My First HIT Routine

Hi @Christian_Thibaudeau
I was reading your “success leaves clues” post on your site, and I wanted to write my own schedule for next 2-3 months.

My Stats:
Male 42 years old
180cm x 81Kg bodyfat 12-13%
Training history 10 years more or less, with high (few) and low (many). Now I just have finished a 3 months with high volume, high frequency and moderate intensity (Dr. Mike Israetel RP style), and reading you, @Paul_Carter and some Jordan Peters article, trying to plan an HIT training.

Day1 Chest & Arms
Day2 Legs
Day3 Off or cardio steady state 20-30’ + 10000 steps
Day4 Back & Shoulders
Day5 Off or cardio steady state 20-30’ + 10000 steps
Day6 Repeat
Day7 Rest
and so on…

Chest & Arms
Low incline chest press top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Flat chest press top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Flys top set 1x10-12, back off 12-15
Barbell curl top set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12, back off 12-15
Hammer curl top set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12, back off 12-15
CGBP top set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12, back off 12-15
Rope Pushdown top set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12, back off 12-15

Squat top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Lunge top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Leg Extension top-set 1x10-12, back off 1x12-15
Standing leg curl top-set 1x10-12, back off 1x12-15
Stiff deadlift top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Standing calf press 4x15

Back & Shoulders
Chin Up top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Pulldown top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Barbell row top-set 1x8-10, back off 1x10-12
DB row top-set 1x8-10, back off 1x10-12
Overhead press top-set 1x8-10, back off 1x10-12
Upright rows top-set 1x8-10, back off 1x10-12
Rear delt raise top-set 1x10-12, back off 1x12-15
Shrug top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12

All sets at failure

What do you think?

Thanks a lot to you and @Paul_Carter to share with us your knowledge.

I’m interested to see if CT answers this. He is not an advocate of HIT just FYI.

While I have more toward the side of more recovery in recent years, I’m not a HIT guy. Well, I was at one point, around 22 years ago when I idolized Mentzer and Viator (ironically shortly after I became an olympic lifter).

And yes, sometimes I will use the single set to failure approach in a program (like some I published on T-nation), with clients or even with myself. But it is normally as a change of pace program.

Paul is a lot more HIT than me as he tends to adhere to the single work set to failure approach a lot more than I do.

I personally don’t have ONE training approach. Which actually makes it a lord harder on me from a business perspective. Depending on the client/situation I can use various approaches, ranging from HIT to high volume training.

I do that some principles that I adhere too, though.

I believe that a natural trainee has a limited capacity to tolerate and grow from training stress, that controlling cortisol levels and that proper recovery are key when it come to optimal progression with natural lifters.

As such I use a series of 6 training variables to adjust the training stress level of a session. Three of which are the ones that I use to select what kind of program I put someone on:

  • Volume per workout (total sets in a workout, not per body part)
  • Intensiveness (how close to failure do you go on your work sets, on average)
  • Load (amount of weight used for your work sets)

In a NORMAL situation (3-4 workouts per week) I want to have one variable HIGH, one MODERATE and one LOW.

For example:

High volume, low loads, moderate intensiveness
High volume, low intensiveness, moderate volume
High intensiveness, low volume, moderate loads
High intensiveness, low loads, moderate volume
Heavy loads, low intensiveness, moderate volume
Heavy loads, low volume, moderate intensiveness

If training frequency is higher then the stress per session must be lower. So with 5-6 workouts per week we have ONE variable that is high and the two others must be low.

And if training is less frequent than 3 workouts per week (1-2 sessions per week) you must make training stress higher by having TWO variables high and one moderate.

So my first principle is to match training stress level with the training frequency.

My second principle is that you should hit each muscle to some extent twice per week. That’s why I gravitate toward whole-body training, upper/lower or a lift-specific approach (which is another form of upper/lower split).

And another thing that tends to characterize my training is that I prefer to use fewer exercises per session. I wouldn’t call it a principle, because sometimes I don’t respect it in some situations, but in at least 85% of the programs I write for clients the number of exercises per session ranges from 3 to 6.

Now, I get where you got the idea from your program. It is a Dorian-like plan.

I think it will work. But it’s not something that I would use.

I like the use of a back-off set after the heavy set. There are some exercises that I don’t like and some that I feel won’ work well in the plan you designed.

Again, I don’t hate it. I think that you have too many exercises on some days and some choices that I wouldn’t make. You get your volume from doing less work sets of more exercises and I generally prefer to do the opposite. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t work well.


Hi @Christian_Thibaudeau, many thanks for your advise.

I have been reading your first principle and my target is:
High intensiveness, low volume, moderate loads.

My plan is:
6-10 sets group/week
4 work out weeks
3 weeks RIR 2-3 reps 10-12
3 weeks RIR 2-1 reps 8-10
2 weeks RIR 0-1 (rest-pause)
2 weeks RIR 0 (cluster set) low reps (5-6)
1 weeks in the grave!

I workout in home gym (rack, barbell, dumbbell and resistance band) and I’m limited in my choices.
I really could take off some exercise, but obviously the volume dropping down, I won’t it.

This brings me to your consideration:
“You get your volume from doing less work sets of more exercises and I generally prefer to do the opposite.”

How would you arrange the main lift using the top-set and backoff set?

And for accessory lift?

Thanks again.

What about moderate volume, moderate intensiveness and moderate intensity if the workout frequency is 3-4 times/week?

I’m referring to your men’s physique program where the volume is moderate (about 15 sets on average), intensiveness is moderate-high (RPE of 8.5-9’ish on average) and the load is moderate on average. The 4th workout is a bit different from the rest off course since it’s a metcon workout.

Absolutely doable, but often needs more restrain as you don’t push anything to the max… much easier to start to do too much this way.

Oh for sure, I totally recognize the urge the do more and more this way. But why do you use this approach in your men’s physique program then (moderate on three variables)? Unless I’m missing something, it would seem to me like that’s the case.

Also, I’m wondering how effective it would be to go with the high volume, moderate loads, low intensiveness approach. Keeping 3-4 RIR on each exercise really sounds like you’re not stimulating muscle growth at all if you’re an intermediate/advanced lifter. The only growth pathway I can think of here is mainly muscle fiber fatigue but is it enough? Not to mention how demotivating it sounds to stop 3-4 reps short of failure…

I do realize you’re not a high volume guy anymore so this would not be your first choice. However i’m still very interested in your opinion on the matter.

Because it’s a sructured program and I assume that i someone buys a program, he will follow it and not adlib.

But I have less thrust with people who write down their own programs: the temptation to start doing more is much greater


what will work best for 2B or3 neurotype ?
what neurotype you think is Dorian Yates / look over him training style and programs /?
thank you coach

While I can’t be sure, based on his routines and training style, what worked for him and what he was drawn to, I’d guess 1A. Short, heavy, high intensity sessions, beating your numbers every week, to me sounds textbook 1A.

But remember in some aspects 1A and 3 are similar. And since if I rememeber well once he mentioned he read into training before he really got into it and that’s how he came across some writings of Arthur Jones that inspired him for hit, that attitude of research before doing sounds a bit type 3 to me, as well as that he milked his exercises until he could add reps and weight to them, or in case of the squat until he realized it doesn’t work for him and even causes damage but I might be wrong.

The fact that he didn’t like the long workouts most pros of his time were doing is also something more common on the type 1 end of the spectrum.

Again I could be wrong, but this is my 2 cents anyway.

For your other question, type 3 likes repetitiveness, mastering the exercises, if there is regular change it has to be planned and known by a type 3 person, in order to be comfortable with it. They also have higher cortisol so that’s important to manage, but that’s down to diet and sleep as well, I’m not entirely sure how a type 3 would do on a HIT workout, maybe the frequency would have to be dropped, or the number of all out sets, but CT would have a better and more definite answer for this.
In regards to 2B, they like to feel the muscles work, love the pump, and good mind-muscle connection. I’d say they are on the higher end when it comes to cortisol but not quite so bad as type 3. Again in case of a HIT workout, I don’t know how and if it needs tweaked for these Neurotypes.
This Neurotype info is available for free on T nation, CTs website, and on this forum in previous answers, you might even find more than I gave you here, in fact I know you will.

And just another thing, Dorian Yates took 2 weeks at moderate weights and no failure after every 6-8 weeks, 6 if I remember correctly, of proper HIT training, to avoid injuries and burn out.

1 Like

Yes, sounds about right. He was also extremely goal-driven and has problems with recreation drugs when he retired (something 1As are prone to).


Hi all,

I have done some change after reading here and there on forum:

Chest, Shoulders & Tri’s
Incline chest press top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Flat chest press top-set 1x8-10
Flys 2x8-10
Y-raise SS Upright row 2x12-15
Push Press 1x8-10
CGBP 1x 3/50 method

Back & Bi’s
Chin Up top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Barbell row top-set 1x8-10, back off 1x10-12
DB row 2x8-10
Pause Shrug 2x8-10
Front plate 4x8 cluster set
BB Curl 1x3/50

Legs A
Leg curl 2x8-10
Squat top-set 1x6-8, back off 1x10-12
Leg Extension 2xrest-pause
Lunge 1x100 leg
Standing calf press 2xrest-pause

Legs B
Leg curl 2x8-10
Front Squat top-set 1x10-12, back off 1x12-15
Leg Extension 2xrest-pause
Sissy Squat 4xfailure
Standing calf press 2xrest-pause

I’ll be working out 4 days/week in PPL way.


@u2pride is there a question here?

Yes, if you read the thread, I ask you any impression about this schedule, just because for me, it’s the first time that I’m going to do a low volume/high intensity approach.
Thanks @believer423

To me it seems you are kind of overthinking the exercise selection, and the whole split. You wanna do HIT, and never done it before, look up Mentzer’s early work when he recommended 3 days/week routines, look up Arthur Jones’s work, both has been highly successful done with the right intensity. There are at least 2 books written by Dorian Yates, both including beginner, intermediate and advanced templates. Depending on your overall experience level, you may not even need clusters and rest-pause and all. Learning to take a set to true muscle fauilre and repeating it every exercise for 6 weeks, 3-4 days a week, is plenty to kick things off if you have no HIT experience.
Also read up on Dante Trudel’s DC training, the thing is pretty much based on rest-pause and failure. And if you truily hit the required intensity, it works.
Change nothing in the original workouts, on any of the previous recommendations I have given you, use what is recommended by the people who wrote them. That is with the exception of, if you have any injuries so you can’t do an exercise, find a substitute as close to it as you can.


Well said.

1 Like

Thanks @bert2145 you give me a lot of “work” to do, but I’m going to find any source that you wrote in this post!


Work that’s worth doing. I have went through way more material in my 10+ years than I have actually used, but I always learnt something from them. Ones that resonated with me, I tried to see how they work.
There are at least templates and basic info available online for free on all that I have mentioned. Obviously if you go for the Dorian Yates books, or books from anyone I mentioned, that’ll cost the price of the book. Saying that, the books are always worth buying, in my opinion.
Good luck

Yes, you are right. If I could train in regular gym, my choice will be DC, but in homegym, without a spotter, is hard to reach muscular failure in safe mode. This bring me to find a “expedient” and be able to train very close to failure.

Thing is, whether it’s DC, or Mentzer, Yates, etc, HIT is based on muscle failure. The low volume with moderate frequency requires the intensity to be high, and if you are kinda sorta somewhat hitting failure but not quite, it won’t cut it. Sure you’ll need to take breaks every 6-12 weeks, preferably closer to the 6-8 mark, when you either train moderate intensity, or in some cases not at all for a week or so if you are really beat up. But you gotta learn to push that failure when it’s time to work, eventually you’ll know when there is no more in the tank, but at the start, you are bound to get stuck under the bar here and there. If that happens, learn how to dump it off you.
So if hitting true failure is a worry, then it’s not just DC you cannot do.