T Nation

Undertraining Huge in a Huryy


As a firm believer in the principal of variety in training (also referred to as Mirror Training), and armed with a credit at amazon, I picked up CW's HIAH.

I have forced myself to shut up, leave my own training beliefs at home, and lean in to the training and diet principals and plans laid out by CW. I have been running on faith and the curiosity that is inherent in different training approaches.

However, hitting the first of the unloading weeks (4 weeks into his Get Big program), it is apparent that I am undertraining. Yesterday, ending my third full week, I did a total of six sets for my entire body, as per CW's perameters.

Before this program, I would do more than 16 sets per worked body part per workout. It has been hard to force myself to limit my training time to three days a week, between 20 and 45 minutes per training session, and I can hardly believe I am unloading.

My weight, subjective level of leanness, and measurements have all stagnated, and while I continue to increase my kcals to 500 to 1,000 kcals over my burned kcals according to fitday.com (of course, depending on intensity of that training, appetite, etc.)

Even with this, I am willing to stick with the program for at least a while longer, trying to give it a fair shot.

My question is all of this is if others have experienced this same undertraining and stagnation with this or similar programs? I do trust CW (his HFT principals have always done great things to my strength and musculature), but perhaps HIAH does not apply to those of us who have a higher tolerance to higher volumes and intensities.

Is it right to give this program a fair chance even after a month of dedication with no noticeable results?


I do HIAH and like it for the most part, but it's not for a serious bodybuilder. Consider it a general fitness guide. Bad title, really. Aimed at the average joe over age 30 who isn't a serious lifter and only wants to spend a few hours a week in the gym at most. I like it because I don't eat tons of food (CW doesn't advocate a huge diet in it) and I needed a good template for lifting. I also never enjoyed high volume.

However, if you do the HFT stuff in the book and eat a lot, you should be good.


If you have serious bodybuilding goals, I really don't think the best plan of action is to follow the guidelines of someone who hates bodybuilding, and doesn't participate in it himself.


It's really aimed at the Men's Health crowd. CW has some good ideas, but HIAH isn't really a T-Nation thing. Guys aiming at nothing but muscle need to stick with high volume splits and eat like crazy.


Ditto to what's been said, I started lifting this year and started using this as a guideline starting a few months ago and for me it's working, don't think a true body builder should use it.

It is Huge In A Hurry, possibly named poorly as a marketing scheme but maybe that's also why the didn't name it Huger In A Hurry.


umm.......there's no reason a "serious bodybuilder" should NOT ever use it at any point of time, assuming said bodybuilder is not stupid enough to persist with it with no gains for an indefinite period of time.

Bodybuilding is about progression (as the puppy-poopers say "strength for reps") - and this ultimately depends on the interplay between volume, frequency, caloric/protein intake and recovery capacity.

you can start off with whatever template you choose (even 5x5, TBT) and milk it for progression - listen to whats happening. When the gains stop flowing - raise intake, "supplements", add/subtract movements - group some movements into individual days, yada yada yada - and you can keep progressing further and further till you're probably doing some form of BP split.

Overeaching your recovery? (unable to gain strength and getting fatter if you eat more) - increase "supps" or deload or change things up.

Trial and error, just start somewhere.


Yeah, I do realize this is not the best bodybuilding plan, though I would certainly argue that HFT can be a great powerbuilding technique to increase density and possibility for hypertrophy. Nonetheless, I will stick with it for a little longer, if only to justify the eight bucks I spent on the book.


You're clearly not doing the prescribed weight/rep schemes if you only did 6 sets in one of the workouts. The absolute MINIMUM number of sets you are capable of on the unloading of phase I in get big is 7 sets...and that's assuming you did 22 reps in each set.

The weight prescribed is obscure, but he recommends a weight you could only do 20-22 times before absolute FAILURE. You shouldn't be getting to 22 reps each set.

This is obviously another thread aimed at discrediting Chad Waterbury and quite frankly, it's getting old.


Keep with it and you might lose some muscle too......... is that worth your 8 bucks :stuck_out_tongue:


I'm sorry, but how to you LOSE muscle on any sensible plan with progressive overload? It may not be a bodybuilder's workout, but it sure as hell isn't going to cause anyone to lose muscle.


You sir, are lifting like a pussy. I have read his book and nearly(I do believe all) of his specific exercises in the program are compound movements which means you are using a LOT of muscle. If you did each exercise for one set TO FAILURE as directed, you should be barely able to walk out of the gym. If you apply yourself to the program and stop lifting like a little girl it will work.


Did he actually say to do one set to failure? I thought it was to terminate the set once the speed slows down?


You're correct. Adicrosi was probably telling the OP he didn't use enough weight, therefore being a whiny little girly man.


I had the opposite problem: as I got stronger, I wasn't able anymore to handle the workload of three big compound lifts, 4-6RM, 25 reps, 1 min rest...Maybe the OP isn't pushing himself hard enough, probably because he's used to doing more than an exercise per musclegroup.


Why in the world wouldn't some people call that "training to failure"? (Other than their having the sense and communication skills to use words according to what they mean.)

Or even "utter failure"?

All the time people describe sets where they successfully completed the last rep as being "to failure." Often with the last rep not even being grindingly slow or cheated or anything. Sometimes not even slow at all.

Sure, if using words according to what they mean that makes no sense, but according to how various people actually use the phrase, "training to failure" does not necessitate failure having actually occurred, but only that it probably would have had more reps been tried. I would not be at all surprised if some describe quitting the set when a rep dropped to 1.5 seconds in speed as "going to failure."

Therefore unless you know the person's individual usage, there is no way in the world to know what they mean by the phrase. It could mean anything from actually failing -- trying another rep and despite best effort stalling on it and failing to complete the rep -- to doing a last rep that was damned hard and grindingly slow and knowing that one WOULD have failed IF trying another rep, to just not feeling like doing another rep, and maybe even so extreme as to a rep just having slowed down a bit.

It's a phrase like "if not."

Some people use it to mean "But not." Others use it to mean "Or even."

So when you read "She's an attractive woman, if not the most beautiful in the room," there is no way to know, unless there is other context or the person's habits with words are known, to know whether the intended meaning is that though attractive she is however NOT the most beautiful in the room, or the intent is to add that furthermore she might even be the most beautiful woman in the room.

Probably 90% of the time there is other context that lets you figure that phrase out, but sometimes there is not.

In the case of "training to failure" and Internet posts, probably 95% of the time there is not enough context to have any clue of whether actual failure is involved or not, except that it usually is not; or if not, just really how hard the last successful rep was.

Waterbury, or if not him, some other writer or writers use the phrase "technical failure," which is clearer. This does not mean attempting another rep but failing to get it, but rather having a rep that did not meet some technical standard. Which could include some bar speed considered minimal.

If Waterbury is one of those that uses that phrase, then yes, the sets are to be carried to "technical failure."