Bodybuilding Articles

Superslow HIT Training for Fast Muscle Gains

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Exercise pioneer Arthur Jones founded HIT training in the 1970s. HIT stands for High Intensity Training which became very popular in the 70s and still is today, because it’s proven to be extremely effective at building muscle.

HIT Training was used in the Colorado Experiment – where Casey Viator gained 63lbs of muscle in just 28 days! I know it’s hard to believe but check out this post to read more.

What is HIT Training?

In short, Arthur Jones’ HIT training protocol is where you focus on slow negative reps i.e. taking 10 seconds on the eccentric portion of the bench press. By going extra slow on the negative portion of the rep you place huge tension on the muscle, which if done repeatedly causes the muscle to tear/breakdown, and eventually grow back bigger and stronger.

Who Does HIT Training?

HIT training is perfect for bodybuilders and anyone trying to make fast muscle gains.

Benefits of HIT Training

Rapid Muscle Gains – if you want to pack on size, this type of training is perfect. With the stress placed on your body during workouts, it has no choice but to grow bigger and stronger. There are countless studies and articles online that back up the effectiveness of HIT Training.

Time Under Tension (TUT) – in bodybuilding one of the main aims is to keep your muscle(s) under tension for as long as possible. Sets usually last 40-60 seconds, and rather than just lifting from A-B like in powerlifting and strength training, instead it’s about tensing the muscle as hard as possible, fully shortening and lengthening each muscle – to create swelling (also known as the pump).

With HIT training, as you spend a long time doing the negative part of the rep (10 seconds) it creates huge tension in the working muscle – which leads to fast muscle gains and crazy muscle pumps. You will literally be walking out of the gym feeling and looking like the Incredible Hulk!

Less Taxing On Joints – Strength training is very important in bodybuilding. Some of the biggest guys the world has ever seen – Ronnie Coleman, Phil Heath and Kia Greene all lifted heavy and achieved some impressive numbers (Ronnie Coleman 800lb squat!). That said, strength training places a huge amount of stress on the joints, because of the load being lifted. Just look at all the guys who lifted crazy weights, most of them end up injured e.g. Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman now.

Whereas with HIT training the load lifted is a lot less, with it being impossible to lift stupidly heavy with a 10 second eccentric movement. Instead, you have to lower the weight with full control and leave your ego at the door. HIT is perfect because it places more stress on working muscles, and less stress on joints – perfect for people looking to build muscle.

How To Do HIT Training…

Whilst you can alter the speed of the negative reps i.e. 8-10s, try starting with 10s. Aim for 5 reps with a 10s eccentric and 2s concentric (12s per rep x 5 reps = 60s per set).

An upper body HIT training session could look like this…

  • Bench press 3 sets x 5 reps (10s eccentric, 2s concentric)
  • Wide Pull ups 3 sets x 5 reps (10s eccentric, 2s concentric)
  • BB shoulder press 3 sets x 5 reps (10s eccentric, 2s concentric)
  • Cable bicep curl  3 sets x 5 reps (10s eccentric, 2s concentric)
  • Tricep push down 3 sets x 5 reps (10s eccentric, 2s concentric)

Other Ways To Implement HIT Training…

Whilst you could do all of your workouts HIT style, it could also be used more sparingly, i.e. for 1 exercise in the session. For bodybuilders it’s best to combine strength and hypertrophy work for best results.

An example workout could look like this…

Chest Workout Example:

  • Bench press – 3 sets x 3-5 reps – focus on strength (tempo 2:1)
  • Incline DB press – HIT training x 3-5 reps – focus on hypertrophy (tempo 10:2)
  • Flat DB fly’s – 3 sets 10-15 reps focus on hypertrophy (tempo 3:1)

The above is just an example but it could slot in nicely as an advanced set, aimed at blasting the muscle after heavy strength work.

Effective Muscle Building Method

There are many methodologies to build muscle, such as giant sets, rest-pause, drop sets, supersets, etc – but HIT training is one of the best you can do. If you apply HIT training frequently (2-3x per week) you will see a big difference in muscle mass.

Nick Screetoni

Nick is a certified personal trainer who's been transforming people's physiques for the last 10 years. Nick's conducted over 10,000 training sessions and his brand LEPfitness is continuously growing (based in Sheffield, England).
Nick Screetoni

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