of volume and intensity has probably caused more controversy than any other in the field of bodybuilding. I won't say that's
true of exercise science in general because these principles have been clearly dealt with in much of the scientific literature
insofar as it applies to exercise science. The one major mistake that has been made has been when transferring over the principle
of 'more is better' as it applies to endurance oriented athletic training- i.e. triathlons, 10K, marathoners, and applying
it to bodybuilding. This is a total misapplication of these interrelated and interdependent principles.
of volume is a much-overstated one as it is actually of secondary importance when it comes to stimulating gains in muscle
size and strength. Of course, you must have some volume to have a workout; no one would advocate doing zero volume to stimulate
muscle gains. However, the principle of volume is secondary to that of intensity. Why is this? Because intensity is the variable
most reputable exercise physiologists have cited for over 100 years as the major stimulus that causes strength/size gains.
The issue of sets and volume is a critical factor in the definition of HIT training and the one most likely to miss-stated
and/or misinterpreted. Arthur Jones, the true originator of HIT- at least in a coherent form, originally started off perfuming
4 sets of each exercise. He did this in his workouts for a number of years never surpassing about 175 lbs. After giving the
matter further thought, he cut his number of sets in half, without making any other changes, besides this reduction in volume.
Within a few weeks or so, he had added 12 lbs.
This means a 50% reduction in the number of sets performed gave him a significant
increase in muscle mass!
Note: Many bodybuilders, even those on steroids, would be quite happy with a 12 lb gain in muscle
mass in such a short. Indeed for most, that is more than can realistically gained in a year- at least on continual basis.
Probably the most extreme example of HIT type training- at least in respect to low volume- is Mentzer Heavy Duty training,
particularly the versions of it that were recommended circa 1994- 2001. The two or three sets every 4- 10 days or so, currently
cited by many uninformed individuals as the end all and be all of HIT, was a very extreme method that Mentzer developed in
Heavy Duty 2 known as the consolidation routine, as a response to the problem of impasses in his client's progress, which
he attributed to overtraining, which may or may not have been true. What is important to remember is that he was working
with individuals with genetically average and even sub average recovery ability (those individuals who had FAILED with other
methods). It is quite possible that these individuals may indeed have not been progressing due to insufficient recovery methods.
The training that Mentzer has his clients on prior to the mid 90's- (I have first hand knowledge, I was one of them)- was
originally two days on, one off, two on, two off, with all sets done to total failure with forced reps and negatives at the
end of each set. This proved to be too much for most, if not all his clients- including myself and thus then he scaled it
back to the routine outlined in Heavy-Duty 1, a 3 days a week program separating the body into chest/back, delts/arms
and legs, which worked great for many. I personally have made my best gains training on average 3 times a week- sometimes
2- sometimes 4- but as I've become stronger, 4 days a week is too exhausting, and doesn’t allow enough time for
recovery to take place. Even training 3 days a week can be too much for some individuals. The principal of individual
differences states that trainees aren't identical, though we all possess the same underlying physiology and anatomy, and
MUST be taken into account when designing or implementing a workout program for a client or for yourself.