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Ridgefield Personal Trainer Greg Herzog talks about what he believes to be the most effective training method to build balance, strength and flexibility.

Greg says that the fundamental principles of High-Intensity Training (HIT) are that exercise should be brief, infrequent, and intense. At his private boutique gym in downtown Ridgefield, exercises are performed with a high level of effort, or intensity, where it is thought that it will stimulate the body to produce an increase in muscular strength and size. Greg and advocates of HIT believe that this method is superior for strength and size building to most other methods which, for example, may stress lower weights with larger volume (sets x reps).

Herzog states that as strength increases, HIT techniques will have the weight/resistance increased progressively where it is thought that it will provide the muscles with adequate overload to stimulate further improvements. Greg believes that there is an inverse relationship between how intensely and how long one can exercise. As a result, high-intensity workouts are generally kept brief. After a high-intensity workout, as with any workout, the body requires time to recover and produce the responses stimulated during the workout, so there is more emphasis on rest and recovery in the HIT philosophy than in most other weight training methods. In any workout, not just HIT, training schedules should allow adequate time between workouts for recovery (and adaptation).

While many typical HIT programs at OSTEOPATHIC FITNESS® comprise of a single-set per exercise, tri-weekly, full-body workout, many variations exist in specific recommendations of set and exercise number, workout routines, volume and frequency of training. Greg says that the common thread is an emphasis on a high level of effort, relatively brief and infrequent (i.e. not daily) training, and the cadence of a lift, which will be very slow compared to a non-HIT weight training routine.

Ridgefield personal trainer Herzog and most HIT advocates stress the use of controlled lifting speeds and strict form, with special attention paid to avoiding any bouncing, jerking, or yanking of the weight or machine movement arm during exercise. Technical HIT advice varies from lifting the weights smoothly and at a natural pace, to timing the lifts, peaking at hold and descent. In extreme cases, it may take up to 30 seconds to complete a single repetition.

As a personal training professional, Greg also emphasizes when near exhaustion in order to further exhaust the muscle or muscles exercised: doing static holds for periods of time, and negative reps (lowering the weight). This will stimulate further growth and strength because muscles are weakest in positive/contracting movements (sometimes referred to as first stage failure of a muscle). Although you may not be able to lift a weight for another rep you will almost certainly be able to hold it statically for a further period (second stage of failure) and finally lower a weight at a slow controlled speed (third stage of failure). Until all three (lifting, holding and lowering) parts of an exercise can no longer be completed in a controlled manner, a muscle cannot be considered thoroughly exhausted/exercised.

HIT will target a single body part with one or two exercises Greg states, and generally a single set of 6-10 reps for upper body exercises and either 8-15 or more commonly 12-20 reps for lower body exercises, done to momentary muscular failure. Deadlifts usually have a rep range of 1-5 reps.

Herzog says cadence for a HIT workout is supposed to be smooth, but not always Super Slow. A standard HIT cadence is usually 3-1-4-1. For clarity, here are two examples of how the cadence would be for an exercise. On the Lat Pulldown exercise the cadence is as follows: 3 seconds pulling down (Positive movement), followed by a 1-second pause & squeeze (at full contraction), followed by a 4-second return (Negative movement), followed by a 1-second rest. This completes 1 rep.

On the Barbell Squat the cadence is as follows: 4 seconds lowering the bar (the Negative movement), followed by a 1-second pause (at the bottom), followed by 3 seconds raising up the bar (the Positive movement), followed by a 1-second rest at the top. This completes 1 rep.

Herzog says that HIT stresses intensity over repetition. Many weightlifters will use a HIT routine to help break a 'plateau' - meaning they will use HIT temporarily when another routine stops giving desired results. Some HIT trainees will use HIT exclusively as well - Arthur Jones believed HIT was all that was required.

Greg says, “you be the judge”.

Call (203) 240-4020 for more information.

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