T Nation

Feelings on HIT

Hey folks! I’m looking for a change of pace after all that German Volume Training and I’m thinking about HIT, Heavy Duty, etc. It sounds appealing and I’ll try anything for a few weeks. Anybody have any good or bad experiences?

I have had fantastic results with Heavy Duty. Exactly as Mentzer described it. Flame away, guys, but it put on almost 50 pounds of mass. You just cant keep it for too long, or you hit a wall, just like any other training program. I love HIT and Heavy Duty.

DA MAN; you’re an Officer and a Gentleman! No flame here, because you “Hit” it on the head (no pun intended). Hit, heavy duty, GVT…most programs will probably have their place in an overall program. However, we all need some type of variation or we will most certainly “hit the wall”. I think that people get a little angry when some guru adamantly believes that their way is the only one “true” way to reach our goals, and all others are garbage.

Yeah, I hate gurus. Mentzer had a few screws loose, I will give you that. But for some reason, I respond so much better to HIT type training.
But, that is just me, and I realize that not everyone responds the same, or feels the same.
Thanks for not flaming me. I have just seen people here hate Heavy Duty just because Mentzer was kinda loony. I couldnt stomach his ideals, his views of life and the world, but that has no bearing on the fact that his training protocol did wonders for me. He can take the rest of his views on anything and everything and roll it and smoke it. Thats not why I read his books. I would skip right to the training section. Which was usually the last few chapters…

I kinda liked reading about Mentzer’s life philosophies. He expressed them in a completely pompous, “I know everything and you know nothing” kind of way, but still an interesting read. There’s not much about his actual training regimine that I like though, so I guess we’re kind of opposites. What generally irks me about him is that he claims completely outrageous things that I could never imagine in reality. For example, I once read about a client of his, stuck on a plateau and without a doubt near death because of “gross overtraining,” who went from the 4th plate to the entire stack on leg extensions in 2 or 3 workouts. It’s also been my experience that his clients adopt his strategy of unbelievable over-dramatization of their gains. Not to say that yours or any other’s who posts here is untrue, but that’s been my experience with the “Mentzer crew.” I would never criticize someone who tried his system though. I tried it with full committment, following every one of his recommendations, and got weaker and smaller in a real hurry. After a couple months I was ready to return to reality. So maybe I’m just biased because I never got shit from training HIT style.

With HIT, my strength gains are consistent and big. Each workout is an up in either wt or reps, or both. I tend to have the best results with this type of training. It is definately hard. Strange to get used to. I am sorry you did not have success with this style.
And trust me, I dont overdramatize the gains- 145lbs to 205lbs. With very little fat gain. I estimate of the 60 pounds of weight, perhaps 10 was fat. Dont get me wrong, this happened over a period of more than a year. But it happened.

HIT is the way to go as far as I am concerned, but there are a couple of caveates. First, you have to train HARD to get the stimulation from just one set. Most people who are used to traditional training pace themselves so that their last set does it for them, this means they exchange more exercise for harder exercise. I have worked out with some guys who did tough exercise, but not in an intense fasion, thing like athletic and military training with weights. Invariably they don’t work as hard as they should for HIT. It can be tricky to work HIT, and most people who do don’t actually work as hard as they can. Super abreivieted programs can cause imbalances (in the back/neck especially) and some attention to smaller muscles must be paid. The old Arthur Jones stuff is gold. Good luck.

Great job then bro! Stick with it!

By the way, Colin, the “old Arthur Jones”
stuff that was so successful was – get
ready for this – about 72 sets per week!

Most HIT devotees are unaware of this.

Been there and done that. Great if you are pressed for time. It did work for me for a while, and got me over 300 lbs on Squats for the first time. Problems: If you are really doing the workouts as prescribed, you will come to dread them. Going to REAL failure hurts! I also began having problems with my shoulders aching. After about 3 months of this, took 2 weeks off and tried Super Squats program. Now there is the real deal. gained more on that than anything ever.

Without wanting to argue the semantics of what old Arthur Jones stuff is, in the 70s he did start moving towards a one set, 8-14 exercise full body WO done 2-3 times per week. He also always stressed doing less rather than more when in doubt. This gives us 16-42 sets per week (or maybe a little more if we consider pre exhaust more than one set) which is more my style, but quite far from the Heavy Duty II no exercise stuff. The main thing is that getting good gains on any system, but most critically on HIT, requires truly hard training. I think nearly all who try HIT and get smaller and weaker simply train HDII style (too little) and/or are not ready for the level of intensity that is actually required.

Colin, Arthur Jones is perhaps the best
argument AGAINST the extension of HIT ideas
to so few sets.

Prior to his coming up with HIT ideas, he
trained religiously for years. Had no problem keeping up with his training.

He continued to train regularly at the
time of the Training Bulletins, which has
the volume I mentioned above.

After his ideas included reducing sets
yet further (which may have been influenced
greatly for the need to appeal both to the
public and to gym owners, but also no doubt
he persuaded himself into believing) the
man was never, by his own admission, able
to get himself to train for more than a few
weeks in a row. He fell into an unending
pattern of training for a few weeks, making
great gains, and then backsliding with no
training for months on end.

No doubt for precisly the reason Huck mentions.

Even Arthur Jones will not claim that
the lower volume approach gives better
results than the approach he initially
advocated in the Training Bulletins.
He just claims it’s faster and more
efficient to do more sets. But the net
result in his own case was backsliding –
and for most individuals in my opinion,
staying down around 20 total sets per week
or whatever all the time will not produce the best possible results for them even if they
do stick with it.

thanks doug. I had to change my training because I hit a major wall. I am now in the process of upping the volume and frequency. Hopefully this will stimulate some new growth. Thanks again.

By the way, I’d strongly recommend reading
Arthur Jones’ Training Bulletins… this is “HIT” that actually makes sense and will work
well for almost everybody even as the main
mode of training, not just an alternate.
Sure, there are a few points on which I or most trainers would disagree today but overall this is good stuff.

Here’s an excerpt illustrating a routine
he highly recommends


Using only a barbell, one light pair of dumbbells, a flat bench, a chinning bar, parallel
bars, a squat rack and one fairly-simple pulley device, an enormous amount of results can
be produced in a fairly short time by the proper practice of the following training

       1. 2 sets of 10 repetitionsfull squats :06 (minutes)<P>

       2. 3 sets of 20 " one-legged calf raises :06<P>

       3. 2 sets of 10 " barbell standing presses :06<P>

       4. 2 sets of 10 " behind-neck chins :06<P>

       5. 2 sets of 10 " bench presses :06<P>

       6. 2 sets of 10 " regular-grip chins :06<P>

       7. 2 sets of 10 " parallel dips :06<P>

       8. 2 sets of 10 " barbell curls :08

9. 2 sets of 12 " pulley triceps-curls :06

       10. 2 sets of 15 " wrist curls :02<P>

       11. 1 set of 10 " regular-grip chins :03<P>

       12. 1 set of 10 " parallel dips :03<P>

       13. 2 sets of 15 " stiff-legged deadlifts :06<P>

       14. 2 sets of 10 " dumbbell side raises :06<P>


       The above program - consisting of a total of 27 sets, to be performed in one hour and
       sixteen minutes, three times weekly - will build great overall strength and muscular mass
       in almost all cases; and in individual cases where the results produced are below
       expectations, it is probable that the program should be reduced, rather than increased.<P>

       I used the above outlined training program more than twenty years ago - and produced
       very good results with it - but in light of knowledge gained in the meantime, I would now
       alter it in several ways; instead of standing presses with a barbell, I would use a slightly
       different exercise with heavy dumbbells, strict presses with the elbows held back in line
       with the shoulders and with a parallel grip (with palms of the hands facing each other) -
       behind-neck chins would be performed with a fairly narrow grip and I would use a bar that
       permitted a parallel grip in this case also - a set of dumbbell supine lateral raises with
       nearly-straight arms would be added immediately before each set of bench presses - the
       barbell curls and pulley triceps curls would be performed alternately - and I would
       substitute a set of behind-neck presses for the second set of dumbbell side raises.<P>


Note that this is 81 sets per week! Mentzer must be turning over in his grave.

I highly recommend reading:



HIT does and will work. I believe it is in the least more efficient. I also believe that as long as extreme overtraining is avoided your end results will not varry much over the course of say 10 years. If you did say 10 sets a workout 2x’s per week or you did 20 sets a workout 3x’s per week in the end (10 years in this case) I don’t think you would look any different. But if you want to have time for your family, career,seeing friends, reading a good book,going to school, etc… HIT is the way to go. But if you are a young guy with nothing else to do but go to the gym, or a guy that would rather be at the gym then playing ball with your son, or a guy that looks forward to his first divorce, etc… go ahead and spend more time in the gym then is “needed”. IMO

So you are say that people should do HIT training or their spouses will divorce them?

I am saying that if you spend 12 hrs a week in the gym your relationship will suffer. I am saying you will have a better relationship if you worked out for 2 hrs a week and spent the extra 10 hrs with your spouse and children.
p.s. I love your ice version!!!