If you’re serious about improving as an athlete, consider giving High Intensity Strength Training (HIT) a shot.
Bring up the topic of the exercise methodology called High Intensity Training (not to be confused with, but a similar premise to, HIIT) amongst strength coaches and athletes, and you’ll get a wide range of opinions and no shortage of passion. This style of training is controversial in some circles, and the only way to train in others. The merits of HIT have been debated for almost forty years, and to this day discussions of the subject can bring the proponents and opponents of HIT to the point of a blowup.
High Intensity Training starts with effort, truly maxim effort. You’ll find that if you train to a point of maximum effort, there’s a limit to both the amount of sets of an exercise that you can do productively and the total amount of sets you can do in a workout. And if you train very hard -- hard enough to force your body to adapt -- then you’ll find that you’ll have to take more time for recovery from that training. It’ll become obvious that you can’t train every day.
One to three sets of an exercise is not a magical formula in HIT, it’s just the reality of what you experience when you train very hard. Two or three workouts in any seven to fourteen day period is not written in stone for HIT; it’s the amount of recovery that the majority of people need in order to progress.
And if you want to train for a lifetime, you will have to learn impeccable technique. You must learn to control the resistance in order to put the tension on the muscles and to keep ballistic weight off of the joints.
High Intensity Training is about going all out, not almost all out. And that effort cannot be generated without a deep commitment to not only training, but to actually getting results from your training. There are far too many athletes who talk about wanting results more than anything else, but once they learn what really working hard consists of, the romance quickly fades. However, if you’re serious about seeing results, here’s a routine that will jump start your lower body strength and to introduce you to proper high intensity strength training. Don’t be too concerned about the equipment as you can train on anything similar.
The training starts with the MedX Avenger Leg Press, but if you can perform it safely, you can substitute the Barbell Squat for the Leg Press. This exercise sets the tone for the workout. When you apply true maximum effort, there is nothing more physically difficult than the Leg Press or Squat. The key to this exercise is your mindset before you begin. If you bring fear and trepidation, there will always be a cap on how strong you get. But if you bring a mindset of opportunity, then the world of training results can explode in front of you. Check your fear at the door before you begin.
The Leg Curl and Leg Extension are important exercises that isolate the muscles on either side of the knee. Attack these with the same level of controlled aggressiveness that you bring to the Leg Press or Squat. These exercises will really test your technique and rep form, as the limb is hanging out in space and there is nothing to control the end of the range of motion but your muscle contraction. If you can’t stop the weight in the fully contracted position, then you are lifting too fast. Slow down the rep speed so that you pause the weight at the end of the rep without any bouncing.
The Groin Adduction exercise is also a must for athletes. Don’t think of this as a foo foo movement that only fitness enthusiasts perform. These muscles will get very strong if trained properly, and your flexibility will improve along with your strength.
We finish this routine with the Hammer V Squat. Any compound joint exercise for the hip and thighs will work though. You’ll notice on this exercise that we have attached rubber bands. These bands are very heavy when stretched and have the effect of altering the strength curve of the machine in order to make the resistance lighter in the bottom position and heavier at the top. This helps compensate for the changing leverage as the thighs are extended.
Above all, watch the intensity level of this workout. Notice how each and every set is taken to a point of maximum effort. See how each repetition is controlled and be aware of the rapid workout pace as we move from one exercise to the next. And last but not least, be aware of the close level of supervision.
As I mentioned before, some may say it’s unnecessary to work at this level of intensity. And they may be right. But what I can tell you is that we get great results, and our players get to their genetic potential well before graduation by using High Intensity Training.
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