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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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My HIT Workout This Morning
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coach-jeff

Louisiana, USA

So it seems many of us on this board have backed off 100% failure training with low volume, in favor of somewhat higher volume programs which do not emphasize going to failure as much or at all. Myself included.

Now there is zero doubt that I have made dramatic progress this past year (at age 49/50) by doing around 5 sets per bodypart vs the 1 or 2 set per bodypart I did for decades, after buying a bit too much into Mentzer's mega abbreviated HIT training approach. I know the progress isn't just in my head, as I keep getting unsolicited comments lately from people wondering what I'm doing to have grown so much in past year.

But I had a very interesting experience this morning that got me to thinking...I was scheduled to train back and chest today, but literally only had about 10 minutes to do it in this morning, due to other stuff going on. I could've put the workout off until later in the day, but I prefer morning training, so just went ahead with the limited time being what it was.

So what's a fella to do when he's only got about 10 minutes to totally fry his back and chest? HIT of course.

So this morning, after over a year of backing away from failure training, I took the few sets I did to 100% gut-busting failure. 2 sets of pulldowns and 2 sets of pec-dec.

And man oh man...it really made me realize how much I'd been holding back from failure. I ended up doing 15 reps with a weight I normally use for sets of 10 on pulldowns. And I got 12 reps with 200 pounds on the Nautilus 10-degree pec-dec, which normally I'd probably do sets of 8 with.

But even more interesting than learning just how much I've been holding back to accommodate more volume, the target muscles felt a lot more worked than usual lately. Even with just two sets, rather than 5.

I know some will say it's due to nervous system fatigue, but I don't think so. I'm NOT talking nerves...I mean my MUSCLES felt super pumped and WORKED in a way that sub-failure training doesn't do to them, even with more volume.

I find there really is something very special and unique about those last one or two do-or-die reps.

I know many of you here these days do not agree with that, and that's fine. I could care less about convincing anyone. Just relating my own personal experience.

But this experience this morning, of feeling my muscles getting totally pumped and worked so quickly, got me to thinking that my only so-so results from ultra abbreviated HIT had little to do with any shortcoming of HIT per-se, but rather my insistence on following Mentzer's version of it.

I now have it in my head, now that I'm very acclimated to somewhat higher volume, that I am going to give old school HIT another try, but with more total weekly training volume.

Not sure yet if I'm going to go with low frequency with a bit higher volume, or less per-session volume with increased frequency of training for each bodypart. I'll probably try both, but the total set per week will be the same, rather I do them all in one workout, or spread them out over multiple weekly sessions. (Sort of like HST does)

But yeah...this morning really reinvigorated my enthusiasm for ball to the walls HIT training. Just with a bit more total weekly workload than I did while under Mentzer's spell.

If I have anything I think worth sharing about this little personal experiment of mine, I will do so.

Again, I'm not trying to convince anyone that 100% failure training is the way to go...just my own little experiment is all. Training to 100% failure in all sets, but with a bit more weekly volume than I did for about 20 years of Mentzer style HIT/Heavy Duty.

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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

You do what you're not used to for best gains. No one is saying to avoid training to failure... or to avoid Mentzer type programs, etc., etc., but that they need to be interspersed at appropriate times relative to adaptation.
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Crotalus

coach-jeff wrote:

I now have it in my head, now that I'm very acclimated to somewhat higher volume, that I am going to give old school HIT another try, but with more total weekly training volume.



When I made my shift from full body, twice a week training (7-8 exercises/sets) to a three-way split for three days a week, I still stayed 'low volume' per workout and still train to failure.

The best thing to me was splitting the routine and using Zones. This is where the 'higher volume' is for me. My workouts still are between 25 and 30 minutes and still around 8-9 exercises, usually two sets each ; sometimes three like when doing a 30/15/8 thing (for me it's 24/12/6)

The increase in volume is from doing more exercises for a muscle group and many more contractions using Zones in the same 25-30 minute time frame, not because of much more time in the gym training ... I'm training around an hour and a half a week total ... about 10 minutes a muscle group. Certainly not what anyone other than Mike Mentzer would call 'too much'.

But I do train each Zone to failure and recover just fine. Doing so on a split routine is nothing like it was doing a full body 'Dr. Ken' routine utilizing mostly compound movements.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

I noted very similar reposnse a few months back. I did slow, low-rep bench press for the first time in a long time and the pump was incredible AND long-lasting!

Important Note: After about the third time, these slow benches did not produce the same effect and it was time to change it up again.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

The other observation that many seem to neglect... they stall on different versions of HIT... then start on a higher volume routine, whether it's dealing with Zones or HDT... brief, but more volume. Then they break a plateau and start making gains. Then months later they decide to try HIT again and they get a great workout. VARIATION... VARIATION... VARIATION. I never returned to traditional HIT, but then again... I must have come up with 15 different (new) ways of performing exercise that are not even in the HDT book/bulletin or the Variation book... or in the three Zone books.
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HeavyHitter32

I can see where failure has 'shock' value and I look at failure as an occasional tool or technique versus doing it every workout on every set as once you keep doing it consistently (and in a more traditional HIT manner such as on every set, full range, 6-12 reps, etc.) you are forced to resort to less frequency and volume to the point it becomes detrimental to real muscular gains. Sure, you can eek out that additional rep and/or extra few pounds training once every 7-14 days, but then look less than ideal. Most people who realize this then resort back to something with a bit less intensity to get more volume and frequency. As mentioned by someone else, I find zone training to failure less demanding systematically and can be applied more often by comparison but even then I don't do a lot of it.

It can be interesting doing things you haven't done in a while. I did a thorough zone session on my biceps recently and it was just amazing the pump and sensation of the muscle being worked...that fullness and vascularity remained unique for days to come. It was just one workout. But again, it was just something they were completely unaccustomed to.

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hit4me

Florida, USA

i too have switched up my routine, i tried to add some volume and did not seem to like it, therefore, i have returned to one set per exercise with about 12 exercises full body per session.
the only difference is i have reduced my training to once per week, and i have upped my tul from 2-2-2 to 5-2-5 for a max of 15 reps
(if i get 15 i stop and increase the weight next time, if i do not get 15 i stay with the same weight until i do). with this routine i feel like i am achieving a pump and have some muscle soreness for a couple days.

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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

5-2-5 for 15 reps? Three minute sets? Good luck with that.
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cokerat

I don't understand. You cut back the intensity and upped the volume and put on size for the first time in years. Now you're going to abandon that to go back to what you were doing ( which didn't work to begin with ) ???????
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hit4me

Florida, USA

Brian Johnston wrote:
5-2-5 for 15 reps? Three minute sets? Good luck with that.


why are you questioning? not understanding your response.

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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

Making certain that I understand you and that you actually are pushing for 3-minute sets. If so, then good luck as there are issues with tension times lasting that long. Not that you won't get a jolt for 1-2 workouts, but thereafter there are issues of overuse atrophy and lack of sufficient loading... and entering the aerobic energy system.
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Bastion

I didn't want to re copy Coach Jeff's whole first post. I noticed that you mentioned that you had only 10 min to train the other day. I'm sure that's not always the case, however I'm not sure why more here don't train more often with a typical bodybuilding split beyond a 3 way or A/B. I'm currently training 1-2 bodyparts per day and feel great, as opposed to packing everything into 2-3 sessions. And it's nice to really focus on and be a bit more creative with a workout, I find. Even the hardest of Hitter's Dorian Yates and Gordon Lavelle train 4-5 times a week, and surely we don't train as hard as they do. I was afraid for years to train more than 2-3 times a week, but if you don't annihilate yourself each session I think 1 bodypart training per day is doable for most. And getting back to Coach Jeff, you can blast a bodypart pretty good in 10-15 min!.
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hit4me

Florida, USA

Brian Johnston wrote:
Making certain that I understand you and that you actually are pushing for 3-minute sets. If so, then good luck as there are issues with tension times lasting that long. Not that you won't get a jolt for 1-2 workouts, but thereafter there are issues of overuse atrophy and lack of sufficient loading... and entering the aerobic energy system.


i am actually not pushing for 3 minute sets or 5-2-5, its just ending up that way as i am performing the set....i felt that the 2-2-2 was too fast (i.e. incorporating momemtum due to heavier weights being used), therefore, i dropped the weight significantly and wanted to focus more on the feeling of the rep itself
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NewYorker

New York, USA

I am not so sure that I would emulate the pros frequency, intensity and duration, as they are on PEDs.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

I know you're not pushing for 3 minute sets, but you are ALLOWING for it to happen as you push for a certain goal in reps that equate to 3 minute sets. Nonetheless, if you can make gains, or at least maintain a peak and look good, then that's all that matters.

In terms of momentum occurring with 2/2/2, then that is YOUR problem in terms of knowing how to control the weight and being able to ISOLATE the targeted muscles. A sway, swing, yank or jerk means the weight is too heavy for good form regardless of the cadence and it is not the fault of the cadence itself. I can crank out reps like a piston without any body movement and only the contractions of the targeted muscles themselves.

Most people (perhaps you are one, I'm uncertain) also equate training to having to move full ROM in an exercise, rather than targeted a good chunk of the ROM while working with a briefer cadence. Thus, they necessitate the need for a longer cadence, but then make the mistake of wanting to do higher reps. Therefore, long tension times that may increase your muscular endurance and little else.
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farhad

Massachusetts, USA

hit4me wrote:
Brian Johnston wrote:
Making certain that I understand you and that you actually are pushing for 3-minute sets. If so, then good luck as there are issues with tension times lasting that long. Not that you won't get a jolt for 1-2 workouts, but thereafter there are issues of overuse atrophy and lack of sufficient loading... and entering the aerobic energy system.

i am actually not pushing for 3 minute sets or 5-2-5, its just ending up that way as i am performing the set....i felt that the 2-2-2 was too fast (i.e. incorporating momemtum due to heavier weights being used), therefore, i dropped the weight significantly and wanted to focus more on the feeling of the rep itself


You felt too much momentum with 2 seconds? Interesting. With most exercise I have found 2-seconds to be slow enough for momentum not to set in...depending on ROM.
But I take your word for it, but then why would you make a big jump from 2 seconds to 5? Why now a 3-1-3? or even a 4-1-4?

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HeavyHitter32

farhad wrote:


You felt too much momentum with 2 seconds? Interesting. With most exercise I have found 2-seconds to be slow enough for momentum not to set in...depending on ROM.



I agree with you.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

farhad wrote:
You felt too much momentum with 2 seconds? Interesting. With most exercise I have found 2-seconds to be slow enough for momentum not to set in...depending on ROM.
But I take your word for it, but then why would you make a big jump from 2 seconds to 5? Why now a 3-1-3? or even a 4-1-4?



And why work upward of 3-minute sets when that will do shit for development or strength... the only result is a deep burn (unless a person has freakishly high slow twitch count).
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HeavyHitter32

I cannot imagine doing a continuous 3 minute set...seems far too much in the endurance/aerobic realm. The load is not likely to be sufficiently heavy if you can carry on that long.
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hit4me

Florida, USA

Brian Johnston wrote:
I know you're not pushing for 3 minute sets, but you are ALLOWING for it to happen as you push for a certain goal in reps that equate to 3 minute sets. Nonetheless, if you can make gains, or at least maintain a peak and look good, then that's all that matters.

In terms of momentum occurring with 2/2/2, then that is YOUR problem in terms of knowing how to control the weight and being able to ISOLATE the targeted muscles. A sway, swing, yank or jerk means the weight is too heavy for good form regardless of the cadence and it is not the fault of the cadence itself. I can crank out reps like a piston without any body movement and only the contractions of the targeted muscles themselves.

Most people (perhaps you are one, I'm uncertain) also equate training to having to move full ROM in an exercise, rather than targeted a good chunk of the ROM while working with a briefer cadence. Thus, they necessitate the need for a longer cadence, but then make the mistake of wanting to do higher reps. Therefore, long tension times that may increase your muscular endurance and little else.


i agree, it is a ME problem

as for full ROM, yes i am one of those, i have tried partials in the past and just did not like them

would you suggest i lower the rep count to 10 in lieu of 15
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hit4me

Florida, USA

farhad wrote:
hit4me wrote:
Brian Johnston wrote:
Making certain that I understand you and that you actually are pushing for 3-minute sets. If so, then good luck as there are issues with tension times lasting that long. Not that you won't get a jolt for 1-2 workouts, but thereafter there are issues of overuse atrophy and lack of sufficient loading... and entering the aerobic energy system.

i am actually not pushing for 3 minute sets or 5-2-5, its just ending up that way as i am performing the set....i felt that the 2-2-2 was too fast (i.e. incorporating momemtum due to heavier weights being used), therefore, i dropped the weight significantly and wanted to focus more on the feeling of the rep itself

You felt too much momentum with 2 seconds? Interesting. With most exercise I have found 2-seconds to be slow enough for momentum not to set in...depending on ROM.
But I take your word for it, but then why would you make a big jump from 2 seconds to 5? Why now a 3-1-3? or even a 4-1-4?




did not make the big jump on purpose, just works out that way

also watched a video of casey viator training some guy named trevor bearsto (i am sure i spelled that wrong), it appeared the reps were about 4 to 5 seconds.
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hit4me

Florida, USA

HeavyHitter32 wrote:
I cannot imagine doing a continuous 3 minute set...seems far too much in the endurance/aerobic realm. The load is not likely to be sufficiently heavy if you can carry on that long.


weights are much lighter
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

hit4me wrote:
also watched a video of casey viator training some guy named trevor bearsto (i am sure i spelled that wrong), it appeared the reps were about 4 to 5 seconds.


I filmed and produced that video. Casey purposely had him move slowly because of the philosophy of the IART (certification) at the time, and NOT because Casey thought it was ideal. Also, many of the sets were too long in tension time... Casey wanted to keep them under 60-seconds, but he was guessing as to the loads (he never trained Trevor before). Nonetheless, he had Trevor continue to failure no matter how long it took. In sum, what was done was not IDEAL, but merely demonstrated training to failure no matter the problems associated with the workout.
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hit4me

Florida, USA

Brian Johnston wrote:
hit4me wrote:
also watched a video of casey viator training some guy named trevor bearsto (i am sure i spelled that wrong), it appeared the reps were about 4 to 5 seconds.


I filmed and produced that video. Casey purposely had him move slowly because of the philosophy of the IART (certification) at the time, and NOT because Casey thought it was ideal. Also, many of the sets were too long in tension time... Casey wanted to keep them under 60-seconds, but he was guessing as to the loads (he never trained Trevor before). Nonetheless, he had Trevor continue to failure no matter how long it took. In sum, what was done was not IDEAL, but merely demonstrated training to failure no matter the problems associated with the workout.


i saw your name on it, so i assumed you were involved

thanks for clarifying
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farhad

Massachusetts, USA

hit4me,

I suggest not even focusing on your cadence. That will distract your mind from achieving that mind-muscle connection that results in quality muscular contractions.
Just perform each repetition in a controlled manner properly breathing. Make each one count! visualize each muscle contracting and retract.
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