High Intensity Training (HIT) | Definition, Benefits & Beginners Workout Plan


By Myprotein Writer |

Nathan Halsey

When most people mention the acronym HIT, the assumption is that they are referring to High Intensity Interval Training; (HIIT) a method of training with benefits ranging from increased cardiovascular output through to fat loss.

What about the actual acronym of what’s being said though? As in ‘HIT’ with only one “I” rather than two, referred to as High Intensity Training.

The answer: a method heavily overlooked by the current generation in favour of volume training, despite it’s affiliation to such notable names as Dorian Yates, a 6x Mr Olympia winner, and the man who coached him into the said method: Mike Mentzer (who worked closely with Arthur Jones who popularised HIT training, and founded Nautilus in the 1970s!)

What is the HIT training method?

HIT Training for Strength | The Benefits Of High Intensity Weight Training

The theory behind this method comes from focussing in on momentary muscular failure, both through the concentric (positive) and eccentric (negative) phases of any repetition within a set on an exercise.

To put this into a relevant context for the average gym-goer:

? The positive phase of a repetition is where force is applied by the participant to move the weight concerned from point A to point B.

? The negative phase of the motion refers to the resistance of said weight from point B back to it’s origin of point A.

That being said, through a range of studies, the difference between these two phases lies in the strength output that each possesses. Typically, any subject will always fail first through the positive or concentric phase of a repetition, before they’ve reached failure in the negative or eccentric phase.

And as mentioned initially, this method of training relies solely on reaching total failure, so having a training partner to spot through positive/concentric failure will be the only method to reaching this destination.

How HIT Training works

Due to this base principle taking priority, one working set per exercise is what is performed after taking on warm-up sets, in order to bring the concerned muscle adequate blood flow, and stimulation.

Parameters are set within this method to indicate when progression is necessary.

For example:

? Upper body training

Any upper body based exercises would run a rep range of 8-12, thus once a participant has achieved 15 reps on a said weight, this would indicate an increase in weight is needed come the next session.

? Lower body training

Subsequently, the parameters for lower body based exercises run a higher rep range of 12-20 – the logic behind this being that they require more stimulus to promote both strength increase to occur.

Warm-up sets for each exercise are performed by starting the weight low, and gradually increasing it until the person feels ready to carry out a working set.

HIT Training for Strength: Control/Tempo of Reps

HIT Training for Strength | The Benefits Of High Intensity Weight Training

One more area to be concerned with during HIT training is control or tempo of reps through each exercise, in order to promote the most potent stimulus and muscular involvement.

Time under tension is what this would be referred to, as, with 3-4 seconds spent through each phase of a rep being ideal, demonstrating notable control of a load is a paramount demand of HIT.

What equipment is used for HIT?

In terms of the equipment to be used with this particular training, it is suggested that resistance machines be favoured due to their ease of being able to spot and support a person on. In addition, such machines focus only on the muscle concerned, with little margin for error on shifting tension elsewhere or tapering off concerning adequate technique.

A main draw for such a training technique is the clarity of strength increase you get from session notes. From my experience with this training, I could see increases occurring week on week whether it be through my rep count or increasing the weight on a particular exercise. Granted it is a technique not for the faint hearted, though for the clarity and logic it provides it is well worth a go as stop gap between cycles of hypertrophy or any other form of intensive training.

Beginners HIT Training Split

HIT Training for Strength | The Benefits Of High Intensity Weight Training

HIT | Chest & Back Warm-up Workout
Machine Chest Press 1×12, 1×8-10, 1×4-6 1×8-12
Pec Dec OR DB Chest Flyes 1×8-10 1×8-12
Seated Row 1×12, 1×8-10, 1×4-6 1×8-12
Dumbbell Pullovers 1×8-10 1×8-12
HIT | Legs Warm-up Workout
Seated Leg Press 1×15, 1×12, 1×6-8 1 x 12-20
Seated Leg Extensions 1 x 8-12 1 x 12-20
Lying Leg Curl/SL Deadlifts 1 x 8-12 1 x 12-20
Barbell Glute Raises 1 x 8-12 1 x 12-20
Standing Single Leg Calf Raises 1 x 8-12 1 x 12-20
Abductor Machine 1 x 8-12 1 x 12-20
Adductor Machine 1 x 8-12 1 x 12-20
HIT | Shoulders/Arms Warm-up Workout
Shoulder Press Machine 1×12, 1×8-10, 1×4-6 1×8-12
Smith Machine Shrugs 1×8-10 1×8-12
Reverse DB Flyes (45° Bench) 1×8-10 1×8-12
Single Arm Cable Side Raises 1×8-10 1×8-12
Rope Hammer Curls 1×8-10 1×8-12
Tricep Cable Pushdowns 1×8-10 1×8-12

Take Home Message

Hit a training plateau or simply bored with your current training?

Try ‘HIT’ and keep note of progress!



Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



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