Article Written by Rehan Jalali

V.I.T. - Variable Intensity Training


There are many different training regimens available for the serious weight trainer or bodybuilder. Many of these routines promise gains in strength, size, or muscle density. The most important aspect of an efficient workout regimen is constant change. Muscle adaptation can occur to a certain workout plan if it becomes redundant. Using the V.I.T.® program, maximum intensity and change can be utilized to promote gains in muscle size and strength. There are certain aspects of this program which need to be explained in detail to optimize the benefits of this training regimen.



Training Partner

For the maximum benefits of this program, a training partner is vital. A training partner can not only be a great spotter to help push out a few more reps but he/she can be an immense source of motivation. Training partners can feed off of each other to push themselves beyond their limits (or perceived limits) thus maximizing their training potential. If one person is having a bad day, the other one can help motivate or vice versa. Having a training partner insures that an individual goes to their maximum output on each exercise. You are much more likely to fail early on certain exercises when training by yourself. However, when you have someone there who makes you get those last two key reps, you can really make some nice gains. It’s really a simple concept. Your body is used to those regular 8 or 10 reps you perform daily. However, it’s those last few reps, the 11th and 12th rep that actually may cause the muscle to grow with proper nutrition and supplementation of course. A partner can help push you to those last few reps even if you may not regularly be able to get them. A partner can also help get your mind off of things and help you focus on your workout. Having a great training partner can be a rewarding synergistic relationship.



In the V.I.T. ® training program, it is very important to choose a good workout partner who has similar goals as you and who is willing to pay the price to achieve those goals. Just as a good workout partner can be the best thing, a bad one can be extremely detrimental to your weight training endeavors. There is too much conflict when individuals want to pick the exercises they are going to perform. There must be some compromise in the exercise choice as long as both weight trainers are following the same routine such as the V.I.T.® It may also be important to train with different individuals once or twice every two weeks for enhanced variety.



Your workout partner must also know your limits and the difference between pushing you past your potential and causing injury. Although fear of injury should not limit you to reach your potential, acquiring an injury can be detrimental both mentally and physically. It is important to always warm up properly and stretch before, during, and after training.





Intensity

There is a saying that goes like this “intensity builds immensity”. This in fact may sound corny but it does have some truth to it. This is especially true in the V.I.T.® program. Have you ever noticed that when you are not focused on your workout, you will end up going through the motions but when you focus in on your workout, you will end up having a great one? Intensity is the key to using the V.I.T® program successfully. It is the foundation that will dictate the tone of the workout thereby determining if you have a good one or not. These workouts are not for the faint of heart. These workouts require a determination that incorporates going to absolute muscle failure.



The mind is the key to weight training. No matter what your physical state, if your mind is not focused, then you will probably not be able to maximize your weight training. Increasing focus and mind function means optimizing levels of neurotransmitters. This is where a supplement like NeuroGain from EAS can help. This supplement may help optimize neurotransmitter function and output resulting in maximum intensity and mental clarity during a workout.



The V.I.T.® program requires an immense desire to achieve your goals. It takes the utmost effort and positive attitude to follow. It means pushing yourself to heights you never thought were attainable and having the mental desire to do so. Every workout must have a serious tone and positive environment. If your partner tells you “hey man, you are weak, you can’t do this”, it may not be a good source of motivation for most individuals. However, if your partner says “ c’mon man, you know you got this, just focus and I know you can get this easy weight”, it may provide a source of positive reinforcement and motivation.



Another way to help motivate you for your workout is to find something that bothered you on that particular day and let all your stress out during the workout. It is important to block out distractions that may prevent you from having a great workout. Try to focus on one thing and use the “Arnold visualization principle” and see yourself performing the movements that you will perform on that day’s workout’s. During the workout, focus all your efforts on moving the weight and think in your mind that you WILL do it. Confidence is a key factor during this type of training especially since heavy weights are being used to go to extreme failure.



Entering the weight room with a clear mind focused on one thing can mean the difference between a good workout or a bad one. It is pertinent to avoid socializing in the gym as this can break your concentration or focus. Full intensity cannot be maintained for long periods of time so it is also important to complete the workout within 45 minutes to an hour.



There is another saying that goes like this “pain is just weakness leaving the body”. During these V.I.T.® workouts, it is important to go beyond the pain and push your body to the extreme. You will get enough rest days, so it is very important to go to absolute positive failure and sometimes beyond each and every workout. Here is an excerpt from my training dairy after a tough shoulder workout:



My shoulder workout was intense to say the least. I don't know what happened to me but I went crazy! It was like my body said your done but my mind said no "ten more". You know what, I did twelve more just because I said I was not done and I REALLY wanted another rep. It was as though I couldn't stop myself. I knew I couldn’t quit no matter what. Today, I once again realized how important the mind is in a workout. Without focus and mental clarity it is impossible to get a great workout. The Mind-Muscle connection should be in full effect when training. I thought about this workout all day and exactly what I wanted to do in the gym. It was worth it because I didn't leave anything in the gym. In fact, on my last set of side laterals, I had tears in my eyes but kept going for more because I WANTED IT BADLY!!!!. I know now why I love lifting. It is like you set a goal and then you achieve it ; then keep going higher. It is the ultimate achievement to push your body through limits you never thought you could achieve. I am never satisfied nor will I ever be satisfied. I always want to strive to make myself better. The burn was sometimes unbearable but I continued to go through the pain because I knew I could. When I left the gym that day (unable to raise my arms because it hurt), I said to myself that I wanted to do better next time.



This is the type of intensity that is necessary in each and every workout. A good training partner can even push you harder and help you achieve all of your goals.



Another thing that I sometimes do during a set when the pain starts to set in is picture myself underwater with small fish swimming all around me. I start grabbing everywhere for the fish and continuing doing more repetitions.



The Program

Each exercise of this training program requires a warm up set of 15-20 reps with light weight (about 40% of your one rep max) to allow your muscles to get stretched out properly in that particular movement and to help prevent any injury. The next set is a set of 8 repetitions at a medium weight (preferably about 70% of your one rep max). This set of 8 is what I like to call an adaptation set to the movement. This is a set that is not too hard to perform but yet allows your body and mind to prepare itself for the next set. The final set is a heavy set (A weight with which you can perform six repetitions by yourself) to absolute failure and beyond. Make sure you have your training partner spotting you and pushing you throughout this set. Try to get as many as you can (I try to do about 12 reps) by yourself and then with the help of your partner. Once you have reached failure, wait a few seconds and then do 2-3 more repetitions. After that wait a few more seconds and do 2-3 more reps. You get the idea. This may not be applicable for certain movements such as squats or bent over rows. The point is to go to failure and beyond! Always attempt heavier weight than your previous workout. Remember, the worst thing that may happen is that it will be too heavy and then you can go to a lighter weight. On the last exercise of the workout, try to do 1 set of 25-30 to absolute failure to completely fatigue the muscle.



Now that you have a good training partner and the intensity to go through this program, here is a detailed rundown.





Monday: Chest

Incline barbell Presses: 1 set of 20 repetitions

1 set of 8 repetitions

1 set of absolute failure

(The tempo on the last set should always be 2:0:X where it is 2 seconds on the eccentric phase of the movement, no pause, and X is as fast as you can get it up on the concentric part of the movement)



Dumbell bench press: 1 set of 15 repetitions

1 set of 8 repetitions

1 set to absolute failure



Dumbell flyes: 1 set of 15 repetitions

1 set of absolute failure



Cable crossovers : 1 set of 25-30 repetitions to failure





Tuesday: Back

Wide grip Pull-Ups 1 set of 15 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set to absolute failure w/ added weight



Close grip bent-over rows (shoulder width underhand grip)

1 set of 12 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set to failure





Seated cable rows 1 set of 15 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set of absolute failure



Close grip pulldowns w/ underhand grip

1 set of 20-25 repetitions





Wednesday: Day off





Thursday : Shoulders



Seated barbell shoulder press to the front

1 set of 15-20 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set to absolute failure



Barbell shrugs 1 set of 15 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set to absolute failure



Dumbell side laterals 1 set of 15 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set to absolute failure



One arm dumbell side laterals

1 set of 30 reps on each arm



Friday : Biceps and Triceps



Standing barbell Curls 1 set of 15-20 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set of absolute failure



Preacher curls 1 set of 15 reps

1 set of 8 reps



Incline dumbell curls 1 set of 25 reps to failure

Lying tricep presses w/ E-Z curl bar 1 set of 15-20 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set to absolute muscle failure



Tricep pushdowns using the straight bar 1 set of 15 reps

1 set to absolute failure



Tricep pushdowns w/ rope 1 set of 30-40 reps to failure





Saturday: Day off





Sunday: Legs



Free Squats 1 set of 15-20 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set to failure



Leg presses 1 set of 15 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set to absolute failure



Leg extensions 1 set of 25-30 to failure



Stiff-legged deadlifts 1 set of 15 reps

1 set of 8 reps

1 set to failure



Lying leg curls 1 set of 20-30 to failure



Standing calf raises 1 set of 15-20 reps

1 set of 12-15 reps

1 set to absolute failure





Monday: Chest





Tuesday: Day Off



Repeat cycle



The previous was just an example of exercises that can be used in this program. You need to change some of the exercises every other workout to help prevent adaptation by the body. Abdominal muscles can be trained 4 times a week doing movements such as crunches and hanging leg raises. This may not only strengthen your abdominal muscles but it may also help prevent lower back problems. If you are trying to lose some bodyfat and gain lean muscle, than you can certainly incorporate cardiovascular work first thing in the morning on an empty stomach for about 35-45 minutes at a moderate pace on your days off. Remember, this program is a muscle building program that is extremely stressful to the body. Please do not follow this type of routine if you have any injuries and make sure you follow an excellent nutrition and supplementation regimen when using this program. Weight training requires mental and physical preparation especially when using the Variable Intensity Training® program. So be prepared to train hard and eat smart. As one man put it “intensity is the intense desire to succeed no matter what the obstacles may be.”



Conclusion:

I would like to thank all my previous and current intense training partners who truly made this article possible. A special thanks to Millard Baker with whom I’ve always had excellent and intense workouts with. Anyone can achieve anything they put their mind to.