While both High-Intensity Training (HIT) and High Volume Training (HVT) are useful for hypertrophy and strength building, the benefits and pitfalls of each are constantly under scrutiny. Each provides the trainee with a regimented training style designed to deliver increased muscular size and strength, but is one more effective than the other?
What is HIT training?
High-Intensity Training (HIT) is brief, intense, and less frequent. In this style of training, the muscles reach the point of momentary muscle failure or MMF. MMF occurs when the trainee can no longer perform repetitions with proper form with a given weight. If one must lower the weight to continue, or if form suffers, the set is complete.
MMF may even occur on the first set of an exercise, making HIT training unlikely to include workouts for the same muscle group. In fact, most HIT training sessions cover multiple muscle groups and take each to the point of failure. The recovery time for each muscle group trained is generally two to three days.
Why Choose HIT Training?
HIT training is periodic and intense. As such, the frequency of workouts is much lower than that of other training styles. Often times, those who practice HIT training may only train two to three times per week. When you force the body to perform at maximal capacity, it must adapt quickly. With enough rest in between workouts, rapid strength gains are likely.
Due to its nature, HIT training also involves less volume than other training styles. Since each muscle group is not under continual daily stress, it reduces the chance of overuse injuries. A common method for performing HIT training is through the use of weighted machines. This also reduces the chance of injury, yet may neglect the development of essential stabilizer muscles.
What is HVT?
High Volume Training is split into several weekly training sessions designed to focus on specific muscle groups. This type of training involves several repetitions and exercises for each targeted muscle group. Trainees calculate a percentage of their one-rep maximum and use that as their appropriate training weight. The individual them progressively increases the weight over a period of weeks in what is known as a periodization or progression plan. HVT may take the muscle group to MMF or may avoid it altogether.
Why Choose HVT?
High Volume Training has long been considered the optimal way to build muscle and increase strength. HVT is supported by numerous scientific studies and has been proven effective by thousands of bodybuilders and powerlifters. HVT is also extremely flexible, and individuals can customize it to fit a variety of goals and equipment availability. It is highly effective to use both free weights and machines as it allows trainees to develop proper form and muscle memory.
Is One Better Than the Other?
To put it bluntly: no. Neither one is necessarily better than the other. Both provide the trainee with the ability to increase muscle volume and strength; however, HVT does take more time than HIT to do so. With that said, HIT does not allow lifters to focus on weaker musculature since the weakest link will always fail first. There is also some debate as to HIT’s efficacy for building substantial muscle mass, relative to that of HVT.
Both training styles offer substantial benefits, while also posing certain drawbacks. Ideally, you can combine the two or alternate between them to create an efficient and varied training plan. Ultimately, if you are looking to build strength and muscle, either training style can work for you.
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