T Nation

High volume rules, low volume/HIT drools!

I see a bad tendency in training. More and more trainees are buying into overtraining (which is mostly an escuse used to train less).

I was a low volume fanatic, beleive that anything over 3 days per week was for druggies… After all my chest had trouble recovering from just 5 sets per week. I did only 1-3 sets of deadlifts since lower back is supposedly the slowest recovering bodypart. I have read many studies about how even such small and fast to recover bodypart (foreamr) can take up to 6 weeks to recover… I bought into this bull.

My bodyweight couldnt defeat 204 pound mark.

And then I tried and did high volume.
15-25 sets per bodypart.
6 days per week . Each bodypart gets worked 3x per week.

My strength is going up, my bodyweight is much higher in few weeks… I do now 6 sets for chest and keep progressing 3x per week!

Pain is for the weak. Even if my lats are hurtin’ i still lift weights and IMPROVE.

If I had the time I would train twice a day… I am 100% natural…

And YEH, long time ago I did try to workout only 3 days per week(rather than my normal 2). I overtrained, but now I have figured out that it was all in my head, lack of nutrition, and lack of neurological conditioning.

Your muscles dont have to recover that much! They can be trained to recover faster, and that measn that they hafta get bigger to be able to tolerate more stress in unit time.

Why high volume is logical? Muscle growth because of work it does, not how much it lifts in 1 set. More work in unit time means bigger muscles, since you need stronger and more energetical muscle to tolerate more tension. Training muscle only once oer week makes it wait 7 days before nbeing worked again. IT IS SITTING IDLE. By training it more often you are making it perform more work per unit time, it adapts and becomes bigger.

By not training to failure you dont spike
cortisol levels which mean, no overtraining.

HIT is horrible since you do very little work. With one set per exercise you cant improve very musch.

Sure you can constantly add weight to that set. But very soon you wont be able to do it. Your reps will start falling down. I mean no one got XXXXX pound lift from doing 1 set. You need more variables not just 1 set with 1 rep set to increase. Oh and HIT demands you to DECREASE your volume. See, less muscle stress per unit time = less work = less muscles… Alse neat Hebbin mechanism comes into play and your already screwy neurological system gets screwed even larger.

By training less you are not letting your body into adaptation of training more. More work = more muscle size AND MORE EFFORT. And that is why everyone is buying into “dont overtrain hype”. More training sessions means more times getting off your coach and going to they gym.
Yeh you cant go to the theater and watch “The Clone Wars”, you can stay up late and watch the 'Simpsons". Yeh we know, we know. One of those days you gonna get motivation. Too bad arnie isnt here, he could really motivate you. See he WAS MOTIVATED and he did WORK HARD. And he had a very good phisique. ANd even today the best pros still train high volume.

HIT developed by Arthur Jones became so popular only because it was so easy to do. Hey only 1 day per week you need to get off your coach and spend only 20 minutes in the gym. Also his nautilus equipment would be used very quickly in a given period of time and guess what. More customers = more money. Smart monkey mr Jones. he doesnt care about bodybuilders getting as big as possible, no, his wallet is the only thing that he wants to increase.

And many people use his ideas who get no financial interst in that. And they dont question the origins of ideas!
Hey just because it is NEW, totally agains the tide, and most important IT IS EASY. Doesnt mean that it is good.

Also some people say that “training 6 days per week is not very intensive or else you would overtraing.” You need intensityu they say. YES but, you need to progressively increase it. If you train super intense 2 days per week and start training 6 days per week with the same intensity and puking every minute - Yes you will overtraiin. But if
you start slowly and work your way up,
eventully you could train as intensily on a 6 days per week program. And guess what what is better 2 days of Blood and Guts or 12 sessions per week? Ofcourse 12 sessions is better.
Howeever you cant get there by simply bein laid back and being conservative about your training frequncy. You have to work it! Ofcourse it is hard and takes a lot of persiverance, dedication and hard work. But hey, bodybuild IS about hard work.

Just because you cant bench 600 pound the first time you learn how to bench press, you shouldnt qit and say
“it is impossible” . No you work yourself up there. Notice I said 'work yourself up" . Not stayiong in the same conservative split (less than 6 days per week)

And please dont say “you hafta use drugs or you are a genetic monster or you are plainly overtraining”.

By proper progression, proper rest, proper relaxation techniques, proper
bodybuilding principles and proper diet

(as much calories as you can stuff yourself with. Forget lean sources, Eat pizza, ice cream, chips, burgers, and french fries, while you wait for you 6000 calorie weight gain shake is getting ready to blend)

You will be surprised about what you body can make! My body did that high volume high gains approach, and my body was very prone to overtraining…

So dont say that you are geneticly predisposed to overtraining. .And hey since I dont drive yet I have to get my
body through all the crap outside we call snow. - 30C sucks when you have to walk long distance after a brutal leg day. 6 days training + 5-6 sessions through -30C degrees and trying not to fall on ice more than 5 times per second… geeez we see the kind of stress I get. You all guys in California are lucky. Sunny weather and no ice!

You should train evenb more times since you get stressed less.!
There is no easy way out, there is no shortcut home… yeh, go rocky!!! Watch rocky 4 running through the ice and snow in Rocky IV training. its me…

Reply please! Lets put HIT myth to rest! Hopefully you have read through all of it.

Hey, Bro…been spikin’ the 'ole Ganja with a little Ephedrine, have 'ya? Just kidding! I get your point. I have a few thoughts to your post:


1)There is an individual “threshold” where each person crosses over into that “no man’s land” of overtraining. There are NUMEROUS variables that can lead to it, with training volume being just one. In terms of volume, we all are on a continum, where some individuals can grow and tolerate greater volume than others. There is no “one size fits all”.


2) Now…that being said…I am NOT a “HIT” advocate, but am from the “8-12 rep/about 20-25 total sets per workout” school of hypertrophy. NOT because it’s dogma, but because it works for ME. HOWEVER…I am beginning to appreciate periodization and the need to “mix it up” every now and then throughout the year. This includes mixing in some low volume “strength” type of training. (I’m also looking at HST as a protocol that may become part of my overall periodization). A lot of people on this site also do a lot of Sports Specific training. So again. a)no one size fits all and b)You should “mix it up” a little.


3)I agree with you in the sense THAT AT LEAST FOR ME, “HIT” would not be my Basic program. Maybe during a period of “active rest”, for a brief period of time, and to keep me in the gym… but that would be about it.

Didnt you get enough at the Anabolex board? Why dont you train and eat this way, then post pictures so we can laugh?

sorry mate, you’re goin about it the wrong way, U don’t need to lift that much.
Lift about 5 days a week,work a body part once a week,that’ll do.

High Intensity Training (HIT) or one set to complete failure training was originally made popular by Arthur Jones, and bodybuilders such as Casey Viator, the Mentzer brothers, and Dorian Yates also followed this principal closely.

Each of these guys in their prime possessed an incredible physique. I particularly admired Viator’s and Mike Mentzer’s physiques when I was growing up. Personally, to me they were far more impressive than today’s bloated, big-gutted professionals and Mentzer and Viator were as strong as they looked.

To really understand HIT you have to know how it originated. Back in the 70’s and 80’s thanks to a certain, “trainer of champions” bodybuilding exploded mainstream and became so jammed full of bullshit training programs it was ridiculous.

Bodybuilding training is really an incredibly simple, straight forward activity. However, to fill the pages of his monthly publications the “trainer of champions” paid his writers to invent these pseudo, high-tech training programs for his sponsored pro bodybuilders.

Barely coherent bodybuilders were all of a sudden able to discuss the virtues of how they blasted every muscle with 20-30 sets of an assortment of various exercises. Absurd, high volume, marathon, double split workouts for all sorts of body parts that I didn’t know existed. These articles actually started the whole “more is better” approach.

They documented highly segmented training schedules working the outer-quads, eyelids and inner biceps on one day, then inner quads, outer biceps, upper-calves, medial-triceps, hair and toenails the next day. Employing exercises to target the upper chest, lower chest, mid-chest, inner-chest, and outer-chest, all on different days! That sort of rubbish.

This was all to simply fill up a magazine that was only a medium in which to sell some very simplistic supplements and feed a massive ego. You probably have no idea what a monopoly this old guy and his brother had on the industry for more than 20 years. They made billions and still do. They were the ultimate entrepreneurs.

However, high intensity training emerged during this rein and questioned the stupidity of this high volume, endless sets approach. It got some bodybuilders to at least think about their training and to train less. Therefore, at the time HIT was like a breath of fresh air.

However, Mike Mentzer who was the most recognize and out spoken advocate of HIT, was far too dogmatic in his approach. He continually stated that there was no other way to grow muscle when, in fact (as demonstrated by the many variations in bodybuilders training programs), different approaches do work.

To a certain extent HIT follows the principles that create the most significant increases in muscle growth. However, the one-set-only rule that HIT advocates does not provide much room for error or experimentation. Charles Poliquin, the legendary strength coach suggests that an experienced athlete will plateau within weeks using the exact same regime, no matter how effective.

While the debate between multi-set and single-set training rages hotly in the US, my colleagues in Europe snicker about this argument. In European countries, elite strength athletes and coaches are aware that excessive volume is not necessary. However, they also know that a world class physique is not possible simply by performing one set and walking out of the gym.

Uh oh! Here we go again.

I believe HIT is a very effective way to train. Mentzers final publications that called for working out once per week were a little goofy buthis earlier workouts were very productive. I don’t know anyone that hasn’t responded positively training each bodypart once a week over a three day split using one set to failure.

Okay people, listen up. HIT and one set to failure AREN’T THE SAME THING! Read up on it. HIT has a very loose philosophy of infrequent training (if that’s once a week for you, then great. It’s 3x per week for me), relatively low volume (usually workouts can be done in a hour or less), highly intense (which necessitates the “infrequent”, which I believe is the big bone of contention of the original poster). Mentzer was the extreme end of HIT, and even the HIT guys derided him.