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Thoughts on At-Home “New HIT” Routine?

Hi Dr. Darden and everyone,

I’m coming off 6 weeks of 30-10-30 which was my first Darden routine (and it was amazing) and now wanting to try a more “typical” HIT routine. Due to COVID I’m having to work with what I have at home and created the following routine based on the routines in “New HIT.” I wanted to run it by because each routine involved machines so wanted to make sure my replacements make sense.

One set of each to failure, raising weight when I can hit 12 reps.

DB Squat
Reverse Lunge
Calf Raise
DB Bench
DB Row
DB Shrug
DB Overhead Press
DB Reverse Curl
DB Triceps Extension

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.


Some thoughts I have based on my experience. I think the lunges could be difficult to hit failure with effectively. I might switch to Romanian deadlifts with DBs. For the DB Squat if you find them not very taxing due to available DBs you have I would try out Bulgarian split squats. I think the Chin-ups and Dips at the end are not really necessary after you already did a compound chest/back and isolation for arms earlier. If anything I would alternate periodically the Chins & Dips for Bench & Row from time to time.

Thanks, I like the idea of alternating those exercises and that makes sense.

I would add one of the Darden-McCutcheon ab routines (seek elsewhere on this forum) alternating with a simple lower back routine as a finisher. Why miss out on the finer points, when you have such a good foundation of a routine?

Why shrugs? I know many people here love them, but I would expect engagement of the trapezius, levator and superior neck muscles when you’re doing bent over rows and overhead presses, for example, as well as a minor effect from anything you hold in your hands against gravity (dumbbells).

That makes sense re: shrugs - so would you suggest just cutting them out (rather than replacing with something)? And great call on the abs/low back alternating, abs are something I admittedly often neglect so this will be a good time to rectify that.

Well, I personally would cut them out and not replace them.

HIT can be demanding when going to failure, why it is better to focus your attention/effort on fewer basic excercises.

Abs and lower back is an exception to that rule, which it is why I put them last in my routines, as a vehicle of winding down.

I just came up with another alternation I forgot: Overhead presses vs dumbbell shoulder flyes (an excercise also engaging traps and neck in the top position).

There are a lot of compound exercises in that routine which can quickly add to systematic fatigue.

Hi Matt, I am doing something similar at home…so here is couple of thoughts:
I agree that shrugs are redundant.
I would keep dips and chins.
If you have bands, you can include them in your legs exercises because they provide some more resistance other then dumbbells you already have.
And last as you are working your way in time with this, as a mean of progression, you can also include intensifier technique like rest-pause, especially on legs exercises as you probably lack appropriate weights at home.

And please share some details of your 30-10-30 experience after 6 weeks.
Thanks :slight_smile:

DB Squat or Goblet Squat OR Both,drop the calf raise and do one version at the end of your workout if you want to do both
DB pullover
Overhead Press
curl optional

This is very close to what Arthur Jones lists in the Nautilus bulletin 1 chapter 39

Performed in a proper manner, a total of only eight basic conventional exercises are capable of producing almost any degree of possible results – and far more quickly than most people would believe; these exercises are (1) standing presses with a barbell or with heavy dumbbells, (2) full squats, (3) stiff-legged deadlifts, (4) heavy barbell curls, (5) regular-grip chinning, (6) parallel dips, (7) barbell wrist-curls, (8) one-legged calf raises.

Shrug because your not doing any deadlifts so keep the shrug. You can also do this at the very end of your workout. That is what I do, shrug at the end.
Calf Raise optional
Add an Ab movement like sit up hold a Db on your chest. OR side bend

Note shrug,calf raise,and abs are not that big of a movement. I doubt
they will overtrian you.

Also you can sub the row and bench press for dips and chins for variety. You don’t need
to do them if your doing dips and chins.

If you like the bench and row and want to do them with dip and chins then

Db squat or goblet squat
dip or bench press
overhead press

As someone who is still training at home with limited weight (adjustable dumbbells), I have no trouble getting to failure on most of the exercises listed or being discussed, with the exception of DB squats and RDL’s.

Squatting more than body weight is not that difficult to do for a decently strong person, yet most people are not going to have dumbbells big enough for that. Similar issues arise for RDLs or deadlifts. You can always compensate for the weight limitation by trying to stretch out the time under load for more fatigue. I guess that’s OK, but for me it is less satisfying than working against a sufficiently heavy weight. And I get concerned about trying to hold the low back under tension in a neutral position for extended time. Of course, I tend not to go to failure with squats even with a barbell. That I reserve for the leg press, or belt squat (when available).

You can definitely increase the load on the leg and protect the back by using a weighted split squat of some kind. But even that doesn’t feel quite the same as going to failure on a good leg press. Unfortunately, when weight is limited, so are your options.

Thanks for all the great advice! I like the idea of alternating exercises for some of them so will definitely do that. And appreciate the leg work advice - I agree it’s one of the tougher ones without access to machine and barbell but “luckily” (if that’s the right word haha) my legs are a weak point so I think I’ll be able to work them to failure for a decent while with my DBs (and then hopefully gyms have opened back up when I start to top out.)

Hogar - regarding 30-10-30 I really enjoyed it - was doing it on a moderate cut so muscular gains harder to tell - I lost 5 pounds over the course and “good” measurements stayed the same while waist measurement went down 1 inch so I’ll count that as a win. I can update on strength increases once I start this new program Monday - I can note I “feel stronger” and recently did a test with DB overhead press and was able to press 50s for 10 good reps which is more than I’ve done in a long time, so I was quite happy with that especially on low cals.

I’ll be really interested in trying 30-10-30 while on a gaining diet in the future.

Yes, definetly good results then. I appreciate you provided measurements as these are the only true indicator of progress.
Thanks :slight_smile:

Unless your planned frequency is 1/week, I’d see this workout as a potential recipe for failure — and not the good kind. I can’t speak for Dr D, but I will tell you that his last few books have intermediate routines limited to 7 or 8 exercises. You have 11.

Perhaps: 1) Alternate the Rows with the Chins
2) Alternate the Dips with the Triceps Ext (or alt Dips with Bench)
and maybe 3) Alternate the Calf Raises and Reverse Lunges



I’m a higher volume guy and nervous about doing one set a body part 3xwk. Did you gain size on the 30-10-30 routine?

I was cutting so could not really quantify any muscle gains but definitely didn’t seem to lose anything and now that I’m on a more “standard” plan weights are all slightly heavier than before the program. It definitely felt strange just doing one fairly “light” set twice a week only but I quickly realized how intense that one set can be - and I think the fact that my strength is up now is a good indicator.

Pretty sold on it and will give the gaining plan a try once I’m able to have access to a full gym again.

Check your technique with the dumbell squats as Dr Darden says that even his strongest guys never use more than 25 pound dumbells (i have been guilty of using too heavy a weight with them).


Wasn’t that comment specifically related to when he (Darden) trained people using 30-10-30? I believe the original poster was inquiring about doing routines out of The New High Intensity Training book, 12 traditional (2/4) reps to failure.

As I’m sure you know, a lot depends on depth or range of motion, whether or not you try to maintain continuous tension throughout the set, whether or not you lock out (completely stand up) at the end of each rep. You can always try to substitute fatigue and time for load, but that might not be what some people are after, even when doing a single set to failure.

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Fair points.
I was thinking of 30-10-30, but very heavy dumbells probably still are not necessary for the Dumbell Squat .
It is very easy to add load over time by simply involving other muscle groups more, rather than becoming stronger in the quads and glutes.
If you can significantly increase weight in it without doing so , then I would expect a very noticeable increase in leg size.


I get what you are saying.

It seems like “squats” should be a pretty definitive term for an exercise, but in practice it doesn’t actually work that way.

To illustrate: The guys who promote a program like Starting Strength tell you to chase after as much load as possible, precisely because you then have to engage as much lower body musculature as possible. Done with a wider stance and a low bar position, it becomes more hip dominant, also works the glutes and trunk extensors more heavily, and thus is a more comprehensive lower body exercise. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Depends on your goals, and tolerance for injury risk, I suppose. I’ll note that others complain that the low bar squat doesn’t do enough for your quads, and you really ought to do high bar, or front squats.

In your case, being a body builder, you probably prefer a style that emphasizes quads and thighs, and I can see where you could achieve that by using a narrower stance, staying more upright, keeping the weights back a little. That actually is how I try to do them now, though partly for other reasons. Someone who was looking more for the feel of a heavy low bar squat would probably not find that satisfying, and would feel the weight was lacking.

FWIW, after reading your post, I did experiment with doing a weighted 30-10-30 squat. It happens I have a 54 LB kettlebell, and so I used that rather than 2x25LB dumbbells. I just held the kettlebell with both hands, and let it hang between my legs as if I was going to do a swing. The low weight position feels very stable, and it is self centering, so a lot of my concerns about controlling bar path go away.

So I did a 30 second descent, then did 10 regular reps @ 1-2 cadence. I think I was at about 27 seconds when I got to 10. I wasn’t close to failure, but I proceeded to the final 30 second negative. By the end of that I was feeling a burn in my thighs. But the weight always felt in control, and I never felt like I was hitting failure. I felt pleasantly fatigued, but not particularly drained. Oddly, about 10 minutes later, I did feel some noticeable fatigue in my quads, almost like a delayed onset fatigue. I’ve never experienced that before, so clearly it was a different kind of stimulus than I’m used to.

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Interestingly, that’s exactly the way you should feel from such a 30-10-30 squat.