T Nation

TUT/TUL More Important than Weight/Strength Increases?

A returning question under different threads.

Following proper HIT procedure (Darden), form comes first hand, before load increases. How does this affect hypertrophy?

Would you still be able to reach any or significant gains (hypertrophy) even if you stayed on your maximal working load/weight over time? Or, would you just keep the gains you have achieved?

Why I’m asking is because I can see my plateau coming. Entering specialization programs to stir things up, but inevitably my load increases will come to a full stop. I have consciously even backed some load in order to work harder on the best applicable form.

Dr Darden’s new book is long awaited…

John Parr has told me that he has gained 10 lbs of muscle in 10 years with no load increases at all. Just focusing on continually improving form and getting better at inroading. He also told me that he rarely increases weights for his clients once he gets them “dialed in”. Gus Diamantopoulos has told me he never increases the weight for a client until he has “milked everything he can” out of the weights they are currently using.


Is it possible to just stick to the weight you plateau at…to just increase the reps to about 15 to 25…when you hit 20 reps, increase the weight and stay with it until reach 20 again…just a thought

I tend to agree with this especially after a trainee is out of the beginner stage. Focus on the inroad/stimulation…let the strength increase and/or increased TUL ‘just happen’ on its own. I never found any benefit trying to force so-called strength increases which ends up just being motor learning improvements when there is no growth. It also increases chance of injury and worse form (which can lessen inroad). You create “outroading” as some have called it. The worst example of this was doing extreme consolidation training (i.e. 2-3 compound moves every 7-14 days). I (re)gained some muscle last year…and the strength just came as I got bigger. The weights were feeling a little light, so I just added more to get the feel and rep range I preferred while maintaining good form.

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Perhaps why Dr Darden chooses form over intensity. Rather than focus on external feedback (weight, reps, tul/tut) Focus on internal (inroad). You pay attention to both but focusing too much on external can lead to bad behaviour in the way of form discrepancies thus, outroading. One of the reasons timed static contractions without feedback can be effective

If hit big plateau, get off HIT(sacrilege I know! :sunglasses:) and run through other TNation programs then get back to it later in the year…



Really appreciate your input! Good to have you on this thread! There is nothing more limiting than narrow-mindedness, holding your progress back because of a fixed standpoint.

Prior to my introduction to HIT, the past year, I was into a 6 month period of CrossFit inspired training. Even though I didn’t make any serious gains, I got really conditioned and hard.

HIT was/is indeed a revolution in training for me personally, but I wouldn’t call it religion. Sooner or later I will be going through a plateaubreaker of another origin.

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Hi Ricky,

As always valuable advice from you. Do you mind starting a new thread about - or explain timed static contractions here? Remember it being mentioned in another thread…

So I suppose his mindset was something like this: He believed HIT provided the optimal (or minimum effective) dose, and that eventually you top out on muscle mass due to genetics. So he kept using the same workout(s) and the same weights, focusing on getting as much intensity and inroad as possible, and then after the fact noticed he was gaining muscle mass ever so slowly???

I’m speculating about that because someone who was still actively chasing and hoping for gains would rarely be that patient. I think it would be pretty rare among enthusiasts to go 10 years without changing up something, if they were expecting to see visible progress. Given all the things that can change in a year, 1 lb/year of muscle gain would be pretty difficult to detect objectively.

BTW, I recall that Dr. McGuff expressed similar sentiments about weight selection. He said something to the effect that there was a range of weights on a particular machine that worked very well for him for inroading. Too light, and it takes too long, too heavy and form and quality deteriorates.

In effect, in this approach you chase inroad (somewhat of a subjective target) instead of load. Obviously, it must work for some people. I’m just amazed that someone could be that consistent. Once I feel I’m stalling on progression, the temptation to start tweaking is hard to resist, even if the tweaks rarely produce any different results…


When progress slows down, Switch to New Lifts. At first, you’ll be clumsy and weak. Focus on muscle tension and inroads and let the weight progress naturally as you feel less weak and clumsy. Use a new stimulus for some new gains.

When progress slows down, switch back to the old lifts. After not doing them for awhile you’ll be clumsy and weak. Your “old lifts” are now “new stimulus.”

There’s a million lifts so you should be able to go for awhile.


Changing movements is fine, but even using the same move there are almost a countless number of things one can do with the same exercise.

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-Broadly speaking people Doggcrap gets the best feedback for HIT style and a big part of that is religiously rotating through movement variations. Keeps you fresher also.

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I’ll have to look into this inroading thing when I get stronger, older, and more beat up.

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Don’t wait! Think about inroading now. It’s good for hypertrophy and it’s also good for strength/performance lifts too.

What the hell is inroading? Googled it but nothing of sense came up?

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