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Since my son Michael has come home for the summer from college, he has been especially dedicated to his workouts and diet. He hits the gym faithfully, follows a healthy muscle building diet and even frequents GNC for supplements. His dedication reminds me of when I was his age. But now the tables have turned slightly as Michael has introduced me to something, HIT; a workout regimen that became widespread in the 1970’s, decades before he was even born.

High Intensity Training (HIT) is a method of strength training first made popular by inventor Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus and MedX. Everyone who has ever worked out is knows of Nautilus equipment. The latter company manufactures both spinal rehabilitation and premium exercise equipment. I was first made aware of Jones and his commitment to the fitness world with his creation of the portable Bowflex. My oldest brother, also named Michael, took that apparatus with him everywhere, including family vacations. Yes, you can see that discipline and a dedication to fitness runs in the family.

The basic principles of HIT are that the exercises are brief, infrequent, and intense.  The participant works harder for briefer amounts of time and less frequently than the typical high volume approach that trainers often encourage. It stresses intensity over repetition and focuses on performing quality weightlifting repetitions to the point of momentary muscular failure. The training takes into account the number of repetitions, the amount of weight, and the amount of time the muscle is exposed to tension in order to maximize the amount of muscle fiber recruitment. Many bodybuilders used this training technique as it’s an excellent means to build muscle mass which is my son’s goal.

A HIT workout targets one body part at a time with one or two exercises, a single set of 6 to 10 reps for your upper body and either 8 to 15 reps or more commonly 12 to 20 reps for your lower, performed until the exerciser is spent. Dead lifts usually have a rep range of 5 to 8 reps, and calves are sometimes trained with 1 to 2 sets of failure. Be certain to choose a weight that allows you to complete your reps to exhaustion. When you are able to do 10 or more reps, increase the weight for your next workout.

A rule of HIT is, as the exerciser get stronger, the stress is greater and more rest more is needed between workouts. So HIT workouts should be scheduled from 4 days a week to only one workout every 10 days. A sample HITs workout on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or Tuesdays and Thursdays would include: barbell squats, leg extensions, leg curls, calf raises, chin ups or lat pull downs, barbell rows, bench presses, dumbbell flies or pec decks, shoulder presses, dumbbell lateral raises, barbell curls, and tricep extensions.

Not every strength training or exercise program is for everyone. I do not do High Intensity Training as I do not want my muscles any larger than they are already. But for those who would like be more well-built, like my son, than I suggest giving HIT a try. It’s been proven to be very effective and accomplishing increased strength and muscle mass.

Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Well.