MB Madaera
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Built 11.7 lbs muscle

Chris Madaera
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Keelan Parham
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Bob Marchesello
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Jeff Turner
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Jeanenne Darden
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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

Evaluate Your Progress

Keep Warm-Up in Perspective


"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."


This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.


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How to Add Size on Your Arms
1 | 2 | Next | Last

Ellington Darden, Ph.D.

How to Add Size on Your Arms – Quickly!
Arthur Jones's Unsuspected Secret

(This article involves an intriguing promise that Arthur Jones
issued in IronMan magazine during the early 1970s.)

"From only one workout," Arthur Jones announced, "I'll put half an inch of permanent muscle size on each of your upper arms!"

Jones's pledge was made to advanced bodybuilders, who were readers of IronMan. These men would do almost anything to add a fraction of an inch to their biceps and triceps.

Furthermore, Jones backed up his declaration with a remarkable guarantee:

"If you don't put half an inch of solid muscle on your arms, I'll pay your expenses to and from Florida."

As you can imagine, many bodybuilders made the journey to DeLand, Florida, in the early 1970s. I witnessed Jones put dozens of men through his workouts. And crazy as this whole challenge seemed, he actually made good on his promise. I never saw any of these men ask for his expenses to be reimbursed.

A quick half an inch of muscle on each arm? What was Jones's secret? How was he able to stimulate growth so fast?

The secret to such growth was totally unsuspected by most bodybuilders.

Jones's Formula

Here's the formula that Arthur Jones devised:

Jones would meet the arriving bodybuilder at the airport, bus station, or a local restaurant. Almost immediately he'd get out his tape and measure the trainee's upper arms – on the first flex, cold, and unpumped – and record it appropriately in his yellow tablet, along with the guy's name, age, and date. Arthur was a vigilant record keeper. Then, over a large and leisurely meal, they'd talk training and Jones's harder-but-briefer philosophy.

After an hour of conversation, Jones would check the visitor into a Daytona Beach motel, where he was instructed to spend the next three nights and days sleeping and resting. Invariably, the bodybuilder would ask, "But what about my workout?"

Jones knew from his dinner discussion that the bodybuilder was in a state of overtraining – as most were then, and are now – so it would be counterproductive to exercise him straight away in that condition. What he desperately needed was rest, relaxation, and sleep – plenty of all three – and no workouts.

Yes, the trainee could enjoy the beach, the sun, the surf, and the fresh air. But no, absolutely no, exercise of any kind. And Jones made the guy give him his word on this.

On the afternoon of the fourth day, Arthur would meet the bodybuilder at the Quonset hut gym behind DeLand High School. That was where Jones housed his early Nautilus equipment.

Talk about being enthusiastic, the guy would usually be almost wild. After training daily, often twice a day, for years – the body feels simply great after three days of rest.

Before the workout, however, Jones would measure the trainee's arms again. With most bodybuilders, their arms would already be 1/4-inch larger. That's right, 1/4-inch bigger from no exercise – from just rest and sleep.

Three days and nights of forced rest and sleep . . . was Jones's unsuspected secret to quick growth.

Thus, if you even remotely think that you might be in a state of overtraining, coerce yourself to take three or four days off from anything related to exercise. Double-check your recovery ability by comparing accurate before-and-after measurements (three-days apart) of your flexed upper arms.

A slight increase in arm size is a clear indication that you are training too much and lacking in sleep.

The Workout

The workout never consisted of more than 10 exercises. Usually there were two exercises for the legs, two for the torso, and the rest devoted to the arms.

For example:

Do not rest between exercises 5, 6, & 7 . . . and 8, 9, & 10.

Only one set of approximately 8 to 12 repetitions was performed, but each exercise was carried to all-out failure. Particular attention was placed on the contracted position of the biceps and triceps exercises. It's impossible to describe the type of failure that Arthur Jones gets out of people, except to say simply: It's extreme!

Many of the bodybuilders would throw up after the first three exercises. All of them wanted to. They all took a long rest, flat on their backs or stomachs, after the workout. No one ever asked for a second set of any exercise.

An hour after the workout, and over another meal, Jones was back explaining his new philosophy. It was surprising how much more receptive and inquisitive the bodybuilder was now. After another hour or two, it was back to the motel for another night's sleep.

The Result

Jones would arrive early the next morning (day 5) at the motel for the climatic measurements and yellow-tablet comparison of the data.

On each one I ever witnessed or heard about, there was at least a 1/2-inch increase on each upper arm. A few gained 5/8 of an inch or more.

Only two guys came close to failing. They registered a 7/16-inch increase per arm, but after one more night's sleep, they were up another 1/8 inch.

Salient Advice

I've learned a great deal about strength training and bodybuilding from being associated with Arthur Jones for 35 years. But nothing I've learned has more salience than the importance of rest and sleep in building larger and stronger muscles. This was especially true for the biceps and triceps.

I've also read many articles and books on rest and sleep that complement Jones's beliefs. I'm convinced that you'll get better results from your high-intensity training if you apply the following guidelines:


If you rest and sleep abundantly, your muscles will reward you well. Incorporate Arthur Jones's unsuspected secret into your training today.

Discuss this article | Text Version


there's definitely something to this..i train 3 days a week, and on the 2nd of my 2 days off, i seem to fill out as a result of not only my last workout, but of the previous week's workouts..its not my imagination either, others around me have noticed..also, i look the worst late in the day of a workout (ie, if i work arms in the morning, my arms look smallest that evening)..intersting, because in an untrained person, forced inactivity cause atrophy of the muscles, starting very quickly.
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Pennsylvania, USA

Dr. Darden: I began using the New HIT training protocol about 1 1/2 months ago, but I don't seem to make any gains in strength. Do you believe that someone my age,51 years old, can get the results that HIT promises. I am in great health, I get plenty of rest and space my workouts to every 3-4 days. I do from 12-14 exercises and sometimes do supersets and rest 30-45 seconds between sets. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. BTW great arm routine posting.
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JR51 wrote:
Dr. Darden: I began using the New HIT training protocol about 1 1/2 months ago, but I don't seem to make any gains in strength. Do you believe that someone my age,51 years old, can get the results that HIT promises. I am in great health, I get plenty of rest and space my workouts to every 3-4 days. I do from 12-14 exercises and sometimes do supersets and rest 30-45 seconds between sets. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. BTW great arm routine posting.

Well, I'm not Dr. Darden but my guess is you're doing too many exercises. If you cut the exercises to 10-12 you might see better results.
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Ellington Darden


I agree with Pete. Cut your exercises per routine by 2 or 3 and see if that doesn't help.

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Hi. I'm 56 and I'm starting to experiment with doing more workouts, 3x/wk instead of two, with fewer exercises, 7-8 work sets, maybe. I don't believe I'll get as trashed as when I do 12-14 sets, mostly all out. I will, hopefully, be able to focus more on what I do and recover a bit faster. I don't know what Dr. Darden thinks of this strategy, but if it works out I'll let you know.
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Ellington Darden


I like your 8 exercises, three-times-per-week approach. Let us hear about your progress.

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jr51, Dr. Darden,
I'm only in the second week (5th workout) of this 3X/wk trial, but it seems to leave me less wasted the next day. I also had a tendency to sleep poorly after the longer WO's, which I can't explain. Now I sleep fine the night after the workout. In fact, I feel great walking the dogs the next morning. Go figure. I still get pretty blasted, but it doesn't last as long.

I'm doing an A/B style, with two full body (of course) routines. I can get in all the exercises I was doing before, but spread out over 3 sessions instead of 2. My arthritic back appreciates this change also.

I'll keep you posted, and if you have any favorite ~8 exercise routines, (I have access to free weights, and Hammer machines for all muscle groups) I'd love to see 'em!
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Pennsylvania, USA

Yes, I thought I might be doing too many sets, but it seems I'm still a prisoner of the HVT mindset. Thanks also to everyone who has made suggestions regarding this. All the best for the new year and don't forget to HIT it hard! Happy New Year!
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It's great to read that again. It's been a few years since the last time.
I use a routine that is the same basic split as in Heavy Duty II. I love it.
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So more of arthur jones writing about resting and building a better, stronger and fitter body.

I've heard Arthur Jones talk about his early experiences with lifting weights many times. Studying what produced average, good, and excellent results ? and then analyzing why ? were instrumental in Jones's philosophy of high-intensity exercise.

His insights have always provided me with greater knowledge to evaluate my own strength training. Perhaps they will do the same for you, too.

Four Sets of 12 Exercises

In 1936, at the age of 12, Arthur Jones became interested in weight training. He also practiced gymnastics, which explains why chin-ups and dips were two of his favorite exercises. According to Jones's autobiography, he was well-built by the time he reached the age of 14.

Over the next 15 years, Jones's training wasn't consistent. It was on again and off again, since the necessary equipment was in short supply as he traveled the world. When he trained, however, he settled on a routine that entailed three weekly workouts of four sets of 12 different exercises.

Such workouts brought Arthur's body mass up to 172 pounds. At 172 pounds, however, his progress plateaued. Additional exercises and extra sets didn't work. Thus, Arthur typically stopped in disgust ? he quit training for months, or even years.

Being a person who was constantly on the move, combined with little exercise, Arthur's muscle mass would gradually shrink. When the circumstances were right in his life, Arthur, at a bodyweight of 150 pounds or less, would settle down somewhat and start training again. In a few months, with his routine of four sets of 12 exercises, Arthur's bodyweight would increase to 172 pounds. "Exactly 172 pounds," I've heard Jones say emphatically, "and not one ounce more."

Finally, after several more episodes of yo-yoing between 150 and 172 pounds, Jones decided to do something different ? radically different. He cut his routine in half. Rather than four sets, he performed each of the 12 exercises for only two sets.

Two Sets of 12 Exercises

Here's what Arthur's routine probably looked like:

1) Parallel bar dip with weight attached
2) Chin-up, supinated grip, with weight attached
3) Lateral raise with dumbbells
4) Bent-over rowing with barbell, supinated grip
5) Standing overhead press with barbell
6) Pullover on bench with barbell
7) Bench press with barbell
8) Standing biceps curl with barbell
9) Standing triceps extension with barbell
10) Seated wrist curl with barbell
11) Squat with barbell
12) Stiff-legged deadlift with barbell

What was the outcome of half as much exercise? "My body started growing like a weed," Arthur remembered. "It shocked even me."

Within a few weeks, Jones reached a muscular size and strength level that was far above anything that he'd been able to produce previously. With longer workouts, Arthur reasoned, he had been preventing additional growth by not providing his body with enough rest after the initial stimulation. In other words, he'd been overtraining ? doing too much exercise.

On my last visit to Arthur's home in Ocala, I asked him about the time in his life when his body was at its biggest and strongest.

"It was in 1954 in California," he said. "I weighed 205 pounds with cold upper arms that measured 17-3/8 inches. And I was still doing two sets of 12 exercises. That year, I could have entered and placed high in the Mr. America contest."

In 1954, Arthur would've been 30 years of age. So I asked him, "Arthur, if you'd known then what you know now, what would you have done differently with your routine?"

"I would've trained less," he replied. "Instead of 12 exercises, I would've reduced the number to eight. Instead of two sets, I would've performed only one set. Instead of training three times per week, I would've trained twice a week. And one more thing, I would've worked legs first rather than last.

"Training in such a fashion, I believe that I would've reached a bodyweight of 205 pounds ? or even heavier ? faster!"

One Set of Eight Exercises

Okay, let's take Arthur Jones's advice of one set of eight exercises, twice a week to heart. Personally, I like the idea of an "A" and a "B" workout. The A Routine would be performed on Monday of each week, and the B Routine on Thursday or Friday.

A Routine

1) Squat
2) Pullover
3) Dip
4) Chin-up
5) Bench press
6) Biceps curl
7) Triceps extension
8) Wrist curl

B Routine

1) Stiff-legged deadlift
2) One-legged calf raise
3) Lateral raise with dumbbells
4) Overhead press
5) Shoulder shrug
6) Bent-over rowing
7) Negative dip
8) Negative chin-up

To supplement the above routines, occasionally I'd substitute the leg press for the squat. Or, if you can't do the squat properly, then you might do the leg press exclusively.

The other possible modification to the A Routine would be in the eighth exercise, the wrist curl. You could substitute a number of other movements here: reverse wrist curl, trunk curl (or other abdominal exercises), or neck work (the four-way neck machine would be my first choice).

For the B Routine, you could do the leg curl machine instead of the stiff-legged deadlift, and the leg extension machine instead of the calf raise.

Of course, all of the above assumes that you're already an advanced trainee who works intensely and progressively ? in good form.

Profit from Arthur Jones's Guidelines

Looking back, Arthur Jones ? from his more than 60 years of strength training ? learned the following:

? Two sets are better than four sets, and one set is better than two sets.

? Eight exercises are better than 12 exercises.

? Two days per week are better than three days per week.

Sure, some athletes with the right genetics can grow to massive proportions on much more exercise than is recommended above. Arthur Jones himself proved that. But these same athletes would've gotten even better results if they would've trained less.

Don't assume that you're an exception to Arthur's concepts. In fact, you'd be better off assuming that you're not. It took Arthur Jones more than 30 years to learn that growth stimulation for a particular muscle requires only one, properly performed set.

It took him another 20 years to understand that overall muscular growth accelerates from shorter routines and more rest days.

Make up your mind today that you're going to reach your full muscular potential in the most efficient manner ? by training less.
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markandspike wrote:

Make up your mind today that you're going to reach your full muscular potential in the most efficient manner by training less.

Hey Mark/Spike...in regards to the above, do you think you might reach your full muscular potential potential even faster if you did an even briefer routine twice per week? Such as:

Bench Press


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Dr. Darden

I have emailed you two times before about the subject of intensity.
Both times you answered. Many thanks for that!

This is going to be my third time I question you about "intensity", because I am still a bit puzzeled. In this article you write:
"Only one set of approximately 8 to 12 repetitions was performed, but each exercise was carried to all-out failure. Particular attention was placed on the contracted position of the biceps and triceps exercises. It's impossible to describe the type of failure that Arthur Jones gets out of people, except to say simply: It's extreme!"

I still would like to know what kind of intensity you are talking about. If you say that it is impossible to discribe the type of intensity Jones is getting from his trainees, how are we (the readers) supposed to know if we train in a fashion Arthur would would appreciate.

I think I train all the way! But I always think Arthur would probably would not be statisfied watching me train. But what else can I do than lift the weight until I can no longer get it up. Because there seems to be somekind of mystic aura on the way Jones trained I am always in doubt wether I am training hard enough!

I, for example in a barbell curl, go about like this: I try to get about 10 reps, but I do not stop if I feel I can do more. First I do all the reps in good/strict form, than I do 2 or 3 cheat reps (I train alone and cheat just enough to get the rep out) but I do not count those reps and will not write them down on my trainingchart. I stop when I feel I need lots of cheat just to get the rep going. I feel that if I would continue after this the exercise would become worthless and could cause injury. Do you think this would be intense enough?
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Ellington Darden


I've discussed a lot of Jones's intensity in other threads and it is very difficult to explain. But in a nutshell, it's a combination of "great intensity" and "precise form." Plus, the ability to "relax."

For example, if you observed Jones's exercising himself, he did not look like he was training very hard. Why? Because he kept his face and neck relaxed. But if you watched him closely, then after his 4th or 5th exercise his complexion was bright red and his breathing was rapid; his face and neck, however, were still expressionless. There was no gritting of the teeth, breath holding, or squirming around. It was strickly business.

After his workout, he would have to often lie down for several minutes. You could almost see him growing while he was lying down. And two days later, he was most definitely bigger.

So that's what I'm talking about: great intensity, precise form, plus the ability to remain relaxed during maximum exertion.

Many of the great sprinters of today's track competitions have the ability to run fast and remain relaxed. From what I've read, it has to be learned. But it's difficult to teach.

In a championship 100-meter dash, the top four guys may be no more than a yard apart at the finish line. If watch the replays in slow motion, the guy who wins is usually the one who doesn't get tight. Instead, he keeps his face, jaw, neck, and hands loose . . . while vigorously contracting his lower body muscles.

Jones was able to perform this combination when he lifted . . . and he could, over several training sessions, instruct other men to do likewise. And, of course, over lunch and elsewhere, he was able to emphasize what he expected from his trainees with his stories and transitions from many other fields.

I hope the above helps.


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Here is another article from the classix website about sleep by Ellington which will help you add size to your arms.

After training thousands of out-of-shape people over the last ten years, I have an observation. Participants who sleep more than eight hours per night, as compared to trainees who sleep less than eight hours, get better fat-loss results.

Too little sleep, evidently, sends a signal to your brain that your body is under excessive stress. As a result, it shuts down ? or at least limits ? your system's ability to lose fat and build muscle.

On the other hand, extra sleep tells your body that everything is fine and dandy, and presto! Your system can efficiently do as directed!

To illustrate what I'm referring to, I want to tell you about a couple who went through one of my programs several years ago in Gainesville, Florida.

Paige and Jeff Arnold

Paige and Jeff Arnold had been married for two years when I met them at one of my introductory fat-loss meetings. They had both allowed their bodies to become fat and flabby. At that time, Paige was 29 years old and weighed 150 pounds at 5'8" tall. Jeff was 27 years old, stood 6'1" tall, and weighed 219 pounds. Both needed to eliminate significant pounds of fat from their bodies. They signed up and began my supervised six-week program.

I weigh all of my subjects before each workout. Jeff's numbers over the first two weeks were 219, 215, 211, 208, and 204. In 14 days, Jeff lost 15 pounds.

Paige's numbers, however, were quite different. Even though Paige and Jeff were following the basic eating and exercising plan, her bodyweight readings were 150, 153, 152, 150, and 150. In two weeks, Paige did not lose a single pound.

You can imagine how Paige felt ? disgusted and depressed.

I talked with both of them. It didn't take me long to realize that Paige was not getting enough sleep. She worked at a radio station in Gainesville and had to get up most mornings at 4am. Most nights, she was lucky to sleep for five hours.

Jeff, however, had no problem with his sleep. Most nights, he never even felt Paige ease out of the bed at 4am and couldn't remember the radio playing loud music as Paige dressed. Nine hours per night was the norm for Jeff.

Anyway, after explaining to Paige the importance of getting significantly more sleep, she rearranged her work schedule accordingly, and got on track. She rebounded by losing seven pounds during the middle two weeks, and seven-and-a-half pounds over the last two weeks. In total, she lost 14-1/2 pounds of fat ? all of which was accomplished in the last four weeks.

Jeff continued his steady reductions and at the end of six weeks, he had lost 33-1/2 pounds of fat.

Paige and Jeff continued with my program for another six weeks. At the completion of 12 weeks, Paige had removed 25-3/4 pounds of fat, and Jeff had dropped 54-1/4 pounds. Both had added more than five pounds of muscle to their physiques.

"Getting abundant sleep made the difference for me," Paige noted. "Initially, my fat loss seemed to be on hold. The extra sleep was the catalyst I needed to get the results I wanted."

At the end of 12 weeks, Paige and Jeff were in tip-top shape. As a result, I asked them to appear with me in a video about the entire project. If you're interested, you can inquire about getting the "A Flat Stomach ASAP" video by calling Brian at 888-231-2727.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

Years ago, researchers focused on sleep as a brain phenomenon, ignoring the other parts of the body. Now, they recognize that sleep regulates body temperature, replenishes the immune system, and yields hormones that facilitate fat loss and muscle building.

To better understand, let's explore some of the latest facts about sleep.

An infant sleeps 14 hours a day, a teenager averages nine-and-a-half hours, and people over 75 years old manage only six hours. We sleep less as we age.

The latest figures from the National Sleep Foundation show that the average adult in the United States gets six hours and 57 minutes of sleep per night during the workweek, and seven hours and 31 minutes during weekends. These figures reveal significant deficiencies for most adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation, which still recommends that adults get eight hours of sleep each night.

What happens when you get too little sleep? Lack of sleep for even a few nights, notes Dr. Eve Van Cauter, a University of Chicago sleep researcher, increases brain levels of cortisol, a potentially dangerous stress hormone. Cortisol contributes to a number of potential problems, including depletion of the immune-defense system, brain cell reduction, depression, irritability, lack of energy, and ? the storage of fat.

New studies indicate that the length of sleep is not what causes you to be refreshed as much as it is the number of sleep cycles you complete. For practical purposes, it is sufficient to say that one sleep cycle lasts an average of 90 minutes. This 90 minutes is composed of 65 minutes of normal sleep, 20 minutes of rapid-eye movement sleep (in which you dream), and a final five minutes of normal sleep. The middle, rapid-eye movement phase tends to be shorter during earlier cycles and longer during later ones. But still, each of these cycles tends to remain constant at 90 minutes.

Interestingly, a person who sleeps only four cycles or six hours will feel more rested than someone who has slept for eight or ten hours but has not been allowed to finish any one cycle because of being awakened before it was completed.

Thus, it's important that you try to better plan your sleeping around multiples of these 90-minute cycles. Most of you are probably getting too little sleep for maximum fat loss and strength building. Most of you could profit by adding at least one more 90-minute cycle to your sleep each night.

Besides another sleep cycle each night, your bed probably needs some undivided attention.

Your Bed: Some Helpful Hints

Since you spend about one-third of your life in bed, it's important to examine this salient piece of furniture. Here are three considerations:


You should be able to roll over multiple times each night without disturbing your sleep or your partner. A 60"-wide bed (queen size) is adequate for two normal sleepers. But if you or your partner is a restless sleeper, a 78"-wide bed (king size) may be more appropriate.


Comfortable from your point of view may come from a hard, medium, or soft mattress, air mattress, or cotton-stuffed futon. Or it could involve rubber sponge, plastic sponge, or the gentle waves of a waterbed. More than ten years ago, I tested one of the prototypes of a firm, pillow-top mattress that Nautilus was going to endorse. I liked it immediately ? and have been using it ever since. There's a fiercely competitive market today where mattresses and beds are concerned. You should take considerable time in checking them out.

The current owner of Nautilus, Brian Cook, recently unveiled a new Nautilus Sleep System. The new system features variable support chambers, which allow you and your partner to have different levels of firmness within the same mattress. Furthermore, the mattress also contains automatic feedback sensors that can remember your favorite firmness levels. For additional information and a free video explaining these concepts, please visit the Nautilus Sleep Systems website.


Your bed's sheets, covers, and pillows should also be selected carefully. Compared to the cotton/polyester blends, 100%-cotton sheets do a superior job of wicking away moisture from your body. High-quality cotton sheets can be purchased that feel like fine silk in the summer and warm flannel in the winter. Since you normally perspire at least a pint of sweat each night, keep your bedding well aired, and wash your sheets once a week.

Do yourself a favor. If you haven't slept on some of those Egyptian cotton sateen, 400- to 600-thread count, Italian-made sheets, save your money, invest in a pair, and rejoice, brother, rejoice. They make every part of your body feel better. For the ultimate in sheeting, call Chambers Fine Linens at 800-334-9790 and ask for their mail-order catalog.

I had never experienced luxurious bed sheets until I moved to Celebration more than 18 months ago. I now wish that I would have made the investment decades earlier.

Sleep and Stress

There seems to be a definite relationship between a lack of sleep and too much stress in a person's life. Getting better quality sleep tends to help a person cope more with stress, and dealing with stress productively tends to allow a person to sleep better.

This was certainly the case with Paige Arnold, whom I introduced at the beginning of this article. As Paige began to get more sleep, she found that she could more effectively deal with her job stress. And it showed as her bodyweight started, and continued, to drop.

Her results, however, never accelerated to the same extent as did Jeff's. Jeff had no trouble sleeping and no stress in his life that he couldn't deal with. Or as Paige said, "Jeff's about as easygoing and not affected by stress as anybody can be ? it's just not fair, is it?"

Examples of Excessive Stress

Whether it's fair or not, too much stress can provide major hurdles as you progress through the fat-loss process. Why? Some of the answer goes back to cortisol, one of your body's primary stress-related hormones.

Cortisol, released by the adrenal gland, prepares the system to take action. Production of the hormone subsides once the endeavor is over. If the stressful event, however, doesn't terminate ? and continues to perturb you, then some of the hormone remains in your system.

Studies in animals and older people show long-term exposure to high levels of cortisol can damage brain cells, causing shrinkage in the hippocampus, a critical region of the brain that regulates learning and memory. And, as I mentioned earlier, cortisol also promotes the storing of lipids in your fat cells.

Below is a listing of physical stresses that can cause your body to hold on to fat:

A very low-calorie diet
? Under 1,200 calories a day for men and 1,000 calories a day for women

Too little dietary fat
? Less than 30 grams a day for men and 20 grams a day for women

Too much strength training
? Longer than 45 minutes per workout, or more frequently than three times per week

Too little sleep
? Less than six hours per night

? A loss of one percent of the body's water can cause alarm

Excessive heat
? High levels of environmental heat can reduce the body's efficiency

Accumulated problems
? Business and relationship conflicts can have negative effects

Sicknesses, drugs, extreme behavior
? Almost anything out of the ordinary can send survival signals to the body

As I've pointed out in other of my articles, for maximum fat loss, you want to communicate to your body that everything is well. You do this best by avoiding excessive stress and by practicing moderation in almost everything ? except your strength training.

Moderately intense strength training is not very productive. Strength training that is performed slowly and smoothly for maximum repetitions is stressful ? as it must be ? to achieve the fastest possible, muscular growth stimulation. That's why it's important to keep your strength training brief.

But wait a minute. How does muscular growth stimulation send a positive message to your system to part with its fat? Once again, we must look back to our ancient ancestors for the answer.

Muscular Strength and Survival

One of the fundamental necessities of our Ice Age ancestors' lives was locomotion or movement. Movement depended on muscular strength. Anthropological research shows that survival resources were allocated to the muscles first. An individual had to be able to run fast and fight fiercely to eat and avoid being eaten. Hard, brief activity produced stronger muscles, and stronger muscles led to success at hunting and in battle. Stronger, larger muscles improved the probability of survival.

Today, when you go on a moderately reduced-calorie diet, your body perceives stress ? that something is wrong. Cortisol is released, which if sustained long enough, will prevent you from losing fat in the most efficient manner.

To combat this situation, learn to deal with your stresses quickly and productively. Do not let your troubles linger. Be proactive.

And most importantly, practice overriding your long-term survival mechanisms by stimulating your muscles to grow with proper strength training. But, as I've mentioned in other articles ? your growing muscles must have a rested recovery ability to grow. And a well-rested recovery ability is dependent on plenty of sleep.

Then, and only then, will your stimulated muscles draw calories for growth from your fat cells. Doing so significantly increases the effectiveness and efficiency of your ability to reduce fat.

The Sleep Challenge

One more 90-minute sleep cycle per night may be just the catalyst you've been looking for a way to kick your body into that renewed fat-loss mode.

The best way to initiate this sleep pattern is to go to bed earlier, rather than sleep later. In other words, still get up at your normal time each morning.

Try this sleeping schedule for the next month. Let me know how you feel. I bet that you'll feel better ? as your body becomes leaner and stronger.

You're Sleepy

Listen to me carefully. You are getting sleepy. Your eyes are feeling very heavy. Your head is beginning to nod. You can already feel the great rewards of a pleasant night of peaceful sleep.

Turn off your computer. Retreat to your bedroom ? and let your body do the rest.
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Florida, USA

Greeting sir,

Any help would be a respected treasure:

i am around 74-75 inches tall and about 165 lbs. i have gained 15 pounds of muscle over the last 3 years, after a physician told me to put on some wieght( he did not mention "working out" but said to eat as much as possible, "a balanced diet" to include pizza and PP&J.

Any way i decided on another route and began to lift. my 1.5 mile is 9min 20 sec, i swim 675yds in 12mins, and run 4 miles in about 30min.

So my cardio is good.

My goals are to put on some more muscle mass and increase strength without gaining much fat/ or loosing definition in the mid-section/or decreasing my cardiovascular conditioning. I am attatched to a coast guard team that still has cardio requirments.

I practice martial arts and before i moved to AK i lived in FL and rode a bike on/off road both types for about 10-25miles a day, and raced every so often. notw that i am up in the Tundra winter riding seems not-likely, so i have been doing more organized cardio ( ei-running/kickboxing/swimming).

And for general purposes i have no desire to become a "huge" bodybuilder. My estimated body fat from others observations is around 3-8%. My routine has fluctuated

from upper body one day /cardio next day/ then lower next day/ then cardio/ then upper.

I have also done a three on one off split:

Legs day1,

bench 5-6x10,8,8,6,3,8
incline db bench 4x6
incline bb press Super Setted (SS) decline press 4x6-8 (4 each xercise litttle or no rest between sets then about 90sec between SS)
standing military BB press SS w/ upright rows 4-5x6-8
lateral raises SS w/ dumbelll press 4x6
dips SS front raises 5x6-8

day2, Back/arms
pull-ups 5x5
BB rows 4-5x6-8
t-bar rows or cable rows SS pull-downs 4-5x6-8
BB curls SS close grip bench 5x6-8
Db hammer curls SS skull crushers 4x6-8
db curls SS overhead raises 4x8
dips SS close grip pull downs 4x6-8

day3, cardio

day4, repeat.

I did some cardio on most days including a 4 mile run or (30mins heavy bag MMA/ kickboxing) or a 1 mile swim in about 35-40 mins nonstop freestyle.

On the cardio "only" days i will run 4 miles (30mins) then do 10 sets "30 sec sprints" up a hill with 60-70sec in between each sprint, then i will do push-ups and situps suppersetted for about 3-5sets of 30/60. My lifts are centered around compound free wieghts.

i do heavy abs on most lifting days including wieghted decline situps, wieghted leg lifts, for around four sets 10-30reps each in a circuit, and then planks. i usually never take a day off from alll training.

I am now doing a split of

upper body day 1
bench 5x5 SS pullups 5x5 60 sec rest between SS's
incline press SS BB rows 5x6-5
military press SS upright rows 5x5-6
bb curls SS close grip bench 4x5-6
hammer curls SS skull crushers 4x6
dips 4x6 SS with pronated chins 10x3

day two
follow the cardio only day run outlined above ( or a swim 1 mile)

day three lower body
squats 5x5-6
trap deads 5x5
leg press SS stiff leg deads knees locked 4x6
leg extensions SS leg curls 4x6
seated toe raises SS standing Toe raises 4x10-15

Day four repeat cardio

day five upper.

I eat only clean foods besides protien bars. say 2700-3500 cals.
i eat 1 cup oatmeal + 1 1/2 cup protien cereal (300cals -30gms protien) + 1/2 cup raw pumpkin+6 egg whites +dark greens for morning meal ( around 1,000 cals total) then the rest of the day i eat every three-5 hours or so ;only fruit, veggies, meat , lean protiens, "good" fats.

also i am training with the Navy seal divers as they are sending me to that school soon. this may require me to do their "buds" program consisting of some running/sprints/stairs/cals/pool time lasting about an hour and a half in the morning.( but that isn't mandatory if i need to avoid it for my goals) it is optional since i can already pass the enrty PT test ( I could use to improve pull ups/pushups).

strenght gains/muscle size/explosivness (for job and sport)/cardio-fitness (job/sport again) /asthetics -keeping my bodyfat were it is. These are my lofty goals.

Can you suggest a plan of action? Am i doing too much. what routine/routines should i follow for my goals? i read t-nation any links would be great. Any sugestions would be great. Thanks.
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Here is an article by Stuart McRobert.

To build muscle mass, you must increase strength. It?s that simple. You will never get huge arms, a monstrous back, a thick chest, or massive legs without lifting heavy weights. I know that probably doesn?t come as a revelation to anyone.

But despite how obvious it seems, far too many people (and not just beginners) neglect power training and rarely make increasing the weights lifted in each successive workout a priority. You must get strong in the basic mass building exercises to bring about a significant increase in muscle size.

One of the biggest mistakes typical bodybuilders make is when they implement specialization routines before they have the right to use them.

It constantly amazes me just how many neophytes (beginners), near neophytes, and other insufficiently developed bodybuilders plunge into single-body part specialization programs in the desperate attempt to build big arms. I don?t fault them for wanting big arms, but their approach to getting them is flawed.

For the typical bodybuilder who is miles away from squatting 1 ? times their bodyweight for 20 reps (if you weigh 180 lbs., that means 20 reps with 270 lbs.), an arm specialization program is utterly inappropriate and useless.

The strength and development needed to squat well over 1 ? times bodyweight for 20 reps will build bigger arms faster then focusing on biceps and triceps training with isolation exercises. Even though squats are primarily a leg exercise, they stress and stimulate the entire body.

But more importantly, if you are able to handle heavy weights in the squat, it logically follows that the rest of your body will undoubtedly be proportionally developed. It?s a rare case that you would be able to squat 1 ? times your bodyweight and not have a substantial amount of upper body muscle mass.

This is not to say that you don?t need to train arms, and squats alone will cause massive upper body growth. You will still work every body part, but you must focus on squats, deadlifts, and rows?the exercises that develop the legs, hips, and back. Once you master the power movements and are able to handle impressive poundages on those lifts, the strength and muscle you gain will translate into greater weights used in arm, shoulder and chest exercises.

In every gym I?ve ever visited or trained in, there were countless teenage boys blasting away on routines, dominated by arm exercises, in the attempt to build arms like their idols. In the ?70s, they wanted arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the ?80s Robby Robinson was a favorite and currently Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman, has set the standard everyone wants to achieve. Unfortunately the 3 aforementioned men as well as most other top bodybuilders have arm development far beyond the reach of the average (or even above average) weight trainer. But arm size can be increased.

However, not in the way young trainers, with physiques that don?t even have the faintest resemblance to those of bodybuilders are attempting to make progress. Thin arms, connected to narrow shoulders, fixed to shallow chest, joined to frail backs and skinny legs, don?t need body part specialization programs. Let?s not have skewed priorities. Let?s not try to put icing on the cake before the cake has been baked.

Trying to stimulate a substantial increase in size in a single body part, without first having the main structures of the body in pretty impressive condition, is to have turned bodybuilding upside-down, inside-out and back to front.

The typical bodybuilder simply isn?t going to get much meat on his arms, calves, shoulders, pectorals and neck unless he first builds a considerable amount of muscle around the thighs, hips and back. It simply isn?t possible?for the typical drug-free bodybuilder, that is?to add much if any size to the small areas unless the big areas are already becoming substantial.

There?s a knock-on (additive) effect from the efforts to add substantial size to the thigh, hip and back structure (closely followed by upper body pushing structure-pecs and delts). The smaller muscle groups, like the biceps, and triceps will progress in size (so long as you don?t totally neglect them) pretty much in proportion to the increase in size of the big areas. It?s not a case of getting big and strong thighs, hips, back and upper-body pushing structure with everything else staying put. Far from it.

As the thigh, hip, back and upper-body pushing structure grows, so does everything else. Work hard on squats and deadlifts, in addition to bench presses, overhead presses and some type of row or pulldown. Then you can add a little isolation work?curls, calf raises and neck work (but not all of this at every workout).

The ?Driver?
The key point is that the ?engine? that drives the gains in the small areas is the progress being made in the big areas. If you take it easy on the thigh and back you will, generally speaking, have trouble making gains in the other exercises, no matter how hard you work the latter.

All this isn?t to say just do squats, deadlifts and upper back work, quite closely followed by some upper-body pressing work. While such a limited program will deliver good gains on these few exercises, with some knock-on effect throughout the body, it?s not a year after year program. Very abbreviated routines are great for getting gains moving, and for building a foundation for moderately expanded routines. They are fine to keep returning to on a regular basis. The other training isn?t necessary all in the same workout but spread over the week. This will maintain balance throughout the body and capitalize upon the progress made in the thigh, hip and back structure.

Just remember that the thigh, hip and back structure comes first and is the ?driver? (closely followed by the upper-body pushing structure) for the other exercises. These other exercises, though important in their own right, are passengers relative to the driving team.

Big Arms
To get big arms, get yourself on a basic program that focuses on the leg, hip and back structure without neglecting the arms themselves. As you improve your squatting ability, for reps and by say 100 pounds, your curling poundage should readily come up by 30 pounds or so if you work hard enough on your curls. This will add size to your biceps. While adding 100 pounds to your squat, you should be able to add 50-70 pounds to your bench press, for reps. This assumes you?ve put together a sound program and have worked hard on the bench. That will add size to your triceps.

If you?re desperate to add a couple of inches to your upper arms you?ll need to add 30 pounds or more over your body, unless your arms are way behind the rest of you. Don?t start thinking about 17? arms, or even 16? arms so long as your bodyweight is 130, 140, 150, 160, or even 170 pounds. Few people can get big arms without having a big body. You?re unlikely to be one of the exceptions.

15 sets of arm flexor exercises, and 15 sets of isolation tricep exercises?with a few squats, deadlifts and bench presses thrown in as an afterthought?will give you a great pump and attack the arms from ?all angles?. However, it won?t make your arms grow much, if at all, unless you?re already squatting and benching big poundages, or are drug-assisted or genetically gifted.

As your main structures come along in size and strength (thigh, hip and back structure, and the pressing structure), the directly involved smaller body parts are brought along in size too. How can you bench press or dip impressive poundages without adding a lot of size to your triceps? How can you deadlift the house and row big weights without having the arm flexors?not to mention the shoulders and upper back?to go with those lifts? How can you squat close to 2 times bodyweight, for plenty of reps, without having a lot of muscle all over your body?

The greater the development and strength of the main muscular structures of the body, the greater the size and strength potential of the small areas of the body. Think it through. Suppose you can only squat and deadlift with 200 pounds, and your arms measure about 13?. You?re unlikely to add any more than half an inch or so on them, no matter how much arm specialization you put in.

However, put some real effort into the squat and deadlift, together with the bench press and a few other major basic movements. Build up the poundages by 50% or more, to the point where you can squat 300 pounds for over 10 reps, and pack on 30 pounds of muscle. Then, unless you have an unusual arm structure, you should be able to get your arms to around 16?. If you want 17? arms, plan on having to squat more than a few reps with around 2 times bodyweight, and on adding many more pounds of muscle throughout your body (unless you have a better-than-average growth potential in your upper arms).

All of this arm development would have been achieved without a single concentration curl, without a single pushdown and without a single preacher curl. This lesson in priorities proves that the shortest distance between you and big arms is not a straight line to a curl bar.

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Mississippi, USA

markandspike wrote:
Here is an article by Stuart McRobert.


Have you ever seen a photo of Stuart McRobert? or met him? Did you get the impression that he had ever worked out or walked the walk?

I have only seen one picture of him. I wasn't impressed. I am not picking on him, he writes good books. Post a picture if you have one.
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Probably the best writen message I have read in a while, great advice. I am 50 looking for a productive overall work out and currently experimenting with HIT, not sure its for me yet but I am giving it a try. Thanks
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Texas, USA

sonny153 wrote:
there's definitely something to this..i train 3 days a week, and on the 2nd of my 2 days off, i seem to fill out as a result of not only my last workout, but of the previous week's workouts..its not my imagination either, others around me have noticed..also, i look the worst late in the day of a workout (ie, if i work arms in the morning, my arms look smallest that evening)..intersting, because in an untrained person, forced inactivity cause atrophy of the muscles, starting very quickly.

i get the same reaction you do. Ell recommended more sleep so i'll let you know what happens.
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How to add size to your biceps? Lets be serious here guys. could that be possible? Its more about genetic that anything else period. Well, Google X-reps online and you'll see what I'm talking about. X-reps its a training protocol invented by (no idea)that will SIMULATE size without having your gene blocking your progress.
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Oklahoma, USA

Dr Darden,
I have been training for the past two years, very inconsistently and with some very bad habits. I found your HIT book, read it in about a week, and then found your Bowflex Body plan and I am currently in week one of the 6 Week Hard-Body Challenge. To get to the point, I am a total freak about symmetry and my biceps are driving me nuts. They are developing totally different from one another. I try and maintain strick form when I do my curls but not only does my left bicep have more peak than my right and my right have more belly than my left, but my right bicep seems to have a longer tendon on it! Is that even possible? If I do have irregular tendon length can I at least give my biceps similar shape and size? I don't know if this is the right column for asking this question but it seemed the right one at the time. Hope you can help this OCD Gym Rat
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Ellington Darden


I've seen what you've described on a number of people. There's not much you can do about it either, except to just keep training and hope for some long-term improvement in your symmetry.

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Oklahoma, USA

Dr Darden,
Thanks for replying so fast. It helps knowing that this isn't an uncommon thing and it will just take some time to work through, if I can't fix it then there really is no point in worrying! Thanks again, I appreciate it.
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Ontario, CAN

I've been training with HIT for 4.5 months now. I've been extrememly impressed with the results so far. I have gained good size overall especially in my legs but not as much as I would like in my arms. I'm currently on Beginner 4 routine and going as hard as I can go. Is it to early for me to be worried that I won't gain size in my arms?
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