Right after my permabulking period, I jumped on the bodybuilding train which I had previously ridiculed consistently. You have to remember that I am a child of the functional training community. They told me that high reps are for morons and little bitches afraid to train like real men.
The Internet introduced me to Dorian Yates’s HIT training. It was meant to be controversial and the definition of h-a-r-d-c-o-r-e muscle construction. I watched videos of Dorian explaining how real training is done. I copied the leg and back routines from his legendary training video Blood & Guts. I considered myself very lucky for having access to a pullover machine since Dorian’s back program requires it.
I even made the lower body routine a little harder by doing front squats for 3 sets of 3 reps prior to the machine exercises. My leg workout consisted of leg extensions, front squats, leg press, hack squats, leg curls and Romanian deadlifts. All exercises were done in that order. The goal was to pre-exhaust the quadriceps and hamstrings prior to compound movements.
My training sessions used to include a number of exercises that my wannabe a powerlifter self was new to. I thought that enormous muscles were just around the corner because my overall work volume was insane despite doing only 1-2 work sets per movement.
Every set was done to failure, except exercises with barbells like the decline bench press. I hated training this way. The hardest thing for me was the mental part. Knowing that you have to reach absolute muscular failure is not fun. To be fair, it’s all in your head. The body can handle the work, but when you are forced to do it every time, the CNS starts to revolt.
When I was dieting this year, I used to say to myself “This sucks. I hate diets. Can’t wait for it to be over.” By the time the diet was completed, I’d already built strong eating habits which I kept for a few weeks after the plan. Surprisingly, I was no longer dealing with the same emotional stress because I had the freedom to “break” my diet. Despite having won my freedom, I was still eating almost the same way as during my diet. However, it was way easier because I had the option not to.
Training to absolute muscle failure shares a similar property – knowing that you must fail every time trashes you.
I trained this way for a year. I did most of Dorian’s routines while following all principles of HIT – training to absolute muscle failure, pre-exhaustion, drop sets, forced sets, rest pause…etc.
Unfortunately, I didn’t gain much of anything despite my efforts. At the time, I believed that it is possible to get really big naturally. I had absolutely no idea that drugs are such a large part of bodybuilding. I knew that some people in the gym were definitely juicing because they were talking about it, but I hoped that naturals own a higher share of the elite muscle market. I was wrong.
During my HIT experiment, I felt all sorts of muscle burning, cramps and overall soreness. People at the gym who were used to seeing me record my squats and deadlifts started talking. “What is this permabulker doing again? He crazy.”
In my mind, I was saying “I am doing Dorian’s HIT routine. Get ready to see me swollen, powerful and massive, bitches!”
I don’t believe that Dorian’s HIT offers advantages over standard volume training when it comes to building muscle. HIT training is like one of those things that sound amazing on paper, but for some reason do not deliver as expected.
Do you think that Dorian Yates was Mr. Olympia because he did specific exercises? What about Phil Heath? I heard he switched from barbell rows to dumbbell rows. Maybe that’s his secret to building an Olympia size back? What about that guy who started using the curl machine? Maybe that’s his secret to huge biceps. What about Arnold’s chest? Probably following his exact routine will add slabs of meat to the pectorals? Sure. It’s all recycled and re-branded nonsense.
The factors that make bodybuilders look like they do are genetics, drugs, diet and training.
Ironically, everybody talks about training and nutrition, but at the end of the day, lifting and protein have a smaller impact on muscle construction than genetics and drugs.
Roids + good genes are behind the success of every pro regardless of their training methods and nutritional protocols.
Therefore, Dorian Yates’ HIT won’t make you a muscle monster naturally.