I’m not drinking any kool-aid, and you’re right about it probably being a mistake to include pro bodybuilders in the list who also benefited from illegal substances. That being said, we’re not talking about people, but fundamental training concepts. It’s not as much reinventing the wheel as it is offering a new perspective of thinking about training.
Apparently there is this reputation of HIT as a cult, which is totally false and misrepresented at least from my exposure and the people I’d learned from. There can’t really be a discussion if an entire philosophy is discounted before any ideas are even laid out on the table. I think it suffers for the same reason crossfit does, in that there is no one unified philosophy, but a handful of preachers, half of them coming across as totally unreliable or crazy. Even Mike Mentzer, who was a genius in his own right, and actually makes a number of highly intelligent points in his videos, damages his credibility by claiming that his athletes could make dramatic body composition changes in a matter of months training for 30 minutes once a week. If that is HIT, that is not the HIT I have learned, and I don’t even want to call “it” by that name. But really there is no set philosophy, just a number of highly thought provoking ideas that I have been exposed to, and that make sense to me, given my current experiences. I am a critical thinker, and a doer. I think the reaction to me mentioning HIT was expected.
However, let’s look at an idea, without attaching it to a name.
For example, the strength curve philosophy. As many S&C coaches know, maximizing tension throughout a full range of motion and creating a smooth strength curve (using bands, chains, etc) will potentially yield better results by maximally working the muscle through its entire range of motion. A number of modalities can ensure a proper strength curve, including gasp adding manuals (one of the best and least known tools out there) and some gasp well-designed machines. No matter what training system you use, if you implement better strength curves with fuller ranges of motion and constant tension you will have better results via increased muscle tissue breakdown through a greater range of motion.
For example, let’s look at a lateral raise. If the goal in this case was to increase strength and hypertrophy of the medial delt, traditional lateral raises will only induce max tension throughout 30-45 degrees of the concentric range of motion, with little tension throughout the first 45-60 degrees of the movement and little resistance through the eccentric part of the exercise. That’s fine, you can still do 4 sets of 10 and use enough volume to get results working only the mid range of motion and not taking advantage of the extra eccentric strength available.
On the flip side, we could take those same dumbbells, and use added manual resistance to keep constant rotary tension (along the arc of the strength curve) on the muscle throughout the entire lift. There would be little resistance added throughout the top 30-45 degrees where the dumbbell is providing it, but more added along the first 45-60 degrees where the dumbbell provides little resistance. Not only is there now muscular tension through a full 90 degrees of range of motion, but 40-60% extra manual resistance will be added on the lowering portion of the lift to continue maximally stimulating the muscle, as it is 40-60% stronger in the eccentric part of the lift. This exercise takes the same movement but is now working the muscle harder, providing a smoother strength curve and taking advantage of added eccentric strength to fully fatigue the muscle fibers. As such, we don’t NEED 4 sets of 10. 4 sets of 10 would leave you sore for DAYS. Try this method if you don’t believe me. Even if 4 sets of 10 traditionally would give you the exact same benefit as 2 sets of 10 of this method, why would you not choose the method that is more time efficient and builds concentric and eccentric strength through the full range while also creating more time under tension? Again, both methods work to induce growth, but in this specific scenario which one would you choose?
When you add everything up, it becomes the difference between being in the gym for 30-45 minutes vs 60-75 minutes to get the same training effect. Nobody is saying the traditional way with just a dumbbell won’t work, but rather proposing that the same or slightly better results can be achieve with less volume and therefore less time, in addition to the other benefits I mentioned.
More effective reps means you don’t need as much overall volume to induce a training response!
Looking back, I should have given you a rotator cuff example. Rotator manuals are out of this world, for those of you using bands or 5lb dumbbells for your external rotation work (which still work too ) :shock: