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Training Other Than "Whole Body HIT"?

Dr Darden , I have a hypothetical question for you.
If you were advising a bodybuilder who got good results from whole body HIT training , but could only stick with it for short periods (for arguments sake , let’s say every other month) . What would you advise him to do in between HIT cycles , aside from taking a few days off ?

It is only fair that as I asked the question , that I give you some of the options that I would consider, which are as follows…

  1. Not to failure HIT
  2. Split routine HIT like Heavy Duty
  3. Basic old school training (heavy lifts on basic exercises like Pyramid training)
  4. Cumulative fatigue training (like a Gironda 6x6)

There are of course lots of possibilities, many of which are dependent on the individual and their reasons for not being able to or wanting to perform classic HIT all year round.
Your contribution would be fascinating and appreciated.


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I would do 30-10-30 on the in-between months and not go to failure. I would focus on precision reps on the negatives and do the normal reps in perfect form. My goal would be a deep inroad on each 30-10-30 cycle.

I am guessing that your answer is related to something mentioned in the “New HIT…” book.
You were asked “what is more important , Intensity or form ?”
With my hypothetical example , it seems you are essentially shifting the focus from intensity to form over the time period that I mentioned, as you consider them the 2 key components of a routine ?


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Over the last 5 years, I’ve been using 30-10-30 on most of my trainees. And I’m still surprised by some of the results I’m achieving.

As a result, I decided several weeks ago to put together a 50-page eBook on 30-10-30. Digging into the background of negative training made me start analyzing what was happening. What I have determined connects to the answer of your posed questions.

In 1993, Arthur Jones wrote about the fatigue that occurs from positive work. Such fatigue reduces drastically your positive strength. But, and this is important: Muscular friction that reduces positive strength actually increases your negative strength.

Why? Because the blood and fluid flow to the involved muscles act as a friction brake. As your muscles get pumped, it more difficult for the fibers to lengthen during the negative phase.

Thus, the ending 30-second negative involved in a 30-10-30 cycle allows you to finish the last phase without going to failure. Yet, you have made a much deeper inroad into your starting level of strength than you could have made from any one-set of 10 repetitions to failure.

So, when I realized that you could actually get better results by not going to failure, you can imagine how excited I was.

Inroading with precision form is what 30-10-30 is about. And that has not been discussed as a factor in HIT. But it will be in my new eBook.


Dr. Darden are you saying the last 30 second negative doesn’t have to be done to failure?

Fascinating Dr Darden and you just jogged my memory. Way back in 1986 didn’t Arthur Jones demonstrate how the ratio of positive to negative strength increased dramatically during intense exercise. Someone could work to the point where their positive strength was close to zero but their negative strength was still substantial.

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Yes. And neither does the first negative, nor the in-between 10 normal reps. All of them should be challenging, but not to all-out muscular failure.


Yes, that was Jones’s findings.

I have found that if I stop at 12 reps (even if I can do more) in between the 30 second negatives…i recover better and have more progress…if I can’t get 12 reps I stay at the same weight until I can, therefore it’s positive failure (no grimacing or straining)… this way I do not get systemic overload

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This is most interesting! I wasn’t exactly sure what 30 10 30 ment but this helps clear that up . I’m going to start trying that!
Just to sure I’m understanding this correctly suppose I’m doing overhead press. I jerk the weight up to overhead and then slowly and carefully lower it taking 30 seconds, then I do 10 regular strict up and down reps and then repeat the first movement , with no rest in between sets?

30 second negative (eccentric) followed by 10-12 regular reps and then you do one last negative or eccentric for 30 seconds…and correct, no rest

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Pretty much , but if you choose the weight right (80% of your regular working weight you do 10-12 reps with) , then a smooth 1 second rep to get into the starting position, should be easily achievable without much taxing of your strength and energy

Out of interest, what would you do Mark?

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A good question.
It really would depend on the individual. their goals and the reason why they cannot train intensely all year round.
Above would be an example of a checklist.
Options 1 and 2 (in that order) would be my first alternatives .
If the athlete for whatever reason would/could not do either of those 2 , then I would try out further options , of which numbers 3 and 4 (along with others) would be considered .
Whatever option I decided on , I would make sure that the athlete trained no more than 3 times a week (in some cases less) , and that any workout could be completed in 45 minutes or less without rushing through it.
My goal is simply to get the athlete to the next HIT cycle at a similar level of strength and muscularity at worst , be fresh physically, and be rejuvenated mentally for the challenges ahead.


I look forward to the e-book.

I have Body Fat Breakthrough, which introduced 30/30/30, but I didn’t buy Killing Fat, which introduced 30/10/30. I’m sure the latter is also good, but I didn’t feel like I needed another book on weight loss. (Compliance, not knowledge is my issue.) So it will be nice to have a reference that focused on training technique.

The idea of precision inroad, but not necessarily to failure is intriguing. I’m on the fence, so to speak, about how necessary or desirable it is to train to deep inroad.

Remember, once you get the hang of the 30-10-30 method, making a deep inroad is easier than going to failure.

And it’s more productive and safer.

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Dr Darden
what you think 30-10-30 is good for strength gain ,or better fits for size gains ?
what about older lifters? , (your test trainers are teens and younger people for the study)
how will respond to the system traditional volume lifter ?
thank you

Hi pepsi,
I was 55 when I started 30-10-30 and gained nearly 10 lbs of muscle (see Killing Fat)

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This is interesting because I did 30-10-30 for about 6 weeks. I would say truthfully I didn’t enjoy it and that could be because of my neurological makeup (Neurotype 3 - anxious, worrier, perfectionist). I have been doing the HIT Foundational A&B routine from the book here on T-Nation and I am enjoying it more. After I do this routine for awhile I may go back to 30-10-30 or wait until the e-book comes out before going back. Dr. Darden, any thoughts?

I’ve trained quite a few of older people on 30-10-30. I believe it works best for building size.

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