Anvil or Hammer

Locked out

Posted in Gym Strength,Kettlebells by Mike on May 31, 2007

Uni time last night. Apparently my student ID is already wearing out as I got into the gym ok but once I tried to take the stair well to the kettlebells, I got locked in the stairwell, it requires a card swipe to get out and mine didn’t want to work.

So I had an hour and no kettlebells. After making my way back to the gym, the hard way, I decided to try something I had thought about doing for a while. They have a really nice Nautallius room. I’m not a machines guy but I thought this would be a great chance to do a HIT style workout. I’ve never done one before and I haven’t exactly done my research so I may be a little off.

Leg Press 210 lbs 67
Bench Press 100lbs 30+
Leg curl 50lbs stopped at 100
Side raises 50lbs 75ish
Leg extensions 50lbs stopped at 100
Tricep Extensions 50lbs stopped at 100
Calf raise 100lbs stopped at 100
Bicep curls 50lbs 32
Ab crunches 50 lbs stopped at 100
some exercise I can’t recall
Oblique twists 50 lbs 25/direction
Pull overs 5olbs 100 (I think)
Back extensions 100lbs 36

As you can see the weights weren’t perfect, I think my rep range was high and I didn’t write it down. It was kinda on the fly. I had 45 minutes and just went from station to station. I think if I was to do it again, I would need to ad 50% to most exercises. I didn’t really feel like this workout was especially valuable. I just felt tired and lethargic afterward.

I was reminded of one important things while doing it. There is a point way beyond discomfort that you can take yourself to, if you want to. It doesn’t work as well when you are doing reps less than ten but when you get into 20, 30 or more, you find that discomfort is way short of failure.

Oh and I ordered some calipers.

18 Responses to 'Locked out'

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  1. Scott Styles said,

    That sucks. I would have been mad about the key. There’s nothing worse than making the time to do something, then getting prevented from doing it by something like that.

    I tried HIT for awhile, I don’t really think it’s very good. Working so hard on so few sets just invites detraining and burn out. I think it gets supporters because guys that haven’t been paying attention to recovery go off of a high volume program and try HIT. They finally recover from all the work they were doing, then attribute the strength gains to HIT.

  2. Chris Rice said,

    I’m going to have to disagree – I’ve done HIT workouts and still do them from time to time. Like everything HIT works for a while, then a change works etc. Training to absolute total negative failure is hard work and many peoples idea of failure prevents them from actually working hard enough to see the benefits. I think it has real value mentally to push yourself right to the edge and beyond. So many people never know what their limits really are. HIT has become so bastardized by people other that Jones that few even know what Jone’s ideas were. Reading Bulletins 1 and 2 gives a better idea than all the other crap you can find. I believe you can do better HIT style workouts on the old Nautilus machines than with free weights – the resistance curves seem to give a more complete exhaustion and better results. I don’t think it’s possible to do them my yourself – you must have help to push yourself as far as necessary – especially with free weights.

    I’m not a HIT man and don’t think it’s the “only” way to weight train by any means but it’s a very valid training method that deserves a place and time in a yearly cycle. Many people, perhaps most people use what might be considered HIT principles all the time in their training without realizing it. Jones didn’t “discover” anything that people hadn’t done before, he just organized it into a system and a business principle. People had been training to failure – both positive and negative – since the beginning of time. Depending on how you look at things, every time you fail at the end of a set, you just used a HIT principle. It’s sort of like the Weider principles – he didn’t discover them, he just named them. I think high intensity training can be looked at in pieces and parts – not only as the complete program and used this way, probably is done by everyone from time to time anyway. Remember Jones was “selling” this as a system and when people have a monetary interest in something – you have to keep that in mind when looking at it. Remember that everything works for a time, then the body adapts and you must adapt as well. Jone’s HIT ideas are just a collection of ideas that have been used for centuries put together into a “program” of method and machines that among other things, helped make him a very wealthy man. Some of those ideas will work better for “you” than others. When you read the Bulletins, think about how many of the things he “discovered” are actually things written about by Jowett, Saxon, McCallum, etc. What are 20 reps squats if not HIT? Read it, tear it apart into bits and pieces, understand it and HIT becomes a set of tools that can help you reach your goals – but don’t drink the HIT Kool Aid – it’s just another tool in the tool box.

  3. Scott said,

    I thought at the start of that you were going to spend the entire hour locked in the stairwell 🙂

    I’ve never tried the Nautilus machines, but I wouldn’t mind giving them a go. Are you planning to use them again?

  4. Mike said,

    I though I was going to be stuck there too. There was NO ONE in the gym. I tried banging on the door for a minute or so, no result. I was glad I found anther route that was unlocked. Never thought I ‘d need a spotter just for walking around.
    I know that HIT is a minefield of politics and emotion. There are at least three camps all of which despise each other (kinda like kettlebells are getting these days).I was just giving it a go. It seems to me that a lot of variations on Train Hard can be called HIT. That said, I have not yet read the HIT bulletins (Which are available at the links below). I tend to try a lot of “styles”. I do “olympic style” squats and “HIT Style” training but I have a real problem buying into a lot of them, “drinking the Kool-aid”.

    My one experience with HIT, so far, tells me that Chris is totally right about needing partner/coach. Someone to drive you for two more reps and to even force a couple reps. I think were I chaff against hit is the “all machine” approach. I like the all out for one set approach. Sitting on those machines (for the first time in I don’t know how long) I remembered some of my dislikes for machines. They lie, they tell you that you are stronger than you are. Machines build disconnected bits of strength. A 400lb nautalis bench doesn’t mean anything on a real bench not to mention any attempted application of the strength.

    However, I know some sports teams use HIT. I can see a huge value here, but primarily in season. Something like HIT on machines would make an awesome “post workout workout”. It’s safe, it’s challenging, you would become better for it, but it would be the last thing you do before going home for the weekend. Unfortunately some folks do “Drink too much kool-aid” and they only do one thing, HIT, Waterbury method, 20 reppers…whatever.

    I just like to play. I’ll probably use this set of equipment for this particular workout a few more times at least, just for fun if nothing else. I have class on Mondays and Wednesdays now. I had planned on doing deadlift on Monday and kettlebells on Wednesday but maybe I’ll spend a month trying to do something HITish on Mondays.

    Arthur jones bulletins:

  5. Scott Styles said,

    I still think HIT makes exercise harder than it needs to be. I would have workouts so intense that sleeping was a serious problem. After every workout my body would tremble for an hour or two. Coupled with the low frequency, I was sore all the time. All of that made staying consistent with the program very difficult.

    In HIT circles 100% intensity on every set is thrown around like the key to success in training. I think it’s dumb. 100% intensity has a place, but not in every workout. Maybe once or twice a month you can get away with it and still recover.

    The other thing that makes no sense is the controlled rep speed. 2 up, 4 down. Count it out. I used a metronome at one point, computers attached to the weight machines in the Y at another. It’s disfunctional.

    I remember reading books on using mental imagery in weight training, literally psyching myself out so I could stand the pain that comes with doing sets of 12-15 reps, with a 2 up 4 down cadence, to 100% intensity.

    HIT is the most painful approach to exercise I’ve ever done. I feel the worst about the personal training clients I had doing it. There was only one guy who thrived on it. He’d get high before every session and the buzz made the workouts enjoyable for him. Otherwise, everyone else burnt out. As an exercise modality, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Nothing wrong with the tools, but I think the primary value of the system is for the people selling it. At the Y we’d get personal training clients in and out in 30 minutes. Doing a single set per exercise really moves things along.

  6. Scott Styles said,

    I guess this is really rehashing the conversation that’s been had about HIT over and over again, but the other issue I have with it is that by going to failure, you are training yourself to fail. You see videos of guys “doing HIT” where they are obviously tricking themselves into thinking they have approached failure, grimacing and all, in order to avoid the pain of really going to failure. That teaches you to quit on your sets and that ultimately holds you back.

    Outside of a contest situation, if I go for something now, it’s because I believe I can hit it. Every time I deviate from this, biting off more than I can chew, or going for a weight I don’t feel confident about, it hurts my training. If you go into things knowing in the end you aren’t going to “win” the set, the amount of effort you put in just isn’t as high. Make a regular practice of that, and you lose the ability to give everything you have when it counts.

  7. Mike said,

    I don’t have much love for cadenced reps. I didn’t realize that was a HIT thing, I thought it grew up out of the body builder rags.
    I do agree with your statement of faking yuurself out about how hard you are working. Whether it’s half reps or acting more tired than you are, it’s a bad thing to do. Of course, the flip side is, any training program has room for that. However, with no other objective measures to go off of, it may be a more of a hindrance in HIT.

    I think the one sentence in there that most proponents of Jonsian HIT would agree with is
    “Nothing wrong with the tools, but I think the primary value of the system is for the people selling it.”
    There is a lot behind that, that statement drives a lot of issues behind the whole fitness industry though. I don’t remember where I saw it (last) but
    “Every thing works, nothing works forever”.

  8. Chris Rice said,

    It’s been a while since I read the bulletins but Jone’s says to lift the weight as fast as possible each time. Super slow etc is not Jones.

  9. Chris Rice said,

    Here is a quote from the Bulletin. –

    It should be obvious that “speed of movement” is of the utmost importance; ten slowly-performed repetitions with 100 pounds will NOT product the same result that ten rapidly-performed repetitions with the same weight will produce – while the amount of work would be exactly the same in both cases, the power production could easily vary from almost “none” to a very high level.
    In general, speed of movement should always be as great as possible; but in practice, this does not mean that actual movement will be very fast –because, if resistance is as high as it should be, then maximum-possible speed of movement may in fact be quite slow. In order to be sure that the above points are perfectly clear – and because they are of extreme importance – I will review them in yet another example, as follows; curling a 100 pound barbell at a very slow speed is NOT equal to curling the same barbell at a much higher speed – although the amount of work performed would be exactly the same in both cases, the power production would be higher in the faster curl. If the slow curl required ten seconds, and if the fast curl required only one second – then you would be producing TEN TIMES AS MUCH POWER in the fast curl as you were in the slow curl with the same amount of weight, and of course the distance
    of movement would be the same in both cases.

    There are other places where he says again to raise the weight as quickly as possible as well (with perfect form). A close reading of the Bulletins is necessary to understand Jones versus the rest of the HIT world. It can be two completely different things depending on who is saying it – that’s one of the big reasons behind so many of the misunderstandings of HIT – Nautilus – Super Slow etc – they are very different and for the most part, not the same thing at all.

  10. Mike said,

    *Required reading before Monday*
    Bulletins 1 and 2

  11. brent said,

    great discussion here guys, really really informative and great insights

  12. Chris Rice said,

    Another quote to think about – how many sets did he say? You guys will enjoy the Bulletins but a lot of surprises I think too.

    While it is not necessary to measure the time required to perform a set of an exercise – so long as it is performed at a reasonable pace – it is necessary to consider the time involved for the performance of all the sets included in the workout. A first set should be followed by a second set of the same exercise at an interval of exactly four minutes, and a third set should be performed four minutes later – thus the total time for all three sets will be eight minutes plus the time required to perform the third set, a time somewhat over eight minutes and probably well below nine minutes, depending upon the type of exercise being performed and the number of repetitions employed.
    With well-conditioned, experienced subjects it is not necessary to actually measure this time factor; such subjects will almost always perform second and third sets at very nearly the exact time specified – having become accustomed to working at a particular pace, they will “feel” when they are ready for another set, and the variation in time will usually be less than ten seconds. But inexperienced trainees must be timed – and must be informed when to perform the next set of an exercise; if meaningful results for charting progress are desired.
    Apart from the above described significance of speed as a factor for measuring strength, it is of even more importance for producing the best results from training. Every repetition of every set of most exercises should be performed as fast as possible – consistent with proper form and safety considerations; which latter point can
    be disregarded if the selected resistance is proper for the movement being performed.

  13. Mike said,

    Wow! Three sets, that’s in opposition to everything I have ever heard even some of the interviews with his former trainees. I really have to read those bulletins.

  14. Scott Styles said,

    Those excerpts certainly are a little different than what I learned about HIT. They seem more reasonable. I don’t plan to read the bulletins, but it’s interesting to get a picture of how his ideas have been morphed.

  15. Chris Rice said,

    Scott – please read the bulletins – by taking a few paragraphs out of the middle of something so large and involved, the context can easily be changed. This is why I tend to defend the HIT methods to a degree – so many people who have no real idea of what Jone’s actually wrote – put down HIT without really understanding it or having an understanding based on someone else’s interperetation of it.. The same goes for so many things that people say or believe – a better understanding is sometimes all that is necessary to change minds that have been fixed for years but based on incorrect or incomplete knowledge.

  16. Scott Styles said,

    Well, I downloaded the site, it must have everything Jones ever did on weight training. I’ll smash each of the bulletins together into a PDF and see about reading them.

  17. Scott Styles said,

    There’s over 200 pages of reading between these two bulletins alone. The bulletins, along with everything else in that site is now in my reading queue. Pretty good time figuring out how to spider the site and re-assemble the PDFs too. I must have the full life works of AJ on my PC now 🙂

  18. Stephen said,

    I haven’t read the Jones bulletins either. I will take a closer look this weekend. I first read about HIT in a “Muscular Development” article authored by Mike Mentzer (deceased bodybuilding champ). I remember Mentzer was advocating a hybrid system of developing huge growth and strength at the same time.

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