and assistance routine”?

I always liked Connors approach to training and powerlifting however I thought his move towards SS protocols was more as a result of ageing.

Leistner also published many articles on HIT routines for piwerlifting.


Correct as a said that is from Hardgainer. So is this one.

Deadlift 15
Back Extension 6 reps
Negative Chin 10 reps
Side bend

Back Extension and side bend should be done very slowly
10 second up and down chins 10 second negative.

I did this a few times. It was to much for my low back.

From the talks I had with Dick he would train most others differently. Remember he speaks from a lifetime of hard training. As well as training others.

Thanks for the response and insight.

When you say “most others” do you mean those not training specifically for powerlifting?

I have a couple of Connors’ pre-SS routines saved somewhere, I’ll have to dig them out and have another look at how he structured them.

Yes non powerlifters.

Dick Connor would make for a good interview for tnation.

Thot you might like this short from a former number 2 in the world in the squat. I have a longer interview where he tells of big name experts admitting to him that HIT works for powerllifting. Let me know.

“Allow me to introduce myself – I am Paul Brodeur. I squatted 1,000 pounds weighing 318 lbs. with 10 percent bodyfat, making the Powerlifting All-Time Top 20 List, while utilizing only high-intensity training principles. Through reading and listening to Mike Mentzer’s books, articles and tapes, I have found the strength of truth, knowledge and valid principles to lift me from the guagmire of injuries, exhaustion and the loss of strength and size. Now I am increasing in strength and size, literally from workout to workout, as I continue my assault on the record books! My personal training clients have also benefited from these same training principles. One of them has gained over 100 pounds of lean in two years and another has gained 30 pounds in just five workouts! To the skeptics, I say – YES! Heavy Duty, high-intensity training principles do work! I have myself, my clients, the methodology and the documentation to prove it! Let me propose a question: would you rather go through life believing in something that is not true, or, would you rather have certainty about your training by learning the one valid theory of anaerobic exercise? I hope your choice will be for the truth so you can finally begin the journey of actualizing your maximum muscular potential.” -Paul Brodeur, powerlifter and personal trainer in Arlington, Texas (this is from the late 90s- early 2000s. Paul is now deceased.)


Thanks for posting, yeah I recall reading about Paul years ago. Would love to see the longer interview. I believe he trained deads or squats once a fortnight If I remember correctly?