High Intensity Training & „Body by Science“

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Anyone who is serious about doing safe and effective resistance training (i.e. lifting/pushing/pulling heavy weights) will undoubtedly come across HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING (HIT).

As opposed to the conventional bodybuilding concept of working out 5 times a week to get a ripped body, the idea of HIT is to make your workouts as short and as intense as possible. Fatiguing your muscles to a degree where no further positive repetition is possible is a sufficient mode of exercise to stimulate your muscle fibers and signal muscle growth. With the tremendous work intensity and stress you put on your body during such a workout, you will not be able to perform a HIT workout more than 2x week if performed correctly.

If you  want to get an idea of how a total body HIT workout looks like which stimulates the biggest muscle groups, check out the following (this is how I train myself as well):


This workout lasted ~10 min and this is all your body can stand if exposed to HIT techniques.

If you want to know how intense ONLY one chin-up can be, check out this 2-minute long chin-up:

 

Working Out 5 x Week is NOT Smart

The reason why working out more frequently (i.e. >4x week) for longer than 30 min each session is both inefficient and counter-productive is on the physiology of the human metabolism.When performing a HIT-like workout (this is the CATABOLIC phase of metabolism) your muscles receive the greatest possible stimulus for growth. It is during the time when your muscles are not being worked that they actually have the necessary time to rest and grow – this is called the ANABOLIC phase. This kind of HIT workout is performed infrequently (every 5-6 days) to ensure that you don’t overtrain and that your body is well rested before you can give a 100% at your next workout.  You also don’t need to perform multiple sets at each machine – one set per machine taken to positive failure is all your muscles need. In addition, performing each repetition as slowly as you can, minimises any risk of injury and prevents any external negative momentum.

 

My Personal Experience

For the last 4 months I have been performing HIT workouts with brilliant results. Working out roughly once per week I was able to put on 6 kg of muscle tissue while leaning out at the same time. I am very thrilled as I am continuing to make strength and lean mass gains.

Last week, I signed my membership at KIESER Training who have more than 120.000 members mostly in Germany and Switzerland. Their philosophy is also based on the principles of HIT where they used biomechanically superb and safe MedX machine equipment. There is no music, no cardio machines, no free weight barbells – basically, it is a pure, functional, effective training environment. It is everything a modern-day gym is not.

 

„Body By Science“

The book that has had the greatest influence on my workout philosophy is „BODY BY SCIENCE“ by Doug McGuff and John Little. It is an investment you will not regret as it outlines the benefits of HIT based on the latest scientific research/studies while giving you a basic understanding of how the body’s biochemistry when performing resistance training.

With less than 30 min per week of actual workout time, nobody can possibly argue that they don’t have any time for resistance training using HIT.  I like to be smart about time management and that’s also one of the reasons why I adopted HIT. I urge you to do the same and see what happens. However, don’t expect to get instantaneous magic muscles – you will need to work your butt off big time!

If you train smartly and rest wisely, you are bound to have an impressive body transformation at a minimal time investment.

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  • John

    Now that you’ve been in both HIT and traditional weightlifting, how does one compare to other regarding PACKING MUSCLE MASS?

    • http://www.biohacks.net/ Stephan R

      IMO, when it comes to adding muscle mass, traditional weightlifting is more effective than HIT. Adding mass requires volume, and I dont think you can get in enough volume when you are using HIT with one set to failure. HIT is more suitable for the wider public because of its numerous health benefits.

      Look at the people who have the most muscle mass – bodybuilders. Besides crazy steroid cycles and eating ridiculous amounts of calories, their training is centered around volume. Dont forget though, they still train heavy with a lot of volume. Go figure :)

      • John

        That’s what I thought. Still, I’m having trouble progressing to heavier weights because I often feel pain in my joints, most notably my elbows and shoulders when doing bench presses or shoulder presses. I don’t eat fish nor take any fish oil supplement – do you think that might be the cause? I didn’t have any joint pain specifically before I started lifting.

        • http://www.biohacks.net/ Stephan R

          Lift less frequently, and definitely don’t train if you feel pain – that’s stupid and leave you hurt.

          Buy a high-quality cod liver supplement (e.g. Green Pasture brand is great). Also, to aid the joint pain, start making your own bone broth (e.g. from oxtail). Broth has a ton of gelatin which is essentially what your connective tissue is made of.

          Most importantly, dont forget that when you work out you are not merely training the muscle but connective tissue, ligaments etc. These structures take longer to adapt to training than muscle tissue per se. Listen to some of Christopher Sommer’s work to understand this:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHSESdnfpOk