I hear a lot about high-intensity training. What is it, and how do I incorporate it into my workout?
When you train with weights, you want to stimulate the muscle fibers to grow. In order to do that, you should perform a few sets with heavy poundages (heavy for you, that is) and perfect form. High-intensity training, or HIT, involves pushing a muscle past the point of normal fatigue and failure to get a better growth response from the muscle fibers. Here are a few HIT techniques you can try to increase hypertrophy.
Use two exercises for opposing muscle groups, and do a set of each, one after the other, with no rest between the two exercises. Or superset two exercis¬es for the same muscle group for even more intensity. For example, you can superset flat-bench presses with cable rows, which is an opposing-muscle-group superset for chest and back or try supersetting lateral raises and dumbbell presses, which is a same-muscle-group superset for delts. With either version you increase your training intensity and your results.
When you can no longer do repetitions in perfect form on an exercise, your partner can provide just enough assistance to allow you to get one, two or three more reps, which are called forced reps. He or she can't help you too much, however, or the stimulation will be severely diminished. Usually, muscle failure indicates the end of your set; however, forced reps can help you go beyond failure and challenge the muscles in a new way to trigger more results.
A new supplement that may help you get the most from HIT is pregnenolone, or BHP5. It's a precursor to DHEA and is assembled in the body from cholesterol. Pregnenolone is sometimes referred to as a bioactive mass enhancer, and it's considered the parent steroid, from which all other steroids are derived. In fact, the body uses pregnenolone to make whichever hormones it needs, and HIT will definitely increase the need for a number of them because you're stimulating growth at a high level.
Here's a sample HIT routine you may want to try. The percentages listed refer to percentages of your one-rep-maximum poundages in the various exercises. All sets are done for maximum reps (until positive failure) unless indicated.
|Day 1: Chest and triceps|
|Bench presses||(warmup) 1 x 15|
|3 x 65%, 75%, 80%|
|Incline dumbbell presses||1 x 8-10 x 50%|
|2 x 65%, 80%|
|Incline flyes||1 x 8 x 60%; 2 x 70%, 80%|
|Lying extensions||1 x 8 x 50%; 2 x 75%, 80%|
|Pushdowns||1 x 8 x 50%|
|1 x 8 x 50%; 2 x 75%, 80%|
|Day 2: Back and biceps|
|Pullups||(warmup) 2 x failure|
|Wide-grip pulldowns||1 x 8 x 50%; 2 x 60%, 70%|
|Seated rows||3 x 60%, 70%, 80%|
|Barbell rows||3 x 70%, 80%, 85%|
|Incline dumbbell curls||3 x 60%, 70%, 80%|
|Barbell curls||3 x 65%, 75%, 85%|
|Day 3: Legs and shoulders|
|Leg extensions||(warmup) 1 x 15|
|1 x 8 x 60%; 2 x 75%, 85%|
|Squats||1 x 8 x 60%; 2 x 75%, 80%|
|Leg presses||3 x 65%, 75%, 80%|
|Dumbbell presses||1 x 8 x 50%; 2 x 60%, 70%|
|Upright rows||2 x 70%, 80%|
|Lateral raises||2 x 70%, 80%|
Train your abdominals and calves every other day with one to three different exercises for one to two sets of 20 to 50 reps each.
One last point: Concentration is mandatory when you use HIT. Make sure you focus all of your mental energy on the muscle you're training.