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January 11, 2009 4:27 pm

HIT BASICS – by Markus Reinhardt

Posted in: Exercise

markus1Let me first of all tell you guys that HIT was not the only way I trained since i started bodybuilding. But it sure is the ONLY WAY for me to train now after I was lucky enough to meet my mentor and friend Mike Mentzer in the late 90′s.

The basic concept of HIT is to induce exercise stress carefully and just enough in order to built a strong and powerfull physique in less time that ever dreamed of as well as reduce the amount of injury and wear an tear on your joints and connective tissue.

Let me start with looking at Exercise as a negative..i.e. any type of exercise, paticularly high intense weightlifting causeses an inroad into your bodies natural reserves and therefore causes a negative effect on the bodies ability to recover from it. High Intense Exercise such as desribed is very demanding and needs to be adjusted carefully, almost like taking a certain medicine prescribed from a doctor.

In order to understand this more, we need to find out what basically causes the musclular hypertrophy first. Your muscles are always do what u demand them to do. In other words they adjust to the intensity of stress(exercise) by increasing there overall volume…increasing the size of fibers within the muscle belly, resulting in larger and stronger muscles. It only stands to reason that if you want stronger and bigger arms..you will have to move heavier weights then.

Heavier weights and increases in intensity, i.e. increases in reps and even decreases in the speed of repetition per single set will cause the muscle to adapt to a specific demand, i.e. adapt to the greater stress induced and therefore resulting in muscular gains if you leave enough time in between workouts to ensure a full recovery, both local (local pertains to the muscle trained that day) and systemic (your overall system that needs to recover as well) – once full recover has been allowed..muscular gains and increases in strengh are possible.

The amount of recovery we need from a workout however is individually different. It ranges from the hardgainer that most likely needs to recover longer to the genetic freak that even after the hardest workout can go back into the gym the next day and make progress, ie. lift even heavier weights and get bigger at a much faster rate. Also age and gender has a lot to do with it. Men generally recover faster then women due to the fact of the higher amount of testosterone in theyre system – sorry girls – grin

It is essential that someone keeps exact data on every training bout. Only then you will find your very own recovery time and see wether you are actually making progress or not. A workout without a training log is like trying to find a black cat in a dark cellar that doesnt exist. You have no way of knowing whether your progress takes place or you already overtraining with even little amount of exercise. Make sure to record each workout with number of reps and sets as well as take side notes on how you feel that day to motivate you and give you the feedback you need. I will soon come out with own design on workout log books – available here on markusreinhardt.com

We now know that muscles need intense stress in order to make them change in size. How intense? – well..put it this way, if you would select a weight that u can possibly do 10 reps with and stop at the 7th rep – you would certainly not make any progress whatsoever. So 100 percent, to the point of failure is an absolute must in order to make any progress..or else your be just waisting your time and energy. Make sure to perform each set with strict caution under slow control…no sudden jerky movements or you will end up overloading your connective tissue and result in an injury.

But remember, you can only train long or you can train intense – you cant do both! – if you want large muscle, the second option is your best – just look at any sprinter or athlete that requires fast speed and strengh, compare them to a long distance runner and you can tell the difference.

Short and intense workouts like HIT workouts will give you just enough to stimulate the muscle to grow, yet dont take such a deep inroad into your bodies recovery system. So only one set will do!. One perfectly performed set taken to complete muscular failure is like hitting a nail with one blow that is perfectly placed right, its like turning on the light switch – the light is on…no need to stand there and keep flipping the switch.

Now u know the volume, i.e. amount of exercise that is needed – lets talk some more the frequency, how many times you need to do the workout. In my experience, an average person will get great results in training up to 3 times per week with inserting one rest day in between. Your average time to train should not exceed 20-25 minutes and you should perform only one set per exercise with about 2-3 exercises per muscle. That will do fine for the beginner to intermediate. I will demonstrate in my upcoming Videos on how to adjust this workout to the advanced trainee.

Since we now know the amount of intensity we need to apply, lets also talk about the amount of reps within each single set. I usually recomment 6-10 reps for all upper body movements and 10-15 reps for the lower body as these muscles react to higher reps much better. You can train your calfs and abs also with higher reps. No need to go super heavy on those since they are comprised of slow twitch fibers and therefore need to be under load much longer and with less weight in order to get stimulated to grow.

I also recoment breaking up your muscle groups at each workout. A routine that is based on a Chest, Delt and Triceps workout the first day, then break it up with legs and calfs for the second day, followed by a back and biceps workout that last day is by my experience the best to ensure full recovery. Make sure to insert 1 to sometimes 2 days in between workouts to ensure full systemic and local recovery. No routine is written in stone..your an modfify each workouts by what is most important – if you dont wanna built legs then dont train them intense or not at all. Or if you dont want your arms to grow any bigger (I seem to have that problem -grin) then just leave em out..they get enough stimulus from other exercises such as back pulldowns or rowing movements.

The exercises that you will perfom can be executed on machines or/and free weights. I like machines better for the sake of better control, safety and the fact that they much great stress during the full movement.. Machines a better choice…read more about that in my articel here on this site (machines v. free weights).

I think I pretty much covered it all at this point. Again let me say that one set is all you need if performed properly and intense enough..Mike use to say to me “markus, feel free to add another set to each exercise if you can give me me one rational explanation why?” – I never could…plus after I trained with him and got more used to training intense, I wasnt even able to ask for more due to the extreme intensity that he put me trhough – if you can do another set after you have completed your exercise…u obviously have not trained hard enough – so train intense and let you body have the time to recover – the results are guaranteed..take my word for it!

Markus Reinhardt

Markus Reinhard Official Website

2 Comments on "HIT BASICS – by Markus Reinhardt"
  1. Comment left on:
    January 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm
    Blacky says:

    Very nice story Markus

  2. Comment left on:
    November 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm
    Bob says:

    I have bought and read a few books on HIT written by Ellingdon Dardon. He speaks alot of Aurther Jones and Casey Viator as well as the Mentzer Brothers. I love the work outs but they recomment a full body 3x aweek for a beginner while it seems you recommend to break it up through the week. Could you send me a sample beginner workout that you suggest. I would like to try it with my buddy who’s getting into it.

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