HIT Training for Maximum Muscle Gains

Trying to gain muscle is not an easy task, it takes time and sometimes years to achieve a desirable physique, but if you switch up your routine consistently and take the right supplements you can build a decent amount of muscle. The trick here is to consistently stimulate your body making sure it does not get used to a single routine.

If you are not familiar with HIT training (High-Intensity Training) let me explain more about it, HIT training was something practiced by a few famous bodybuilders including Mike Mentzer, his brother Ray Mentzer and the massive Dorian Yates, let's face it, Dorian was one of those bodybuilders that we can say introduced one of the first massive physiques on to the Mr. Olympia Stage.

If you have never watched a Dorian Yates training video, his facial expressions are priceless and will give you an idea of the excruciating pain experienced during his workouts, pain that was generated by surprisingly “short” training sessions. HIT training can be excruciating and painful, especially if it's performed properly.

HIT training principles

The biggest thing about HIT training is that it can take an immense amount of energy for it to be effective, the more stamina you maintain during the workout the more effective it will be.

The biggest issue with (HIT) training is that since the movements are slow and controlled you need to make sure that our muscles are maintaining plenty of nitrogen and oxygen,  so proper nutrition, and supplementation are important, otherwise, we will be unable to endure the length of the training session. HIT requires raw explosive power throughout each controlled movement.

For most of us a normal strength training session would be when we blast out several sets with moderate to high repetitions, HIT training requires slow and controlled movements during each exercise, you can almost consider it a less is more training technique, while you are doing fewer sets and reps you are using very controlled movements while squeezing and holding each contraction for 2-3 seconds.

Mike Mentzer wrote several books on this subject and some bodybuilders don't agree with his principles,  but that is hard to argue considering the awesome physique Mike Mentzer had an excerpt from Mikes book said:

“Carrying a set to a point where you are forced to utilize 100 percent of your momentary ability is the single most important factor in increasing size and strength”

— Mike Mentzer (High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way©, p. 41).

In spite of Mike Mentzer's theories and physical results, many have questioned his concept of training the muscles to momentary failure while controlling load variables with slow movements, other studies have found some very significant “positive” findings.

HIT Training and volume

Mike Mentzer believed that one set to failure per exercise was more than enough to stimulate a response from the muscles, any more than that would simply be wasting unnecessary effort and could be considered counterproductive which would constitute overtraining.

“…one set to failure is all that is required to stimulate an increase in strength and size – with no number of lesser sets having the same effect”

– Mike Mentzer (Muscles In Minutes, p. 26).

Most bodybuilders perform 2-3 sets ranging between 8-15 reps, those numbers seem to be the norm but not the rule, a lot depends on what muscle group you are focusing on and the intensity and duration of each movement and contraction.

The Legend Mike Mentzer

Dorian Yates HIT training principles

Dorian Yates followed similar training principles of Mike Mentzer,  the difference being that he would warm up with two sets performing 10-15 reps, followed by one intense working set for each exercise using a weight that would let him perform 10-12 reps on the working set.

Increasing weight every session

HIT training is all about progress, meaning that every time you train you should gradually increase the weight ( while maintaining proper form) not by a lot, but making sure that the amount of weight continues to increase over time “weeks and months”.

Reaching true failure with forced reps

When performing HIT training the best way to achieve failure is on the negative movement of the exercise by doing forced reps, you will need a training partner to do this, what he or she does is help you lift the weight on the way up and then you control the weight coming back down on the negative, this is Dorian Yates meaning of true failure and what HIT training is all about.

Frequency of training

This boils down to a personal preference, many say you need a day or two for recovery, but this is will vary from person to person, if you train one body part per day this should not be an issue, there are many supplements or legal steroids that can help accelerate recovery time making it easier to train more frequently.


If you have never tried HIT training I would highly recommend it, especially if you have reached a plateau or sticking point, you may choose to work this in every other month or so and I believe you will be amazed at how well this training method works not only will it change up your routine it gives you a new and fresh way to pack on new muscle mass.

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