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HIT Training – Complete Guide 2019

High-Intensity Training, short but challenging – this is HIT.

The term recently regained its popularity within the fitness society. It’s already over 40 years old and can be traced back to Arthur Jones and bodybuilder Mike Mentzer, who invented HIT.

Their purpose was to develop a revolutionary strength training method, which promotes maximum results with high efficiency.

Many athletes know the term HIT.

However, only a few have dealt with this topic in-depth.

So what is really behind these three letters and does this method keep its promises?

High-Intensity Training is mainly used as a training method in strength and fitness sports.

Especially all among you who are short on time might want to give this training system a shot. Basically, the idea is to keep the workout (relatively) short but highly intense to achieve maximum results in an efficient manner.

In HIT, the muscles are loaded with high weight to provoke exhaustion.

This results in fast and effective muscle growth while activating the cardiovascular system tremendously. As a result, this demands more energy and leads to higher calorie consumption.

HIT is NOT HIIT

Another common training system is the so-called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

HIIT refers to an endurance training method whereas HIT’s main focus is on developing strength and stimulating muscle growth.

Through short, intense cardio units, the pulse is driven to its peak. One thing is achieved here; the maximum afterburning effect. Eventually, HIT provides a great way to support and increase fat burning.

However, short and intense are the only features that HIIT and HIT have in common.

These two methods pursue completely different goals. On the one hand the relatively fast and focused on muscle growth approach, on the other hand, a high-fat burning effect paired with enhanced endurance.

The basic idea of HIT Training

The purpose of a High-Intensity Training workout is to use a short but highly effective intensity that creates a strong stimulus for muscle growth.

Within this training method, a short period of high loads is followed by longer-lasting regeneration phases of several days.

Despite the time-saving effect, HIT helps to build muscle and can reduce body fat. It is based on maximum fatigue of large muscle groups such as back, chest or legs.

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This results in high intensity and corresponding high-calorie consumption.

However, obviously, it largely depends on your nutritional habits whether you reduce body fat or lose weight at all.

If you fall below your basal metabolism, sooner or later you lose weight. If you exceed this ratio, you’ll gain weight. It’s that simple.

Nevertheless, HIT offers a training method that can facilitate weight loss, if your nutrition is accordingly aligned.

Frequency

First of all, it is important to realize that a muscle always grows during rest times and not during the exercise itself. Based on this understanding, it becomes clear that rest times have to be aligned to your workout frequency.

Man doing heavy squats in his High Intensity Training session

After every session, all muscles should completely regenerate from the high-intensity load. This can take 7-10 days, depending on your training level and condition.

During this regeneration break, the muscle adapts and grows.

Duration

One training session may last a maximum of 45-60 minutes.

As the exercise intensity increases, carbohydrates and fats are used up during the indicated time.

For longer lasting workouts, our body starts to obtain the required energy from proteins.

These are, however, an essential component of the muscles, which means that muscle growth would be slowed down in this case (catabolic state).

Intensity

The intensity is, as the name implies, extremely high. Over the short duration of each workout pushing beyond limits is nothing is no real surprise.

This means that the muscle is brought close to muscle failure and intensity is controlled accordingly by the used weights. Depending on your goals and frequency this varies respectively.

How does HIT work?

Unlike the High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is characterized by short time intervals, during High Intensity Training (HIT) only one set of each exercise is scheduled.

Both training methods can either be done with additional weights or simply your own body weight as resistance.

A short warm-up phase helps to get your body going, increases blood flow and can prevent injuries. After that, about ten exercises, of which only one set is performed, are sufficient to demand your muscles to its limit.

Warm-up phase: 5-10 minutes

Exercise phase: 1 exercise per muscle group for 10-15 reps

Weights are lifted up (concentric phase) for about 3 seconds, held (isometric phase) for 2 seconds and lowered (eccentric phase) in a controlled manner for 4-5 seconds.

Each exercise is terminated when you’re not able to perform one more single rep. After a short break of 2-3 minutes, the next set follows.

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Recovery phase: depending on your regeneration capability, a range of 2-3 days break is average and widely common.

Total duration: max. 45-60 minutes

For a period of at least 4-6 weeks, High Intensity Training offers an effective alternation to set new growth stimuli.

Regarding exercise selection, I would recommend to keep it simple and focus mainly on basic compound exercises like bench press, squats or bent over rows. Due to their high complexity, a lot of different muscle groups are involved and activated.

Furthermore, it is recommended to conduct HIT training twice a week for at least 4-6 weeks. During the several rest days, your muscles have sufficient time to regenerate and adapt to the new forces.

Advantages of HIT

If you’ve already read our article on HIIT, you may notice that there are lots of similarities. The same applies to the advantages, but however, let’s take a look at how HIT benefits us.

Man doing dumbbell flys in his Wendler's 531 Training system

Low time expenditure

In comparison to “normal” multi-set training, which usually takes in between 1-2 hours, the duration is approximately reduced by one third in HIT.

According to the rule of performing one set per muscle group to failure, both muscle growth and body fat reduction can be achieved.

Increases muscle growth

Scientific studies have found that High Intensity Training promotes the release of anabolic (muscle-building) hormones.

After about 45 minutes, the so-called anabolic hormones reach their maximum in the blood. In the subsequent period, the release decreases, while more catabolic (muscle-degrading) hormones are produced.

Therefore, training of more than 45 minutes may be detrimental for optimal muscle growth.

Clear training methodology

The clearly defined rules of High Intensity Training make it particularly easy for beginners to go to the limit.

Its easy implementation, time-saving training sessions and relatively quickly visible results further help you to stay motivated and remain consistent.

No overtraining with extensive regeneration

HIT’s basis intends that training should be resumed only after your body has recovered and adapted appropriately.

Lack of regeneration and excessive intensities prevent the build-up of new muscle mass. Nobody wants that.

As you can see, variables like sleep, sleep quality and many more are not be underestimated. So it is fair to highlight the importance to align both (training and other parameters) consecutively.

Reduces injury risk

Due to the slow and concentrated execution of each exercise, your training weight most likely decreases by about 10% compared to the weight used in usual strength training.

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This ensures that no momentum is active during the execution of the exercise. Lighter weights put less strain on the tendons, ligaments, and joints which helps to prevent muscle injury.

Pure muscle work is the focus here.

Who is HIT Training made for?

The HIT Training is suitable for advanced athletes who may have a busy working phase and cannot devote as much time as they would like to for extensive strength training but still want to effectively keep their body in shape.

Beginners should first pay attention to the correct execution and get used to steady training.

After some months of consistent work, you can then start and try to implement HIT into your routine.

Anyhow, if you’re just starting over with your main focus being on building muscle, then your emphasis should be on proper nutrition, execution technique, and consistency.

Experienced athletes and fitness addicts who have been training for multiple years can find a welcome change in HIT.

Incorporating HIT into your workout routine for short periods can prevent habituation and set new stimuli that promote progress.

Final thoughts

It comes as no surprise that High Intensity Training just recently reclaimed its popularity.

HIT delivers proven results in an efficient way. Nevertheless, HIT should be treated with caution. Rather underestimate than overestimate yourself, start slowly and increase gradually.

As always, if you are looking for new training systems, you should pay attention to the correct execution of the exercises, keep a balanced diet and maintain sufficient recovery.

Neglecting one of these factors will hamper your outcomes and eventually that might frustrate yourself.

Eventually, as you tend to notice, most programmes seem to be designated for more advanced athletes. Unfortunately, there is logical thought and truth behind it.

To put it in a nutshell, especially beginners should keep their workouts as simple as possible. Almost everything will result in a positive response and growth for you.

Therefore, I can only recommend saving these programs for later on.

However, training should be enjoyable and fun for you, so if you’re bored seeking out for something new, give it a shot but treat it with caution!

What is your experience according HIT Training so far? Did you already try it out? What do you like the most about HIT?

Let us know in the comments below. Also, make sure to follow us on our social media channels for the latest content.

Cheers for reading guys,

Claas

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Claas

Claas

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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