003 - High Intensity Training. Quick, and Effective.

2024-6-23 on Sunday
911 words
5 minutes

In this issue of The Health & IT Insider I’d like to discuss High Intensity Training (HIT).

For anyone that wants good results from their training, with the most effective use of your time. This is for you.

Over the last 5 years I've actively been doing weight training, I've tried quite a few systems. From the typical body building high reps and sets with 4-5 days of training per week (upper-lower split or bro splits). To the strength training focused 3x5 Squats introduced by Starting Strength. All of these systems work in their own ways for the purpose for which they were created.

However, at the end of the day they either; took too much out of my time (4 times 1 hour of gym time) or were too focused on strength only (Starting Strength). I was looking for a more effective training solution for my goals; muscle hypertrophy and time efficient.

I’ve been using HIT since a year now, and I spend at the most 30 minutes at the gym 3 days per week. My numbers have gone up over time using this method (+/- 10% weight, 42 years old). Most importantly, I feel motivated and energized to go all out every single time.

If I get the feeling I don’t have the energy, it’s usually because of stress accumulation or just not enough rest. Take notice of these things, and plan in more rest time if your body tells you to. BUT, do not mistake that for being lazy!

Feeling lazy? Go the gym anyway, afterwards you’ll feel good about your achievement.

To get further into what HIT is, I’d like to structure today’s Health & IT Insider as follows:

  • What is HIT?,
  • How you can apply it in your training with a training program example.
  • In closing; HIT principles and techniques you need to be aware for the most optimal results.

What is High Intensity Training (HIT)

Arthur Jones is considered to be the grandfather of HIT founded in the 1970’s article ‘Ideal Workout’ published in body building magazine Muscular Development, and the inventor of the Nautilus machines.

Subsequently Mike Mentzer in the later years of the 70’s promoted and improved upon the early concepts laid out in his first book called “Heavy Duty” from 1979. This foundation was later on improved by the second version of his Heavy Duty book released much later in 1993.

During Dorian Yates’ six-year Mr. Olympia run (1992–97), high intensity reached a new-level of influence and resurrected it from the grave.

The HIT concept is based on the idea of performing brief, intense, and infrequent workouts to achieve significant muscle growth and strength gains.

HIT Training Program

A typical HIT training program for regular people like us, not body builders, can look like this:

Day 1: Legs, Chest and Triceps

Leg extensions26-8
Leg Press26-8
Leg Curl26-8
Standing Calf Raises26-8
Chest Machine Flye26-8
Chest Machine Press26-8

A few things of note in the programming:

  • Super-sets can be implemented for;
    • Leg extensions with Leg Press,
    • Chest Machine Flye and Chest Machine Press,
    • and Pushdown with Dips.
      • A super-set means you do 1 set of each right after another, rest. Then the next set of 2 for a total of 4 sets.
        • Super sets are a proven method to cut the training time while enhancing the effectiveness. if you cannot perform them for whatever reason. Feel free to just execute the exercises in order.
      • The idea is you pre-exhaust the target muscle with an isolation exercise. Then you do a compound exercise such as the Leg Press to finish.
  • Calves are trained like all other muscle groups, heavy weight with low reps. Unlike most bodybuilders that would choose higher reps with lower weight.

Day 2: Back, Shoulders, and Biceps

Cable Pull Down26-8
Barbell Row26-8
Side Lateral Raises26-8
Machine Shoulder Press26-8
Machine Rear Lateral26-8
Barbell (EZ) Curl16-8
Concetration Curl26-8

For Day 2 we see a similar strategy incorporated again, the Side Lateral Raises super-set with the Machine Shoulder Press.

Optionally you could add exercises here to super-set with the Cable Pull Down and an a Close Grip Pull Down . The first exercise isolates the lateral muscles without much of any biceps involved. The Close Grip is much more biceps dominant and also targets the lateral back muscle, a compound exercise.

HIT Techniques and Principles

“Train with intensity! Give it your all at the gym, each and every session.” — Dorian Yates

The following principles should be adhered to, to get the best result out of HIT:

  • High intensity, each exercise is performed with maximum effort(!) aiming for muscle failure, or technical failure (you cannot safely perform the exercise anymore).
  • Fewer workouts per week, but higher quality.
  • One working set to failure: Each exercise has 1 working set to failure. Techniques to get to absolute failure:
    • Use 2-3 forced reps, rest-pause, or drop sets to get everything out of the exercise.
  • Slow and controlled movements: Exercises are performed slowly and controlled such that there’s;
    • minimum risk for injury,
    • proper form (leads to better result over time),
    • maximum intensity,
    • and no involvement of momentum!
  • Rest and Recover: Most importantly. Rest to allow muscles to grow, and recovery for your next HIT session.

With that you should have a solid basis to start a new training program that incorporates efficiency and effectiveness as the baseline.

The HIT concept of training has created legends of body building such as;. Casey Viator, Mike Mentzer and Dorian Yates. Next to fitness industry legend Arthur Jones; the Inventor of HIT, and the Nautilus fitness machines.

It’s a time efficient routine that only takes ~30 minutes per training day and will get you results using quality training, not quantity of training.


Title:003 - High Intensity Training. Quick, and Effective.

Author:Rolf Streefkerk

Article link: https://rolfstreefkerk.com/newsletter/003-high-intensity-training-quick-and-effective [copy]

Last Modified:

© 2024 Rolf Streefkerk. All rights reserved.

here is how i can help you

Join Our Newsletter

Get weekly insights on health and IT career growth. Join our community of successful professionals.

    Join The Health & IT Insider for actionable tips and exclusive content.