High Intensity Training (HIT)

  1. High Intensity Training (HIT)

    This is the scientific version of HIT, nothing sugar coated, all layed out for you. Yes its a LONG article and very boring, but if you want to know how to do it then read:

    "Intensity" is increased by:

    * amplification of mental effort -- getting "psyched"

    * approaching your training with a burning passion, as though it were your LIFE

    * adding reps

    * adding weight

    * decreasing rest between reps

    * decreasing rest between sets

    * increasing the number of exercises per body part

    * increasing the total number of exercises or body parts trained at one session

    * increasing the number of training sessions per day

    * increasing the speed of movement

    * increasing the amount of work done at the anaerobic threshold (maximum pain


    * increasing the amount of eccentric work your muscles are required to perform.

    Perhaps most importantly, going to failure is NOT a prerequisite to adaptation!

    The SAID Principle is violated by the first commandment of HIT. Their idea is to go to failure all the time, but certain "specific" training objectives mitigate against it (e.g., speed training). And, the GAS Principle, which states that there must be a period of low intensity training or complete rest following periods of high intensity training, is violated. These guys go to failure all the time!

    2. Attempt To Increase The Resistance Used Or The Repetitions Performed Every Workout.

    "...every time you work out you should attempt to increase either the weight you use or the repetitions you perform in relation to your previous workout. This can be viewed as a "double progressive" technique (resistance and repetitions). Challenging your muscles in this manner will force them to adapt to the imposed demands (or stress)."

    The SAID Principle is violated. Sometimes, lighter weights done rapidly is required. And sometimes heavier weights done for 3 reps is required. (If your training requires that you go to failure with a weight that's so heavy you can only do three reps, you are BEGGING for a MAJOR injury if that takes you to failure!) The GAS Principle is also violated. Alternating periods of high versus low intensity is a better way to go. If you wait until total recovery is accomplished in any given muscle, atrophy place.

    3. Perform 1 To 3 Sets Of Each Exercise.

    "...numerous research studies -- which I once again am probably viewed as dreaming up--have shown that there are no significant differences when performing either one, two or three sets of an exercise..."

    Yep! You're dreaming pal! Dr. Richard Berger (my mentor during my doctoral studies at Temple) years ago showed that there IS a significant improvement in gains with three sets as opposed to one. Other studies have shown the same results. Nowadays, many athletes (bodybuilders included) do as many as 10 or more sets. Even Arthur Jones --the original HIT man --showed that people with white, fast-twitch muscles require fewer reps, sets and workouts per week than people with predominantly red, slow-twitch muscles.

    Apparently, all HIT men are white muscle fiber guys? I think not! So, while none of the seven laws are violated here, some (especially the overload principle and the SAID principle) are not being applied to their maximum potential.

    4. Reach Concentric Muscular Failure Within A Prescribed Number Of Repetitions.

    "Repetition ranges differ from body part to body part and from coach to coach. In the course of training hundreds of collegiate athletes over the past eleven years, these are the ranges I usually assign: 15 to 20 (hip exercises), 10 to 15 (leg exercises) and 6 to 12 (upper body exercises). Other HIT strength coaches are pretty much in that neighborhood, with a few electing slightly lower ranges but not less than six."

    Woah! You guys should be blushing on this one! The SAID principle as well as the principle of individual differences are quite specific in recognizing that not everyone is alike. Not everyone responds in the same way to any given rep/set scheme. Look again at my response to Commandment Three.

    5. Perform Each Repetition With Proper Technique.

    "A quality rep is performed by raising and lowering the weight in a deliberate, controlled manner. Lifting a weight in a rapid, explosive fashion is ill-advised for two reasons: (1) it exposes your muscles, joint structures and connective tissue to potentially dangerous forces which magnify the likelihood of an injury while strength training and (2) it introduces momentum into the movement which makes the exercise less productive and less efficient. Lifting a weight in about 1 to 2 seconds will guarantee that you're exercising in a safe, efficient manner. It should take about 3 to 4 seconds to lower the weight back to the starting/stretched position.

    First, I grow weary of the HIT business of being "safe." Where in the book does it say that going slow and deliberate with a heavy weight is safer? I think otherwise. What about predisposing an athlete to greater harm on the playing field as a result of this sort of nonsensical preparatory training?

    And, certainly, these slow, deliberate movements are not as effective as other methods in many instances. SOME reps are well performed in the manner described above. However, this commandment clearly disregards the importance of cheating movements, explosive lifting (e.g., the Olympic lifts), and many other techniques of lifting.

    Further, slow, deliberate movements are nowhere NEAR as effective for forcing an adaptive response in connective tissues as are more explosive (and yes, often "ballistic") movements. So much for their claim to "safety!" Deinhibition of the Golgi tendon organ's protective feedback loop can be moved back far more effectively with controlled ballistic movements than with slow, deliberate movements. Clearly, this commandment is in violation of the Overcompensation, Specificity and SAID principles.

    6. Strength Train For No More Than One Hour Per Workout.

    "If you are training with a high level of intensity--and you should--you literally cannot exercise for a long period of time. ...Training with a minimal amount of recovery time between exercises will elicit a metabolic conditioning effect that cannot be approached by traditional multiple set programs. Don't ask me why cause I've been makin' all this stuff up as I go along."

    Ol' Jedi Brzycki continues to put his sandalled foot on top of his golden tongue. Here, I think (one can't really tell) he's claiming that doing one set of squats, then one set of benches, then one set of pulldowns, then one set of curls, and one set of 3, 4, 5 or so additional exercises, and you're outta the gym. C'mon!

    Clearly, this commandment is in violation of the Overcompensation, Specificity and SAID principles. Re-read my response to Commandment Three.

    People are DIFFERENT!

    7. Emphasize The Major Muscle Groups.

    "The focal point for most of your exercises should be your major muscle groups (i.e. your hips, legs and upper torso)."

    Oh? Have we lost sight of training weaknesses first? Bodybuilders know this instinctively. Most athletes do as well. Clearly, this commandment is in violation of the Specificity and SAID principles.

    8. Whenever Possible, Work Your Muscles From Largest To Smallest.

    "Exercise your hips first, then go to your legs (hams, quads and calves or dorsi flexors), upper torso (chest, upper back and shoulders), arms (biceps, triceps and forearms), abs and finally your low back."

    Duhhhhh! Am I missing something? In the Eighth Commandment, you told us NOT to focus on smaller muscles! In addition to violating one of your own commandments, this commandment is in violation of the Specificity and SAID principles.

    9. Strength Train 2 To 3 Times Per Week On Nonconsecutive Days.

    "...a period of about 48 to 72 hours is necessary for muscle tissue to recover sufficiently from a strength workout. A period of at least 48 hours is also required to replenish your depleted carbohydrate stores.

    ...Performing any more than three sessions a week can gradually become counterproductive due to a catabolic effect. This occurs when the demands you have placed on your muscles have exceeded you recovery ability. Recovery time is adequate if you continue making gains."

    Sometimes 48-72 hours is sufficient, and sometimes it's not. Depending upon the muscle involved it may be less or it may be more.


    * Big muscles take longer to recover than smaller ones

    * Fast twitch muscles (your "explosive" muscles) take longer to recover than slow twitch muscle fibers ("endurance" muscles);

    * Guys recover faster than girls;

    * You recover faster from slow movements than from fast movements;

    * You recover faster from low intensity training than from high intensity training.

    * The older you get, the longer it takes to recover

    By carbohydrate stores, do you mean glycogen? Not 48 hours...something closer to 2 or 3 hours! I, and every athlete I've ever trained, often trained twice a day! The Russian athletes do, the Bulgarian weightlifters train 3-6 times a day! And, even if there were (as Bryzcki put it) a "catabolic" effect, wouldn't that call for a "periodized approach to training?

    Grand daddy laws violated with this one are the SAID, GAS and Specificity Principles.

    10. Keep Accurate Records Of Your Performance.

    "Records are a log of what you've accomplished during each and every strength session. Record keeping can be an extremely valuable tool to monitor progress and make your workouts more meaningful. It can also be used to identify exercises in which a plateau has been reached.

  2. Nice work again YJ.

  3. Good info, but I must say for me, HIT has never worked very well. I feel the principles are very sound, it just doesnt seem to do much for me other than strength gains, not very much size gains

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