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Moderator / FOUNDING Member / NPC Judge
Staff member
Jun 5, 2002
last night i called my exercise phys buddy and told him of the debate that is on going on this and many other boards. i doubt it will end with this post lol. anyway , i asked his opinion on why volume works for most people as long as signs of overtraining are watched for. i have my opinion as does i am sure magoo and others do too as to why it is effective but, i decided to play dumb and see what a guy who does this for a living has to say. first off, he stated that hit does not burn many calories as higher volume does. so, in turn it is easier for some to gain mass with hit because of the less caloric output. also, he stated that most just do not eat enough and hit makes up for it... also taking into the added days off for recup and again, no calories burned.
he stated that many strength training experts have concluded that workload is the most important. the eastern block countries have for years relied on workload to establish the effectiveness of a workout. if a person lifted 24000 pounds in a hour then the next workout would be considered effective if it even just broke the 24000 pound workload by 25 to 50 pounds. most eastern block authorities did not believe in going to muscular failure but, total work in a given time period. if in fact this is the "best " way to exercise then going to failure would not be a primary consideration of muscle growth. intensity would be increased by trying to either add additional sets to the workout in the given hour time frame or increase reps slowly to get a higher workload in the same time frame.
he said the benefit of this is that you do not have to hit muscular failure on your sets and the volume itself will take care of the muscle growth without adding to central nervous system fatigued. but, you must keep accurate records in a journal to make it work. he was adamant about the fact the muscle failure is not required for growth. everyone has different tolerances when it comes to cns fatigued. he said just because you hit "muscle failure" does not mean that you have tapped into all available muscle fibers. some hit failure sooner than others due to a poor cns or some are prone to more cns fatigue than others. the only way to make up for this is to increase volume to make sure you hit all the available fibers since one is not able to activate fibers as readily as say, a dorian.
now, he also had this to say about going repeatedly to muscular failure...he believes that it is very bad for ones health. repeated "abuse" of the cns can lead to a decrease in immune function and many other health risks. he sited many studies on cns fatigue and how it increased the risk of many cancers , heart disease ect. he also said to not believe the hype that the magazines put out in regards to "intensity" and "failure". . it sells mags but, all the guys he witnesses (he sees many pros train aon a regular basis) do not train that hard but, are very consistent, which over time adds up to more growth than the all out session he believes. so inother words, stay healthy. all out training coupled with gear usage over time could be a bad combination.
in conclusion, i am not saying that he is right but, he has many points to take into consideration. all opinions should be considered. remember, we need top be in this for the long haul and many things need to be considered. also, i just heard that danny padilla, one of the greats of the 70 and 80's has just had open heart surgery. he is 52. he was a short massive guyt before lee preist was considered in his parents eyes. he was the preist of the 70's. i hope all will be well.
Lats -

Hey bro. Did you know that you have the "power" to move it?!?!

I haven't really followed or looked at eastern block Olympic lifters (which is what he's referring to I'm sure). These athletes train for strength and it involves a lot of technique (optimizing cns). I don't remember seeing any real "muscular" Olympic lifters (lots of muscle but only "look" big, not muscular - make any sense?).

I think he has good points. My original mentor, through Bill Pearl, said to NEVER workout to "actual" failure on ANYTHING. The way he stated it - you want to complete that "last rep" even if it's assited (not actually last because your body failed to perform the exercise).

funny u mentioned this lats as ive recently been putting all my training thoughts together. and you're friend is totally right in his comments. i do believe workload to be very important and it is one of many ways to cause overload, remember that key word, overload. one can do one set and add 5 pounds to his max or can add a set and will have overloaded his sytem with much more weight.

going to failure often does lead to cns problems and the way around it is to not go to failure, and i agree on the intensity the magazines state as being a myth. i know how to bust my balss during a 20 rep set of squats but to be completely honest most pros dont train this way. we have gone over it time and time again that one can train hard or long not both. i see people end up going to a HIT style routine because volume did not work for them for the following reason; they took way too many sets to failure. ive seen pumping iron and those guys did not come close to approaching failure contrary to magazine claims

and also very very few people in this freakin world are capable of generating enough intensity to call upon all available fibers during a set, i wouldnt even say dorian could bc he had to end up doing drop sets, forced reps, and various technigues to include all muscle fibers to be drawn upon
the reason i love is HIT is simply that i love busting my balls in the gym, and scaring the shit out of people

and xcel, and anyone else i want to make the following point clear, and just dispell a few myths around olympic lifting while i am at it. first people comment that the olympic lifts are excellent at building traps as is evident in their trap develoment. then people go and say eccentric training is so valuable bc if u look at the physiques of olympic lifters ull see great strength with little mass to show for it. think about it for a minute, they have great trap development from doing an exercise that's ecentric is far from its concentric in being a mirror image and in fact is hardly an eccentric. now what two exercises or variations do they do most? those two lifts with little eccentric, why they dont have great amss everywhere else is bc they eat to maintain in a weight class and having a big bicep contributes nothing to a clean and they purposely keep their weight down
Lats....good post.

I appreciate the information.

I actually enjoy doing volume on light days. Whole different feel.

Magoo: You make an excellent point about the traps.
excel, i knew i had the power, i just did not have the brains to get it done lol. i am computer "illiterate". anyway, i figured that since we have had this conversation many times and i actually lately have been leaning toward the workload theory i would throw that at him to see what he says. i knew the answer since i know how he thinks but, taxing the cns is something we all have to be concerned with. one other thing that kind of goes hand in hand is the latest bunch of early pros that are having health problems. i do not blame gear off hand but, we have to look at all the facts. boyer coe (bypass surgery) ed corney (stroke, bypass) arnold (open heart surgery) katz (heart problems) danny padilla (bypass surgery) serge nubret (heart problems) mentzer brothers (dead). i am sure there are many we do not know about too. i am not pointing the blame on roids but, the lifestyle. bulking then cutting, higher fat diets, excessive carbs, gear usuage, ect. having looked at all this i have to say i have made changes recently. i am dropping my body fat to around 10-12 percent and plan on keeping it there. no more bulking. i am presently 262 pounds at 5'9. i plan on a slow drop to 235-240 range and sticking to that. i will then be within striking distance to any show that i may decide to enter. my training is now a little higher in volume and i am cutting a little back on the weight. i usually stay in the 5 -8 rep range. i am now going to up it to the 10 -12 range and let my joints feel better. my shoulder nad knees ache all the time so i am sure the reduction in bodyweight will help the knesss and the reduction of training weight will lessen th stress on my shoulders. i will now stop about a rep or two short of failure from now on. i hope this will cut back on the drained feeling i always seem to have even with a day off in between sessions. okay, my rant is over.lol :D
Great thread

I have done volume and HIT.And there are numerous benefits to both.I understand exactly what you guys are saying about workload within a given amount of time,and it seems to make sense.But Im holding to what I have noticed is best for me right now,which is a variation of HIT and volume. I do go to failure on every set,and it works,but according to the statements above I could be slowly killing myself. I like drops,failure,negatives.I like Trevor Smiths beyond failure as well.Not many people can do those workouts properly because of their pain threshold,you have to be totally in tune with your mind and body.

I have seen pictures of Defendis and Michalik,who were proponents of obscene volume,and their bodies just had that worn out look.Does anyone know what Im saying?Yea they were big and looked good,but it just looked like they were not all there,overtrained for sure.

Then I see pics of Mentzer, Viator,and Dorian(yes volume helped them get to where they were) and they followed HIT later in their career and they have that thick rugged look.Not a drawn out,overtrained look.Big and full.

Some variation of HIT where you train within 1 hour,hard heavy and brutal.Each bodypart once a week,for a total of 4 workouts seems to be best for me.I go to failure on everything and I push myself beyond pain.I feel that 1 week is long enough to rest that bodypart,lots of food and gear,and it works.Skip one day between all workouts, and I feel this is more then enough,and not too much on the body.Its just enough for your body to say "whoa,we just got kicked in the ass,time to add muscle"
Good read !!!!

To many people die ereryday folks, smoking, car accidents, sleeping or walking, just be carefull and dont think in you will be the next.

Bouth trainig methods works, and bouth are safe if you use your mind to get your goal, becouse the first goal is be a healthy man, then you can get huge....
but i agree with M-magoo, i love to train hard like HIT does.

and remember.......
...There is no space for the littles!!!!!!

I like this quote from shawn ray

"THere is no such thing as over training, just not eating and sleeping enough"

I too have done HIT, volume and everything in bewteen and im lucky because as long as I eat, sleep, focus and train hard I grow.

I think the bottom line on this, is eat, sleep atleast 8 hours, and train hard. If you do hit, or volume find what works and go with it.
Re: Damn it

Fathead said:
I got nuthin to say.
He's "persistent!" :D

bigheinz said:
I agree but i prefer scientific ideas not empiric ideas:D

seriously man i dont know why u keep saying this bc it just aint true, if HIT was science based it would look much more like HST training. i know u may have just been responding to the reply "just do what works for you", but ive seen you throw this idea of u leaning towards science over empirical evidence when ur following a system that is not scientifically based.
Good read and science for thought

This is an excerpt from an article that was at ironmag. It has a lot of good information enjoy

HTT: High Tension Training
By Christian Thibaudeau

Chronic adaptations to training simply mean that the structural adaptations to your training regimen will be relatively stable. At this point your body will be perfectly adapted to the training stress you are used to present to your body and thus it will not require further adaptation (read no further progress). At this point most peoples assume that their body has adapted to the exercises they are using and that's why they change them around. Initially this will bring new strength gains but more often than not this is not correlated with added muscle gains. Why? Well the gains you get from switching exercises are mostly due to and increased neural efficiency at performing the new movement. In other words you initially get stronger in the new movement because you learn to be better at it! This has led peoples to believe that when they stagnate they must change the exercises around. This is erroneous in most cases (sports where relative strength and neuromuscular efficiency is the goal are another animal altogether!).

As it was stated your body adapts to stress - in our case physiological stress in the form of strength training. Your body will adapt itself to the stress placed upon it, not to the means which provide that stress. Your body doesn't know if you are doing barbell curls or preacher curls, nor does it care to know about it! All that your body "knows" and need to know is that there is a physical stress x placed upon the elbow flexors (biceps brachii, brachioradialis, brachialis and the various forearm muscles). To make an oversimplification out of it, your body only needs the following information to start and modulate the adaptive response:

1) What structures are affected by the stressor?
2) What is the magnitude, or importance, of the stressor on each of the structures?
3) What's the nature of the stress?

Obviously the structures affected by the stressor will depend on the exercise you use (chances are that a squat will cause more stress in the lower body than a bench press!) however because of the structure of your muscles, changing the exercises you perform for a specific body part will not lead to a great variation in the structure affected by the stressor (some recent research indicate that it might be possible to recruit different fibres with different exercises though). The only things that you can vary when you change your exercises around are the muscles involved. For example preachers curls are good to develop peaking biceps because this exercise will place most of the stress on the brachialis (placed under the biceps and which give the impression of a peaked biceps when overdeveloped) not because this exercise recruit different parts of the biceps which lead to the development of a peak.

Thus changing your exercises around can help resume your progress by working previously under worked muscles or by improving the neural factors involved in weight lifting performance. Both of which can be of benefit to athletes and bodybuilders. But once you have changed your exercises so many times that no muscles are under worked in relation to each other and that your nervous system is efficient in all the exercises you do you will not be able to kick start your progress simply by changing the exercises you use.

Probably the most important factor in triggering the adaptive response is the magnitude of the stressor. For easy comprehension's sake we will define the factors involved in the magnitude of the training stress:

1) The tension produced (intensity)
2) The total duration, or workload at which tension is produced during your workout (volume, either in it's time under tension form, or tonnage form
3) The total load of tension (intensity x volume) per unit of time (density)

Muscle strength is exhibited by creating muscular tension. The harder a muscle needs to contract the more tension it must produce. So basically the heavier the resistance, the greater is the required muscular tension. For you scientific minds out there the higher is the muscle tension produced, the greater is the rate of protein degradation (which is one of the factor triggering growth stimulation).

If maximum muscle tension were the only factor involved in developing size and strength we would simply have to do singles in every exercises we do and grow like crazy! Unfortunately (or fortunately for some!) it's not the only factor involved.
The amount of growth stimulated is dependant upon the amount of muscle protein degraded during training. The more muscle protein are degraded the more your body will need to mobilise it's resources and the more it will "rebuild" the muscles to avoid such a stressful (pun intended) situation in the future!
The amount of degraded protein is a function of the rate at which protein is degraded (if you degrade 10x proteins per second you will degrade more protein than if you were to degrade 5x proteins per second all else being equal). And as it was stated the rate of protein degradation is determined by the importance of the muscular tension created. The other important factor involved in determining the total amount of degraded proteins is the duration of the degradation process. Obviously the more time you spend degrading proteins the more proteins will be degraded! This second factor is determined by the volume of training.

A third factor in modulating the adaptive response is the density of training. The more work you perform per unit of time, the more important will be the growth stimulation (this is mostly due to an increase in growth hormone production).
So to resume. To stimulate muscle growth you need:
1. High tension contractions
2. High total time under tension
3. High density of training

As we stated, tension is what is required to produce force. The more force needs to be produced, the more tension your muscles have to create.
Now, force is defined as such:
F = MA

In which F means force, M means mass and A means acceleration. In other words you can either increase the force output by:
a) Increasing the weight lifted (lifting heavy loads relatively slowly)
b) Increasing the acceleration/speed (lifting light loads very rapidly)
c) Using an optimal combination of weight and acceleration (moderate loads lifted as fast as possible)
In regular bodybuilding training method a) is the only one currently used. Which means that bodybuilders are only stimulating 33% of the growth they could trigger if they used all three methods!

Increasing the weight lifted (lifting heavy loads relatively slowly)
The first method is already well known of most bodybuilders and powerlifters. It involves increasing the weight that one lifts. Basically there is two ways of making this work.
1. Keeping the reps relatively high and trying to increase the weight as often as possible
2. Using low reps and very heavy loads

It is generally accepted that point 1. Is the approach to use. We disagree. More weights = more force to be produced = more tension = more stimulation.

I know what you are thinking: "I've used low reps in the past, I got stronger but not bigger". Maybe, but that's because you forgot that muscle mass is stimulated via 3 factors (tension, total time under tension, density). So if you kept doing the same number of sets when using low reps as you did when you were using high reps you greatly diminished the total time under tension factor which probably negated the benefits of using very heavy weights.

Let us illustrate our point:
If one keep using the same number of sets

High reps: 3 sets of 10 reps with 120lbs for the chest, each rep lasts 4 seconds, the "workout" lasts 12 minutes (total volume: 30 reps, total tonnage 3600lbs, total time under tension 120 seconds, density: 300lbs/min)

Low reps: 3 sets of 3 reps for the chest with 200lbs, each rep lasts 4 seconds, the "workout" lasts 12 minutes (total volume: 9 reps, total tonnage: 1800lbs, total time under tension: 36 seconds, density 150lbs/min)

Total volume: -21reps
Total tonnage: -1800lbs
Total time under tension: -84 seconds
Density: -150lbs/min

So in this case using heavier weights will lead to less gain. However if we were to adjust the sets to keep the same volume:
If one adjust the sets

High reps: 3 sets of 10 reps with 120lbs for the chest, each rep lasts 4 seconds, the "workout" lasts 12 minutes (total volume: 30 reps, total tonnage 3600lbs, total time under tension 120 seconds, density: 300lbs/min)

Low reps: 10 sets of 3 reps for the chest with 200lbs, each rep lasts 4 seconds, the "workout" lasts 20 minutes (total volume: 30 reps, total tonnage: 6000lbs, total time under tension: 120 seconds, density: 300lbs/min)

Total volume: equal
Total tonnage: +2400lbs
Total time under tension: equal
Density: equal

In this case the second workout will obviously be more effective. When all other things are equal, the workout with the heaviest average weight will always stimulate more growth. Why? Simply because heavier weights increase the "M" in F = MA compared to lighter sets. So it is the premise of the HTT program that the first type of training to include is heavy lifting then adjusting the sets to have a high enough total time under tension to stimulate muscle growth.

Using an optimal combination of weight and acceleration (moderate loads lifted as fast as possible)
As we stated, Force can be increased many ways. One of the best ways to produce a high level of force and tension is to lift moderate loads in an explosive manner. The only movements that allow that type of training are the olympic lifts and their variations. These movements are by far the most powerful lifting movements that one can do and as an added benefit they involve most of the muscles in the body at the same time, with a special emphasis on the legs, lower back, upper back, traps and shoulder muscles. In fact look at elite weightlifters and for the same bodyweight they have the most muscular legs, back and traps or all athletes who train with weights
thanks for printing that article 101pro. if you remember , charles poliquin has always stated that he felt hit did not work because it usually employed low reps for low sets. when the total workload is added up, you can see that most of the time it is insufficent. if you remeber the post i did with ron tuefel, the big thing in the 70's was high sets but, low reps. ron did alot of 6 sets of 6 reps. it stands to reason whenyou add up the workload that he was on to something. everyone looks to the ten sets of ten routine as a magic frmula but, in essence, it is just producing a tremendous workloads in a very short time i.e. hypertrophy. bev francis, (hey ya have to give her credit..she was one strong mutha) used to love to do tensets of 3 and 5 reps alternating. she would stick with the same weight each set and rest only one minute between sets.
when i was in florida a few years ago, i got to talk to serge nubret. he was not working out then because of a heart ailment but, was training many competitors for the upcoming wabba championships. his guys performed a minimum of 12 reps on most exercises for 8 sets. none were taken to failure but, were performed with a minimum of rest. he had them do this even in the off season. they had great mass and very good shape. so, if workload is a primary reason for hypertrophy then volume would have to be reasonably high. one thing i have noticed and some may know what i am talking about, is that hit programs that are followed by natural trainers are seldom followed by big gains. it seems to work when one is aided to a extent. like i said, i follow hit alot of the time but, notice that when performed "natural" i have been less then impressed with the gains.

Ive been doing hit for the past oh say 5 months and havent noticed any increase in my growing. I have grown a little, but the great part it allowed my body to rest and recover. I worked out eod and for example would hit chest on monday, then again on the next wednesday. IM about to go back to Volume. I think both can work , it all depends on intesity, training, rest. Good luck to all.
Mr_Magoo said:

seriously man i dont know why u keep saying this bc it just aint true, if HIT was science based it would look much more like HST training. i know u may have just been responding to the reply "just do what works for you", but ive seen you throw this idea of u leaning towards science over empirical evidence when ur following a system that is not scientifically based.

I am sorry if you dont like my words MM. I think you dont have to tell me that i am talking bull shit.
I learn Heavy Duty with Mike Mentzer, and i know Heavy Duty is not science but it got a lot of scientifics influences.
Who is Ken Hutchkins and Ken Leistner or Rob Spector....They are scientifics working on HIT variations.

But the only thing i love is people doing write things, and learning what is better or not, with a lot of respect in waht their thinking.

If i spend my money traveling to USA to learn Heavy Duty, HIT and Super Slow, dont you think i am going to defend it...

Just have fun, learn and relax... i find what work for me and i love to teach it.
Like my friend Dieselman said me....In this war no body is going to win.
and remember..........
There is no space for the littles!!!!!!!!!!

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