What is High Intensity Training (HIT)?
High Intensity Training is a form of strength training made popular in the 1970s by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus gym equipment. HIT focuses on using quality reps with weights to the point of muscular failure. This style of training uses a precise number of reps, poundage, and the amount of time the muscle is under tension to maximise the muscle fibre recruitment. In short, high intensity training focuses on the benefits of going harder for a shorter amount of time. This training can be beneficial for people with minimal time in a week to dedicate to the gym, or people involved in sports that require short bursts of energy e.g. sprinting.
What Are the Variables of Training?
There are 3 main variables of fitness training: intensity, frequency and volume. Frequency refers to how often you train whether it is measured weekly, monthly or yearly. Intensity and volume both refer to a single session. Intensity refers to how hard you are working, with volume being how much you do. The harder you work, the less your body will allow you to do, the less effort you put in, the longer you can work. To put it short, the higher the intensity, the lower the volume, and vice versa. Let's use weight training for example, the less weight you are lifting, the more repetitions your body will allow, whereas the heavier the load, repetitions decrease. When speaking of cardio training, as we know, we would not be able to sprint the same amount of distance as we would be able to walk.
Who Can Use High Intensity Training?
A common misconception of high intensity training, or "HIT" is that it can only be used for elite athletes or gym junkies. Intensity is measured on a percentage of a person's maximum capabilities, not how hard they are going compared to everyone else in the gym. So you don't need to be benching 250kgs for it to be classed as high intensity. If your one rep max is 50kg, then training with 40-45kg would be classed as high intensity.
Who Would Benefit From HIT?
If you've been training for a while, and you’re finding your 12-15 reps just aren't giving you the results you used to get, it may be time to try some HIT. Why? The Overcompensation Principle and the Shock Theory. The Overcompensation principle is simple, when your muscles are put under stress they find it hard to handle, they grow and strengthen. If they are put under the same stress day in and day out, they become immune to it, and see no reason to grow. By introducing lower volume and higher intensity, the muscles will be shocked (Shock Theory), once again stressed, once again having the need to grow and strengthen.
How Can I Incorporate HIT into My Training?
Although a very beneficial way of training, HIT is in no way the be-all-end-all. Training your body to put in maximum effort is good, but your body must also learn how to maintain a low pace for extended periods of time, so remember to not rely on one kind of training, High Volume training has its benefits too.