First, hello this is my first post, and I can′t believe I not come across this site before! I′ve being doing HIT since the start of December 2007 after more years than I care to remember doing the ′usual routines. So firstly, here′s my routine and the ′rules′ which I stick to. They are the main principles as I see them taken from Mike′s HIT book.
Workout 1: Chest & Back
(1 isolation and max. of 2 compound for each)
Workout 2: Legs & Abs
(Thighs 1 isolation + 1 compound / Hams 1 isolation OR 1 compound / Calves 1 exercise)
Workout 3: Shoulders & Arms
(Shoulders Max. of 3 exercises / Biceps Triceps Max. of 2 exercises for each)
Workout 4: Deadlifts, Traps & Abs
(All one set to exhaustion)
1. Utilise pre-exhaust sets, isolation followed by compound. i.e. Chest DB Flies / Incline Bench, Back Straight Arm Pulldowns / Palms-up Pulldowns, Legs Thigh Extns. / Squats or Leg Presses, Triceps Pressdowns / Dips (arms in), Traps – Shrugs / Upright Rows, etc.
2. Also utilise drop sets, static contraction (holding weights to failure in fully contracted position) and peak contraction (point at which there is the most resistance in the contracted position good for Thigh Extns., Tricep Pushdowns, Chins, Rows etc.) for maximum intensity. These can be used in combination with pre-exhaust sets.
3. As well as exhausting positive strength, exhaust static and negative strengths as well to ensure total muscular exhaustion.
4. Take a minimum of 3 days off between weights workouts, preferably 4 to 7. Also ensure that there is a minimum of 2 full days of complete rest between a weights workout and cardio workout.
5. Perform fat burning cardio workouts and high intensity cardio workouts at regular intervals throughout the cycle but make sure that the rest periods mentioned in 4 above are adhered to.
6. Number of reps Aim for approximately 6 to 8 reps, except: incline bench and dips but only if they are the second exercise in a pre-exhaust set. If they are, do 3 to 5. For abs and leg exercises, do 12 to 20 reps.
7. On the working set, always go to momentary muscular failure.
8. Do not over train. Take an extra day off if necessary. As strength grows, more days off between weights workouts may be necessary.
9. Above all, ensure that each working set is performed with maximum intensity.
I won′t go into the actual exercises as I′m guessing that most of you are pretty familiar with them! As you can see, I′ve changed Mike′s basic four workout routine in his HIT book slightly. The main change I made was to just do legs once. I can′t understand why he includes legs twice in his routine. Maybe there′s a good reason but I′ve never seen it mentioned. Anyway, one leg workout per cycle does for me. I′m extremely sore for days after it to the extent that stairs are a challenge!
Also I′ve got DL in a separate workout (no. 4) together with traps and abs. DL is such an intensive and draining exercise, that it leaves me with little energy to include it with major muscle groups such as chest and back. Apart from that, my routine is pretty similar to the one in the book as body part combos are concerned.
I vary the exercises each workout, so for example if I′ve just done pre-exhaust inc. flies and flat BB bench, the next time I do chest directly about three weeks later, I′ll maybe do pre-exhaust flat flies and inc. DB bench.
You will see that I also do cardio in amongst my weight sessions, but I stick to my rules as above, and make sure that I get at least two full days rest after a weights session and there′s always at least four days between weights sessions. Not doing cardio is not an option. I think it′s just as important as weights in contributing to a good level of overall fitness, which at the end of the day is my goal.
Of all the HIT principles, I use the drop set by far and away the most, maybe too much. I use it in the vast majority of my exercises. I always seem to do a drop set and each progressively lighter set is done to absolute exhaustion. I guess that′s me trying to stick as much as possible to rule no. 9.
So what do I think of HIT? I′ve been doing it now for just under five months and on the whole, I think it′s great. I′m spending far less time in the gym doing weights than before but the intensity has increased massively. I′m far sorer/stiffer after workouts now than before which I take as an indication that I am indeed training at a far higher intensity. It′s also great to see (more often than not) reps & weight going up each workout compared to the last. I say more often than not as recently, the number of reps in my drop set DL and BB preacher curls have decreased on the last workouts! Reps on both at the heavy end have halved, though with DL, at the lighter end of the same set, reps have increased dramatically. Strange. With the preachers, reps at the lighter end have also decreased (from 10 to 6). However, my biceps are still stiff as hell now, two days after my last shoulders & arms workout so even though the reps have gone down, the workout still seems to have hit the spot. But I′m still perturbed about the drop in reps.
Generally, my experience with HIT positive and I find HIT workouts far more rewarding and time efficient than my old workout. I like the focus they give me which has carried over somewhat with regards to my cardio workouts and my diet.
I′m aware that I′ve rambled on a bit and it′s a long post so I apologise for that. If you′ve made it this far you′ve done well. I′m just so excited (if that′s the right word) and enthusiastic about HIT and feel sorry for those folk who still spend hours in the gym with little or no gain. I look forward to any comments, especially about my DL and preacher ′problem′, and also look forward to learning more about HIT from here. You never know, I might be able to give some advise as well! Regards. Glynn.