Open up any muscle magazine and you will be bombarded with all kinds of methods and bodypart routines to blitz and bomb your muscles from every conceivable angle. The chase of the pump and “shiny objects” can be enticing, but real results over a long period of time come from consistency in applying a few basic principles. One straightforward system that encompasses all of the requirements for productive exercise is high-intensity training, or HIT training.
High-intensity training sprang from the Nautilus revolution of the 1970s, but it has its roots in the commonsense approach to lifting that fueled great physiques of the past, like John Grimek, Steve Reeves, and even Eugene Sandow.
Here are five ways that old school HIT can help YOU build a more massive physique.
High-intensity training calls for you to be in the gym just two or three days per week for half an hour at a time. By keeping your sessions short, you avoid the long, draining workouts that can sap your systemic recover and send you rocketing toward overtraining.
Having more rest days than workout days each week also means that you leave plenty of time to recover … and grow!
The general HIT recommendation is for you to slow down your repetitions to avoid using momentum, with specific guidelines ranging from 2 seconds for the positive and 4 seconds for the negative portions of a rep all the way to 10 seconds for each part of the stroke.
No matter how fast you perform your reps, moving slower is almost always safer than moving quickly, especially when large loads are involved. In broad terms, the faster you move, the greater the forces on your joints and connective tissues and the greater the likelihood of injury.
Better Muscle Stimulation
An offshoot of moving more slowly for safety’s sake is that more controlled reps also allow you to concentrate better and really target the muscles you’re going after. If you have trouble feeling a muscle, chances are it’s not working as hard as you would like and will not experience enough stress to stimulate growth.
Slowing down is a great way to establish that “mind-muscle connection” for hard-to-grow body parts.
Although some HIT variants feature split training, most of the old school HIT protocols require you to train your full body at each workout. What’s more, you begin each session with the largest muscle groups and then work your way toward the smallest.
Under this system, there is no way to avoid training legs, which is a common problem with split routines, because you’re hitting them FIRST when your energy is at its max. You will be tired and hungry by the time you get to arms at the end of your workout, but what bodybuilder in his right mind is going to skip training bis and tris?
When using old-school high-intensity training, you take each set of your workout to momentary muscular failure with a load that targets a specific rep range. You strive to add more reps each session until you hit the top of the range, and then you increase the weight next time around and start climbing again.
This double progression system has been the cornerstone of productive routines for decades, and it is the foundation of HIT that will allow you to get as big and strong as you can become.
Of course, even for the most gifted musclemen, there will come a point where simple progression may not yield further muscle gains and other tactics need to be employed. For most of us, though, that juncture is several years or decades in the making (if it ever comes at all), and the logical approach to lifting that old-school HIT coaches espoused can take us a long way.