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PITT Force Training – Complete Guide

Besides the classic training programs that mainly focus on an average of 6 to 12 reps per set, the PITT Force training system represents a completely different approach.

Man doing military press for optimal front delt volume

As with most training systems, the PITT Force training system is designated to establish new growth stimuli, whereby stagnation can be overcome.

PITT Force training is also suitable for beginners.

But what distinguishes PITT Force training from all the other concepts? What are the special features and what should athletes pay attention to?

Stay tuned to dig deeper into all that within this article!

The PITT Force system stems from a German coach and bodybuilder called Carsten Pfützenreuter. His experiences from over 25 years of training have flowed into this system.

The principle of individual repetitions is nothing new in weight training, as he emphasizes again and again himself. However, he was the one who brought this system into a meaningful and practical framework.

In weight training or bodybuilding there are soo many different training philosophies.

But be aware, nothing works exactly the same for multiple people.

For example, this system may work great for you but other folks might not get similar results as you, even if they did the exact same thing.

As a result, they will find other programs bringing them better results.

Individual differences are key.

This is because aspects such as your genetics, sleep quality, nutrition, and technique play a major role. And apparently, these variables change individually.

The basic concept of PITT Force Training

A short overview of the PITT FORCE training system:

  • Main goal: building muscle
  • Training style: full body and split possible
  • Training level: beginners / advanced / professionals
  • Frequency: 3-4 times per week
  • Equipment: barbell, dumbbell, body weight, machines are optional

The most important rules of PITT Force Training at one glance:

  • Single reps with minimal breaks between each rep
  • Break times between reps kept as short as possible
  • Training time duration  between 30-45 minutes in total
  • 15-20 reps per set
  • 1 set per exercise
  • 3-5 exercises per training session
  • Focus on basic compound exercises (bench press, squat, deadlift…)

Man doing bench press

P.I.T.T means Professional Intensity Training Techniques and has been developed to primarily increase muscle volume (not to increase strength).

This system is not particularly tailored to bloody beginners in weight training or bodybuilding. You should have already gained training experience and know how your body works and its responses under different stress conditions.

Nevertheless, if you are already familiar with weight training, made some progress and want to give it a try, then give it a go.

But always remember, technique, execution, and range of motion have to be outstandingly good and most importantly consistent!

The aim of PITT Force training is to achieve as many clean executed repetitions with high weights as possible.

It is important to trigger the greatest possible tension in your muscles, which is the decisive stimulus for muscle growth.

Especially, in PITT Force training, one set per exercise is performed in single repetitions. After each rep, there will be a short break. This break should last for a maximum of 20 seconds and is consecutively followed by another, well-executed rep. And so forth.

HST Training System - Complete Guide 2019

When using this training method, neither constant maintenance of muscle tension is necessary, nor going until muscle failure.

PITT Force is designed to improve performance and muscle mass of trained athletes and break training plateaus.

Special features of the PITT Force training:

  • Highly effective intensity training
  • The focus is exclusively on single reps
  • Maximum muscle hypertrophy
  • Sensibly set breaks increase muscle growth stimuli

The reason behind the single repetition approach

The meaning of the single executed repetitions is relatively easy to understand.

In a conventional set with 8 reps, the targetted muscle is always under tension during this time which means the circulation of the muscle is restricted.

Each repetition becomes more difficult, so the muscle is no longer able to perform what it actually could.

That’s exactly the point where the short break comes into play. Each break should be kept as short as possible. Preferable 3-5 seconds (breathe twice) at the beginning of the set.

The maximum interval between repetitions may last 20 seconds, but this only applies to the last reps of the set.

Carsten Pfützenreuter writes in his book:

“The intervals between repetitions should be as long as necessary and as short as possible.”

Furthermore, he says:

“During reps 1-10, it should not be necessary to take more than 1-2 second breaks. After the 10th reps, you may pause for 7 or even 10 seconds. After the 15th rep, it can even be 15-20 seconds for heavy leg and back exercises.”

Since the weight is completely discarded, the entire tension is taken from the muscle. As a result, it is optimally supplied with blood again and after the break is able to perform better.

Even when using relatively short breaks, this is enough to make the difference.

Furthermore, the risk of injury in PITT Force training is significantly lower than average.

Not uncommonly, the last repetitions in classic working sets can get quite negligent. The technique gets neglected to somehow squeeze that last rep in.

That’s exactly what does and should not happen with PITT Force training. After every single rep, it can be considered for a short time, if a further repetition is still possible or not.

The breaks simply help to refocus on the exercise.

Benefits of PITT Force Training

No premature muscle failure due to PITT Force

Unlike intensity techniques such as HIIT or Tabata training (if you don’t know what these training systems are, I wrote in-depth articles about them. Just click the links.), PITT Force increases overall stress without causing premature muscle fatigue.

In other words, heavyweights can be moved more often than in a “conventional” set without breaks.

This is due to the breaks between each rep. It allows for more high-quality and intense contractions in a short time. Eventually, this stimulates the muscles and promotes muscle growth.

Effective muscle building through single repetitions

Black man doing biceps curls

The single repetitions with sensibly set breaks increase intensity. This has a positive effect on muscle growth. Plateaus can be overcome more easily and significant progress achieved.

Increasing efficiency through short breaks

During the short breaks, the tension of the muscle is released, whereupon it is supplied with blood, oxygen, and relevant nutrients.

Reps in Reserve - Complete Guide 2019

Muscle fatigue waste such as lactate can only be broken down if there is sufficient blood flow.

Therefore, the break is a prerequisite for maximum performance during further repetitions.

A controlled and gentle training method

The deliberately clean and slow execution of each rep reduces the risk of injury.

A clean and proper execution requires the highest concentration levels. This reduces the risk of overloading, as it is oftentimes the case in conventional multi-set training when reps are forced by the momentum or deliberate involvement of other muscles.

Overview benefits of the PITT Force training:

  • It can be used more weight as when doing continuous reps
  • Clean exercise performance results in a lower risk of injury
  • Stress on a high number of muscle fibres which promotes increased muscle growth

How does it exactly work? PITT Force training explained

After a brief warm-up, the PITT Force training session starts. Depending on the exercise, weight is to be selected with which, according to experience, 8-10 reps could be carried out continuously.

After each conscious and slow rep, you rest for a short moment. Ideally, the weight should be discarded briefly. Then the next rep follows.

Warm up:

  • General warm-up for 5-10 minutes, for example on a treadmill or rowing machine
  • Specific warm-up sets with lower weights are recommended before each exercise to prepare your body for the following intensity and movement pattern

Loading phase:

  • Only one work set, regardless of the time

Recovery phase:

  • In the beginning, the breaks should be reduced to 3-5 seconds. Coming closer to the end of the set, a pause length of up to 20 seconds might be necessary
  • The breaking length is based on the principle of a rewarding break. It should be as long as necessary, but not exceed the maximum of 20 seconds

Total duration:

  • The goal of the exercise is to perform 10-20 clean reps
  • If pauses need to be extended above 20 seconds, the set should be terminated

For a period of at least four to six weeks, PITT Force offers an effective alternation compared to other hypertrophy programs.

Since PITT Force training is based on the principles of HIIT, 2-3 sessions per week are recommended.

For the actual workout itself, 4-6 exercises are sufficient. At the end of the day, the training should include one set for each muscle group.

It is recommended to focus on basics exercises such as bench press variations, deadlifts, and squats.

Over time, the training can be increased to 4 times a week, with a break of 1-2 days for appropriate regeneration.

PITT Force sample plan

Suitable exercises

Ideal for this training system is basic exercises where multiple muscle groups are involved simultaneously.

Exercise recommendations:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Lunges
  • Pull-Ups
  • Dips
  • Bench presses
  • Pull-over

However, this does not mean that other exercises are not suitable. Even exercises such as calf raises can be feasible with this system.

Beginner plan

As in any other sport, beginners should first concentrate on the basics and not take over for the time being.

Therefore, a PITT Force training routine for beginners looks different than one for more advanced athletes.

The PITT Force training plan provides 2 to 3 training days per week. Between each unit should be a 1 to 2 days break.

Below, it’s just a sample plan. Anyone who believes that they cannot live without additional arm training can still do a set of curls at the end of the workout. The same applies to calves and abdominal muscles.

HIT Training - Complete Guide 2019

Workout 1:

  • Squats, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Incline bench press, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Pull-over, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps

Workout 2:

  • Deadlifts, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Pull-Ups, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Dips, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps

If you’re not yet able to do a lot of pull-ups, just use a pull-up machine. That’s, in my opinion, the best way to make progress and finally learn proper pull-ups.

Advanced plan

Advanced athletes require heavier forces in comparison to beginners. A higher load is achieved through additional exercises.

In addition, 4 instead of 3 sessions are viable. It is important to listen to your body and possibly even reduce to 3 workouts if you stagnate and recovery time suffers.

The following plan is divided into push and pull exercises. Each exercise is performed with one PITT set for 15-20 reps.

Workout 1:

  • Squats, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Incline bench press, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Military press, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Dips, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Triceps pushdowns, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps

Workout 2:

  • Deadlifts, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Pull-Ups, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Row variation, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Lateral raises, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps
  • Scott-Curls with SZ bar, 1 PITT set for 15-20 reps

To illustrate the whole PITT Force concept more accurate, I’ll give you an example for squats.

By squats, the PITT Force training system can be explained in a short and understandable way.

You lift the barbell out of the rack and immediately execute the first rep. Then you put the barbell back in the tray. After 3 to 5 seconds take it out again and carry out the second rep.

This continues until 15 to 20 reps have been made. Of course, the breaks are getting longer from rep to rep and the longer the set lasts.

If you need to pause longer than 20 seconds, the set should be terminated. After all reps have been carried out, a longer break follows before the next exercise is started.

Now, for example, you’re doing an incline bench press.

The whole thing starts from scratch again: after one rep is done, the barbell gets discarded, take a short break and the next rep follows.


Who should consider PITT Force Training?

Assuming you pay attention to proper training technique and sufficient regeneration, PITT Force can bring about good muscle growth and strength gains during a relatively short period of time.

To successfully integrate PITT Force into your existing workout routine, you should at least have some experience with weight training.

Safety in the execution of complex basic exercises, proper mind-muscle connection and range of motion are mandatory prerequisites for PITT Force training.

I hope you enjoyed this article about the PITT Force system by Carsten Pfützenreuter.

Did you already hear about PITT Force training before? If yes, how is your experience with it? If not, are you eager to try out PITT Force training?

Share your story with us in the comment section below!

Also, make sure to follow our social media channels to stay up to date with our latest content!

Thanks for reading, guys


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Hi, I'm Claas. I am a passionate fitness and performance lover. For several years I have been training and developing my personality with dedication, ambition, and commitment to pursue my goals. During this time, I already had the opportunity to support many friends, family members and athletes on their journey to achieve their goals, both athletic or performance driven. Whether about nutrition, training, performance or self-development, for the last few years I was able to steadily improve my knowledge to provide our clientele with all my experience. I believe the key to a happy life, to pursue your goals, overcome challenges and convert your dreams to reality, is based upon mastering our four underlying four pillars; nutrition, fitness, productivity, and mindfulness.

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