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Started By ttwarrior4 (Morganfield, Ky, U.S.A.)
Started on: 3/18/2012 3:18:21 AM, viewed 2730 times
It may be time for HIT to change

It May Be Time For "HIT" To Change, or Get a Bit More Realistic.
I am, and always have been a firm believer in "High-Intensity" Training. It′s the MOST scientifically supported way to workout (i.e., weight training for the purpose of increasing strength or developing muscle-mass). However, since it was first made popular by Nautilas inventor, Arthur Jones, too many who have followed in his footsteps, are over-tweaking the original concept, and not only painting themselves into a corner (More about that in a minute), but also may be "turning-off" the general public, making it harder to convince the average Personal Training Client to get on-board with what is essentially the BEST training method known.

Arthur Jones simply stated that muscular strength is BEST Achieved When Exercise is “Brief In Duration”, “Performed With A High-Level Of Intensity”, "Made Progressively Harder”, and then “Given Adequate Time To Rest and Recover" - pretty simple.

The actual workout suggested by Jones, using these prerequisites, was a full-body workout, performing only "one-set" per exercise, 2-3 times per week. Also, it was important that each set executed was performed to what Jones called "Momentary Muscular Failure". In other words, to a point where you couldn′t possibly perform an additional repetition (i.e., total fatigue). Again, pretty straight-forward and simple.

Lastly, Jones recognized by his own observation that too many people in gyms across the country were NOT getting the most out of their weight-training because they were using poor form when lifting a weight. In other words, they were actually allowing "momentum" to lift the weight instead of slow and controlled muscular contraction. I′m sure we′ve ALL seen people swinging and jerking weights around in the gym. People do this to allow themselves to lift heavier weights....but in fact, are cheating themselves out of potential progress.

HERE′S THE PROBLEM: High Intensity "Extremist" have taken mostly ALL of the above principles, and exaggerated them to an extent, that HIT is becoming increasingly "illogical" and "unrealistic". Here′s my short list of things gone wrong:

1- Jones′ original HIT theory stated that "progress" should occur in "every" workout. In other words, you actually get stronger every time you workout. In the short-term, this actually does happen. But, like it or not, you eventually reach a sticking point or diminishing returns. The most common remedy by today′s HIT Trainers is to "increase" intensity, "shorten" workout time, and "extend" rest. So, now you begin to hear about 12-minute workouts so intense that you feel like puking on the floor, which by the way, most HIT Extremist consider it a "badge of Honor". Also, rest-periods in between workouts have crept-up from the ole 48-72 hours, to 5 or even 7 days in between training sessions. So, my question is, "Where Does It End?" Do we eventually train for 2-minutes, and then take a month off?!

2- "No Momentum" has turned into something called "Super Slow", which calls for 10-seconds to lift the weight, and then 10-seconds to lower it. Now you actually hear some HIT′rs recommend only "1-Rep": 1-minute to raise the weight, and then 1-minute to lower it. Again I ask, where does it end? Do we eventually perform 1-Rep that lasts 1-hour, and then take a year off!? Again, something is NOT right here.

THE SOLUTION? I′m actually not quite sure. I think we have to re-look at the word "Intensity". Maybe we′re shooting to high with that. Do we really need to become nauseated to prove that that last set was intense enough? I also think that going "ball-to-wall" on every workout is another mistake - long term. The thing I do know, is that "IF" these changes - of some sort - are NOT made in the way we teach, it′s only going to make High-Intensity Training harder to advocate for, to new clients. Which by the way is a shame, because I′ll say it again: "High Intensity Training IS the BEST!” We just gotta Stop F’ing it up!
~Franny Goodrich

This Topic has 4 Replies: Displaying 1 - 4 out of 4 Replies:
mistere29 (San Antonio, 08690, U.S.A.) on 3/20/2012 7:11:18 AM

Jones already has answer for you.

"Personally, it took me twenty-six years, from 1938 to 1954, to discover that two sets of each exercise produced far
better results than four sets of each exercise. Then it took me another year to learn that only eight exercises in each
workout produced better results than twelve exercises during each workout. By 1970, I clearly understood that best
results from exercise were usually produced by only one set of each exercise. In 1986, I had learned that only two
weekly workouts were usually better than three weekly workouts. Now, ten years later, in 1996, I know that only one
weekly workout is required by most subjects, and that some people do better with a schedule of only one workout every
two weeks, and that a few people do best on a schedule of one workout every three weeks."

"The American Academy of Sports Medicine has now
accepted, as its recommended protocol, “one set to failure, not more than three times weekly;” which, frankly, I still
believe is too much for most people, and is required by nobody. I get several calls a week from strangers who tell me
about the great results they are producing by only one weekly workout, or even less exercise. "

B-WINE (Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands) on 3/23/2012 10:51:39 AM

I′m currently reading Jones′ works on

Very interesting stuff there!

FS275 (Mandeville, La., U.S.A.) on 11/21/2012 11:30:46 PM

I disagree. I dont think HIT needs to change only the perception of the details. True linear constant progress is impossible. Steward McRobert′s application of periodization to HIT is IMO porbably the best way. Jones was a generalist. He trained himself & every single other person in spurts very sporadically. Too many people misstakenly think they can train HIT day in day out for yrs and end up severely overtrained disillusioned w/ HIT. I know I did for a long time thinking HIT was bullshit when its the only true path. If periodization (soviet style) and low intensity volume were the way then everyone would end up huge moving huge weights... which they don′t. Jones put a finite weight limit which the results would begin to sharply diminish as the weights used go up. For example as AJ said no one needs to ever use more than 400lbs in the squat. There are very few IFBB′ers who can ATF squat 405lbs continously (not strossen′s breathing squats) for 20 reps w/ (0) rest in the lockout.

I′d add 100lbs at the very most for the deadlift. Casey at his peak could barely deadlift 405lbs for 20 reps much less 500lbs which he couldn′t do despite being one strong MF.

HIT is built on solid principles which are superior to everything.
1 peak set of a few basic exercises done at most 1x per week to absolute failure. < Thats HIT. This is basic human adaption & that will never change.

FS275 (Mandeville, La., U.S.A.) on 11/28/2012 5:13:05 AM

Although this thread reminds that no system of beleifs is perfect, not even MM′s HIT. In fact, the more I train & the more I learn the more I think the soviets had alot of good points. Mainly making training to failure i.e., exhaustion the sole objective when in reality its often counterproductive teaching the CNS to repeatedly fail undermining long term productive training impossible.

This reminds me no sytem is perfect, Not the soviets, not HIT not anything. Its a learning process w/ some truly philosophical life lessons, not different than martial arts, teams sports, golf, swimming, etc.

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