High Intensity Training (HIT) – How Effective is It?Posted by: admin | Posted on: December 8, 2020
If you want to reshape your body, weight training is a must. But it takes more than lifting light weights if you really want to make a significant change. It takes high intensity training, or HIT, as it is usually called, and it is effective. The technique has been pushed and publicized extensively by many people over the last couple of decades, including “Mr. America” winner, Mike Mentzer, Bill Phillips (author of “Body for Life”), Art Jones (builder of Nautilus equipment) and Ellington Darden who (some say) wrote the “Bible” on HIT.
HIT is based on intensity — extreme intensity — and it definitely brings results. The magic of HIT according Phillips is the “high point.” Mentzer calls it the “break over point.” Regardless of what you call it, it’s the point in the set (usually the last rep) where muscle growth is stimulated. Below it, nothing happens, so it is indeed, a ‘magic point.” The idea is to continue your reps to the point where you can no longer lift the weight, or even budge it an inch. It is the point of “total failure,” and it is also the magic point you are looking for. Only when you completely exhaust your muscles do they grow. It’s that incredible all or nothing effort that does it. Mentzer gives a metaphor that I think is quite apt. He says, “exercise and muscle growth are like a stick of dynamite and a hammer. Hit the dynamite lightly and nothing happens (even if you hit it ten times), but hit it hard enough and … boom! The same situation occurs with muscle growth and weight training. “Easy” weight lifting won’t help much, but reach the “high point” and … boom! Muscles suddenly appear. Phillips describes the situation as, “The stimulus to trigger muscle growth happens fast, or not at all.”
How hard do you have to train to stimulate this growth? According to Phillips you have to train with “heart and soul.” According to Art Jones you have to train so hard “you throw up.” (That ‘s a little too much for me, but I think it gives you the message.) You not only have to work out hard, but you have to go beyond that. It may surprise you, but when you think you’re completely exhausted, you usually aren’t. You can usually squeeze out one more rep. This basically is what you want: take your reps to the limit, then squeeze out one more.
You are no doubt wondering, with a program such as this, how long it takes to see results. With high intensity training (and I’m assuming it truly is HIT) they’ll come fast — in only a few weeks. What you will see first is an increase in strength. Where you could only do three chinups last week, you can now do eight, and so on. In short, an increase in strength comes first, then an increase in muscle size.
Let me end this by saying that the key is quality, not quantity. Intensive weight training will bring you a lot more than long duration, easy, workouts. Indeed, you might make no gains at all with light weights and long duration. But, of course, any exercise is better than none.