T Nation

HIT vs. VOLUME:personal conclusions

this is a 6 year personal ‘lab study’ of sorts with some interesting findings. In a nutshell HIT is certainly effective but only as a segment of an overall trainig plan and more correllated with strength development than muscle building.The heavy duty proponents of HIT being a singular mode of training are most certainly short sided.

My ‘serious’ weight training efforts began in 1995 and until 1999 and were solely fed by the ideas of arthur jones and mike mentzer. I went from 150 to 175 and my strength rose much more dramatically… (in fact I was slightly stronger at 175 than I am today at 208!).

After plateauing for close to 2 years at around 175 in 1999, I decided to simply add a ‘backoff’ set of 12-15 reps following my set to failure.Ididn’t get any stronger but I got great pumps for once and noticed I started filling out more… noticibly. No strength increasebut a fuller look and 2-3 pds heavier after a few months (wow!). Then I decided to furher violate HD principles by going to four days a week and devoting each day to a major muscle group with up to 6 different exercises (v.s. a protocol similar to the HD handbook)…thats when my physique seemed to take off… again my strength actually declined a bit (in the exercises I’d done habitually)… but my muscle development took OFF! Went from 178-190 in a 6 month period. I pushed the volume side further in various ways subsequently (end had the presence of mind to eat more as I grew) and am now at 208ish. To this day interestingly enough, some core compound exersises are only 5-8% stronger than when I was at 175.

Bottom line for me: any routine which limits variation in loading, sets, or training frequency WILL grind to a HALT.This is the blind side of the heavy duty vision.

Their response is “decrease frquency even MORE!”.all that does is just extend the inevitable…NO PROGRESS.However, returning to a new periodized cycle which perhaps peaks into another HIT style period will have you surpass yourprevious bests significantly more… whether it be bodybuilding OR strength goals.

Yes, HIT folks, they are NOT the same!

My experience with a HIT protocol for training was very much the same as yours. Two years with great strength increases, but little hypertrophy after the initial few months. Once I added a little volume back into the mix, I began to grow again. Just goes to show you that no one program works forever and for everyone.

This seems to be a common problem with HIT. Many people go great for about two years and hit a plateau. Especially newbies. Many HITers do seem to jump onto the dump the volume idea too quickly, whereas I always considered it to be the move of last resort. I also think that many people in HIT don’t know how to eat having focused on training only.

I do believe that HIT could be used exclusively to gain muscle continually, but only if you are really willing to work at it. That being said, I do in fact believe that progress is greatly enhanced by getting away from HIT and training that way as if it was a type of workout rather then the only way to train. There are too many complexities to overcome for most people to train that way continuously. I personally never considered Mike Mentzer to be an expert in HIT. The first time I met somebody who followed his methodologies was convinced that he had such a slow recovery that he only trained once every three weeks. And he had no muscle worth mentioning.

Any T-Man would know that you could not follow Ian Kings limping routine as the only workout you do year round, year after year. You have got to change up. And I think that only about 12 weeks a year at HIT, or less, would maximize the effects, and you could have the best of both worlds, HIT and volume.