HIT the Weights
By Raymond Shipley
One of the hardest obstacles to overcome for nearly every client has been the time it takes to craft a great physique. With a career, kids and all the rest, finding the time to get into the gym and get the work done leaves many a would-be fitness enthusiast disenchanted and unenthused.
When in doubt, High Intensity Training (HIT) is a standard go-to. Popularized by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus, in the 1970s, there have been a number of top-end bodybuilders that have used the technique to much success. Likely the most famous of HIT proponents is 6-Time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates. And, as has been told to every client placed on a HIT program by this author, if it's good enough for Dorian, it's probably good enough for you.
The basic concept of HIT is simple: exercises should be brief, infrequent and intense. Often I employ a style of "one-hitter-quitter" style lifting with more advanced clients, utilizing a few warm up or range of motion sets before doing one, all-out set of very heavy weight to absolute positive failure. Additional techniques such as drop-sets, supersets and rest-pause often are likewise implemented in HIT programs in order to adequately fatigue the target muscle. Since the volume is very low, the level of intensity is increased to supplement the lack of volume, often to great effect.
One example of HIT application is using decline Hammer Strength Press, incline Hammer Strength Press and then dumbbell fly for pecs. After two light warm up sets for Decline HS the machine is loaded up with as much weight as can be safely lifted for 8 repetitions. Once the 8 reps is reached there is a slight (typically 30%) weight reduction before immediately lifting to positive failure again. This is repeated once again, and then decline HS is done. Incline HS is done the same way, a few light warm up sets, and one heavy set with several drops to positive failure. Last, a single set of dumbbell flies is completed with a moderately heavy weight (I seldom have clients go heavy for isolation exercises) for 15-25 reps. After less than 15 minutes, chest training is complete.
There are other variations of HIT, but it has been successfully used by my own clients many times over. Although it is a technique this author employs most often as a way of breaking training plateaus, it continues to be used as the main ingredient for many high level bodybuilders of some renown. Don't let stagnation, nor time restraints prevent adequate training. Get in the gym and HIT the weights.