In the realm of training methodologies, various approaches emerge and fade away quickly, but two enduring methods that have stood the test of time are High-Intensity Training (HIT) and Volume Training (VT). Both have garnered dedicated followers, each pleased with the results they achieve. Let’s delve into the key differences between these two approaches to help you make an informed decision about which might suit you best.
High-Intensity Training (HIT) dates back to the 1970s and revolves around the concept of brief, intense, and infrequent weightlifting sessions—essentially, it entails low volume and high intensity. HIT enthusiasts believe that this approach effectively stimulates muscle strength and size gains, as the body responds to the stress of lifting weights. The original HIT approach involved a single high-intensity set per body part to failure, thrice a week. Over time, some variations emerged, with practitioners opting for three sets per exercise or body part to failure, often dividing the routine into upper and lower body sessions.
HIT adheres to several consistent principles, including maintaining intense workouts, performing each set until failure, progressively increasing the challenge of each session, focusing on proper form, keeping sessions under an hour, limiting sets for each body part to 1-3, and allowing sufficient rest, typically training 2-3 times per week.
In contrast, Volume Training (VT) emphasizes the volume of work performed, not only in the number of sets but also in the frequency of training sessions per week. VT enthusiasts might perform a significantly higher number of sets per body part, ranging from 12 to 24, 30, or even more. Additionally, VT workouts are more frequent, with practitioners training up to 5 or 6 days per week. VT exercises often incorporate explosive movements with variations between slow and fast-paced motions depending on the exercise. Due to the higher number of reps and sets, the weight load in VT is generally lower than in HIT, resulting in a more pronounced muscle pump.
Determining which routine is superior depends on individual factors such as body type, skill level, training goals, recovery time, and workout frequency. Ectomorphs, with their thin, light-framed bodies, may benefit more from VT as they require longer workouts and higher reps to stimulate muscle growth. On the other hand, mesomorphs, who have a more rectangular frame with greater muscle mass, tend to see greater gains with a HIT routine.
Ultimately, the key to long-term success in bodybuilding lies in adapting routines and exploring different methodologies over time. The muscles adapt to a routine, necessitating variety and novelty. Switching between HIT and VT cycles or trying new approaches will contribute to sustained progress and individualized success in achieving fitness goals.