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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.

 

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Variety
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

Variety is the spice of life and I find HIT without significant amounts of variety quite distasteful. I have tried to explain this here many times in many ways but am too often met with dogma, narrow-mindedness, gross personal bias, plain old blind ignorance and yes of course...trolls.

Here is a recent article that explains the need for variety (as well as hinting at a lot of other things) and its importance in the role of supporting hypertrophy. This details the issue better than I have ever read before, well worth the read.

http://www.exercisecertificati...

This is a direct PDF download and is far to long to re print here especially since the format doesn't match when you copy over.

Regards,
Andrew
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Mr. Strong

What kind of variety in your training do you use?

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Growl

Andrew,
Here's the problem: When any deviation from spoon fed HIT is suggested, the dogmatic balk at the suggestion. It makes HITers look narrow minded and fanatical.
The exception is if somebody who is on the "inside" suggests it: Not to failure workouts, multiple set "specialization", stage reps, splits, and even multiple sets of the same exercise as the Bulletins prescribe. That then looks like only the "chosen" can offer suggestions or alter our sacred texts or beliefs.
The truth is HIT has spawned numerous low volume alternatives and that is a POSITIVE.
Some alternatives may not be appealing to all but so what. If you are attempting to keep volume low due to the fact that intensity is high, then you should be under the HIT umbrella. A.J. couldn't think of every possible issue. If he had continued his interest in bodybuilding chances are his opinions would have changed considerably if we go by his track record.
It's a general philosophical approach to me and not a specific set of instructions. I've been doing this too long to be somebody's lap dog.

The funny thing about it all is the leaders have historically been open to learning new things. Dr. Darden hasn't attempted to box us in here even in the face of fanatics invading multiple threads attempting a total coup.

Jeff
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M Lipowski

New York, USA

Growl wrote:
Andrew,
Here's the problem: When any deviation from spoon fed HIT is suggested, the dogmatic balk at the suggestion. It makes HITers look narrow minded and fanatical.
The exception is if somebody who is on the "inside" suggests it: Not to failure workouts, multiple set "specialization", stage reps, splits, and even multiple sets of the same exercise as the Bulletins prescribe. That then looks like only the "chosen" can offer suggestions or alter our sacred texts or beliefs.
The truth is HIT has spawned numerous low volume alternatives and that is a POSITIVE.
Some alternatives may not be appealing to all but so what. If you are attempting to keep volume low due to the fact that intensity is high, then you should be under the HIT umbrella. A.J. couldn't think of every possible issue. If he had continued his interest in bodybuilding chances are his opinions would have changed considerably if we go by his track record.
It's a general philosophical approach to me and not a specific set of instructions. I've been doing this too long to be somebody's lap dog.

The funny thing about it all is the leaders have historically been open to learning new things. Dr. Darden hasn't attempted to box us in here even in the face of fanatics invading multiple threads attempting a total coup.

Jeff


Very well said Jeff.

I'm of the same mindset in that HIT principles guide my training practices but I often feel that thinking and training outside the HIT box is of paramount importance if one is going to make some big strides with their physique development. As an example I'm currently doing an ascending/descending volume program whereby each week I tack on another set for each exercise but attempt to keep the length of my training the session about the same. The volume may wind up being 50-75% more than what I typically do but I'm still taking each set to failure and only training 3 days/wk. It certainly not "traditional" HIT but most of the ideals are there.

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Joshua Trentine

Ohio, USA

AWESOME ARTICLE !
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OSAKA/J

I'd have to agree with Growl and M. Lipowskis's comments. Personally, I see nothing wrong with employing variety in one's workouts, or "thinking outside the box." Why? Simply because the body will adapt over time to the same exercises, and the "wiring" becomes a bit overused.

Also, I don't think that Arthur Jones nor Dr. Darden ever suggested using the same exercises and routines time after time. From what I've read, they used variety in training their charges as well. If you are of the "one-and-done" school, and if it's working for you, well, don't change it. But for many of us--including myself--we may need a bit more, and that means "finding the way" of training, a very individual thing.

All this arguing over which "system" is the best or the "true HIT way" has led to nothing but confusion amongst many. I'm still of the old-school SSTF intensity mindset, but have in the past experimented with different routines, splits, rep schemas, and so on. I plan on doing so in the future as well. If that upsets others who are more tradition-minded, so be it; I'm not working out to please anyone save myself.

Having said that, I am not moving into the high(er) volume camp, as that has led me nowhere. But changing it up to suit my own needs has led to steady gains (albeit slow at times) and that has meant thinking for myself and doing what's best for me. This is my own personal philosophy on training, and it's served me well over the years.

Osaka/J
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

It is really worth reading this article in full. Johnston has brought forth a lot of research which when properly connected is a real eye opener, even for me who whole heartedly support the use of variety.

Regards,
Andrew
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waynegr

Switzerland

Hi there Andrew,

I like a bit of variety also, I used to keep a good log on all my old HIT workouts and had 4 to 5 different routines, like 2/4, 5/5 5/10, stage reps and pre-exhaustion, and would do each of them for six weeks then go on to the next.

As you may know I am now doing Johns Direct Compensation training, I now do 30/15/10 for 12 weeks then go on to 20/15/10, for another 12 weeks then back to 30/15/10.

But will now do that every 8 weeks from now on, as dare I say it going from 30/15/10 to 20/15/10 is another Direct Compensation.

However my workouts are not always like this, as my latest shoulder routine is like this, lateral realise, 30/15/10 shoulder press, 15/6, and I may finish off with a burn/pump set of lateral raise stage reps or Jreps.

And I have another idea up my sleeve, which John would comment on this if hes tried this or not, as I might try 20/15/10/20 or 30/10/20 or 20/10/30 or 15/8/5/30 or maybe 20/15/SR or Jreps, wow there are so many combinations,

The pump and fatigue from the faster reps, the stage reps and the Jreps is fantastic.

I am also trying out a routine on another exersices given to me by All-pro, 5/5/5/2/2/2/5/5/5, but instead of the 5 minutes rest like in the above, there is only 90 seconds.

Wayne
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stevecollins33

Good post Jeff.
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saseme

AShortt wrote:
Seriously though I thought it would inject a bit of irony to that board to bring up variation. They stick to the same old - same old like shit to a blanket...


AShortt wrote:
The problem with that site is the moderating is NOT consitent. Sometimes they pull the B.S. off the board other times they let it go. I have been moderated many times and none of those posts were even close to much of the crap that goes on there. That is why I rarely post there, I dont have the time to fart around with that kind of inconsitancy.


Oh Andy...
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

saseme wrote:
Oh Andy...


PUT...THE...SPOON...DOWN!
STEP AWAY...FROM THE SPOON!!!
___________________________________


Thanks for posting that link, Andrew. I look forward to going through that article in detail once I've printed it out.

I'm all for variety, but would hazard that constant shuffling be reserved for the (all too) seasoned trainee who has stagnated in his or her training.

Further caveats:
1. When progression has stagnated on a progressive and diligently-applied regimen.

2. When diet and rest have been applied to the best degree.

3. When using the 'Random Play' button for periods of time, one must keep a core group of exercises --- perfomed in a consitent manner --- that can be used to gauge strength maintenance or (hopefully) increases. Beyond these core exercises, you can sprinkle-on the 'nutty' to your mad-hat content!

4. Did I mention progression and diligence? Consistency. Stick-to-it-ness.

If Brian has these in his article, then I apologize in advance. I just wanted to make sure these ideas were out there before any newer guys thought they had to hurry-up and jump on the express train to Varietyville.

Regards,
Scott
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saseme

simon-hecubus wrote:
saseme wrote:
Oh Andy...

PUT...THE...SPOON...DOWN!
STEP AWAY...FROM THE SPOON!!!
___________________________________


Hey, he said it, not me. To act like your doing this board a favor, and then insult everyone here on another board...Lacks a certain element of class. And yes Scott, before you say it, I would know about class.(Facetious emphasis yours.)
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

saseme wrote:
Hey, he said it, not me. To act like your doing this board a favor, and then insult everyone here on another board...Lacks a certain element of class. And yes Scott, before you say it, I would know about class.(Facetious emphasis yours.)


Oh, Cherry...
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

Scott, the thing is what I read on sites like this all the time is "I am lifting more so I am progressing" Or yes I am getting smoother but I am gaining weight so I am progressing". From my experience as a trainer anyone past the novice stage makes little or no real progress without liberal amounts of proper variety.

Muscle growth is all about disrupting homeostasis - knocking the muscles and general system out of equilibrium. Doing the same lifts in the same manner with a bit more load will not do this regardless of how hard you train.

Regards,
Andrew
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

saseme wrote:
AShortt wrote:
Seriously though I thought it would inject a bit of irony to that board to bring up variation. They stick to the same old - same old like shit to a blanket...

AShortt wrote:
The problem with that site is the moderating is NOT consitent. Sometimes they pull the B.S. off the board other times they let it go. I have been moderated many times and none of those posts were even close to much of the crap that goes on there. That is why I rarely post there, I dont have the time to fart around with that kind of inconsitancy.

Oh Andy...


Saseme, I fail to see your point, I comment in public using my real name I have zero to hide. The fact that you are allowed to make anonymous trolling posts like this...proves mine. Once again you dirty a perfectly fine thread with your useless empty crap that says nothing about anything...and the mods allow it. Yet if I write (in detail) what I think of the immateur stalker like comments you make here all the time I am usually editted out of the picture.

For the record I find you to be a cowardly, pesty little internet pimple.

Andrew
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Charles Coulter

New York, USA

AShortt wrote:
Scott, the thing is what I read on sites like this all the time is "I am lifting more so I am progressing" Or yes I am getting smoother but I am gaining weight so I am progressing". From my experience as a trainer anyone past the novice stage makes little or no real progress without liberal amounts of proper variety.

Muscle growth is all about disrupting homeostasis - knocking the muscles and general system out of equilibrium. Doing the same lifts in the same manner with a bit more load will not do this regardless of how hard you train.

Regards,
Andrew


I feel the same can be said of strength development. At some point you just won't be able to keep adding weight easily. Something has to be done to force the next gain in strength. To me there still seems to be a "size to strength" relationship. Similar to what Arthur Jones wrote in the Nautilus Bulletin #1, Chapter 36 Charting Progress. "Thus, in effect, size increases permit strength increases - and strength increases force size increases."

To me this means get as strong as you can at your particular size and when the gains stop, do something differently (something more intense) to encourage the gaining of more muscle so as to get stronger again. And repeat...

Just my take in brief...

Charles

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Mr. Strong

Variety????

Does this mean doing another set, more reps, more frequent training, less frequent training, more volume, less volume, etc, etc?????

Or does it mean using a different curl, different squat variation, etc, etc?????

Strength/size training is basically a combination of sets and reps of exercises done on a certain day. All this variety stuff does is give the illusion that you are doing something differently, when in actual fact the basic idea never really changes. The illusion of variation may actually improve motivation for a period of time before a person wants to change things up again, so it may have a positive psychological effect.

However, to claim that a lack of variety is the reason a person is not getting the results they want is incorrect. All the variety in the world can not make up for lack of effort and outright hard work.

Sure, change your volume, frequency, sets and reps, and your exercise choice if you find this helps you, but don't think you will get where you want to be without a lot of effort, which is the most important factor.

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M Lipowski

New York, USA

Mr. Intensity wrote:
Variety????

Does this mean doing another set, more reps, more frequent training, less frequent training, more volume, less volume, etc, etc?????

Or does it mean using a different curl, different squat variation, etc, etc?????




It means all those things.
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

Mr. Intensity wrote:
Variety????

Does this mean doing another set, more reps, more frequent training, less frequent training, more volume, less volume, etc, etc?????

Or does it mean using a different curl, different squat variation, etc, etc?????

Strength/size training is basically a combination of sets and reps of exercises done on a certain day. All this variety stuff does is give the illusion that you are doing something differently, when in actual fact the basic idea never really changes. The illusion of variation may actually improve motivation for a period of time before a person wants to change things up again, so it may have a positive psychological effect.

However, to claim that a lack of variety is the reason a person is not getting the results they want is incorrect. All the variety in the world can not make up for lack of effort and outright hard work.

Sure, change your volume, frequency, sets and reps, and your exercise choice if you find this helps you, but don't think you will get where you want to be without a lot of effort, which is the most important factor.



Please read the article - no where is it suggessted that variety is a replacement for effort or volume, freq...etc. Variety is a supporting principle which exists in large healthy quantities in ones ealry years of lifting when everything is new.

As for any other argument the article fully substantiates this position, complete with plenty of references.

Regards,
Andrew
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Ciccio

Variety, as in exercise rotation (basically A/B or even A1/B1/A2/B2/A3/B3 or whatever combination in between this two) is your best bet.
Depending on your overall frequency you will do the same exercise every 2 to 3 weeks. This is enough to gauge progress (and this progress will be better in many cases).
I found that I can train more frequently with better results this way without progress staling to quickly and needing a week rest too early.

Franco
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

Yes there are many ways one can add healthy amounts of variety wihtout losing sight of progress markers.

Johnston has a good suggestion in his 'Chaos training' model (from the book APEX). This where you keep a benchmark exercise at the begining of a routine which you always perform fresh then change everything else radically. This of course works best with a split routine.

Regards,
Andrew
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

AShortt wrote:
Yes there are many ways one can add healthy amounts of variety wihtout losing sight of progress markers.

Johnston has a good suggestion in his 'Chaos training' model (from the book APEX). This where you keep a benchmark exercise at the begining of a routine which you always perform fresh then change everything else radically. This of course works best with a split routine.

Regards,Andrew


Thanks for getting around to agreeing (sort of). This is what I was alluding to in my previous post:

3. When using the 'Random Play' button for periods of time, one must keep a core group of exercises --- perfomed in a consitent manner --- that can be used to gauge strength maintenance or (hopefully) increases. Beyond these core exercises, you can sprinkle-on the 'nutty' to your mad-hat content!
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marcrph

Portugal

AShortt wrote:
Yes there are many ways one can add healthy amounts of variety wihtout losing sight of progress markers.

Johnston has a good suggestion in his 'Chaos training' model (from the book APEX). This where you keep a benchmark exercise at the begining of a routine which you always perform fresh then change everything else radically. This of course works best with a split routine.

Regards,
Andrew


Andrew,

I am interested in your thoughts on muscle confusion and the relationship thereof to variety.

Thanks in advance

Marc

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davise

After a short layoff I'm going to start rotating these three workouts (A/B/C) done twice a week. Any thoughts?

A)
Trap Bar Deadlift
Leg Curl
Military Press
Dbell Row
Negative Dips
Shrug
Crunch
Ivanko Supergripper
B)
SLDL
Leg Extension
Negative Chin
Incline Press
Sidebend
Calf Raise
Neck Curl
Wrist Curl
C)
Squat
Back Extension
Pullover
Flye
Lateral
Tri extension
Curl
Tibia Dorsiflexion
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McNultyEssex

davise,

I think your ABC routine looks good. Each routine is well rounded, and you've got a decent combination of exercises that should recruit different parts of muscles effectively. Then, it's just a case of being progressive.

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