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March 24, 2013

High Intensity Training (HIT) Explained

high intensity training

fancy doing some High intensity training?

So you have tried every workout possible, spent hours and hours of time in the gym. Yet you see no results.

You question yourself.

“I can’t be working hard enough, I must do more sets”. However this doesn’t seem to work!

Sound familiar?

Many people fall at the first hurdle, simply because they expect results instantly. This is one of the most common mistakes that newbies make as well as not training intense. To compensate you up your sets doing 4,5 to even 6 sets a exercise and 16-25 sets a workout.

One word springs to mind OVERTRAINING!

I will ask you one question have you tried High intensity training (HIT)? Well why not? Simply read ahead and you will see great results!

 

High intensity training (HIT)

High intensity training (HIT) is a training method which was implemented by Arthur Jones, Mike Mentzer and Dorian Yates (Just to name a few…)

The most fundamental principle of exercise is overload. In order increase muscular size and strength you must impose demands on the muscles that is greater than they are used to.

Calves are one great example. We walk on them consistently, carrying our bodies as we walk. Just to understand how strong they are – Stand on one leg and do a calf raise.

One calf can lift your entire body!

You can see just how much demand we have to impose on them to grow.

The harder, or more intense an exercise is, the greater the degree of overload and the more effective the exercise.

…But Train Briefer

The greater the effort put into a workout, the shorter the workout must be to avoid overstressing the body. High intensity training workouts typically require around 20-40 minutes where you only perform one set per exercise.

But this surely isn’t enough?

Trust me, you try an all out high intensity set to failure using the training techniques listed below and your muscles will be TOASTED!

Train Less Often

Intense exercise places a significant amount of stress on the body. Exercising too frequently, without allowing the body adequate time between workouts to recover, will eventually lead to lack of progress and overtraining.

When following a high intensity training program you should train no more than 4 times a week.

High intensity training (HIT) Methods

One of the main components of HIT training is that you perform just one set per exercise, this is executed taking that set to absolute failure.

“I already take my sets to failure”

WRONG!

The chances are you don’t. Absulute failre is when you physically can not perform any more reps on that given exercise – Literally!

There are many training methods which you can include to take your set(s) to failure. These include:

Rest pause

Rest-Pause training is a brutal technique designed to push people beyond their normal limits. As the name suggests It involves resting.

However keep the rest periods between 7-15 seconds.

Rest pause can be implemented when using chest, for example, performing barbell bench press.

You are aiming for 10 reps however you choose a given weight where you can only perform 6. Rack the weight and rest (7-15 seconds) and get the last 4 out.

Pre exhaust

Pre exhaust training, simply put, involves pre fatiguing a muscle by choosing a isolation exercise before moving onto a compound movements.

There are some great examples below:

  • Chest: Dumbbell Flys followed by Bench Press.
  • Back: Hammer Rows followed by Lateral Pulldowns.
  • Shoulders: Lateral Raises followed by Shoulder Press.
  • Biceps: Concentration Curls followed by Narrow Pullups.
  • Triceps: Kickbacks followed by Narrow Bench Press.
  • Quadriceps: Leg Extensions followed by Squats.
  • Hamstrings: Leg Curls followed by Deadlifts.

Tips on Pre Exhaust

  • Keeps reps fairly low on each exercise, too many reps could prevent you from continuing the exercise until muscle failure is reached.
  • Never perform more than two pre-exhaust cycles or supersets.
Drop sets

A drop set is when you perform a set of any exercise to failure and immediately drop/reduce the weight and continue for more repetitions.

Drop Set tips:

  • Keep Rest Intervals To A Minimum
  • Set Up Equipment In Advance
  • Train When The Gym Isn’t Crowded So You Have A Dumbbell Rack To Yourself
  • Use Two Weight Drops (three different poundages) Most Of The Time
Negatives

Negative reps. Essentially, a negative rep consists of further stimulating the muscle while in the lowering (eccentric) phase of a repetition.

One great example of a negative rep would be when performing a bicep curl. The weight is momentarily held at the top and then slowly lowered back to the starting position.

Partial reps

Partial reps are repetitions performed over a portion of the full range of movement for an exercise, instead of over the entire range of motion. Partial reps can be performed anywhere from 3/4′s of an entire rep, to approximately 1/8 of a complete rep.

Partial reps are great for improving strength gains and breaking through plateaus

Static contraction

Primarily as a bodybuilder your main goal is not to lift the heaviest weight but to contract as much muscle fibers possible to provide optimal growth stimulation.

One great technique is static contraction.

Static contraction entails pushing a muscle against resistance into a peak contraction and then maintaining that peak contraction for an extended period of time (usually between 5-30 seconds).

One great example of static contraction would be performing leg extensions. When in the contracted position (fully extended / legs are straight) hold that position for 5-30 seconds and then lower in a controlled manor.

High intensity training (HIT) Split

Day 1 – Chest & Triceps

Day 2 – Back & Biceps

Day 3 – REST

Day 4 – Legs

Day 5 – Shoulders

Day 6 – REST

Day 7 – REST

High intensity training (HIT) Sample Workout

HIT Chest & Triceps
  • Decline Bench Press: 2 warm up sets of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets, increase weight)
  • Incline Dumbbell Press (45 degree incline): 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets, increase weight)
  • Flat Bench Dumbbell Flyes: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • EZ Skull Crushers: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets
  • Rope Pulldowns: 1 set of 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight
HIT Back & Biceps
  • Dumbbell Pullover: 2 warm up sets 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure,desired weight (increase weight between sets)
  • Close-Grip Pulldown: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • One-Arm Row (each arm): 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • Wide-Grip Cable Row: 1 warm up set 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between reps)
  • Barbell Deadlifts: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between reps)
  • Barbell Curl: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between reps)
  • Preacher: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between reps)
HIT Legs
  • Leg Extensions: 1 warm up set of 15 reps, 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 10-12 reps to failure, increasing desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • Leg Press: 2 warm up sets of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 10-12 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • Squats: 1 warm up sets of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 10-12 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)

5 min rest. Recuperate and mentally prepare.

  • Seated Hamstring Curl: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 10-12 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlift: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 10-12 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • Calf Press: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 3 rest-pause sets to failure, desired weight (10-15 sec rest between sets)
HIT Shoulders
  • Side Lateral Raise: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 6-10 reps to failure, desired weight (Superset)

Superset on last set – Jump straight into Dumbbell Shoulder press.

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • Low-Pulley Delt Raise: 1 set of 6-8 reps to failure, each arm (1 min rest)
  • Reverse Dumbbell Flyes: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • Dumbbell Shrugs: 1 warm up set of 10-12 reps, 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure, desired weight (1 min rest between sets)
  • Barbell Shrugs: 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure, desired weight

High intensity training (HIT) Tips

  1. Training Frequency: Beginners should perform no more than three workouts per week on non-consecutive days. Advanced trainees should work out less frequently, not more.
  2. Training Volume: Perform between two and twelve exercises addressing all major muscle groups. If a higher number is performed, limit the total number of compound movements to no more than half.
  3. Number of Sets: Perform only one set per exercise.
  4. Number of Repetitions: A wide range of repetitions can be effective.
  5. Progression: Increase the resistance used during an exercise by approximately 5 percent whenever you are able to complete the highest number of your repetition range in strict form.
  6. Repetition Speed: Move slowly enough to maintain strict control over the movement and to be able to reverse direction smoothly. Avoid fast, jerky movements.
  7. Range of Motion: Use a full range of joint movement.

 

 

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