You could never again sell me on HIT Training for bodybuilding; I’ve been there and done it without enough long-term benefit to justify passing it along as the best method for naturally transforming one’s physique. I’ve used Mike Mentzer’s ‘Heavy Duty’ system of bodybuilding. I’ve studied and used Stuart McRobert’s material. I’ve done the Ellington Darden thing. If the scant natural bodybuilding gains I achieved with HIT training are the average gained among other naturals using that method – it’s no surprise that the latter of above listed proponents of such training fills his books with images of steroid-jacked competitive bodybuilders.
In case you don’t know, ‘HIT’ stands for “High Intensity Training.” Its theories were originated by Arthur Jones, creator of Nautilus equipment. The idea behind HIT is that muscles can be trained adequately (and thus, efficiently) by using between one and three heavy sets of repetitions ending in complete muscular failure. It’s usually done in the lower repetition range (4-8 reps). In addition, HIT typically involves using a relatively slow and controlled movement on both the eccentric and concentric portions of the weight lifting repetitions.
‘HIT vs. Volume Training’: Are they mutually exclusive?
While surfing the Internet for bodybuilding information, it’d be easy to conclude that HIT is mutually exclusive with what’s invariably portrayed as its opposing principle: ‘volume training.’ You’d think its “HIT or Volume Training”, with no room for an intermittent cycling (periodization), or even a hybrid of the two.
And what is volume training? It’s loosely defined as weight training that involves multiple sets per body part performed in a “less-than-intense” manner. But from my personal experience, a certain degree of “intensity of effort” applied to a measurable and respectable amount of “volume workload” is what leads to muscle gains for most people. This combination requires the accompaniment of adequate inter-workout recuperation to prevent overtraining so that the magic of muscle gains can occur – a precise and customizable formula that is the basis of my HardBody Success system.
‘HIT or Volume Training’: Is volume the answer as we age?
There may now be an answer to the “HIT or Volume Training: which is best” question… especially for bodybuilders who are middle-aged and older. A meta-analysis of forty-nine other studies was conducted earlier this year to determine the effects of resistance exercise on the lean body mass of seasoned citizens.
“I know… there’s nothing new here; the effects of sarcopenia and bodybuilding’s role in preventing it are well documented”.
However, this was a study of a group of other studies and included a total of 1,328 participants. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to discover any relations among resistance exercise (weight training), “dosage schemes” (volume), and age ranges. To reduce publication bias and improve group heterogeneity of the analysis, some statistical safe-guards were used which included a regression analysis of the relation between age, “weight training dosage” (volume), and lean body mass (muscle) gains.
The results showed a significantly greater increase in lean body mass for older individuals when they used higher volumes of training as compared to lower volumes. In addition, the meta regression analysis revealed that the earlier in life one begins resistance training – the better the results in lean body mass gains from weight training as we age.
The study was published in ‘Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise’ and a link to the abstract of the analysis is right here: Influence of Resistance Exercise on Lean Body Mass in Aging Adults: A Meta-Analysis
“’HIT’ or ‘Volume Training’”: Conclusion
The results of this study suggest that as we get older, HIT might be less effective than “volume training.”
Perhaps most importantly, it shows that the sooner we start pumping some iron, the better we’ll ward off muscle loss as we age.