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HIT Criticisms

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by JoeBiron, May 7, 2005.

  1. JoeBiron

    JoeBiron Well-Known Member

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    Some of these are actually criticisms of Ell Darden's book The New High Intensity Training. Not looking to start a war, but here are my thoughts. Think of me as the Devil's advocate.

    To summarize though

    1- Darden's book is filled with anecdotal evidence, and very little empirical studies, outside of his one "case study"

    2- Darden does not adequately explain the physiological reasons that HIT would work better then split routines with higher volume

    3- Arthur Jones was no Greek god. Darden told stories of seeing Jones workout himself and "how hard he concentrated and pushed himself". Well, the picture of Jones toward the end of the book (the only full-body picture of him, and he's in business clothes), shows that he had the physique of the average businessman. Weak shoulders, pudgey midsection, pale and pasty. WTF?

    4- Casey Viator (had never heard of him before) was a genetic freak. Darden admitted that his sister was huge, and she didnt workout. Viator's quote was that "the best gains I made were while under the tutelage of Jones". Well, that's great Casey, but you know I'll bet any of us would have better results if we had a full time personal trainer following us around, regardless of what program we followed. Those were also his prime years - of course he made the best gains then!

    5 - 3 sessions a week times 1 or 2 exercises per muscle group works out to the same total volume of sets per muscle group in MAX-OT. Except that in MAX-OT I have the chance to really focus on just 2 muscle groups per session.

    - those are criticisms of Darden and his book - here are my thoughts on HIT itself -

    I personally like the warmup advice in MAX-OT. I found this absent from HIT training methods. I am finding that I do not get DOMS with HIT (and believe me, I do know how to push myself to failure - I have had several personal trainers comment on my ability to do this), and I have noted in my previous experience that DOMS is directly related to growth and progress. When DOMS stop, my progress stops, and I have to change my routine. This happens every 3 months or so.

    So despite the new HIT routine, no DOMS.

    With split routines, I feel like I can mentally get into the muscles. Also, with heavier weight and lower reps, I can concentrate better on my lifts without bonking towards the end of the set. I have a minute or two in between to regain my composure, visualize the next set, and then perform it.

    With HIT I feel like I'm runnin around the gym like a maniac, unfocused, with little time to mentally prepare for the new group of muscles.

    Just not my cup of tea. I've had good luck with MAX-OT, and I'm going back to it.

    I have learned some good techniques from Darden's book though, like some better body mechanics during certain movements, remembering to keep my form strict, and using negative only techniques.

    Those are my thoughts... opinions and comments welcome.
     
    #1 JoeBiron, May 7, 2005
    Last edited: May 7, 2005
  2. Kino

    Kino Well-Known Member

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    Short version..."I tried HIT, and don't like it...I'm going back to splits" :lol:
    That's cool...it's all about doing what works for us. You know your body best, and what it takes to overload it. Personally...I'd have a hard time getting excited about doing one set of anything. I like experimenting, and beating the crap out of myself. When Gironda used to experiment with different movements...sometimes he'd do 30 sets, and see what muscles were sore the next day. That way, if he thought he was working on a chest exercise, and the next day his delts were sore...he knew that the movement was hitting the delts. :nod:
     
  3. glenn_001

    glenn_001 Well-Known Member

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    I do HIT, and i agree with those 5 points made.
    My HIT is based on Mike Mentzers ideas and modified to suit my recover ability.Very similar to Max-ot actually but without all the warmups a couple more reps and less rest time between sets, 3 times per week on a split.
    I get DOMS each and every workout and an excellent pump usually on 1 - 2 sets per exercise.
    If you felt like you were running around the gym like a maniac unfocused, then you had just let your workout degenerate to a race against the clock and its no wonder it didn't work.
    HIT isn't for everybody, most just cant handle it, but i think ppl forget that HIT is a set of principles, thats all, not a set routine that you have to follow. A set routine wont work for anyone over the long term, you have to learn to modify it to suit your own needs and goals.
    I don't believe 1 set to failure per muscle group on a fullbody workout 3 times per week will build substantial amounts of muscle, but for maintaining size i think it would be an excellent choice, even twice per week would probably be better.
    As for the 'new' HIT from Darden, its really just the old arthur jones HIT reborn.
    I think integrating some of Dardens ideas into Max-ot is a good idea and you should make some good gains. :tu:

    Glenn
     
  4. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    one question.. in every other training program the general rule is to "switch up"" or "periodize" after a certain time to increase the adaptation phase,reps,style,intensity etc. in part to prevent staleness and plateaus.....but what does a HIT man do about this??......
     
  5. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    Joe sounds like he is better suited for other methods than HIT. :gl:

    For instance in the book, NEW HIT, Darden presents over 27 routines. There is variation in HIT. No rubber balls or ballet movements.
     
    #5 RTE, May 7, 2005
    Last edited: May 7, 2005
  6. glenn_001

    glenn_001 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much the same as any other, like i said HIT is a set of training principles not a set routine to be performed week in week out.
    When i train, my exercises change every week, the same workout probably comes around once per month which makes it important for me to have a journal on each training day so i can refer back and make sure im progressing in weight or reps for a particular exercise.
    This is just my plan and not everyone does this.
    So far ive not been subject to a plateau in the last 6 mths since starting HIT.
     
  7. JoeBiron

    JoeBiron Well-Known Member

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    Kino - you said it perfectly. We all need to be in tune with our bodies and know what it takes to stimulate them.

    Glenn - I found it very challenging to get exercises set up, etc and maintain only 30 seconds rep between sets, and I didnt have time to mentally prepare for each set. I'm used to having 90-120 seconds between sets, and I used that time to take some deep breaths and visualize the set mentally before I perform it. I missed doing that, and as a result, I felt like I wasn't mentally into each set. The mind-body connection is very important to me, and this is my way of achieving it.

    But perhaps 30 seconds was too fast. What is your rest time between sets, and what is your split like?

    Perhaps you are right about HIT for maintenance - and I don't know if that's your picture in your avatar, but if it is then DUDE I can see why you only need maintenance!! :tucool:

    I however, require some growth ;)

    Thanks for pointing out that all of these methodologies are sets of principles. Of course, as beginners to a methodology, we look for an "expert" to recommend a starting routine. Perhaps my criticism is more directed at Darden's routines as described in his book. Like I said, I do plan on incorporating the principles of time-under-tension and negatives (for some movements like chin ups and dips), and I definately find that I get better results with the 10-12 rep range for some movements, so I do not slavishly adhere to the MAX-OT 4-6 rep range.
     
  8. JoeBiron

    JoeBiron Well-Known Member

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    Man, I was really hoping for some ballet movements too. That really dissapointed me. :lol:

    One thing I really liked about the book was the descriptions of the exercises, and the way that they were organized into "Best movements", "Next best", etc..
     
  9. Timbermiko

    Timbermiko Well-Known Member

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    You guys need to do a search on Ken Liestner, John Christy, Brooks Kubik...Forget Darden....forget all the time set up, sec. up sec. down.
    Everything works...to an extent. Max ot is not the end all either.
    Consistent training, and the ability to recover from is what will bring results (HIT, Max OT) etc..
    HIT does not only mean Darden's protocol.
    There's 5x5,
    20 rep squats
    2x6
    singles
    A lot of HIT beginnings were based on high rep squats,High rep deads and such.
    Here's two examples of "HIT" men.
    Dr. Ken Leistner:
    At the time,
    53 years old, 165 lbs
    Squat-407x23 reps
    Press-230
    Curl-165
    Leistner usually performs 1 top set.
    John Christy: 2sets ie: 2x6
    Squat 550
    Bench 440
    20" arm @ 253
    These men have years of training experience and are sought after strength coaches..
    THEY have found what works for THEM.

    If max ot works for you and your lifestyle, great!
    You hit the jackpot!
    As we get more experienced the less we all seem to know ;)
     
  10. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    You have found your niche, good. But you take the young guys, who don't know one end of a barbell from another. They need a program that produces results fast, makes them lift heavy, and is written out in detail. Darden has been doing that for years in his 42 books. Some books directed towards cutting, some towards bulking. He sets down a year's scedule in this book with illustrated exercises, variations and routines. Everything you need. it produces results if you apply it, and in 1.5 hours a week.

    Beginners will do well to find something they can follow rather than leave themselves open to the junk out there or buying into a random answer from an unknown source on the net.
     
  11. glenn_001

    glenn_001 Well-Known Member

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    Im not maintaining, still gaining as i have a lot of work to do yet.
    Im still a beginner compared to some with above average genetics.

    I take as long as it takes to get my breath back and my heart rate to lower a bit before doing another set, theres no point failing from cardiorespiratory reasons and not momentary musclular failure, so if that takes 30 secs or 3 minutes it doesn't matter to me.
    I dont care if im in the gym for 30 mins or 90 mins, whatever i need to get the job done.

    Glenn
     
    #11 glenn_001, May 8, 2005
    Last edited: May 8, 2005
  12. karatetricker

    karatetricker Well-Known Member

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    So that is you in your avatar/profile?
     
  13. Fluogen

    Fluogen Well-Known Member

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    How long did you try HIT, Joe?
     
  14. jsbrook

    jsbrook Well-Known Member

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    As a relative beginner, I gained 12 pounds of muscle with HIT. A few more pounds crept on over the next several years. I'm not sure that I could make gains like that today on it. Haven't tried. To be fair, this is the first time I've actively worked on mass in years. Having great results with my volume training program. Although I was ready for a change, I enjoyed the HIT workout itself a lot, and I found it great for maintaining muscle.
     
  15. LeftNut

    LeftNut Well-Known Member

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    Hey Joe!

    HIT isn't for everyone, that's for sure. As you know, I have been trying it out too. How long did you try it out for?

    I am thinking I will do HIT at least through the summer, unless I lose significant size or strength. That shouldn't be a problem, as I have been progressing on most exercises every workout. For me, size increases seem to take a long time. I guess if was easy, I'd already have 19" arms!

    Were you progressing in weight/reps?

    I found that I needed to carefully troubleshoot my HIT approach to get it right. It probably took 3-4 workouts just to get to that point. It was as much mental as anything--the longer sets to failure are harder than anything I did on Max-OT.

    I tend to agree with some of your points...but I think every fitness program has its fish story (Casey Viator). Just a suggestion, though--I think it's important to judge a program on its own merits, rather than the appearance of its founder. Have you seen the pictures of Arnold lately? From what I understand, Darden doesn't look amazing these days either. It can be a vicious circle to jump from program to program, based on who has the best promo photo. That may sound silly, but it is the logical conclusion of your point about Arthur Jones' appearance. I'm sure he wasn't in his prime at the time of that photo. And perhaps he was never huge or anything--that still wouldn't say anything about the truth behind HIT principles.

    Anyway, it sounds like HIT isn't for you. You were getting great gains on your other program, though, so it sounds like you know what works for you. That's more than I can say for myself right now. Hopefully I will be able to figure it out before too long.

    :gl:
     
  16. glenn_001

    glenn_001 Well-Known Member

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    Me in the avatar, mentzer in my profile.
    That photo is old i will get my hands on a digi cam soon and make a new one, im not really one for posing in front of a camera though. :eek:
     
  17. lionstar

    lionstar Well-Known Member

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    I have thought about some of the issues there, some of what you say is right. Viator was a genetic freak, an endomorph, and he was using steroids in the Colorado experiment according to Mike Mentzer, a lot of the results was due to steroids and muscle memory together. The only results from this experiements that are interesting are those from Jones himself. Not only that but Jones was a true devil, when it came to pushing those he trained, really making it HIT. I read Mentzer claims he damamed himself permanently, when he trained with Viator and Jones doing squats.

    Back the topic, Volume training vs HIT, I have tried bouth, now I am on a split program, and it is very high in intensity, like HIT. 6 sets for large body parts, 3 sets for small.

    I sure think that there is no reason to do 10 sets on biceps, twenty sets on chest and so on..Doing so will just make the body produce stress hormones, and produce overtraining, or so I think..

    Anyway, you should look into a kind of volume training, that in reality is planned overtraining. What you do is that you do extreme volume training for like 3 weeks, and then take 1-2 weeks off, in that off time you get a supercompensation...I read somewhere that this is how russian weightlifters train. Because you dont train the program for more than 3 weeks, you dont get the symtoms of overtraing, that takes longer to devenlop, and you are able to recover, and get back mutch stronger, after 1-2 weeks off.

    I have noticed that with the full body workouts to, when done 3 times a week, it really helps to take a full week off, after around 3-4 weeks. Even I dont always get stronger from training to training, as when having a full week between training, the effect really comes, when taking a full week break from the program.
     
  18. JoeBiron

    JoeBiron Well-Known Member

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    I tried HIT for 2 weeks (6 workouts).

    Believe me, it troubled me to quit after 2 weeks. I wanted to give it a good try, I really did. But after my 6th workout I just was not feeling excited about workout out anymore. My bodyfat was creeping up also. I decided that I would stick with the program that worked for me (MAX-OT), for now, anyway.

    I must say that in the last 1.5 weeks that I've been back on MAX-OT I've made gains, and dropped body fat, and I feel like I'm back in the groove. 'Nuf said.

    Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    As for the Jones' appearance comment, well, take it for what it's worth. It just seemed to me that Jones wasn't eating his own dog food.

    And I think Arnold looks awesome for his age.

    Anyone know what Clarence Bass does for his regimen? Thinking of getting one of his books.
     

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