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     Fitness Tips For 8/19/2009

Does High Intensity Training Really Work?

Accepting HIT: My Story
By Matt Brzycki
Reprinted with permission of Exercise Protocol Magazine

My 4-year enlistment in the Marine Corps ended in August 1979 and I 
immediately enrolled at Penn State as a 22-year-old freshman. In 
March 1980, I was a few months away from completing my freshman year 
when I saw an advertisement on television for a new fitness center. 
The club was advertising for memberships but I figured that if 
they're looking for members then they just might be looking for 
people to show the members how to exercise. I called the club and 
was asked to come in for an interview. 

I was interviewed by the club's general manager, Tom Laputka - a 
large guy in his early 30s with a grip that'd bring an adult gorilla 
to its knees. Tom was an ex-lineman in the Canadian Football League 
and the short-lived World Football League. He weighed as much as 287
pounds and was one of the world's first 500-pound bench pressers. As 
it turned out, it wasn't a typical interview. Tom spent at least an 
hour lecturing me on strength curves, muscular friction, percentage of 
momentary ability and numerous other stuff that I never heard about 
before. Healso told me about workouts that were brief, progressive, 
intense, efficient, comprehensive,practical, safe and - one of his 
favorite adjectives - productive. Tom told me about how, in the
early 1970s, he and another guy named Casey Viator were trained 
by someone named Arthur Jones. All this was foreign to me as I had 
never heard or read of workouts like this before. I had always 
equated more with better. At the end of the "interview," Tom said, 
"The way I really get to know a person is to train with him." I 
said, "Fine. When do ya wanna train?" and we agreed to meet the 
next day at the club. 

Little did I know that this would be my first HIT workout. (In fact, 
it wasn't even referred to as HIT until the mid 1980s.) Training 
to muscular fatigue was something that I never did before. And 
regardless of what weight I used, Tom had me train to muscle 
fatigue. For instance, I recall doing more than 30 repetitions on 
the leg extension and 40 repetitions on the leg press. Prior to 
this workout, I never paid attention to the speed of movement of 
the repetitions, either. I do remember that the workout was quite 
brief and also that I was especially sore the next day. But I 
just couldn't understand the notion that productive workouts 
could be done in less than one hour. It just sounded too wacky.
I was an ex-Marine!

When you have a more-is-better mentality like I did, it's 
difficult to buy into the idea that HIT is productive. At any 
rate, Tom hired me for the position. He also hired Mark Travis - 
who, at the time, was my training partner at the Wilkes-Barre YMCA. 
Mark was also an ex-Marine and competed on the Marine Corps 
Wrestling Team. I remember Mark called me one Saturday and asked 
what I thought of the brief, intense workouts that Tom was 
endorsing. I said, "I'm not sure yet. What do you think?" He said, 
"Well, I just put one-half inch on my arms in two weeks." He
was sold on HIT. I was still struggling.

Fast forward to my first year at Rutgers (1984-85), my work week 
was Monday through Friday from 4:00-10:00pm and another 3-6 hours 
on Sundays - depending upon what part of the football season we were
in. I usually went to the weight room after breakfast and lifted 
for 4 hours until it was time for lunch. After lunch, I'd kill time 
at the library or somewhere else until it was 4:00. On March 15, 1985, 
I was sitting on a bench between sets of chest exercises and I said 
to myself, "This is ridiculous." On this particular Friday morning, 
for whatever reason, I began to think about the amount of time that 
I'd spent in my weight training. I did some quick math: 4 hours a 
day times 3 days a week is 12 hours a week times 52 weeks in a 
year is 624 hours of lifting weights in a year. This is the 
equivalent of lifting weights for 24 hours a day for 26 straight 
days - almost an entire month out of a year. And multiplying 
that by the 7-plus years I had been doing these marathon 
workouts was pretty sobering.

I realized maybe brief, intense training was indeed for me. Two days 
later I finally gave HIT a sincere shot and I haven't trained any 
other way since then. Sure, I've made numerous adjustments and 
changes since 1985 but the basic concepts of HIT have remained 
the same.

Does High Intensity Training Work?

I've been able to increase my strength significantly using HIT. 
These are some of my personal bests in exercises using conventional
equipment with which most readers will be familiar. Also given are 
the month and year achieved along with my bodyweight at the time.

Deadlift (trap bar) 252.5 x 15 Aug 93 168
Deadlift (trap bar) 285 x 15 Jan 98 171
Dip BW+130 x 7 Sep 92 unknown
Negative-only Dip BW+250 x 6 Dec 86 166
Chin BW+42.5 x 6 Jul 90 166
Negative-only Chin BW+156.25 x 7 Mar 90 165.5
Lat Pulldown (Universal) 220 x 8 Oct 88 173.25
Wrist Flexion (barbell) 150 x 7 Apr 89 171.75

1. The trap bar deadlifts that were done in August 1993 were 
performed immediately after the Hammer leg press in which I did 
427.5 x 15.
2.The trap bar deadlifts that were done in January 1998 were 
performed as the first exercise in my routine. (By the way, I 
sometimes go one or two years without doing trap bar deadlifts.)
3.The negative-only dips in December 1986 were done after 
performing 2 other chest exercises.
4.In no case did I perform any warm-up set with a lighter 
weight prior to these efforts.

One final comment: HIT isn't just for young athletes. In a 
few months I'll be 42 years old and have no intentions of ever 
using any system of training other than HIT.

To learn all about High Intensity Training and what is can do
for you check out the HIT Underground Seminar by going to:

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