Hi. I have been reading here for a while (and that other forum) but never posted. I have been training for about 6 months, made some gains. Nothing huge, but noticable. I am doing a 3 day split and am thinking of trying a HIT routine. I am somewhat hesitant because so much of what I have read here and elsewhere adovocates 3-4 day splits. I am still trying to decide here and I appreciate the help.
I have some quesitons- Cyberpump has helped some, but need to fill in some blanks.
1- Why is HIT so unpopular? Seems like a good deal to me.
2- How many warm up sets before my one good one?
3- How much rest between sets? I have read just long enough to catch your breath..Is this true?
4- Should I break apart legs and upper body, or do a full body workout? I want to train 2-3 times a week.
5- Many HIT routines do seem to be full body. Would it not be overtraining doing a full-body routine 2-3 times a week. Isn't that hitting all the same parts too much?
6- Anyone have a good routine I can check out?
Thanks for your time. I appreciate it.
Hit for BB is fine as long as you cycle exercise varaibles.
As far as HIT working for sports training that is a different story.
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Racer, I can answer the first of these questions for you.
1) Why is HIT so unpopular?
Answer) It's not unpopular. Lots of people swear by it. One possibile reason that some people don't like it is that for alot of people, it just doesn't work forever. One of the mainstays of HIT is that you don't need any other training protocol. Alot of people don't make continuous gains using only HIT. Another reason it's 'unpopular' is that some guys that work alongside it (Mentzer, 'Heavy Duty') are total *******s. I'm sorry, but Mentzer is a dickweed about his training. From what people say, he's a nice guy to meet, but not to argue training with. He will refuse to admit that any method other than his own has any validity. That closed-minded attitude is what alot of people think that HIT is about. In fact, if you look through these boards, you'll find plenty of people that are advocates of HIT and very closed-minded about their training. It's interesting.
I'll leave the other questions up to some folks that follow HIT more closely. It's never worked for long for me, I use it occasionally to break some plateaus, but other than that I think a different routine linked with flawless nutrition and rest is much better for the longterm.
Also depends somewhat on how you define HIT.
Folks used to say that Drian Yates trained HIT style.
Most every HIT person I talk to thinks Yates workouts were gross overtraining.
I agree with the Cobra... the main issue with HIT is the proponants. They are so dogmatic they refuse to believe that ANY other form of training can work.
IMO, HG types are the worst about this.
That said, the principles behing HIT training (sticking to a routine, focus on progression and hard work, etc) are good to learn about.
Some people make excellent progress using HIT/abbreviated/HG routines.
The main reason HIT training has been unpopular is because since its inception (at least when it was popularized by Arthur Jones and Mike Mentzer),it has flown in the face of popular bodybuilding culture. It was first popularized by Jones in the early 70s. Now, who else was big in the scene then, you got it, Arnold. Arnold preached high volume and 6 days of training a week if one wanted to be a champion. Since Arnold was bodybuilding's bread and butter, his ideas were published like crazy. Arnold wasn't the only one who promoted high volume training, Joe Weider did, and just about every other bodybuilding "champion". Now, if you look back a little farther to the era of Steve Reeves and John Grimek, an era that did not see the widespread use of steroids, you will find that these gentleman trained in a much more HIT fashion. They usually trained the entire body 3 times per week and used a lot less sets than are advocated today. Arnolds era saw a greatly increased incidence of drug use. Steroids allow a bodybuilder to train in a fashion that would completely stifle a natural trainee and grow like crazy. Steroids have been the primary culprit behind the high volume training routines of then and now. Another big player in these routines was Joe Weider himself. Joe sells magazines which sell supplements. Arthur Jones and his camp always stated that supplements dont work and aren't necessary. Joe Weider couldn't very well agree with anything they said because he made and makes his living by selling his products. So, Weider, who essentially monopolizes bodybuilding had to take a contrary stance to Jones. Joe's brother, Ben, always wanted to get bodybuilding into the Olympics and this combined with society's general frowning upon of drug use prevented the Weiders from promoting anything other than what they did. They couldn't very well have said that the routines promoted by their "champions" only worked because they took steroids, so they just promoted these routines as the way to train and the niave public bought it. So, HIT's relative lack of poularity is due to a combination of misleading statements and outright lies by the people who control bodybuilding and make money from it. Variations of HIT training are the only viable way for natural trainees to go. By variations I mean that it is not necessary to train with only one set to failure and the entire body 3 times per week or less. Most trainees should use 4-5 work sets to failure for large bodyaparts and 2-3 for smaller ones. I suggest you do 2 warmup sets for your first exercise per bodypart. After that you should be sufficiently warm for your 2nd exercise. I think it is ok to use a four day split for most trainess and train each bodypart 1-2 times per week depending upon how developed they are. I have seen others say that HIT training will not work for very long. That is rubbish, and they only say it because they did not properly regulate their training. HIT training for the advanced bodybuilder requires an almost ridiculously low level of volume and frequency. Most people fail to realize this and never reduce their training accordingly as they progress. I have used it for 12 of my 13 years of training and have enjoyed progress throughout. For rest between sets I have always waited roughly 2 minutes for standard sets. Less rest will have a cardiovascular effect and while this is not bad, I always liked to rest enough to handle heavy poundages. I think that Cackerot's proposed routine on this site would be a good one to try, but I also think you need to experiment and see what works best for you. The basic points to remember are: 1) after warmups take all sets to failure 2) make sure a bodypart if fully recovered before trained again no matter how long it takes 3) try to progress in weight and reps each workout 4) if you are not gaining and in good health you need to reduce your volume.
Variations of HIT training? Doing many sets 5+ for a bodypart all to failure is not really HIT style, especially not splitting bodyparts. In fact, I believe Arnold used to do these things.. So you see, all of these training styles cross into one another and a hybrid is the best. Doing HIT training by the book is just a little tiny bit more effective than doing Arnold's routines. You're right that steroids are mostly to blame for outrageous volume training, but volume training has its time and place just as much as does HIT. Volume training for prolonged periods of time will not work well, nor will HIT training for a long period of time. Chris has made gains by reducing his workload as he gets larger and stronger. I have done the opposite, increasing my volume and workload as I got stronger (for the most part, I do switch routines every couple months and I have used HIT occasionally). The routine that Chris suggested is not really HIT-style. It's a mix of HIT and moderate/low volume. This is an age old argument, and one we can't solve here. So now that both sides are presented, it's all cool.
What I suggested is my own. However, it incorporates all of the principles of HIT. I feel a beginner and intermediate should perform more than one set. I didn't suggest 5+ sets to failure for 4 exercises, I suggested 4-5 sets to failure TOTAL for large bodyparts. In other words, 2 exercises of 2 sets each would suffice, hardly what Arnold would suggest. Actually, Mike Mentzer used a routine quite like that. I have a copy of it. You can call it what you will, but that is my philosophy.
[Edited by chris mason on 02-06-2001 at 09:03 PM]
I think most of your questions have been answered, although a great site to check out which has loads of info on HIT is this one:
And you can find nearly every combination of HIT style workout at this page on the same site:
Thanks for the feedback.
I was wondering about the rest between sets after reading articles on this site and others talking about throwing up in buckets during and after a workout. I don't mind hard work, but my gym would frown upon throwing up all over the place.
It seems HIT is an abritrary term open to interpetation. I think I'll design a hybrid program using principals Chris is talking about, and see how it works. I have been wanting to hit bodyparts 2x a week and see how that works out. I usually feel recovered after 3-5 days.
Chris, what rep range would you recommend?
I would only suggest a place to start. The ideal number of reps to perform per bodypart can vary quite a bit between trainees. For the upper body, I would suggest 4-10 and for the lower body 6-15. What I'm trying to say is that most people will fall into those ranges. You need to experiment for yourself to determine what works best for you on each exercise. Anyone who tells you differently is giving bad advice. I suggest you start at the low end and perform at least 3 workouts there and determine how you responded. You can then up it one and so on until you arrive at the number that seems best suited for you.
Chris: out of the different books that mike mentzer has written about HIT which would you sugest? And do you have other links that provide good HIT info?
Tazern.....I like Heavy Duty 2 !!
Actually, I have never read a book that Mike Mentzer has written. All of the HIT books I have or have read were written by Ellington Darden PhD. He was and still is actively involved with Arthur Jones. Mentzer was one of their proteges. I have read articles written by him, but I don't care for his style as much and Darden's or Jones'. For beginners, I recommend "The Nautilus Bodybuilding Book", it discusses the whole philosophy of HIT training and is an excellent guide.