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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

Evaluate Your Progress

Keep Warm-Up in Perspective


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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.

 

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ginger_spartan

There seems to be a varied depate upon HIT trainees on how many sets to failure stimulates the most muscle growth. Also i was reading an article on one of the forums and Dr. Darden said that some trainees dont need to go to failure all the time.

Im not sure what path a beginner like myself or other beginners out there are supposed to take. Its hard enough getting through all the barriers to reach HIT, what i mean by that is that there is so many views out in the body building world it confuses beginners.
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ginger_spartan

The suspect in question is 1 to 3 sets.
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Benjamin Dover

One set per exercise, 3 exercises per body part MAX. You'll do less as you progress. That's kind of the general recommendation.

Your routine should consist of no more than 10 exercises, performed 2/3 times weekly, again you'll probably do less as you progress.

Train to positive failure on all sets to begin with.

I'll probably get shot down in flames for this post but it's just straight up-and-down Dardenesque advice.

Good luck mate!
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faithwalker21

ginger_spartan wrote:
Im not sure what path a beginner like myself or other beginners out there are supposed to take. Its hard enough getting through all the barriers to reach HIT, what i mean by that is that there is so many views out in the body building world it confuses beginners.


Ginger..........
While I'm kind of known for favoring Mike Mentzer's HD routines, I must also speak as a trainer here with loads of experience in training raw beginners. In a few of Mike's books he outlined a "Break In Routine" which I have used extensively with beginners as well as anybody coming back from an extended layoff. When this routine was used and then followed by either the HD2 Ideal Routine or HD1 3 day split, the clients and even myself have all made THE BEST progress bar none.

As a beginner I used Mike's original HD routines with only 1 or 2 sets per exercise as opposed to the 2 or even 3 that he originally listed and I gained 25 lean lbs in two years and competed in my first contest as a result. I've trained many beginners and have had them do strictly 1 set per exercise and still pack on about the same.

Hope this gives you a helpful perspective as I was not one of those people who originally started out with higher volume routines and turned to lower volume out of lack of progress.
Sincerely,
John Heart

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Crotalus

In my opinion, training with a limited number of exercises and high intensity is something you learn to do over time.

Even when I learned about high intensity training and understood the concept right from the start ( my intro to HIT was Darden's High Intensity Bodybuilding ) I knew that going from five sets per exercise to one would be too drastic a drop and I wouldn't deliver the intensity to make one set work for me immediately.

I started by cutting everything I did about in half ; from five sets to two or three, etc. , eliminating some exercises and working what was left much harder ... ti failure. I also cut training days to three from four. As my training intensity increased and learned how to really push myself, I had to reduce the volume to even get through the workout. I eventually progressed to doing two workouts a week of 7-8 total sets - which always left me flat on my ass.

So I'd suggest to someone just starting out to do multiple sets, do them HARD and eventually you'll see the need to reduce volume to keep the intensity high. I believe training REALLY HARD is something you learn over time ... not the first time you load up a barbell and lift it.

Best of luck with your training.
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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

ginger_spartan wrote:
There seems to be a varied depate upon HIT trainees on how many sets to failure stimulates the most muscle growth. Also i was reading an article on one of the forums and Dr. Darden said that some trainees dont need to go to failure all the time.

Im not sure what path a beginner like myself or other beginners out there are supposed to take. Its hard enough getting through all the barriers to reach HIT, what i mean by that is that there is so many views out in the body building world it confuses beginners.


Beginners should be able to make quite good progress on SSTF for the most part.

You might also be well served in the beginning to view each set as an opportunity to set a Personal Record in that exercise and not be driven to absolute muscle failure early on. The more important underlying goal is to use the highest of efforts to produce these PRs.

High Efforts are the same as High Intensity.

Ultimately this will take you to what most would call a Rep Maximum Effort which is very similar to "Failure" but with a more significant meaning, in that it then becomes your standard of personal accomplishment.

Failure is certainly an interesting goal, but only has significance, if the reps leading to it produced the combination of stimuli you needed to cause adaptive compensation.

So I guess what I'm suggesting is the goal of failure is not as important as the goal of creating stimulus.

Lets face it, you can hang from a chin up bar at the half rep position until you can't hang any longer, (failure) but it won't provide the stimulus you want. Planning your reps and load to create those new records (for HIT in the 8-12 rep range) will cause you to add load until the first plateau.

So my advise is you might reach failure or you might not, (that is not the goal) but make the attempt to "add" load or reps each session, and you will be using "progression".
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coomo

ginger_spartan wrote:
The suspect in question is 1 to 3 sets.

ginger the most valuable training advice i can give you, is to ignore anything that bio farce recommends.He will fill your heard with pseudo scientic rubbish that will be of no benefit whatsoever.At the other extreme, james, and faithwalker are experienced individuals, whos trainning protocols have been invaluable to myself, and will help maximise your progress.

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Ciccio

Listen to James.
He knows his job.

Franco
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HSDAD

I can't really chime in with any expertise of my own, seeing as I'm a guy who trains alone in his garage. But this is what Arthur Jones (inventor of HIT and Nautilus and mentor to Darden & company) recommended for starting out. He included a breakin workout and a starting out workout. He even gave rough weights and reps.

http://www.arthurjonesexercise...

His was designed for limited equipment availability. You could make changes like using a leg press instead of a squat, or a pullover in place of chins, etc. as it sounds like you have more at your disposal. There are some duplicate exercises here which you could eliminate if you wish, reducing the total to 7 total sets. But at first you may want to include them and drop them as you get stronger.

With nothing else but this little chapter, written over 30 years ago, you can get massively strong and be in great shape. Then you could move on to more specific/advanced techniques ala Ellington Darden.

Good luck to you.

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ginger_spartan

1 set outweights everything else so im starting that, i watched a few videos. so i should strive for perfect form, failure, and a great program, have got great advise on my training log as well. Thanks alot guys, and good luck :D
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N@tural1

BIO-FORCE wrote:
Beginners should be able to make quite good progress on SSTF for the most part.


Agreed Bio-force.

BIO-FORCE wrote:
You might also be well served in the beginning to view each set as an opportunity to set a Personal Record in that exercise and not be driven to absolute muscle failure early on.


This is a good point, its more important to break PR's early on as a beginner and focus on simply getting stronger without worrying too much about taking a set to failure.

BIO-FORCE wrote:
The more important underlying goal is to use the highest of efforts to produce these PRs.

High Efforts are the same as High Intensity.


I usualy go with the classic definition of "intensity" meaning % of 1 RM so I agree that high effort in moving heavy weight = high intensity.

BIO-FORCE wrote:
Failure is certainly an interesting goal, but only has significance, if the reps leading to it produced the combination of stimuli you needed to cause adaptive compensation.


Good point, its not the actual act of "failure" thats the stimulation otherwise we could attempt to lift 10,000lbs and fail, an Grow!

Its the workload leading up to the failure rep thats the major stimulas.

BIO-FORCE wrote:
So I guess what I'm suggesting is the goal of failure is not as important as the goal of creating stimulus.


100% agreed bio

BIO-FORCE wrote:
So my advise is you might reach failure or you might not, (that is not the goal) but make the attempt to "add" load or reps each session, and you will be using "progression".


I couldnt had said it any better myself.

Great post bio and solid advice.

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ginger_spartan

What type of training is SSTF. tried to google it but didnt get much of an answer.
Thanks :D

Sam
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Waynes

Switzerland

ginger_spartan wrote:
What type of training is SSTF. tried to google it but didnt get much of an answer.
Thanks :D

Sam


Sam,

SSTF = Single Set To failure.

Please listen to BIO-FORCE, Natural2, All-pro and a few others, thay are what I like to call Masters.

Hey you made great progress before doing 3 sets, why change this ??? It should only be changed when you come to a sticking point.

Wayne

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Ciccio

ginger_spartan wrote:
What type of training is SSTF. tried to google it but didnt get much of an answer.
Thanks :D

Sam


SingleSetToFailure.

It shouldn't bother you.
Also, your best bet is to ignore the Bio-Wayne-Natural2-Allpro-jeffpinter-(did I forget anybody?)-crew.
They don't know about proper application of HIT and will just confuse you.
Listen to Ellington(!), JamesT, LANDAU.
Those guys ARE HIT!

Franco


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ginger_spartan

I done two cycles the other night with no rest. I think 3 sets with no rest every cycle would be too much. I got a program written up on my training log by hiong3 and scott. It hits all the body parts with a workout A and B. Im feeling sore still from the adjustment the other day. I think with this new program and been strict with myself and following everyones advise it will be better than the three sets with rest.

I have definitely stimulated muscle the last workout and i think this new program will work great as it hits every body part. Im gonna be sore tho lol, if im sore from the few upperbody exercises i done the other day. Thanks mate.
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N@tural1

Ciccio wrote:.
They don't know about proper application of HIT


???

Evidence?

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ginger_spartan

are you saying HIT doesnt work
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hiong3.eng5

HIT works. Many can attest to that. Those who train under Dr Darden, Mike Mentzer, Drew Baye, John Heart and a host of others can testify on the effectiveness of HIT. There are strength coaches in the athletic circles using it, (I think it is in football).
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N@tural1

ginger_spartan wrote:
are you saying HIT doesnt work


No, Im not saying that at all, unfortunatly when you have the belief that HIT isnt the be all and end all of weight training and/or weight lifting, some feel the need to attack/insult.

Why I have no idea mate.

HIT does work for some

Higher volume works for some

You have to find what works best for you

HIT maybe just the ticket, but others do better on a multi-set approach and avoiding failure.

Best answer i can give you is try it and see how it goes.

Do you feel that this is a fair answer?
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ginger_spartan

how does your program and rest days look like now hiong3 :D
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hiong3.eng5

Hi Spartan,

I am on the thin side, with some fat on the side, if you get what I mean :) I am 35 years old.

I am the type who changes routine after 2 weeks or a month. I one set to failure. Mostly Darden style with 3x a week or 2x a week program, but I have tried others. My goal is to reach a lean 75 kg with a lower body fat.

I am relearning HIT style and finding the best way to reach it in an efficient way.

I am currently trying a 1 set to failure , 5x/2 wk program with an experimental ABC routine split, kinda like what the Ideal Routine of Mike Mentzer did.

Mon - Legs + lower abs and oblique
Wed - Shoulder/Arms
Fri - Back/Chest + Abs
Mon - Legs + lower abs and oblique
Thu - Back/Chest + Abs

William
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N@tural1

hiong3.eng5

How long have been training?
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ginger_spartan

yip for some ppl it works for others it doesnt, why doesnt it work for some ppl you think?

Thanks william, you seem like you have the same body type as me :D im aiming for that weight as well and then i will try and go on a cutting phase, dont know how to do that but im sure i will find the answer when the time comes.

Thanks

sam :D
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N@tural1

ginger_spartan wrote:
yip for some ppl it works for others it doesnt, why doesnt it work for some ppl you think?


One of the differences in indivduals is fibre type composition some may be more type 1 and lower range 2a dominant while others maybe upper range type 2a and 2b dominant.

Also some dont tolerate the systematyic fatigue of constantly training to failure. Failure is not the stimulas.

A set taken to failure will create more fatigue than a set stopped short of failure. But you can still generate just as much or greater fatigue by using multiple sets with cumalative fatigue.
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Ryo

Switzerland

How many sets ?

This question shouldn't be asked because volume has nothing to do with stimulation. Muscular stimulation = Intensity of Effort = Muscle Degree of Activation. You can achieve maximum muscular activation with either a set or a rep (1RM). The next question is how often should I repeat the stimulus ?

When you are doing a second set you are repeating the stimulus MUCH too soon. You haven't even started to adapt to the first stimulus (!) You'll increase fatigue and the risk of overtraining for nothing. The right question is not how much volume is optimal but how much intensity/activation !
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