"Spent time hanging out at the ruins by the old train station today, I found a child′s toy under some piles of rubble. The batteries had a little juice left and it talked to me . . . first words i′ve heard in a long time that weren′t just me talking to myself . . ."
errr, oh, where was i . . . ;-))
As some of you already know I have decided to ditch HD and HIT and move on to a more logical approach to building size and strength. This is after a total of about 7-8 years following the recommendations of several High Intensity advocates including Darden, Yates and (mostly) Mentzer and with very little to show for my efforts.
I had become more and more disappointed with my training as i began noticing that even ONE set of an exercise made me tired, that my strength was increasing at a snail′s pace (if at all) and there were NO size increases to speak of. My work capacity and tolerance for exercise had been reduce to nill. Application of the HD theory told me I was overtrained and needed to do less work, less often and that′s when i had that "moment of clarity", and suddenly the flaws in Mike′s theory as well as HIT in general became crystal clear. More importantly, i was ready to accept their existence!
I′ve had several people point out to me that it must be ME that is the problem, that either I havent followed the routines properly, or eaten proplerly, etc. etc.
there is not a single shred of doubt in my mind that I′ve applied the HD theory properly.
sorry, but I am not the problem here.
I′ve done a lot of reading, mostly on Madcow′s web pages and the many links, and also the book "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe. I also learned a lot from several key posters here (you all know who you are!)
after analyzing my lack of results and the problems causing it, I have come to several conclusions about HD and HIT:
1- training to failure every session may work for some, but for others it can hammer the nervous system past a productive point, mandating long recovery periods and can quickly lead the CNS to an overtrained state. I think this is the single most fundamental flaw in HD/HIT. A person′s tolerance for volume and frequency is constantly talked about but their tolerance for the stress of failure training is never considered. One MUST train to failure because, according to HD/HIT, it is the ONLY way to KNOW you have successfully stimulated growth.
Truth is, it is neither necessary for growth, nor a sure-fire way to know growth has been stimulated.
2- the HD/HIT protocol of progressively lowering the volume and frequency contradicts human physiology and the adaptation process. As one progresses, their capacity for work increases and they′ll need more work to continue adaptation. HD/HIT says you need to do LESS work, but work harder. So here again the nervous system takes a beating, recovery periods get progressively longer, deconditioning and a dwindling capacity for work set in and before you know it, you′re at a dead end. Once again, SOME people may get away with this, but remember, Mike claimed his theory will work for EVERYONE.
3- the idea of striving for shorter and shorter rest periods between sets and exercises. This is fine if your goal is metabolic conditioning and cardio stimulation, but if max strength and size are your goals then you need to be properly rested before attempting your next set. (for the record i never really got into that aspect of HD/HIT. I never thought it made much sense from a muscle-building point of view)
4- Starting off a beginner with pre-ehaust i.e "The Ideal Routine". I have concluded that this is a HUGE mistake. Compound movements are, or should be, the foundation of a weight training program. They use more of the body′s muscles in a coordinated fashion thereby stimulating better overall gains. They are the movements that transfer most readily to sports and everyday life in general. When using pre-exhaust, the compound being the second movement, the amount of weight used is usually substantially less than would be otherwise. This equates to less overload in the most important movements. Not a good idea! Also, since pre-exhaust supposedly eliminates the weak-link problem with certain exercises, those same weak-links will never get enough work so, of course, they′ll remain weak. And lastly, movements like squats, deads, presses and rows are the main benchmarks to measure progress. Pre-exhaust would be a logical choice for someone looking to bring up a weak point, i.e. lagging pecs, but I think it′s a mistake to put a beginner on such a method or for anyone to use it as a mainstay in their week to week training.
My last HD workout was Nov. 24th. I then spent the rest of last year working up to a mon-wed-fri schedule based on 5 basic movements. I knew i would need time to gradually adapt to the higher volume and frequency of the program i was going to begin today. Also, i was basically re-learning many of the lifts. I havent done squats in 5 years (using leg presses almost exclusively), I can′t recall the last time i did barbell benching or overhead pressing and I′ve completely changed the way i do barbell rowing as well. Rippetoe′s book has been an invaluable asset in the last month, helping me fix my past mistakes in form and really hammering home the need for a routine to be based on a few simple movements, with accessory work to be added on an "as needed" basis.
Because i am re-learning most of the movements I decided to start back at the beginning and use a "newbie" type program. I figure worst case scenario i get only a few good weeks out of it before I stall but, then again, because of my particular situation, i may get substantially more. Either way I win because when I′ve eeked all I can out of this, I′ll be more than ready for Madcow′s Intermediate 5×5.
Anway, because of the re-learning and because i dont want to jump in too strong and stall right away, i have started with really light weights.
which (finally) brings me to the routine! This is almost the exact routine outlined in Rip′s book. the only change I′ve made is replacing power cleans with rows. I have no interest in doing explosive-type exercises.
Squats – 3×5
Bench Press – 3×5
Barbell Row – 3×5
Squats – 3×5
Mil. Press – 3×5
Deadlift – 1×5
this is not counting warm-up sets, which will vary depending on the movement. Where multiple sets are listed for the same movement, the same weight is used for all of them.
Squats are full range, going as low as your flexibility will allow.
Bench Presses are also full-range, touch the chest and go to lockout with each rep.
Rows are done with my back paralell to the floor and accelerating each rep into my mid to upper abs. I had my g/f check my form on these tonight and she said my last 2 sets were the best, with my back absolutely parallel. They are REALLY hard to do that way, but the work being done by the lats is waaaaay more involved than when standing more upright as in a "Yates style" row!
Mil presses are done standing with the bar touching the front delts and to full lockout of the tris with the bar directly overhead.
Deads are the only movement i had my form nailed down good, and I got pretty strong on them for my size. But i am working them light so as not to cause unbalanced progress. This has already become a problem from using HD as my deads are MUCH stronger than any other movement. Something isn′t right when a guy can pull close to 300 off the floor but cant even bench 135 for 5!
I think that just about covers it. I say to anyone out there, if you′re unhappy with the results you′ve gotten qwith HD or HIT, take a look at the links posted by Jeff in the "training resources" thread in the "general" section. What′s there will get you thinking in a BIG way about the alleged "One and only valid theory of anaerobic exercsie"
btw, I′ll add tonight′s session in a reply to this main post.