Whole-Body H.I.T. Blitz

Whole-Body H.I.T. Blitz
Go low in volume and insanely high in intensity for more muscle and less fat with this 5-day routine.

One letter can make a big difference. This is not another HIIT cardio article. Drop one of the ‘I’s and that’s what we’re talking about here: H.I.T.

High-Intensity Training.

With my recent Giant Program routines, I showed you a high-volume way to hit each major muscle group in every full-body workout. You were essentially doing four exercises for four total sets per muscle group each time out. This approach could classify as “HVT” (high volume training).

H.I.T., on the other hand, is lower volume and higher intensity. On a per-workout basis, you’re hitting just about the minimum amount of volume possible for each muscle group: one warm-up set and one working set. That’s it.

But here’s the rub: The one working set isn’t a typical straight set. It’s a multiple-times-to-failure, drop-setting, rest-pausing, all-out muscle-burning barrage. But don’t worry, once the set’s over, you’re done with that muscle group!

Like HVT, H.I.T. is great for promoting muscle mass and strength and also sparking fat loss. It just does so via super high-intensity, not volume. If you’re short on time but still want to get in a brief yet effective muscle-building workout, H.I.T. could be right up your ally.

When fueled with proper nutrition and supplements, high-intensity can equal fast results.

H.I.T. Background

H.I.T. is a method based on the one-set training concept popularized decades ago by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus, and former pro bodybuilder Mike Mentzer. Other bodybuilders that adopted this training method include Casey Viator, Lee Labrada, and Dorian Yates.

The essence of the H.I.T. method is twofold: very high intensity and very low volume.

>>Intensity: Although many H.I.T. followers use very heavy weight and low reps, H.I.T. isn’t just about the weight used, but about training beyond the point of absolute muscle failure. Every set must be taken beyond failure for the technique to work. This requires the use of advanced training techniques. With my H.I.T. protocol, these techniques include drop sets, rest-pauses, and either cheat reps or forced reps.

>>Volume: The reason H.I.T. calls for only one working set (instead of, say, 2-3 sets) per exercise is based off this underlying theory: If multiple sets of an exercise are performed, every set cannot be trained with maximum intensity. By doing one, and only one, set of an exercise, you have a better chance of training with maximal intensity on every working set.

Another element of H.I.T. that Mentzer, Yates, et al., subscribed to was low frequency. Meaning, every muscle group got trained no more than one time per week to allow for adequate recovery from the brutally intense working sets.

My version of H.I.T., of course, involves full-body workouts, up to five of them per week. So obviously, I’m violating the low frequency H.I.T. law. But consider these factors:

(1) When Yates, for example, did H.I.T. workouts, he did multiple exercises for each bodypart every week; in my version, you’re only doing one exercise per muscle group per workout.

(2) Yates also did more than just one warm-up set for the first exercise or two per bodypart – typically 2-3 warm-ups set. And his warm-up sets weren’t always easy; in fact, most of Yates’ warm-up sets would have been considered challenging working sets for the average gym-goer. In my H.I.T. workouts, the one warm-up set is truly an easy priming set.

H.I.T. Science

There’s no research to specifically support the theory of H.I.T. However, the science that underlies it is sensible. Basically, it relies on muscle growth through the mechanism of muscle damage and regeneration.

Although science still knows little about precisely how muscles grow, there are two plausible theories that seem to both contribute to muscle growth. The first mechanism involves damaging the structure of a muscle cell (muscle fiber) with mechanical stress, such as heavy weight. The damaged muscle cells kick off a regeneration process that ends up with newer, stronger muscle cells replacing the damaged muscle cells.

Anecdotal reports from bodybuilders who have used H.I.T. training are varied. Some report considerable gains in both size and strength. But for many, the initial progress soon comes to a halt....

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