"High Intensity" or "Heavy Duty" training

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Awake in America, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Awake in America

    Awake in America Mentor

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    I am 3+ weeks into an experiment with a weightlifting program based on what is called "High Intensity Training"(HIT) or "Heavy Duty", and thought I would share how it's going. Having lifted on and off for about 30 years, and read countless articles on the subject, I am starting to think that most of what I've been told was wrong, or at least not optimal.

    Traditional weightlifting/bodybuilding calls for multiple sets and exercises per bodypart, and at least 3 workouts per week, and maybe as many as 5.

    HIT is very controversial, and bringing it up on fitness boards will cause a reaction that is very much like a religious argument. I decided to try it for myself. Basically, HIT workouts are shorter in time than traditional workouts, involve few exercises, and fewer sets. Each body part gets one or two exercises, for one set, 6-8 repetitions (12-15 for legs). The reps are done on a 4/4 count or slower, with a pause at the top of any movement with a contraction at the top. Taking the weight up on a 4 count is TOUGH. Every set is taken to failure. Not burning, not uncomfortable, not "this is difficult", but failure, and sometimes beyond. I very nearly passed out on leg press yesterday, which was awesome. :wacko: I am lifting twice a week, and the workouts are only taking 15-20 minutes, including warmup. I also run twice a week, which is not part of the program, but I just like to run.

    So far, I am stunned by the results.

    Bodyweight is up 4 lbs. Fat is down, judging by how my pants fit. Strength has increased in every exercise, every workout, meaning I either added weight or reps or both. I am not a newbie, and was in pretty good shape before starting this. I eat only a decent diet, drink too much beer for my own good, and don't take any supplements, apart from protein powder sometimes. If anyone is looking to try something new in the weight-room, comment here, and I'd be happy to tell you more. I'm not selling anything, or trying to convert anyone. Just my experience so far.
     
  2. scroat

    scroat Guru

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    Do you have a link I can read about it? I've been lifting heavy for a couple months now and I should be plateauing soon. Maybe ill try this for a couple weeks.
     
  3. Awake in America

    Awake in America Mentor

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    I looked at what these two guys did, and adapted it to my schedule and around my injuries (I can't do deadlift anymore, for instance).

    http://boiseexperiment.com/

    Also, there are some good YouTube vids of Mike Mentzer training a German bodybuilder named Markus Reinhardt. Mentzer was a weirdo, but a smart one. Reinhardt also has a site dedicated to HIT, and is something of an expert on it.

    The thing that's hard to get hold of with this is the infrequency of sessions, and the low number of sets. Trust me, it's not an easy paradigm.
     
  4. Awake in America

    Awake in America Mentor

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    Weighed today. Up another pound. Started at 213, now at 218. I think it's muscle.

    The team told me I didn't have enough "hip swivel" to play tailback, so they are bulking me into a fullback. :heh:
     
  5. werewolf

    werewolf Hall of Famer

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    "HIT workouts are shorter in time than traditional workouts, involve few exercises, and fewer sets..."


    Less is more.
     
  6. Awake in America

    Awake in America Mentor

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    It would appear so. Now I'm tipping the scales at 219 (6'1"), and every single workout I have gone up in either weight or reps on every exercise, while slowing down. I don't have a way to measure % body fat, so I just go by how my pants fit. If anything, looser than before.
    I can't imagine how well this would work for a younger man. Going to start my 14 year old son on it this weekend. He's 5'10", 117 lbs, so he needs some muscle. Beanpole.

    This isn't magical in any way; it's just slow, steady progress. I look a little more muscular than I did a month ago, though my summer tan has faded. Might add creatine to the mix for month #2 or 3. I can't recommend this type of training strongly enough.
     
  7. scroat

    scroat Guru

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    Could you give an example of what your workout is specifically?
     
  8. Awake in America

    Awake in America Mentor

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    Sure. I split it into two workouts. A 4/2/4 cadence is used on everything, meaning the lift is on a 4 second count (which is the hardest part for me), the negative is also. Any movement that doesn't have a lockout position gets a 2 count at the maximum contraction. The idea is to fail between 6-8 reps for upper body, 12-15 for legs. Hit the upper range, raise the weight next time, but always go until you cannot move the bar anymore, and then fight it.

    Workout #1

    Pec Dec- one set to failure on a 4/2/4 cadence. Got 8 reps, so will raise the weight next time.

    Machine benchpress- one set to failure on a 4/4 cadence. This is supersetted with the pec dec. Got 8 reps last time, going up in weight next time. Sometimes I throw in some heavy negatives at the end.

    Hammer Strength pull down- one set to failure, same 4/2/4 cadence. Got six reps last time, so keeping the weight the same until I get 8.

    A rowing movement of some kind, one set to failure. This depends on what's available, so it could be dumbells, t-bar, pulley, machine.

    Leg extension- one set to failure. Same cadence. Got 8 last time, so staying put until I get 12.

    Leg press- one set to failure. Same cadence. Got 15 last time, so going up. This is supersetted with the leg extensions, and is a real bitch.

    Seated leg curl- one set to failure. Got 8 last time, so staying put.

    Ab exercise of my choosing, weighted, one set to failure, or I get tired of it.

    8 total sets. Resting is fine between exercises. It takes me under 30 minutes, and that includes warmup.

    Workout #2

    I do this at least 3 days after #1.

    Dumbell lateral raises- 4/2/4 cadence. Got 9 last time, so going up. I hadn't done these in a while, so I went a little light.

    Reverse pec dec, or bent over laterals, one set to failure, same cadence. This is supersetted with the laterals. Same cadence.

    Tricep pushdowns or tricep machine, one set to failure, same cadence. Even 3-4 days later, my tris are still beat from bench in Workout #1.

    Bicep machine or barbell curls, one set to failure, same 4/2/4 cadence.

    Hack squats, 4/4 cadence, one set to failure. Sucks.

    Low back machine, one set, high reps. I don't go to failure on this because I don't want to know what that would look like.

    Ab exercise of my choice, weighted to get 12-15 reps failure, or until I get sick of it. I hate working abs.

    7 total sets. Takes about 25 minutes total. It's a little shorter than #1 because I don't need as much rest between exercises.

    The actual workout after which I patterned this calls for 3 workouts, which I consolidated into 2 to fit my schedule a little better. It also has dead lifts, calf raises, and dips in it. I can't dead lift anymore, so I put in the hack squats and low back machine. I run twice a week, so my calves get some work then. I might add calf raises and dips.

    Any of the exercises can be substituted. I use a bench machine because of shoulder reconstruction, but there's no reason that barbell or dumbell wouldn't do the same thing. Squat could be subbed for leg press. Military press could be in place of lateral raises, etc... The biggest things are 1) Take every set to positive failure, or a little beyond, 2) Have at least 3 days between workouts, and probably more, 3) Work that slowed down cadence. 4) Breathe at least twice per rep, or you will risk passing out, 5) DON'T do more than this. One set, one or two exercises per body part (usually 1), to real failure.

    Check out boiseexperiment.com for more examples. They cataloged every day, every workout, and every meal; and videoed most of the workouts, with commentary. The help section is easy to navigate.

    Here are a couple of videos. The first one is Mike Mentzer training a bodybuilder. The second is the guys who did the Boise Experiment:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhYlg1ulqME

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0LRzp28rEo
     
  9. scroat

    scroat Guru

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    Thanks a lot. I think ill see if I can figure something out at my gym. The only problem is I work out at gay planet fitness and they don't have enough weight to work out to failure with in one set. I'm sure I can figure out something though. Ill let you know how it works for me.
     
  10. Awake in America

    Awake in America Mentor

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    Give it a go. If you do the reps that slowly, finding enough weight will probably not be a problem, unless you are exceptionally strong. I took my first set of traditional lifting, where I would do 12 reps and not fail, and that made for 6-7 on that slower cadence. Let me know how it goes.

    I've never been in a Planet Fitness. Are they lacking in weight equipment?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  11. scroat

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    Yeah they are. They don't have a lot of heavy weights lifting equipment but they are exceptionally cheap and 24-7. Their business plan is kind of an "anti-gym", no slamming weights, etc. Dumbells only go up to 75 and curling bar only goes up to 60. No free weight benchpress, just smith machine. There's enough you can get a full workout but its gets harder to mix it up. Ill be joining a real gym fairly soon I'm sure.
     
  12. werewolf

    werewolf Hall of Famer

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    Best to mix up high intensity strength exercises with endurance exercise - walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, something like that.


    "so I just go by how my pants fit"

    Probably that's the best way!

    Gyms. I don't like gyms. I prefer to exercise outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine.
     
  13. werewolf

    werewolf Hall of Famer

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    "Low back machine, one set, high reps. I don't go to failure on this because I don't want to know what that would look like."

    Ha ha - no you don't! I don't know that that machine - exercises directed at the lower back - does any good rather than bad anyway - I suspect the latter - but then I'm a luddite when it comes to exercise machines.

    "Ab exercise of my choice, weighted to get 12-15 reps failure, or until I get sick of it. I hate working abs."


    Back when I was doing my boxing thing I experimented with ab exercises and switched from varieties of situps to isometric ab contractions - and my abs seemed to be even stronger and more punch resistant than ever. Ab muscles are used statically, not in motion, so does it not make sense to train them statically, ie isometrically? That being said, I mix 'em up, as I do most exercises, and today, for instance, I did my latest favorites, slow and careful straight leg situps - ratchet your way up strictly using the ab muscles - followed by crunches with legs held straight up, ie perpendicular to the ground.
     
  14. TBProdigy

    TBProdigy Guru

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    Planet Fitness is just an awful place, honestly i wouldn't waste my time there, they cater to the physically unmotivated, uninterested and fragile, how can one expect to better them self if they never step out of their comfort one. Planet fitness is for lazy out of shape people that want to convince themselves they are working towards a goal, but really want to wallow in their own pity with other like minded people.

    Anyway I like this thread, it's good to see this forum has a fitness culture, as Theodore Roosevelt learned a strong mind needs a strong body, I urge every proud white male to get into lifting if they don't already, there are so many obvious benefits but any male that is not physically competent has a very serious flaw.

    I know others may support the idea but I hate training just to look "pretty" in the mirror, I train solely for strength in terms of weightlifting, however I do lots of Cardio also (Alternating HIIT+LISS). I started on a low rep compound lift training plan revolving around the big 3 and accessory lifts. Nowadays I do a mix between powerlifting/olympic style lifting which is no doubt very unorthodox but I think this is the ideal for any man that wants to reach his athletic prime.

    If you guys want I have a list of proven things that have proven to increase test and I try to follow them whenever realistically possible, it's unbelievable how different you feel and the results definitely match.

    For the record: Smith machines are nice in theory, however you don't build the strong core/stabilizer muscles that comes with controlling a heavy free-moving bar because they aren't necessary. It's also the reason why everyone benches less on a real bench press as opposed to one.
     
  15. TBProdigy

    TBProdigy Guru

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    Great point, I like to run/swim/bike alternative to my gym work
     
  16. Awake in America

    Awake in America Mentor

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    Nice post! I agree that pretty much everyone should do some lifting. The cosmetic results are fine and all, but it's great for my overall health. The stress relief is fantastic. Workout leads to better sleep, which leads to better .... well, pretty much everything. I train for muscle size and strength. Frankly, I don't think you can really get one without the other. Olympic lifts are for you young guys!

    I like having the mix of machines and free weights, but the Smith Machine ain't it. That motion just isn't natural at all for squat or bench; and why do military on it when there are dumbells available? Free weights, like you said, require the support of stabilizing muscles, and are so versatile. They are also the same in every gym. On the other hand machines allow you to mostly forget about form, and just go until you can't go. Some also make it easier to train without a partner. Squat and deadlift are non-starters for this damaged, old back, and barbell bench isn't possible either, due to ye olde football injury, though dumbells don't hurt it at all.

    From what you guys have said, I will not be trying Planet Fitness. Taking slow sets to failure means spit flying, grunting, some mild cursing, possible vomiting. I go to a Rush 24/7 (regional chain), which is only slightly more expensive, but is still clean, affordable, and the one I go to isn't a total meat market. They also have a pool, and sometimes I make swimming my primary focus. The gym started to get a little too dark for a while, but that seems to be changing back a little bit.
     
  17. dwid

    dwid Master

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    So many people neglect their core. Working out the abs and back are the most important in my opinion. I used to do heavy weights low reps but I tore my left pec, its still been bothering me so the main thing i can do is cardio, core and leg exercises. Its been months and even running will aggravate it some, so I just stick to the bicycle. I stick to a mixture of high intensity and regular. I read somewhere that you can increase your calorie ependiture by like 3 times if you just go all out for 30 seconds every few minutes, I think it was 5?

    before my pec injury it was nothing but machines because of a bad back. Then it started to feel better and I joined a semi pro football league, somehow it got torn then, probably when I held with my left arm in pass protection when a linebacker got through. Not a bright idea looking back but had fun.

    Now football, thats an exercise. I consider it high intensity. You take little breaks and go out for each play. The competiveness comes out and you wind up working out harder than you would at a gym. Now its similar if you play in a basketball league as well but seems like its more back and forth mid intensity except for every now and then but I find sports makes me work out harder than if I am doing some exercise at a gym. Getting a 3 point stance and going at a sled, or another player in practice, that builds muscle imo.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  18. Gameover

    Gameover Newbie

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    I lack access to a gym or weights, and I don't want to shell out the money for weights just yet. I was actually hoping to get in better shape just by doing body weight exercises. Have any of you guys worked exclusively with body weight exercises and if so, what would you recommend for a workout plan?
     
  19. Awake in America

    Awake in America Mentor

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    Pushups have probably added more muscle than any exercise in history. They get chest, triceps, shoulders, abs, even a little back. Pullups are another great one. Dips of all varieties are also good. Various styles and hand positions can add variety. Legs is a little more complicated. There are body weight only exercises for legs, but they are a little tougher to get the hang of. There's a ton of stuff on youtube. I downloaded a pushup app to my phone last year, and did it for a couple of months. Progress was good. It got a little boring, but the workouts were intense.
     
  20. TBProdigy

    TBProdigy Guru

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    Look into calisthenic workouts, pull ups, chins, dips and all the variations of push ups are solid for upper body. Jump and pistol squats and other variations for legs. Eventually if you want to add anther element into your workouts you can attempt things like planche pushups, muscle ups and other difficult gymnastic style exercises.

    The problem with bodyweight training is there is no progressive overload in terms of strength(unless you use a weight vest), you are focusing more on strength endurance by increasing the amount of reps each time with the same bodyweight. You may also hit a wall in terms of results, but I guess that's also down to you individually.

    Try one of these

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=140521351&p=1075358351&viewfull=1#post1075358351

    or

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=140521351&p=1071882511&viewfull=1#post1071882511
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  21. scroat

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    I would recomend just shelling out the money for the weights. They don't expire and perhaps the money spent will motivate you to use them regularly. Aside from that the advice is spot on. Pushups and pullups can work wonders.
     
  22. scroat

    scroat Guru

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    Oh and TBprodigy yes Planet Fitness does suck. I've been basically using it to get back into lifting because it is so close and cheap. There is enough there to get a decent workout but nothing more.
     
  23. werewolf

    werewolf Hall of Famer

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    "Pushups and pullups can work wonders."

    Yep. And:

    Parallel bar dips are, I think, the king of upper body exercises. Many parks have parallel bars, or you can often use the equipment in playgrounds to do them, as well as chinups. You just have to chase the little kids and their mothers away.

    "No, ma'am, I'm not a child mollester, even though I drool and look like one, so please leave quietly and stop screaming."

    Really, they shouldn't allow little kids to mill around playgrounds. They should post signs saying "no little kids allowed in the playground."

    Combine dips or pushups with chinups - also using the playground equipment if the park doesn't have real chinup bars - and flop down on a bench or something and do situps (but not the way they usually teach you to do situps), and then you can do your interval sprints in the park too, and then you're all set.

    You don't need no fancy health club with all the mirrors and obnoxious music and stale air and ridiculous gadgets and personal trainers and salespeople and poseurs on steroids and fat slobs and monthly fees to stay in shape.



    ww
     
  24. Gameover

    Gameover Newbie

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    Thanks everyone for the advice, I appreciate it! I did end up buying a pull up bar to do chin-ups and pull-ups. It was only 30 bucks so I figured it was worth it. I've often wondered myself, whether or not a person could get truly, "jacked" without weights. I guess I'll find out soon enough.
     
  25. Awake in America

    Awake in America Mentor

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    Five weeks into my High Intensity experiment. Starting weight was 213, now I'm at 218 (dropped a pound, haven't been eating as much or as well), and definitely leaner. I don't think a six pack at my age is realistic, but, I am actually seeing a bit of definition in that area.

    This has been 8 workouts, 7 sets each. Total gym time is under 4 hours. I have added weight or reps to every exercise in every workout. I'm sure I will hit a plateau soon, but so far this has been a real eye-opener. Most people need to slow down their reps bigtime, go to failure, and train less often.
     

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