224 – David Landau – How to Optimize HIT Training and Recovery

David Landau
David Landau

David Landau (Exarchives[@]aol.com) is the owner of Advanced Exercise located in Miami, Florida which offers high tech training in all phases of HIT/Nautilus Protocol. He is a highly respected HIT trainer with over 40 years of experience and rubs shoulders with many of the world’s greatest exercise thinkers, body builders and old-time strong men.

Over the years, Landau has amassed one of the largest exercise archive collection in the country, stimulated by doing extensive personal historical research. He has written several controversial articles and his reputation for being brash and outspoken on training and nutrition has turned him into a controversial figure in health and fitness.

Improve your HIT results with David Landau’s consultations – Contact via Facebook or email to exarchives[@]AOL.com 

In this episode, David talks about how speed of movement affects safety in training, the dangers of CrossFit, how to train to succeed, tips on how to optimize recovery, his personal workout and much more. Don’t miss out!

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Show Notes

  • 02:34 – What David has been working currently? 
  • 07:50 – How speed of movement affects safety in training?
  • 16:41 – David’s personal training and other businesses
  • 19:33 – Why David decided not to scale his business?
  • 24:46 – What are the dangers of CrossFit? 
  • 28:40 – David’s thoughts on the use of modern machines in fitness studios
  • 34:08 – How to know that you’re ready for the next exercise?
  • 36:20 – A purist’s perspective on scaling HIT business
  • 39:15 – Why HIT purists criticize non-purist HIT trainers?
  • 47:37 – ARX vs. Exerbotics
  • 50:57 – David’s review of the HOIST ROC-IT machine
  • 54:35 – What are David’s new discoveries in training?
  • 1:00:18 – What is David’s current workout?
  • 1:07:33 – How training to failure becomes counterproductive? 
  • 1:13:04 – Tips on how to optimize recovery
  • 1:18:09 – How David tracks his calorie intake?
  • 1:27:03 – How David maintains his muscle mass at the age of 62?

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People Mentioned

Comments 8

  • Regarding rep speed I believe it should be whatever comes naturally to the person performing the exercise. I’m firmly in agreement with Landau that adhering rigidly to a set cadence such as 10/10 is not the way to go. You should, as David said in previous episodes focus on addressing the muscle i.e. does it FEEL like the target musculature is being worked and thus stimulated rather than worrying about hitting a perfect 10/10 cadence versus a 9/7 or an 7/6.

    Check out this video from Doug Holland’s Instagram.


    I’ve watched that video a few times with a timer running alongside it. It works out at 7 chinups in 33 seconds. That’s a little over 4.7 seconds per rep, and if we assume the time is distributed evenly between the positive and negative phase of each rep, and between each rep in the set, that’s a speed of a little over 2.3/2.3.

    Then when you factor in the pauses at the top and bottom of each rep and the fact that the positive phase on the last rep was longer due to fatigue setting in, you can see that the average speed of the first 6 reps is probably somewhere QUICKER than 2/2.

    That kind of speed recommendation, when written down or spoken aloud would cause outrage across much of the HIT community. I can immediately think of 3 or 4 people you’ve interviewed who would say it was dangerous and beginning trotting out the same old recommendations we’re heard a thousand times.

    But then I’d simply encourage those people to watch the video above and write down a list of problems that they have with that set of chinups and see what they could come up with. Fact is, the set is perfectly safe. If it wasn’t, Doug wouldn’t let his 74 year old client do it.

    Because HIT is primarily machine based, many have fallen into this trap of believing REP SPEED = FORM. It doesn’t.

    Rep speed is simply one element of form, and actually, it’s one of the least important elements, yet much the HIT community obsesses over it.

    If you looked at the way most people squat with a barbell and simply told them to slow down their speed of movement when squatting, do you know what you’d end up with? People performing horrifically bad squats more slowly than they normally do.

    Try it with the leg press now as a thought exercise. Ignoring the issue of speed of movement, write down a list of all the ways a trainee, who is ignorant (but not stupid) might screw up the performance of a set of leg presses. See what you can come up with. Try it with chinups or standing barbell bicep curls, or standing tricep cable pushdowns.

    This should reinforce that most of the safety does NOT come from how quickly or slowly one moves from A to B and then from B back to A.

    One of my favourite Ken Leistner quotes:

    “You can TUL, rep count, note the turnaround, and sequence exercises properly, all of some significance, but the moment any of that gets in the way of actually training hard and to one’s limit, it becomes bullshit that is no more than excess baggage.”

    For me, rep peed and rep cadence fits right in their as well.

    I also found it funny how Landau was against rushing from machine to machine, but then didn’t mention what length of rest period he would let a client get away with other than saying something to the effect of “I’m not talking about resting for 5 minutes”.

    He said that his own training sessions last 15 to 20 minutes. He’s said previously that he performs about 6 or 7 exercises in his own sessions. I’d be very surprised if he was resting for more than 60 seconds between sets and I would be surprised if he let his clients rest longer than 60 seconds, otherwise their workouts simply become inefficient. To most people, that will feel like a very short rest period, it’s just not extreme and obsessive.

    • Thank so much Adam for this long, thoughtful, and very helpful comment. I completely agree. My only issue with the chin-up performed in Doug’s video is that at the bottom the trainees shoulders come up by his ears. Having had shoulder issues myself recently, I am so careful not to do that or go “slack” at the bottom. I don’t profess to completely understand this and from what I know everyone has slightly different shoulder structure and so the risks vary, so perhaps such caution does not apply to everyone. I just find that for me, I have to be so careful with anything shoulder related, and this might just be because my bicep tendon has been abused with so much wear and tear from swimming and basketball and/or combined with a shoulder structure that inflames the tendon.

      Anyway, regarding your points related to “speed of movement” I agree completely. Aligns very nicely with my personal experience. I tend to move quite quickly through the middle of most movements with smooth turnarounds for maximum safety.

  • Great one again, Lawrence and David! I’m going to go back and listen to the first two podcasts with David. I really like the idea of radical self honesty and adjusting your program on an as needed basis.

    I like the variance of perspectives that you’ve had on here as well. Listen, experiment, get feedback, make adjustments, and keep training. Awesome stuff and you keep me excited to hit the training hard again!

  • I’m not sure why David refers to himself as a purist. Listening to him talk about the importance of different variables in training, he sounds more flexible and pragmatic than many HIT practitioners.

    In so far as scaling a business goes: If you want to grow beyond the number of clients that you can directly train yourself, your role changes significantly. Instead of being a direct contributor, you become a manager. You have to take on the additional role of hiring, developing, and managing people who actually deliver the product to the customer. Many people are not good at managing, and others simply don’t like that kind of work. Given the high importance that Landau places on customizing workouts to individual needs, scaling his business would require that he train others to make the same kind of judgments that he does about individualization. Since I have never heard him explain in any detail how he goes about doing that, I suspect that may be something that he just doesn’t want to delegate to a trainer working for him. That would be a natural barrier to scaling his business.

  • Hello Lawrence, big fan of your work.

    I’d like to ask you for advice. After 6 months of HIT, body-by-science big five method with machines, I’ve switched to bodyweight variant as demonstrated by Arjan Meijer on his youtube channel.

    Been doing it for a month and although my TUL has increased with each exercise, I used to feel much more “dead” after using machines. After bodyweight HIT session I’m dead for the rest of the day, but next day I’m fine. With machines, it’s been up to 2 days after workout that I’ve felt some weakness, and that swelling feeling in my muscles. Does that mean bodyweight is less effective and doing less “inroads”?

    • Hi Blazko, thank you for your support.

      The research suggests that bodyweight, machines, and free weights are equally effective so long as you’re training to failure.

      This is a nuanced situation. Machines tend to be more “direct” in their stimulation of some muscles. Therefore, due to less involvement from synergists, you might find you can subject them to more load and “work” vs bodyweight.

      I wouldn’t read too much into “swelling” and “soreness”. They aren’t lead metrics for an optimal workout. They can be down to a number of factors, like novelty of stimulus.

      If you are interested in optimising your workouts more, I would encourage you to look into Drew Baye’s work over at Baye.com and read Project Kratos (bodyweight training). Drew will show you how to get the most out of bodyweight training.

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