Applying Mentzer's HIT for upperbody only
September 9, 2007 6:37 AM   Subscribe

I just want to build upper body with Mentzer's HIT approach, can someone with experience with HIT tell me if I'm getting enough rest? (Details inside)

Mike Mentzer's HIT approach basically requires 6 or more days recovery between workouts:

1. Chest and back
2. Legs A
3. Shoulders and arms
4. Legs B

So the workout cycle would last 3-4 weeks. My goal is upper body development (I do however perform squats on Shoulder/Arm day). If I only do 1. and 3. alternating every 7 days, obviously this means less rest between working upper body. However after 7 days I feel 100%. Is this still good for growth or should I rest longer?

Additional info: I'm around 150lbs, taking protein (100-150g), fish oil and multivitamins daily.

Additional question :) I know Mentzer stressed the importance on a balanced diet of LOW protein and high Carbs in one of his books... from those who tried HIT successfully do you think he could be wrong about this?
posted by gttommy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you're aiming to strictly follow Mentzer's HIT program, then that's too much. But seriously, Mentzer was much more extreme about how much rest there should be between workouts than most everyone else. Almost all other weightlifters workout more often and see plenty of growth.

Unless you're a top class bodybuilder, the exact details of your workout program don't matter. What matters is getting the basics right—eat clean and workout regularly with heavy weights.

I would caution you to avoid making the common beginner's mistake of skipping lower body workouts. So many people do that, because who cares about the lower body, right? I won't say you can't get a good upper body physique without lower body workouts—that wouldn't be true—but you will be limited by your untrained lower body. Eventually the body will resist adding muscle to your upper body if your overall physique is highly uneven, and you'll hit a wall. It's something to watch out for.

As for LOW protein and HIGH carbs, wow. That sounds highly unorthodox.

I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of orthodoxy. There's a reason most everybody does things a certain way. If you're going to buck trends, you'd better be ready to accept the risk that you're just way off track. Extremely low reps with week-long rest periods is one thing. I don't have any problem with that. Completely reversing your macronutrient proportions? Hmm, I think I'd skip that one if I were you!
posted by Khalad at 8:01 AM on September 9, 2007

Yeah, I agree with Khalad, this approach sounds unorthodox. If I understand what HIT is, it sounds like what the guy in this FPP was doing. The article and the discussion in the thread is probably worth reading. He was pretty extreme about his system and even he was working out twice a week. Also, as I understand it, HIT involves working out your entire body each time and not just "chest and back", and it involves eating lots of protein. So to your question "can I deviate" I would guess that Metzger would say no and everyone else would say yes.

And what Khalad says is true that at the beginning you don't need to worry too much about your program. You will make quick progress if you: work to muscle failure; get at least a day or two of rest; and eat lots of protein. When I started I was working out my entire body 3x a week doing 3 reps to muscle failure for all major muscle groups and it worked fast enough. Maybe HIT would've been even more efficient, I don't know.
posted by creasy boy at 10:48 AM on September 9, 2007

Not a body builder; never done a minute's exercise in my life, in fact, but reading this thread freaked me out because the phrase "muscle failure" sounds like a bad thing and very painful. What does it mean?
posted by Grod at 5:09 PM on September 9, 2007

Just means you can't lift the weight for the last rep, i.e. you try lifting it ten times but the tenth time your arms start to shake and you just can't get it back up. It can be a bad idea if you're lifting free weight over your head, but basically it just means that you find your limit each time you lift.
posted by creasy boy at 10:08 PM on September 9, 2007

To expound on Khalad's point, the reason you have to lift lower body is simple:

As the largest muscle groups in the body, working out your lower body triggers the largest hormonal response. These hormones go all over the body and help out your chest, arms, etc.

Simply ignoring your lower body is foolish.
posted by unexpected at 3:57 AM on September 10, 2007

Muscular 'failure' or fatigue only means that momentarily, you've exceeded the work that a given muscle can do.

So if you are using 80lbs (and you might be able to lift 100lbs once)...if you (in a controlled manner) lift weights until you can't continue in good form; you've fatigued yourself about 20% from your fresh strength. The thought is that about this much fatigue, along with the stress to your anaerobic system, will stimulate your muscles, given rest. (That rest thing, is really critical.)
posted by filmgeek at 7:24 AM on September 15, 2007

Also, this must occur in under 3 min, to stress the anaerobic pathways to respond. And yeah, performed in good form: totally safe.
posted by filmgeek at 7:25 AM on September 15, 2007

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