Modified Heavy-Light Training!

For a true HIT trainee this program may not sit really well in their interpretation of the ideal program. The reason is that this program will use light days cycled into the system or rather light exercises. Learn why!
In one of my recent articles, " High Frequency HIT", I wrote about how to use HIT principles to in a training program which involved going to the gym 4 days per week. The overall response to that program has been spectacular and prompted me to take a closer look at the program itself to see if I could improve upon it in some way to make the results even greater. Well folks, here it is. For a true HIT trainee this program may not sit really well in their interpretation of the ideal program. The reason is that this program will use "light" days cycled into the system or rather light exercises. However, I am not going to use the typical high rep, low resistance style that many would advocate. I am after all a HIT advocate and therefore I do not believe in having easy days in the gym, EVER!

In the months that followed my utilization of the "High Frequency" plan I began to realize that burn out was a concern with the program very quickly as the body has to endure a heavy hit with the iron for 4 days each week. But in my situation this program just seemed to be the most practical option since I hold a day job outside the gym, and I also like the idea of staying married and seeing my kids occasionally. Cutting down days in the gym would cause at least one of two concerns. It would either increase the time in the gym at each session (not an option for me really) or some exercises would have to be neglected in order to keep training time down to under 30 minutes. Somewhere along the way it suddenly struck me that in order to reduce burn out I would have to somehow reduce the load on the CNS during at least some of the sessions. "Light days are boring," I thought to myself and abandoned that idea immediately. There had to be a better solution.

The solution happened to be sitting under my nose the whole time. It's a training protocol that I have spoken of on many occasions and have written an article about for Bodybuilding.com. "Cumulative Fatigue Training" provided the answer to my dilemma. Now the question came about as how to best utilize it's properties in my current situation. There was the option of cycling cumulative fatigue days with heavy days but that proved to be a less desirable option than I had thought. The cumulative fatigue training days tended to be longer and didn't provide the CNS stimulation necessary to require a full week away from training that I needed to make this routine work.

The second option was to cycle cumulative fatigue exercises in with my normal heavy exercises. Not adding any exercises but rather staggering each exercise as having a fatigue week followed by a heavy week. The new routine for "Chest, shoulders, triceps day" would look like this:

The New Routine

Exercise Week 1 Week 2
Bench Cumulative Fatigue Heavy
Shoulder Press Heavy Cumulative Fatigue
Pushdowns Cumulative Fatigue Heavy

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Cumulative Fatigue I highly recommend that you read my article on the subject at basically it's a system whereby you do numerous sets at a given weight until you manage to reach muscular failure on one of your attempts. At which point you have reached the last set in the sequence and the exercise is terminated. This style of training allows muscular overload without the strong CNS damage incurred in one set to failure protocols.

The adaptation in this style of training is somewhat different in that it is the energy systems of the muscles that is being attacked rather than the structural integrity of the muscle fibers themselves.

As shown in the above chart I did not use cumulative fatigue workouts and heavy workouts but rather cycled individual exercises such that in any given workout at least one exercise was hit with either method. This meant that the benefits of both protocols could be derived from each workout without over taxing the system and causing over-training.

Here's How The Final Cycle Looked:

Day 1 - Monday

    Exercise Weeks 1 & 3 Weeks 2 & 4
    Deadlift - (View) 1 x 5 5 x 5
    Chins - (View) 5 x 5 1 x 5
    Shrugs - (View) 1 x 5 5 x 5

Day 2 - Tuesday

    Exercise Weeks 1 & 3 Weeks 2 & 4
    Bench Press - (View) 5 x 5 1 x 5
    Dumbbell Shoulder Press - (View) 1 x 5 5 x 5
    Lateral Raise - (View) 1 x 15 1 x 15

Day 3 - Thursday

    Exercise Weeks 1 & 3 Weeks 2 & 4
    Squat - (View) 5 x 5 1 x 5
    Leg Curl - (View) 1 x 5 5 x 5
    Calf Raise - (View) 5 x 5 1 x 5

Day 4 - Friday

    Exercise Weeks 1 & 3 Weeks 2 & 4
    Close Grip Bench Lockouts* - (View) 1 x 5 5 x 5
    Pushdowns* - (View) 5 x 5 1 x 5
    Seated Dumbbell Curls - (View) 1 x 5 5 x 5

Print This Routine, Click Here!

* Superset these two exercises

You'll notice that I took out one of the biceps exercises. It really didn't seem necessary to hit the biceps twice since they are such a small muscle group really and already took a hard hit on back day. The close grip bench lockouts were left in simply because they offer such an enormous amount of stimulation.

An alternate situation would be to break it down to a three day per week workout if that works better for you. The cycling would still be the same and you may actually notice even greater gains with the added rest days. In the chart I only gave recommendations for a 4 week cycle, however, the gains on this program have served me well for 6 weeks thus far with only minor changes so judge yourself accordingly. Have fun with it.

Keep life HEAVY!