HIT stands for high intensity training. HIT training routines call for high intensity and low volume and were made popular by bodybuilders such as Mike Mentzer and the more recent, Dorian Yates. Both used a HIT styled training routine to pack on some serious muscle and size. A well designed HIT training program will have you in and out of the gym in no time and will probably cut your workout time in half when compared to your normal routines. That’s right, half! This is one of the best programs out there should you have a hectic schedule and find it increasingly difficult to find time for your workouts.
HIT training emphasises a high level of effort along with low volume and infrequent workouts, usually 2 or 3 a week, performed on non consecutive days. You can also perform 4 workouts a week should you wish to do so. It all comes down to how often you want to spend in the gym and how much time you have. Below is an example of a workout in which you train only 3 times a week:
Monday: Chest, Triceps & Abs
Flat Barbell Bench Press: 1 set
Decline Barbell Bench Press: 1 set
Close-Grip Bench Press: 1 set
Tricep Pushdowns: 1 set
Hanging Leg Raises: 2 sets
Wednesday: Back & Biceps
Deadlifts: 1 set
Barbell Rows: 1 set
Barbell Curls: 1 set
Machine Preacher Curls: 1 set
Friday: Shoulders & Legs
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 1 set
Side Laterals: 1 set
Barbell Shrugs: 1 set
Squats: 1 set
Leg Press: 1 set
Leg Curls 1 set
HIT Training Routines – Training Principles
HIT Training routines are very easily set up but should follow a few short and simple training principles:
One Working Set. Perform only 1 main working set to absolute muscular failure.
Warm Up. Leading up to your 1 main working set, you should warm up adequately with as many warm up sets you require.6-12 Reps. Perform your main working set within the 6-12 rep range. Lower body movements can be performed in the rep range of 12-20. Idea behind this is that the lower body responds better to higher reps but remember, everyone is different, this may not apply to you.
Two Exercises. Typically only 2 exercises are used for each muscle group but again this can vary in different variations of HIT routines. In the above workout example exercises are kept to two except for shoulders and legs. Reason being is that another set will be effective at hitting certain neglected areas of the muscle. Take shoulders for example. Rear delt raises can be added as a third exercise as this small muscle group is often neglected and worked insufficiently during certain lifts. Leg curls are added to the leg routine just to isolate them and give them some more direct work.
Add Weight. Always look to add weight to the bar when you can. If you can perform say 10-12 reps in your working sets try upping the weight slightly for next weeks workout. Always look to progress in weight or reps from one workout to another.
Perform infrequent workouts. Typically 2 or 3 a week. However, some variations of HIT training can involve more training sessions.
Controlled Reps. Perform controlled reps and full range of motion. Reps should not be fast. Typically a 3 or 4 second lowering phase of the movement is used along with a 2 second lifting phase.
Forced Reps and Negatives. Forced reps and negatives may be used on your main working set to take the muscle beyond muscular failure. These can be effective, especially since training volume is relatively low in this kind of routine. The low volume helps lower/eliminate the risk of overtraining or over taxing your central nervous system. Rest Periods. Rest periods are as ready. When your ready for the next set go for it. Obviously this is within reason, don’t take too long between sets! Typically you should have less rest between sets when you are moving on to another body part. E.g. If you perform a chest exercise and are then moving on to a tricep exercise your rest period will not need to be as big as it would be when performing back to back chest exercises. 90 seconds – 2 minute rest intervals are common.
HIT Training Routines – Summary
There are a few variations of HIT Training routines but the above is the original way HIT training was designed and set out. Slight alterations can be made such as exercise choices or number of sets/exercises used in the routine as long as the above training principles are closely followed. Bottom line of this routine is to use low volume, high intensity (for your working sets), brief workouts, and controlled repetitions for every exercise. Progressively increase in weight when you can and keep your diet solid and you should see great results from this type of workout routine.