Originally Posted by BendtheBar
If we put the Reeve's beginner up with one working set and didn't attribute it to Reeve's, but instead called it a HIT workout and added failure, a lot of people wouldn't take it seriously because of the HIT Jedi hatred.
I see where you are getting at. And mostly, I agree with you on this. Just as there are HIT jedis, there are lots of people who hate HIT jedis to the point that they wont even listen to what they say. But ... I differ in the opinion that Reeves' beginner routine (for most part) is like a HIT routine. If anything, his methods might involve failure in the higher volume variants, but I doubt it. I had a feeling after reading his book that his core philosophy was to use volume as a way to getting around without training to failure.
I mentioned there is room for ambiguity, so let me elaborate a bit more on that. The Reeve's plan:
The diktat was, once you get 12 reps, increase weight (5 lbs). Consider a case where you are using 150 lbs, but actually have the capacity to get in 160 lbs for the target reps. You would increase the weight next workout to 155 for 12 reps, and you still wouldn't hit failure. This point becomes especially critical for beginners. Their bodies adapt very fast, and with each workout, the threshold for "failure" goes up; initially it goes up so rapidly, that they don't reach failure when they increase the weight by 5 lbs/workout.
In other words, this is the regime when everyone talks of milking the linear progression, and while this can be tough workouts, this is not necessarily training to failure HIT style.
As a trainee advanced though, Reeves advocated higher volume of work. In his book (Building a Classic physique the natural way), he recommends increasing the number of sets to 2 once the trainee can't add weights/reps every workout with the single set protocol on a consistent basis
. This would imply that he was advocating increasing the volume to avoid training to failure consistently. Similarly, moved on from 2 sets to 3 sets later on, but never did I see him advocate more than 3 sets.
Instead beyond this, he changed the routine. If you look at his beginner's routine, he had 9-10 exercises, one per bodypart. If you look at the final routine in the book (the one he states was his peak or championship routines), he further increased the total volume by increasing the number of exercises to 3-4 moves/bodypart. Including all of it, he had 27 or 28 exercises per session, 2-4 sets/exercise, and a whopping 61-62 work sets per session, each of which lasted about 2.5 hours. Reeves was a beast too, one with incredible genetics, who relied on volume as he advanced more and more.
Anyway, the whole point in this post is this: going through the routines of Reeves, I can sense that he used volume as a tool to progress without training to absolute failure (at least on a consistent basis), so in that sense I would not think of Reeves routines as HIT style. I agree with you though, that if you dont look at his training philosophy in a holistic manner, rather looked at one block of his routines, his principles are ambiguous enough to be thought that this is a style close to HIT.
Hope I make sense, lol
Getting back to the topic of the thread, regarding limitations of HIT - a major limitation according to me lies with the trainees - failure in HIT is "perceptive" rather than "measurable". Two different individuals with different mindset, and training to failure will mean different things. Heck, even for the same individual, working out after a good day in the office and a bad day in the office, mindset would be different and failure would take different meanings.
Plus as Fazc pointed out, HIT is a very good tool, but we would do well to keep in mind that this is not the only tool.