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The Rebirth of HIT
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MikeTheBear
Level 3

Join date: Mar 2003
Posts: 3975

Dr. Ellington Darden Talks HIT
by Chris Shugart
10/12/04

Ironically, the first book on weight training was one of Dr. Darden's HIT books. This was way back in 1984 or so. His message about whole-body training made sense and I have been training that way ever since. If you think about it, it makes sense - if you deadlift, you are training your upper body as well as you lower body, and not just indirectly either.

Later when I was in college I did a little experiment with HIT. I had to pass as test that required I do a max set of push ups. Well, doing set after set of push ups was boring as hell. So I decided to used the HIT chest specialization plan to see if I could make my workouts more efficient. (I may have also used a tricep routine, I can't remember.) The routine basically involved pre-exhaustion (a set of flyes), drop sets (a set of bench press to failure, then drop the weight and do another set), and then forced-rep push ups. Although it was recommended to do this only once, I did two cycles of this. It worked - I was able to increase my push ups and it didn't take hours of doing push ups. So, in my case, HIT principles helped to increase strength-endurance. Note well that I used the phrase "in my case." Your mileage may vary.

Now, to be honest, I am not a HIT Jedi: I don't like training to failure and I will never return to failure training; for strength and size, I have found that I respond best to many sets of heavy weight and low reps. However, I am definitely intrigued by the application of not-to-failure HIT for increasing strength-endurance.

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jbkc64110
Level 1

Join date: Sep 2004
Posts: 18

I have to admit I was pretty clueless as to what HIT really was. Now I have a much better understanding of this program. Great interview, Shugart! Keep up the good work!!

-JB

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willfull
Level 3

Join date: Mar 2003
Posts: 137

any chance of a T-Jack on this one?

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Majin
Level 4

Join date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1748

I just have to criticize, it beggs to be!

I feel there's a huge hypocricy here. All the talk about old-time strongmen, what gives? They DIDN'T train with HIT and they didn't train to failure. They didn't even know what failure was! They trained often, and the only way you can train often is not training to failure, because you recover faster and are able to afford the extra workouts in the week.


The other thing that's irritating is that Darden said that "Not training to failure isn't a fad. It?s the predominant method of choice for most bodybuilders." What!? Training to failure is all people do right now. Heck, Chad Waterbury was going very much against the grain of the majority of established principles when he told people to cut it out with the failure training. I, myself quit going to failure just this spring and am having better progress than on HIT and tons of other training systems.

And Darden's whole justification of training to failure was a few quick one-liners from Arthur Jones. I mean come on. One might argue that Arthur Jones introduced the failure concept into the training world. There were pretty big and strong people before that and they never went to failure.

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akash1s
Level 10

Join date: Oct 2002
Posts: 9

After reading Dr. Darden's new book I have come up with the following HIT routine that I will be doing on a 1 day on 2 day off cycle, alternating between Workout 1 and Workout 2. I just finished up week 1 and I can say that I am enjoying a few days off a week of no activity (I'm being lazy).

Workout 1 - 1 set to failure of 8-12 reps

Leg Extensions
Leg Press
Side Laterals
Overhead Press
DB Pullover
Pullups
Reverse Grip Pulldowns
DB Tricep Extensions
Barbell Stiff Leg Deadlift
Hanging Leg Raises

Workout 2

Lying Leg Curls
Barbell Squats
Flat Flyes
Bench Press
Incline Hammer Press
Rear Lateral Raises
T-Bar Row
Underhand Rows
Barbell Curls
Standing Calf Raises

I figure it is worth a try for 6-8 weeks to see how it goes.


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Tungsten
Level 2

Join date: Jan 2004
Posts: 553

willfull wrote:
any chance of a T-Jack on this one?


i'm pretty sure you can go over to Barne and Noble or similiar places and read the book. That's what I did almost 2 months ago even before anyone mentioned about the New HIT on this website. Who knew it'd end up on this website...

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Majin
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Join date: Jun 2004
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Oh yeah, forgot to ask... Chris, why didn't you ask Mr. Darden about his approach to diet? I think that would be the most intresting part of the book to many who know how HIT works. Besides, that's where the book trully goes against the grain of super-high protein diets. That would really be exciting.

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Chris Shugart
Director of Content

Join date: Oct 2002
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w2097 wrote:
Oh yeah, forgot to ask... Chris, why didn't you ask Mr. Darden about his approach to diet?



I did, but the interview was already running long so we decided to stick to one topic: training.

Also, Ellington thought the training info would be a big enough pill to swallow without adding his against-the-grain diet ideas to it. That way people would just faint rather than completely fall over dead.

[smiley face and all that]





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J.Boogie
Level 3

Join date: Oct 2002
Posts: 177

once again u prove why this website is the shit, alot of people get into certain coaches camps and defend their methods like their respective first born, however this website ostrasizes no one and gives the floor to all (except bill philips) keep up the good work and keep our our views as broad and open as possible

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Cockney Blue
Level 2

Join date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3703

Derden's message about max acceleration low rep, high weight work not having the best strength gain results for sports crossover is totally counter to everything else I have read on this site esp in relation to Westside.

Suprised it wasn't questioned more in the interview. Would be interested in anyone elses thoughts or comments on it...

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jackleg1964
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Join date: Sep 2004
Posts: 10

Is this the same guy from the Bowflex commercials?

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FCFighter
Level 3

Join date: Mar 2003
Posts: 466

Holy shit! I didn't know Jones was jacked too. I always thought he was the "lab nerd" type just supervising everyone else. It looks like he practiced what he preached.

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Ross Hunt
Level 5

Join date: Jun 2004
Posts: 918

T-Nation wrote:

Most athletes and coaches have completely missed the mark when it comes to functional or sport-specific strength...

...most athletes and coaches try to perform their strength training in a way that simulates their sport?which means fast, explosive lifting and lowering, little of which transfers to their sport. Worse, it can confuse performance through negative transfer and it's dangerous.


If this passage is alluding to the current popularity of the o-lifts among some coaches, then I don't understand what's being said here. Is there any sport worthy of the name in which performance could not be enhanced by training for faster hip extension?

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MikeTheBear
Level 3

Join date: Mar 2003
Posts: 3975

Ross Hunt wrote:
T-Nation wrote:

Most athletes and coaches have completely missed the mark when it comes to functional or sport-specific strength...

...most athletes and coaches try to perform their strength training in a way that simulates their sport?which means fast, explosive lifting and lowering, little of which transfers to their sport. Worse, it can confuse performance through negative transfer and it's dangerous.

If this passage is alluding to the current popularity of the o-lifts among some coaches, then I don't understand what's being said here. Is there any sport worthy of the name in which performance could not be enhanced by training for faster hip extension?


I agree, Ross. If you train slow you'll be slow -- no one will convince me otherwise. If you go to the Dr. Darden site he cites a study done that suggested that a group that used super slow training gained more strength than a group that used a faster tempo. I believe this study was debunked: while it may have been true that the super slow group gained more strength, the strength gained was at the super slow tempo. Apparently there was little to no carryover in strength when the lifts were done using a normal tempo.

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Bronx Bomber
Level 1

Join date: Feb 2003
Posts: 250

Good interview, but I have a few questions. I've seen those photos of that dude (the add 18lbs in two weeks) before. THose photos are at least 5 years old. Now, sure, he may have done very well on this system, but I think using his photos are akin to Body for life books using ab ansley or brad wadlow. And what of the talk that Viator used to leave the compound to sneak in extra work? Why was that not at least addressed? Not trying to be confrontational, just some observations and thoughts.

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Chris Shugart
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Join date: Oct 2002
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Bronx Bomber wrote:
And what of the talk that Viator used to leave the compound to sneak in extra work? Why was that not at least addressed?


Because it was debunked a long time ago. I'd read that too, heck, I think even some of our writers have made this accusation (Poliquin, I think?), but Viator said it wasn't true.

I don't know the whole story, but basically Weider seemed to have it in for Author Jones. He published a few fake articles debunking HIT or downplaying it. I meant to ask Darden for the whole story, but again, the interview was too long already. (He does touch on this briefly in the book though.)

Here's an interview I found with Casey Viator, debunking the "sneaking off" rumor:

Interviewer: Several years ago there appeared an article in Muscle & Fitness entitled "Casey Comes Clean." In this article, you discussed the Colorado experiment with Arthur Jones and how you gained over 60 pounds of muscle. In the article you downplayed HIT training, saying you needed more volume than 3 days per week, and that he was "sneaking" in extra workouts on your own time. I would be curious to know if that was a propaganda article, or if that reflected your honest opinion.


Casey Viator: This pretty much was a propaganda article. I might have written 30% of what was printed. There was not any sneaking around doing extra exercises or sets. We were working at such a high level of intensity no extra work was needed. We accomplished this study with great success and my 60 lbs. was done exactly the way we described it. We knew before the experiment started that I would gain that much weight and nothing has been duplicated close to it since.



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Redux
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Join date: May 2004
Posts: 71

I ordered the book yesterday from Amazon. Hey their site looks exactly like yours or vica-versa, same colors and all. What gives.

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Chris Shugart
Director of Content

Join date: Oct 2002
Posts: 17321

Redux wrote:
I ordered the book yesterday from Amazon. Hey their site looks exactly like yours or vica-versa, same colors and all. What gives.


It's a dark conspiracy to turn the world into HITters. Come on, Redux, drink the Kool-Aid...

Or you could read this from a few weeks back:

http://www.t-nation.com/...ic.do?id=502924


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kenmen
Level 3

Join date: Oct 2002
Posts: 241

Darden's new book is available in Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc. I've been able to read most of it over a couple of cups of coffee. It's a well written interesting book. Nothing drastically new for those familiar with the Arthur Jones and Darden approach. Darden does seem to have eased up on his "failure or else" approach by advocating "NTF" or not to failure workouts from time to time. This has been overdue with the HIT approach. The book has some good stories and many different routines for those interested in trying a HIT approach. Darden's main selling point for HIT is that it's a good approach for drug-free genetically average folks (most of us)... that the average joe (and jane) should discount/dismiss the BB methods used by the genetically superior drug mutants.

I'm not really a HITer (okay, maybe a little!) but I think Darden has taken the right approach with this book because, let's face it, the popularity of HIT has waned over recent years. I think the primary problem with HIT was that its proponents were so dogmatic and unwilling to concede the usefulness and validity of any other approach.

This is a good read and certainly something different for those willing to be open-minded.

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Bri Hildebrandt
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Chris Shugart wrote:

We knew before the experiment started that I would gain that much weight and nothing has been duplicated close to it since.



The fact that it hasn't been replicated has to raise a few eyebrows. Studies have no reliability if they can't be replicated.

But I guess if the Casey Viator anecdote is used more for entertainment rather than informative purposes it is ok. You can't generalize from a case study mutant to the rest of the population.

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Tony S
Level 1

Join date: Oct 2002
Posts: 12

I have always enjoyed and been motivated by Dr. Darden's books. I even had the pleasure of having him show me how the Nautilus Ab machine worked in Deland way back in the early 80's. However, I have always questioned the idea of HIT when it comes to the law of diminishing returns. If it was that easy to add weight and reps each workout....we would all look like gorillas. I know that Arthur and Ell take into account ones genetics...and maybe telling people that they can only get so big, may be a little bit of a psychological turn off, I still feel that HITer's never like to address this question. That being said.... Most of what Dr. Darden writes about is applicable to most athletes. Athletes perform too much volume, with not enough intensity, and finally not allowing enough time between workouts to recover (supercompensate).

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Chris Shugart
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Bri, I agree. (BTW, Viator said that, not me.)

I'm not a HITter, but I will defend this: the HIT folks always admitted that Viator was a mutant coming back from an illness and injury. I say that because I hear a lot of people using that as an attack against HIT, but it's something they admitted themselves from the get go. There was never an attempt to be deceptive about it. Same with the 18-pounds-in-two-weeks guy. His whole experience is outlined in the book.

(The 6 month results are every bit as good as Thibaudeau's "Beast Evolves" transformation. Wished Darden would have sent the 6 month before and afters instead of just the two week pics.)

The only thing they won't entertain is that Viator was on steroids. In fact, in the interview I think I kinda ticked Darden off by suggesting it.




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kenmen
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Darden emphatically states in his book that Viator was not on steroids when he won the Mr. America in 1971 at age 19. I don't believe it.

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Ajax
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Join date: Aug 2004
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Casey Viator: This pretty much was a propaganda article. I might have written 30% of what was printed. There was not any sneaking around doing extra exercises or sets. We were working at such a high level of intensity no extra work was needed. We accomplished this study with great success and my 60 lbs. was done exactly the way we described it. We knew before the experiment started that I would gain that much weight and nothing has been duplicated close to it since.

[/quote]


I for one remain wholly unpersuaded by both Darden's logic and his claims for reasons that have been discussed ad nauseam in multiple articles that can be found in the archives of this website (Not to mention personal experience; but the gentle readers of this website are better served by reading and thinking about what the multiple authors on this site have written than to accept anyone's claim of personal experience as authoritative).

In any event, Viator's own words undermine Darden's claims. Leaving aside the very odd confession, "We knew before the experiment started that I would gain that much weight," Viator's following statement sums it up, "nothing has been duplicated close to it since."

'nuff said. Darden claims universal validity for HIT and cites Viator's experience as evidence. Yet Viator himself acknowledges that his experience with HIT was wildly anomalous, a one time freak thing.

That HIT might be of use to some people some of the time I do not doubt. But that is radically different from Darden's assertions.

And what kind of "experiment" is it when you know the outcome beforehand anyhow?

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litespeed
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Ajax wrote:And what kind of "experiment" is it when you know the outcome beforehand anyhow?


The outcome of many studies/experiments is known before they are conducted. The reason for conducting such work is to validate a suspected outcome.

I'm not a HIT fan, but I still find it funny how many people are attacking with flawed arguments.

Viator is a genetic freak. Darden and Jones have both stated that he had some of the best genes for building muscle that they have ever seen. The Colorado experiment was never designed to show what HIT would do for the average trainee. It was an interesting case study on someone with one-in-a-million genetics for building muscle. Don't people get this?

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