T Nation

HIT Workouts

after reading almost all of Mike Mentzer’s writings on HIT. I started his routine he only outlined one program in his last book. I found in completing it, even when trying to force as much intensity in it as possible.

I couldn’t get the siege mode going because the workout was so short. And not super intense. I am taking the suggested days off to follow his seven principles but feel guilty in doing so.

Is there anyone else who has taken on hit, still does hit and has some workouts that felt followed his rules pretty well and had a great workout with.

Mike’s stuff got pretty rediculous as the years went by.

I don’t see any point in taking more than 7 days off between bodyparts at all.

I do a version (Ken Liestner’s):

Squat 1x20
Pullover 1x10
Standing Press 1x10
Chin 1x10
Dip 1x10
Bbl curl 1x10
Shrugs 1x15
Straight-Leg deadlifts 1x15

Squats are always 1x20, the 1x10’s I go to failure, when I work up to 12, I add weight to get back down to 8 then work back up to 12 again (10 is just a middle-ground). Deads are always 15 reps and I add weight every week, just like the squats.

www.drdarden.com

Ellington Darden’s Big arm Challenge was actually a pretty intense HIT style way to do arm specialization and his “BIG program” had decent results for me.

He outlined TWO programs in his last book, HD 2. One was a bodypart split, which had you training ONCE every FIVE days! That is:

  • Day 1: Chest, shoulders, tris …
  • Rest 4 days
  • Day 2: Back, biceps …
  • Rest 4 days …
  • Day 3: Legs

I do not remember the other routine but it was “consolidated” program in which you completed one set of 3 to 5 exercises once every SEVEN days.

I don’t know of one person who did this with success.

I happen to follow a high intensity program that I designed myself. I have been influenced heavily by Ian King, Jason Ferrugia, Jim Wendler, Ed Coan, Dorian Yates, Trevor Smith, Dante Trudel, the EARLY Mike Mentzer, Dr. Darden, and Arthur Jones - all of the high quality, high intensity guys.

I follow a bodypart split but do only one work set per exercise with 2 to 5 exercises per bodypart. I go all out for 5 weeks, stop 1 to 2 reps short of failure for two weeks, then go all out for another 5 weeks, and then take 1 to 2 weeks of rest. This has been my way of doing things for three yrs.

I have trained several people now through HIT routines and I can say without a doubt that a more traditional fullbody routine (Jones/Darden) style seems to work better for most.

I also agree that Mike near the end wanted too many days between workouts. When I did Heavy Duty 2 I became stronger but my body deconditioned itslef. Gains were minimal.

Michael

Heavy Duty and Mentzer has/had its place but as things evolve I think something like DC is a better plan of attack

alot of this new info im’ pretty dissapointed about. I interviewed alot of strength coaches dissagreeing with HIT. You guys also believe it is not all that great. From the way Mentzter talks its the only theory that ever needs put to use. The one and only philosophy.

So the seven days aren’t neccasary among other things is dissapointing. Maybe only leg day truly deserves hit.

[quote]derek wrote:
Mike’s stuff got pretty rediculous as the years went by.

I don’t see any point in taking more than 7 days off between bodyparts at all.

I do a version (Ken Liestner’s):

Squat 1x20
Pullover 1x10
Standing Press 1x10
Chin 1x10
Dip 1x10
Bbl curl 1x10
Shrugs 1x15
Straight-Leg deadlifts 1x15

Squats are always 1x20, the 1x10’s I go to failure, when I work up to 12, I add weight to get back down to 8 then work back up to 12 again (10 is just a middle-ground). Deads are always 15 reps and I add weight every week, just like the squats.[/quote]

I AGREE!

If you decide to go the hit route, Dr. Ken’s version is the way to go.

I don’t participate in the Full Vs. Split wars…but I will say this, If you train hard you will gain muscle on these types of routines.

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 irrelevant ad 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]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]

Good post.

some seemingly contradictory information here and there, as well as citing poor examples of why intense, infrequent training is superior. and a fair amount of insinuation that most bodybuilders are ‘doing it wrong’ (yes, arnold in his prime was doing it wrong, and was weak and didnt like hard work).

as an example, they say a male lion is bigger than the female because he fights once in a while, and otherwise sleeps and eats, while the female hunts all the time. bullshit. the male is bigger because it is genetically wired to be bigger, and the female is wired to be a hunter. their lifestyle does not make them this way.

a gazelle that didnt run so much wouldnt be more muscular, it would still be lean. they talk about the principle of ‘muscle identity’, as well. saying a muscle only needs to be stimulated once to grow, any sets beyond that are useless and detrimental. then they use the example of it only taking one sperm cell to fertilize an egg. so, a cell with a completely different ‘identity’ than a muscle cell, and function, are somehow comparable as an example.

those are some of the things you can expect from darden and mentzers writings.

try them for yourself. try working a muscle once every two weeks, as mentzers advanced rotuines recommend. try going all out on leg presses, beyond the point of failure, then completing a full body workout, as darden recommends. how can you truly spend every last drop of energy on an exercise, as they require for the set to be maximally effective, and continue to do so on subsequent exercises? if you did it ‘correctly’, you shouldnt have the energy for the next exercise.

i wasted a lot of time personally tryng to make HIT work, all the time thinking i just wasnt intense enough (another thing you’ll read a lot in HIT books -‘if it doesnt work, YOUR doing it wrong’).

i got stronger, much stronger, in the exercises i did, very quickly. my appearance, however, did not improve in the slightest. perhaps that had something to do with the recommended diet, which was far too low in protien and overall calories to add mass.

if you want to try HIT style training, look up yates routines, or dogg crapp as bill roberts said. dont bother with mentzer or dardens ideas.

I would recommend doing mentzer’s program for about 3-4 weeks at a time, no more, then switch back to a conventional program like 5x5, going back to HD2 once every 6 months.

My own experience was that for the first 6 weeks I had phenomenal progress following heavy duty2 to a t, training once every 5 days and then the gains started to stagnate and eventually ground to a halt.

While I admire a lot of Mentzer’s thinking, he got overly dogmatic and needs to be taken with a big pinch of salt.

By the way, this is the level of physique that the final-stage Jones HIT methods became aimed at and good for (the first is the lead promotional pic for the overall MedX site, and the second, the only promotional pic for the Arthur Jones Institute):

http://medxonline.com/images/bg_resources.jpg

http://medxonline.com/images/bg_home.jpg – Check out the lats!!

Of course if that’s what one is going for… :wink:

The post by Bill Roberts although maybe a touch cynical in tone is historically accurate. You could write the same article and put a much more positive spin on it but alot of what he says is right.

I have been told by many that Mentzer was doing the same routines as everyone else back in the day.

I have trained several people in a HIT format among many other programs and although It is very possible to put on muscle espcially with beginners and intermediate trainee’s as noted, I only had real great success with 2 clients. One had genetics most can only dream off and grew on anything. The other had the ability to train harder then anyone else I have come across. I have no problem saying I was unable to match his intensity myself. This led me to belief that the theory for HIT may be more accurate than people give it credit for but few have the ability to really push that hard. Its not fun way to train by any means.

Also many no longer have the tools of HIT at there disposal. I know machines are looked down upon right now by many lifters but I assure you a Dumbbell pullover will not work the lats anywhere close to what an Old Nautilus Pullover will do.

I still enjoyed the post as it is an interesting perspective of HIT.

Only thing I don’t like is the 1980 Olympia. Mentzer out of the top 3 was a joke. He probably should have won. Dickenson looked pretty good to. Arnold maybe the greatest of all time but certaintly not at his best in 1980 and shouldn’t have won.

Michael

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

[quote]AlteredState wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
By the way, this is the level of physique that the final-stage Jones HIT methods became aimed at and good for (the first is the lead promotional pic for the overall MedX site, and the second, the only promotional pic for the Arthur Jones Institute):

http://medxonline.com/images/bg_resources.jpg

http://medxonline.com/images/bg_home.jpg – Check out the lats!!

Of course if that’s what one is going for… :wink:

LOL![/quote]

So that’s where Men’s Health came from…
Burn in hell, Arthur Jones, burn in hell!

In fairness to Arthur: Were he still alive, he would be appalled by the image his company now chooses to project with pictures like that.

It is true that MedX focused itself on helping ordinary individuals completely disinterested in exercise to avoid work-related and ordinary-living injury via training very minimally with specialized machines, rather than trying to achieve substantial hypertrophy. But that in itself was a noble goal. I wish Arthur Jones had managed to overcome anti-exercise prejudice to a greater extent than he did: if his dreams of ordinary employers providing their employees with access to exercise equipment that would vastly reduce their rate of back injury had reached the fruition they deserved, many billions of dollars would be saved every year and a great deal of physical pain avoided.

So long as Arthur still had substantial control of ongoing operations, the MedX site even kept his training bulletins – which are genuine hardcore bodybuilding training advice and still sound today – on the website. But when he became no longer able to have much if anything to do with operations, the weenies took that down. I don’t now know where the Training Bulletins can be found on-line.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
In fairness to Arthur: Were he still alive, he would be appalled by the image his company now chooses to project with pictures like that.

It is true that MedX focused itself on helping ordinary individuals completely disinterested in exercise to avoid injury with very minimally time-consuming strengthening machines, rather than being trying to achieve substantial hypertrophy, but that in itself was a noble goal. I wish Arthur Jones had managed to overcome anti-exercise prejudice to a greater extent than he did: if his dreams of ordinary employers providing their employees with access to exercise equipment that would vastly reduce their rate of back injury had reached the fruition they deserved, many billions of dollars would be saved every year and a great deal of pain avoided.

So long as Arthur still had substantial control of ongoing operations, the MedX site even kept his training bulletins – which are genuine hardcore bodybuilding training advice and still sound today – on the website. But when he became no longer able to have much if anything to do with operations, the weenies took that down. I don’t now know where the Training Bulletins can be found on-line.[/quote]

Do you mean the Nautilus Bulletins #1 and #2 as well as some misc. stuff?
I read through those about 3 months ago, on some site…
I’ll see if I can find you that link again.

#Edit: The bulletins are all over the net.
arthurjonesexercise.com/Bulletin1/Bulletin1.html
There’s one way to get them (dunno if that’s all there is)

Yes, that’s it.

Thanks!

A couple years ago, I tried hard to find them on the net, after their disappearing from the MedX website, and at that time they seemed nowhere to be found. I suppose people stepped in to fill the gap, hence now the many copies you report. I’m glad they’re back up.