Q: You recently referenced Mike Mentzer, and I’m wondering if you guys have ever trained with his HIT style. One-set-to-failure training seems to work for some people, and I know Mentzer’s training evolved into that after he stopped competing. Have you tried it or something similar?
A: One of Steve’s early influences was Mike Mentzer. He trained with Mike’s Heavy Duty style in his 20s, and even won his first bodybuilding contest using a Positions-of-Flexion version of Heavy Duty that he devised (more on that below)…
During our 20-plus years of training together, we did use some very low-volume programs. What we found is that for continued progress, you should use HIT in short bursts, or phases. Why? Adaptation.
For example, you move from a higher-volume program, like 4X Positions of Flexion, to HIT for four to six weeks. That’s the key: Change to gain…
One set to failure per exercise can get you bigger and stronger—especially as you regain energy coming off of a higher-volume routine.
But after a few weeks, the body adapts and requires a new stimulus…
If you’re looking for a solid HIT-style workout, we outline a good one with Positions of Flexion—training each muscle with midrange, stretch and contracted work—in the X-traordinary Arms e-book…
It’s a three-way split, and you do only ONE work set for each exercise to failure. However, the program includes two sets for biceps and triceps moves, as it’s designed for arm specialization—but you can use one set to failure on those as well.
What does a POF HIT bodypart routine look like? Here’s the mid-back routine from the X Arms e-book…
Midrange: Bent-over rows or machine rows, 1 x 9-12
Stretch: V-handle cable rows or one-arm DB rows, 1 x 9-12
Contracted: Bent-arm bent-over laterals, 1 x 12-15
We prescribe higher reps on the contracted-position exercise to ensure expansion of the sarcoplasm, the energy fluid in muscle tissue. [A few weeks of one-set HIT would be an excellent recharging routine to transition between seasonal training.]
So try a HIT streak for four to six weeks—it can blast new muscle onto your physique.
Note: Get the X-traordinary Arms manual for FREE with our latest e-book (see info below).
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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