High Intensity Training: More Muscle in Less Time

Are you disappointed in the results of your workouts?  Do you spend hours training each week only to see negligible gains in muscle size?

The normal response to this is to train longer or more frequently.  When the answer is not to increase duration or volume but to increase intensity!  High intensity training allows you to spend less time in the gym and spend more time growing.

high intensity training

High Intensity Training: I used HIT techniques to grow my stubborn arms.

What is High Intensity Training?

In resistance training, the amount of energy expended per unit time within a workout is called exercise intensity.  In other words, a measure of how hard the body is working.

Intensity can be quantified using heart rate, oxygen consumption, or more subjectively using perceived level of exertion.  But, measurement isn’t necessary as long as one understands that high intensity is downright hard work.

High Intesity Training Definition

Any practice, technique, or strategy that makes a resistance training workout harder for the working muscles.

Higher intensity leads to more muscle stimulation and more growth.  So the goal of High intensity training workouts is to increase exercise intensity in order to induce muscle growth.

High Intensity Training Workouts

High intensity workouts are all about failure.  That’s right; you must fail in order to progress!  And growth only occurs when the muscle tissues have been overloaded.  Or experience stimulus which is greater than previously endured.

Increasing intensity increases overload and therefore growth.  Intensity can be increased in the following ways:

  1. Performing each set to complete muscular failure
  2. Progressively increasing the amount of weight lifted
  3. Decreasing the amount of rest time between sets

Total muscular failure means you can no longer complete another repetition without rest.  But keep in mind that you should never sacrifice form in the name of increasing intensity.  And only use weights you can safely control and maintain good form throughout each set.

High intensity training workouts are inherently shorter in duration.  Because workout duration is the inverse of workout intensity.  Naturally, the more effort your exert the less time you can sustain that effort.

If you can sustain an activity for hours, the intensity is not high.  Think of a sprint vs. a jog.  If your goal was to reach failure while running, sprinting would clearly be the way to go.  So when the goal is muscular failure, high intensity training is the way to go.

“You can either train hard or you can train long, but you can’t do both.” -Mike Mentzer

Recommended reading: High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way

High Intensity Training Techniques

As mentioned earlier, anything that makes the workout harder has increased intensity.  The high intensity training techniques listed below are all ways to increase intensity and ensure complete muscle failure.  These techniques will result in more muscle growth when used properly.

  1. Eccentric Training
  2. Rest Pause
  3. Giant Sets
  4. Super Sets
  5. Drop Sets
  6. Pre-Exhaust
  7. Occlusion (Blood Flow Restriction)
  8. Fascia Stretching

I’ll be publishing more blog posts on some of the intensity techniques listed above in the coming weeks.

Recommended Reading: The New High Intensity Training

More Information on High Intensity Training

You can learn more about each of the intensity techniques by downloading my free Workout Guide.  Just enter your email below and you’ll receive a comprehensive 17-page guide on training for muscle growth!

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About the Author:

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Jeremy Fox  –  Founder of Nutritioneering, Engineer, CPT, Bodybuilder, Coach