I began lifting weights as a young teenager. I used to scoff at people who said they didn’t have the time or motivation to work out. However, as I got older my training regimen became more and more detailed, exhausting and time consuming. I was training for 90 minutes, 4 times a week-and that didn’t include cardio. That led to me skipping workouts or trudging along tiredly in the gym. Frequently, I would struggle with prolonged ruts, where I simply could not progress to heavier weights or higher repetitions no matter what I did. Then, I discovered H.I.T. That’s High Intensity Training, and it delivers fantastic results both quick and efficiently. Now, for a maximum of 90 minutes total a week, in no more than 3-30 minute sessions, I can do enough weight lifting for every muscle in my body. It’s time to gain size, strength and stamina, in barely any time! You can easily gain 10 pounds of muscle in just a few weeks. Are you ready to push the boundaries of what you think your body can take?
H.I.T. was developed by Arthur Jones in the 1970’s; the same Arthur Jones who created the Nautilus workout machines. His client list was long and impressive, some of the best and most sculpted body builders of the time. Casey Viator, perhaps his most prized pupil, won the 1971 Mr. America due to H.I.T. training. After going through an accident at his work, Viator stopped working out for a period of time. Jones decided to track Casey’s progress as he got back into weightlifting while using the H.I.T regimen. In 28 days, Viator gained over 45 pounds. In the same period of time, he lost over 17 pounds of fat. That means he gained well over 60 pounds of lean muscle mass, in one month. Now, we cannot all be genetic freaks such as Viator, but the results speak for themselves.
However, don’t be scared off, you do not need to be a bodybuilder to attempt or feel the benefits of a H.I.T. program. H.I.T. goes against everything you thought you knew about building muscle mass and gaining strength. Contrary to the more popular theories of weight lifting, where more is better, H.I.T. makes less the best. Instead of dedicating entire workouts to arms, or chest, for example, H.I.T. makes you work every muscle group in your body in one session. Instead of 20 sets of biceps exercises, you’ll be doing a maximum of 12 sets for your entire workout.
Before getting into the specifics of the routine, let’s go over the core principles that make H.I.T. so effective.
The first key here is that using all of your muscles in one workout stimulates more growth throughout your entire body. More muscle building testosterone is released in this manner and your cardiovascular system works harder in the process. The second key is that this program is called High Intensity for a reason. It’s not for the faint of heart. There are legendary stories of some of the most renowned bodybuilders in the world, including the most famous of all, Arnold Schwarzenegger, succumbing to the powerful effects of this workout routine.
As I said, you do not need to be a bodybuilder to do this; I certainly am far from it. That being said, the following workout is not for beginners either, and incorporates several techniques that should not be attempted before first getting accustomed to weight training. Feel free to modify this routine to suit your needs by eliminating several isolation exercises.
This routine gains it’s intensity from several sources. A H.I.T. workout resembles a classic circuit training regimen, with several important differences. Instead of using machines, you should be doing every exercise possible with free weights. Among other things, this brings your core muscles into use during everything you do. As opposed to circuit training, you will not be using low weights for very high repetitions. You should be doing every exercise with the maximum amount of weight you can do 8-12 proper reps (see below description).
The similarity to circuit training lies in the fact that there is absolutely no rest during the entirety of this workout. The only time you should rest will be the minimum amount of time it takes you to change weights or move stations at the gym. You will be speeding from exercise to exercise, body part to body part in succession; with no rest. This workout should not take more than 30 minutes. In fact, it should barely take 25.
All of the repetitions you will be doing will be negative repetitions. This means that you need to spend at least three full seconds on the downward or negative part of the repetition. For example, when bench pressing, you will be lowering the weight down to your chest in a controlled, even matter for at least three seconds. After a short pause at the bottom of the repetition, raise the weight back to the beginning position.
Another principle Arthur Jones introduced into his program is called pre-exhaustion. This means that you will tire out some of your muscles in isolation exercises before the onslaught of the compound exercise to follow it. For example, before doing a squat, you will do several leg exercises that will make those squats more difficult.
Strict form in your lifting is an absolute necessity for this workout. The repetition range for each of the exercises is between 8 and 12. Take whatever weight you would normally do for that weight, and take off about 10%. So, if you usually bench press 185 pounds for 10 reps, begin here with about 165 pounds. Trust me, with the focus on strict form and the negative half of the repetition along with the thrashing you are giving every muscle in your body, it will be necessary. As soon as you can do twelve solid reps with a given weight, increase the weight by about 5%.
Finally, you should not do this workout more than three times a week. In fact, in one or two months, you can reduce that to twice in a week and eventually three times per every two weeks. If you are simply looking to maintain your current strength or size, one H.I.T. workout a week will suffice.
It doesn’t sound like much, but if you push yourself to the extremes in the above fashion, the results will speak for themselves. If you are not willing to go all out, don’t bother. No rest, high weights and negative repetitions make up the fundamental pillars of this workout. Without that, without the H.I. of H.I.T., you will not gain the results you are seeking.
Now that you know all about the techniques and principles you will need, it’s time to go over the routine itself. Again, for each of these exercises you do one set, between 8 and 12 negative focused repetitions, with a weight that is about 10% less than you would normally use.
Leg Curl (hamstrings)
Leg Extension (quadriceps)
Squat (legs, lower back, glutes)
Straight Arm Pullover (lats, upper/mid back)
Bench Press (chest)
Bent Over Row or One Arm Row (lats, upper/mid back)
Standing Shoulder Press w/ Barbell (deltoids, traps)
Bicep Curl w/ Barbell (biceps)
Triceps Extension (triceps)
Forearm Curl (forearms)
Calf Raise (calves)
Sit-ups: as many as you can do, with negative repetitions (abs)
If you do this workout correctly, you will be completely worn out. You will be exhausted; guaranteed. But you’ll be done in 25 minutes and ready to move on with the rest of your day. You will see results while gaining both strength and size; guaranteed. Give this H.I.T. workout a few weeks, modify it to suit your own needs and I think you’ll never go back.