T Nation

Is HIT Evidence-Based?

I’m studying psychology and in searching for articles on bodybuilding psychology I came across an article claiming that HIT is evidence-based. I’m explaining how I came across the article to show that I’m not HITer looking to stir up trouble. If anyone is interested in reading it, the article can be found at

A quick summary of what the article argues are evidence-based findings:

  1. One set of each exercise to muscular failure

  2. Train each muscle group once per week

  3. Use slow movements

  4. Perform 8-12 repetitions.

When I first read it I thought there was a contradiction between recommendations, but I suppose it means that you should use weights that induce muscular failure at between 8 and 12 reps.

I’d be interested to know what thoughts people have about this.

You won’t know unless you try. One thing for sure, it’s very convenient to work out 20-25 minutes for only two or three times a week.

I’ve grown in strength and size from trying it. Everything works, for a while. I just don’t think it will work if you do HIT long term.

Here is a very famous person who used HIT to gain 34 pounds of mass. http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/29/from-geek-to-freak-how-i-gained-34-lbs-of-muscle-in-4-weeks/

The number of people claiming to have lost strength and size on HIT seems to far outnumber the number of people who claim that their physiques have definitely improved thanks to HIT.

You can find studies/articles to prove anything. I tried my hand at the exact HIT split Mentzer used to recommend (3x a week), and then later still favored a recovery heavy routine, but realized that not only did I not gain size doing HIT, but probably lost a bit due to simple deconditioning. There are two things that basic HIT ignores, which TO ME speaks volumes about designing a basic hypertrophy based program…

1- When you do a second set of an exercise, the muscle fibers recruited are of a different pattern than the first set. This alone means that if you stopped at one set, you would leave a hell of a lot of msucle unstimulated (it would more of a CNS workout with ‘some’ muscle fibers worked)

2- Super slow training eliminates the speed-generating section of the movement, which is actually important for muscle growth. Coach Thibs has written extensively about this, and I"m sure you can find a lot of other published work to support the ‘explosive’ part of the lift (generating force, or as Yates put it, lifting in an explosive manner for the concentric portion).


Thib wrote a great article here about HIT. This is probably the most sensible pro-HIT text I’ve ever read.