[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
A Brief History of HIT
Early 1960s and prior: Arthur Jones personally trains at 48 sets per workout, 3x/week (124 set per week) and remains stagnant for years. This is a very typical training program of the day and also does not do so much for most.
Simultaneously, “really serious” weight trainers train in two sessions of two or three hours each most or all days of the week. Only those with phenomenal genetics obtain great results from this.
Late 60’s (approximately): Arthur Jones decides that since all he is accomplishing with 48 sets per workout is maintaining, and he figures he can probably maintain on half the work, therefore he will save time and reduce to 24 sets per workout. He has no expectations other than saving time and does nothing in particular except reduce the volume. To his surprise, he rapidly adds 10 or more lb (I forget the figure) and realizes he is onto something.
Early 70’s: Arthur Jones publishes his Training Bulletins, the programs of which call for three workouts per week of 24 sets each (72 sets per week), and enjoys the only period of his career where he has real success with competitive bodybuilders and pro athletes such as NFL players.
He also finds that high-level competitive bodybuilders can typically gain 1/4" on their arms merely from taking a few days off, and then add another 1/4" (whether long-term or not isn’t known, but at the time anyway even if perhaps only swelling) with one or two, I don’t recall, of his workouts. He fails to credit the preparatory effect of the previous high-volume training that led into it and gives his methods all the credit.
Mid and late 70’s: The need for Nautilus equipment to be commercially viable for health clubs aimed at the average person, combined with Jones’ tendency or at least willingness to assume that “logic” dictated that going as far as possible in a direction that had worked well so far must be even better, decided to reduce the claimed-optimal amount of sets to as little as 12 to even 6 or 8 sets 3 times per week, and only one set per exercise. This way club members could go through a circuit quickly and be done with it.
No higher level athletes or bodybuilders that I know of were successful with this.
Late 70’s and early 80’s. Nautilus signs Mike and Ray Mentzer, genetically promising individuals who had buit their physiques with more traditional training and promptly dead-ended their careers with HIT.
Mike Mentzer aggravates his psychological conditions with amphetamine abuse and drinking own urine and as a consequence claims the best thing is almost no volume of training at all. Drug-induced “logic” is used to expound the “inevitability” of this.
Aside from proving useful to exactly zero competitive athletes or bodybuilders, ever, Mentzer – despite in fact training much more than his theory calls for as he has no hope of competing at all using his published methods, but still training much less than what works for everyone else – enters the 1980 Olympia. He is furious that Arnold entered at the last minute. Arnold psychologically destroys Mentzer (or what was left of Mentzer) by saying, roughly quoted, “What difference does it make, Mike? It’s not as if you have a chance to win. As soon as your big belly rolls across the stage, it will be all over for you.”
Mentzer only ties for 4th, but in a deluded state claims himself forever after as the “real” Mr Olympia of 1980, having been denied the title only on account of being cheated by Arnold. Mentzer retires and claims that “Heavy Duty” is proven as the only correct way to train.
By way of personal testimony as to Mentzer’s mental state, sometime in the early 90’s he, in writing, communicated to me a pretty-clearly-intended-as-serious threat to have a person break my kneecaps if I ever said anything about him again – I had written something similar to the above on the Internet. Obviously, as it’s a felony to communicate such physical threats, a psychological problem is indicated if someone does so anyway. Additionally, Mentzer advised me I was foolish to “knock drinking urine” and the fact that I did so only demonstrated that I had never tried it. Take that for what you will.
(Note, these points about Mentzer’s mental state are not irrelevantad hominem attacks: these points are brought up because Mentzer claimed his own mental powers as being authoritative, and belief in the projected personality of Mentzer is a common reason for belief in his system of training. Accordingly, facts pointing where his mind actually was – was he as clear-minded as he thought he was and his followers think he is? – are relevant.)
1970’s and beyond: Ellington Darden publishes The Nautilus Book, achieving NYT Best Seller status and bringing Arther Jones’ post-Training-Bulletins ideas on training to the masses. Very effective for the average individual in becoming substantially stronger and more fit though not for reaching maximum potential.
Darden writes another book or two, then recycles same two or three books into perhaps thirty yet further books using cut and paste function, further promoting late-Jones (post-Training Bulletins) version of HIT, but with some additions such as somewhat-reluctantly accepting bodypart splits.
Among more serious lifters, however, during this period HIT is viewed as something most did try but which did not work long-term.
Mid-1990’s: Dorian Yates trains relatively briefly (moreso than Darden or the later Jones would wish and far more than Mentzer) and typically two sets per exercise, and brings back interest in briefer-than-typical training.
Relatively recently, Dante describes the unfortunately-named “DoggCrapp” (DC) training which many find productive.
Summary: While many things have been called “HIT,” the ones that have worked, in terms of bringing people to for-them very high levels of development, have been Jones’ original version as described in the Training Bulletins, and more recent variants such as Yates’ and Dante’s.
The versions claimed to be proven “inescapably true” by “logic” don’t in fact work well. The entire “middle period,” one might call it, of HIT was a blunder. The later Jones methods remain capable of giving good improvement for many months to novices and for some time for intermediates, and may remain useful for advanced trainers as a temporary, short-term changeup, but not as a sole long-term training method. Just doesn’t work well for that.
And as for Mentzer’s methods, the less said the better. Just not good.[/quote]