What is "Heavy Duty" training?
Question: I've heard a lot about the "heavy duty" type of training. Can you give me an idea of how a typical heavy duty routine would look?
Answer: "Heavy Duty" is a phrase that former Mr. Universe Mike Mentzer coined for High Intensity Training (also known as "HIT"). HIT is based on doing very intense, brief, and infrequent workouts. The goal is progressive overload: to add weight to the bar at every workout. Every set is taken to total failure.
HIT proponents usually recommend only a single set to total failure on each body part. The most common HIT routine is a full body workout done two or three days per week with about 8 - 10 exercises (or fewer), each performed for one set to failure (excluding warm-ups). most HIT advocates are against split routines and multiple sets. A typical HIT routine would look like this:
1. Breathing Squats 1 set 20 reps
2. Straight barbell pullover 15 - 20 reps
3. Stiff Legged Deadlift 1 set 8 - 10 reps
4. Bent over Row or Chin ups 1 set 8-10 reps
5. Bench Press or Weighted Dips 1 set 8-10 reps
6. Press Behind the Neck 1 set 8-10 reps
7. Standing Barbell Curl 1 set 8 - 10 reps
8. Lying Tricep extension 1 set 8-10 reps
9. Standing Calf raise 1 set 8 - 12 reps
10. Abdominal crunches (weighted) 1 set 8-12 reps
HIT is a very effective way to gain strength and muscle mass. I've reached some of my all time best strength levels while on very "abbreviated" HIT routines. I've experimented with various HIT programs and I feel that I got better results with two sets per body part than one, however. (But this is still very brief and low volume compared to conventional training)
My advice would be to incorporate HIT cycles throughout the year when you want to get bigger and stronger, but to alternate it with more conventional, higher volume training. The body will adapt to any program if you stay on it too long. Staying with HIT too long can also lead to injury.
I think it's important to mention that some HIT advocates, particularly Mike Mentzer (the most vocal and opinionated of the HIT proponents), will try to persuade you that HIT is the ONLY way to train and it is the BEST way to train. This simply is not true. THERE IS NO SINGLE BEST WAY TO TRAIN!
There's no doubt: Heavy Duty/HIT works! So do about a hundred other styles and systems of training. HIT is not the "end all, be all" of training. HIT is effective, but it is not the only way, it is not appropriate for everyone and should not be used all the time.
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