High Intensity Strength Training Workouts For Muscle Growth

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high intensity strength training workouts

The H.I.T Way To Build Huge Muscles!

Dorian Yates high intensity training has gained massive following in recent years. Not to forget Mike Mentzer high intensity training routines as well.

High intensity strength training workouts have been proven to bring about excellent results in short time. In this post, we shall observe the Dorian Yates high intensity training techniques, and discuss various ideas related to high intensity training. We shall also talk about the benefits of high intensity training. Let’s start.

Note: We shall also use the term H.I.T. or HIT for high intensity training throughout this post.

Specific Questions About H.I.T.

Do high intensity training routines yield positive results? When using this technique in the gym, should you complete the set to or beyond failure? And most importantly, is HIT really the most effective muscle building system for you?

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The Origins

Six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates and Mike Mentzer are credited with popularizing the concept of high intensity weight training. HIT basically involves training with weights with little or no rest between sets, so that the entire workout is completed in short time.

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High Volume Training Vs Low Volume Training

High intensity strength training is not a concept that does not have research backing it. From, both theoretical and practical stand points, HIT is a winner. During the ‘cutting’ phase, HIT can reduce workout time by more than 50%. Though it negates the guidelines of conventional strength training involving as much as 4-5 exercises per body part of 4-5 sets per exercise, HIT is a proven muscle building system.

high intensity strength training workouts

The problem is that most conventional bodybuilders find it psychologically difficult to break free from the approach of high volume training, of working out in the gym for hours. Thanks to those chiseled physiques donning the covers of fitness magazines, trainees start believing that the high volume training approach is indispensable for fitness-model-like muscle growth and definition. What you might not be considering is ‘drugs and genetics’.

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Bodybuilding pros and champions either were born with freakish genetics or used bodybuilding performance enhancing drugs. And of course, they worked theirs asses off for years, ate right, and did not lose their focus.

While you may not have the exact genetics and/or the desire to use steroids, you can still develop a bodybuilding physique using the right training fundamentals- high intensity strength training workouts, for example. It is not advisable to believe in high-volume-equals-muscle-growth approach.

High Intensity Strength Training Workouts: Premise

High intensity strength training workouts are built around the ‘less is more’ concept. The approach takes into account the optimal intensity principle as against endless sets. That’s high intensity training the Mike Mentzer way. A high intensity training workout routine also involves performing several warm-up sets.

In general, high intensity training workouts include two sets per exercises, with no more than three exercises. It is important to note that each exercise is preceded by one warm-up set. Irrespective of the type of HIT you adopt, you must reach complete muscular failure on each working set.

H.I.T.: What To Achieve?

HIT emphasizes on complete muscular failure. This is because post muscular failure, further sets would be counterproductive to muscular recovery. They (additional sets) would make it difficult for the trainee to achieve optimal intensity during the workout. And most importantly, it would be sheer waste of time.

High Intensity Training Philosophy

Why do you lift weights? Perhaps to become bigger or stronger? Or just to look good? Isn’t it? When you are training for muscle mass, you are aiming at building muscle. Copying the routines of fitness models and bodybuilders from fitness magazines would not do any good.

A person has big muscles not because he has trained them with endless sets of exercises for hours, but because he has followed a muscle building routine that’s optimally effective and efficient. Sad to admit but most of the muscle building workout routines out there are waste of time. Muscle grows due to intensity of workouts and not due to ‘lengthy’ workouts.

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Creating The Anabolic Environment For Muscle Growth

If you are able to stimulate the muscles to the right level, you do not need to work out for hours. How do you bring about muscular stimulation? The answer is- Intensity.

high intensity strength training workouts

High Intensity Training Benefits

While the effect of HIT on muscle growth is already established, this form of training also allows you to find time for other important things in life. When you use HIT, you can improve your overall lifestyle. That means less time in the gym, and more time with friends and family. And all this while triggering muscle growth.

How Many Times To Train Per Week

The concept of “working hard’ is exaggerated. And that is why most trainees fail to take HIT seriously. We have been taught to believe that until we work hard, and long, we cannot be successful. Applying this approach to bodybuilding, hard work equals high volume training, which, of course, is not the right way.

Long training sessions are great for psychological satisfaction, but they do not do much good to your muscles. On the flip side, they result in overtraining and injuries.

High intensity strength training workouts, on the other hand, is safer and more effective. There are fewer chances of injuries when you employ HIT in your routine. When you train a muscle beyond the point of growth stimulation (which is the case with lengthy workouts), you actually are triggering catabolism to some extent (muscle breakdown).

Sample High Intensity Training Plan

Now that we talked at length about HIT, its premise and benefits, it’s time to present a high intensity workout routine. Do not waste much time trying to find high intensity training programs on the Internet. Understand the core concept and devise a plan accordingly.

Note: The following HIT program involves several warm-up sets before the main working set. You have to perform the warm-up sets just short of failure. These sets will NOT stimulate muscle growth. But they are highly beneficial in preventing injury. Perform the working set until and beyond muscular failure.

Rep range should be 8-12 for upper body and 15-22 for lower body. Perform 1 set for each of the following exercise.

SquatsIncline Barbell PressLat PulldownShoulder Presses
Leg PressDecline Bench PressBarbell RowsSide Laterals
Leg ExtensionsClose-Grip Bench PressClose-Grip Lat PulldownRear Delt Flyes
AdductorsHanging Leg RaisesDumbbell CurlsDumbbell Shrugs
Glute KickbacksPreacher CurlsLying/Seated Leg Curls


You do not have to necessarily follow the routine outlined above. You can combine exercises the way you desire (as long as they make sense). Everyone has different choice of exercises. That’s acceptable. However, while tailoring your H.I.T routine, you should not deviate from the basic rules:

    • Compound Movements
    • Less rest
    • Several warm-up sets
    • One High-Intensity Working Set
    • Total workout time should be between 30-60 minutes.
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