In honour of the big fight, I thought I would touch on one of body buildings big controversial topics. High volume vs high intensity training - what type is best?
This is one heavy topic, so lets jump right in and lay out some descriptions..
High intensity training (HIT) This type of training looks more aggressive. HIT is done with the idea in mind of doing less sets in order to break down muscle, making every second you spend in the gym count. The principle of HIT is taking the body past its abilities and experiencing momentary muscle failure, which means doing something until no more reps can be done.
Pros 1. It's brief - can make gains in size, power and strength in less workouts. 2. Increases mental strength - these workouts are not easy in nature due to the way they build up lactic acid throughout the whole body. You have to be one tough cookie to train this way!
Cons 1. Mentally exhausting - due to the intense nature of this type of training, over time it can lead to feelings of fear, anger or not wanting to do workouts. 2. Time it takes for hypertrophy - it has been proven to be more effective at increasing the density of mitochondria than increasing size of muscle fibers.
High Volume Training (HVT) High volume training would appear more passive. This type of training is based on the idea of multiple sets working the same muscles to break down the tissue and therefore elicit growth.
Pros 1. More tested - this type of training has been much more studied over a longer period of time. 2. Very versatile - this type of training can be done anywhere, with any exercise using any type of equipment.
Cons 1. Time in the gym - you need to either do a lot longer workouts to hit every body part or do split style training which will lead to more necessary workouts during a week period. 2. Slow progress - sometimes it can take months to add weight to certain lifts and can feel like a lot of repetition.
Is one better than the other? Not necessarily .. Is there benefits to both - absolutely!
So how are these methods similar? 1. Proven to increase strength, power and size 2. Can use most exercise equipment 3. Require proper form
Okay, and what makes them different? 1. HIT usually has a goal of failure, HVT only aims for failure in certain circumstances. 2. HIT usually has less sets but typically more reps than HVT. 3. HVT typically has multiple exercises for the same muscle group whereas HIT may only have one
So, which one is right for you? My answer is both. The body is in constant need for change. If you stick to one training method for too much the body will no longer want to progress. You can reap the benefits of both methods if you use periodization in building your workouts. Good luck and have fun!
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