High Intensity Training or H.I.T. is a weight lifting philosophy and style that emphasizes brief intensity in your workouts VS. multiple set volume training workouts. H.I.T. workouts are generally kept under an hour in length, training one set to the point of momentary muscular failure for every exercise.
Where It Began…
Arthur Jones popularized it in the 70′s and 80′s to eventually train top bodybuilders such as Mike Mentzer. Since then, the High-Intensity Training revolution has been growing rapidly as it continues to prove it’s superiority over volume training.
Training With Intensity…
The idea behind High-Intensity Training is that you train more intensely for a brief amount of time to deeply stimulate the adaptive response of overcompensation within your muscles. Basically, you exhaust your muscles to a point where your body believes it must add on muscle in order to cope with the intense workload. To do this you must train to momentary muscular failure ever time.
Training to “Momentary Muscular Failure” is exhausting your muscle during an exercise to where you can’t possibly do another full repetition in good form no matter how hard you try.
Intensity is definitely emphasized and for this reason, many lifters tend to avoid it H.I.T. because of its difficulty. In order to get through a high-intensity workout, you’ll have to push your mind and body to levels of effort you may have never experienced before. However, the results will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before either.
Keeping Strict Form…
Another important aspect of High-Intensity Training is that you perform every repetition of every exercise in the best form possible with all momentum removed from the equation. Three seconds to lift the weight and three seconds to lower the weight is sufficient.
If you’re someone who throws the weights around, you’re not benefiting as much as you could be from every exercise. You’re also at greater risk of injury. Yes it is harder on your muscles to move the weight slower, but isn’t that the point? The harder it is the greater the progress in strength & size.
Recovery & Growth…
As you grow larger in strength & size, you’ll need more days off in between workouts in order to benefit from your training. Your body is so drained from a full-on H.I.T. workout, that it will need 2 to 3 days just to fully recover. On the same note, you’ll eventually have to reduce the number of exercises per workout in order to continue getting stronger.
This is an important idea to understand because if you don’t allow your body enough time to recover in between workouts, you’ll eventually reach a point where you stop getting stronger altogether. Some studies even show that over-training leads to life-threating health conditions in the long run.
H.I.T. In A Nutshell…
Here are some of the general H.I.T. training points to keep in mind:
Workout no more than 2 to 3 times per week. The more advanced you are the more recovery time you’ll need in between workouts.
Do no more than 8 to 12 exercises per workout. Maybe even less if you’re advanced.
Use enough weight so that you can only perform between 8 to 12 repetitions before reaching failure.
When you can perform 12 repetitions in good form, add on more weight to where you can only perform 8 solid repetitions. Use the same weight until you progress to 12 repetitions once more and add weight again.
Do 1 set per exercise to the point of momentary muscular failure.
Do every repetition in strict form, approximately 3 seconds to lift & 3 seconds to lower.
Perform the full range of motion in every exercise.
Workout a portion of each major muscle group every workout. You’re basically doing a whole body workout every time you visit the gym.
If you’re new to, or never tried, High-Intensity Training and want to start on a program to increase in size & strength fast, you should definitely look into getting your hands on one of the many H.I.T. guides available online.