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Who is Ellington Darden?
It was Arthur Jones, the inventor of Nautilus exercise equipment, who first said that short, intense workouts could produce better results than the long, high volume workouts.
Ellington Darden is a Jones disciple was director of research for Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries for 17 years. There he helped develop and popularize the highly acclaimed Nautilus exercise machines. He has written may books on HIT or High Intensity Training. Later he worked for BowFlex claiming it was as good as Nautilus (Oh boy, how much did they have to pay him to say that?).
Ellington Darden is he right or wrong?
Is HIT the best way to train?
If you want to improve you can't train the same way all the time. If you did, your body would simply adapt to the training you were doing, your body strives to maintain the status quo and your muscle size would settle in at a fixed level, and you could train for many years without making any improvement.
If you want to get better your workouts must change reguarding your intensity, volume, the speed of your workouts, and/or frequency of training over time.
One thing Darden is right about is as long as you are not exceeding your body's ability to adapt, you would steadily get better. The trick would be to avoid exceeding your body's biomechanical and physiological limits; too much stress would actually begin to break your body down, rather than build it up. But he is wrong on what those limits are and his recomendations that you should train every muscle to failure 3 times a week leads to overtraining for most people .
"Train harder, but less often."
Ok, harder training is good, but sometimes if you want to keep progressing you will have to do the very opposite
and do lighter training more often.
If you have been doing a lower intensity, higher volume training program and it has stopped producing results then switch to a higher intensity and lower volume program and you will see results again, but your body will aslo adapt to that style of training and it time to switch to something else.
"Brief, 3 day per week full-body workouts."
This type of program is good and is not used often enough, but it also will lead to staleness and no gains if kept up for too long, then it's time to try some type of split or even one body part per day.
"1 set to failure per exercise."
This is a good technique, just as there are many other good techniques. Alternate periods of one set to failure
with mutipule sets not to failure for best results. The one problem with one set to failure is you increase strength
and hardness more then size, I was doing this for arms and got stronger every workout but after 2 months my arms were actually smaller then when I started. And when I switched to volume training they grew an inch in the first month. So my advice if you want muscles that are both big, hard and stong is to alternate training techniques about every 6 weeks or so.
"Eat a high carbohydrate lower protein diet."
This I cound't agree with less, muscle requires amino acids to build itself, if you don't have enough protein in your diet
you will not be able to build muscle. And in this age where even fast food restaurants serve Atkins style food, I think most people agree that high carb diets add more fat then muscle.
Don't get me wrong I think very highly of Dr. Darden, I have read every one of his books, along with those of Mike Mentzer, Arthur Jones, Ken Hutchins, etc.
But after over 10 years of working out exculsively in high intensity style and seeing good gains only at first then very poor gains for years, I realized that even if it sounded totally logical on paper what really counts is real world, long term in the gym results.
For the next 10 years I tryed many other techniques and found many of them work great, but none work forever, I use a technique till it stops producing results and then I switch to another, I use HIT, Volume Training, POF, High Reps, Low Reps,
Etc. And after 25 years of learning I now am making the best gains ever!
So the lesson is if your workout program is not producing gains then it was not a good program in the first place or it has gone stale and it is time to change to something else. But don't change programs while your current program is still producting gains.
When you change programs really make a change, don't just go from barbell bench press to dumbell bench press but keep everthing else the same. Make a big change, if you have been doing low reps, switch to high reps, if you have been doing HIT switch to volume training, if you have been doing full range reps, switch to heavy partial reps, if you have been doing slow reps switch to fast reps, and all visa versa, etc.
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Disclaimer: This information is for entertainment purposes only. We strongly recommend that you consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. MuscleNet.com is not a licensed medical care provider. The reader should understand that participating in any exercise program can result in physical injury and agrees to do so at his own risk. The findings and opinions of authors expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily state or reflect those of MuscleNet.com.