High Intensity Training also known as HIT typically refers to weight training. In this version of HIT the idea is to lift heavy weight for low repetition and low sets. Strict form must be used. Power lifts such as dead lifts and squats are commonly used in HIT. The outcome is an increase in strength, more so than in muscle size. HIT is essentially just lifting heavier weights, which causes you to increase your intensity level. The higher the intensity you train at, the more your body will adapt to the training. These same principles can be applied to other types of training.
If your just looking to build strength weight lifting HIT will work for you. However, if you want to get your body fat down to the level of a competition bodybuilder and at the same time greatly increase your athleticism, a different type of HIT is your answer. This type of high intensity training focuses on building the fast twitch muscle fibers that generate speed and power. I like to refer to this as athletic HIT training. Athletic HIT training works best when done at 100% intensity.
The exercises include:
I would consider these four exercises to be the staples of athletic HIT although other similar exercises can be used.
Athletic HIT training causes the body to incinerate fat quicker than absolutely any other type of training. These exercises can be done in very short intervals. The key is to start each exercise with full intensity and keep that intensity as long as possible. An athletic HIT workout can be done in about 20 minutes and it will burn more calories and fat than an hour of medium intensity training.
When considering training you have two choices:
1) You can train at a low to medium intensity for a long time and get medium adaptation
2) You can train at a very high intensity for a short period and get very high adaptation
With that being said, I do still believe that low intensity and high repetition training both have their places. However, they are both far less efficient when compared to HIT. Low to medium intensity cardio is important as “a bridge” to more intense training. The body needs to be conditioned before it can handle that level of cardiovascular intensity.
Likewise, bodybuilding (high repetition training) is important for building the tendons and ligaments. It is not a good idea for someone who has never trained before to start out lifting very heavy weights because their joints are not yet conditioned to support that kind of weight. High repetition weight training can also help build joint cartilage whereas heavy weight training can actually wear it down. For those reasons I believe that bodybuilding should be alternated regularly with HIT weight training.
One of the benefits of athletic HIT is that your body needs ample time to recover. This means that you should never train more than 3 times per week. Even one athletic HIT workout per week is far more effective for fat loss than 2-3 low intensity cardio workouts per week.
Athletic HIT may not be for everyone. Some people may not have access to a place where they can do sprints and not everyone wants to do sprints. For those people, there is a similar alternative that is almost as efficient at fat burning – Interval training. The same principles that are used in athletic HIT training are used in interval training. The only difference is that instead of explosive athletic movements, treadmills or ellipticals are used.
Interval training is a much more efficient way to train when compared to steady state cadio. It consists of short intervals of 1-2 minutes done at a very high intensity followed by much slower resting periods. Although you can’t do a full sprint on a treadmill, even running at 80% of your max for short periods will greatly increase calorie and fat burning.