Measuring Strength and Hating on HIT

I am so sick of the logic used by “strength” coaches to dismiss High Intensity Training. The articles all go something like this: Using higher volume and lower intensity produces greater strength gains that using HIT. Strength is measured by PR (personal records) in classic bodybuilding exercises such as the bench press, squat and dead lift. […]

A High Intensity Tune-Up at DeSisto Strength Training

I recently was invited to do a High Intensity Training workout at DeSisto Strength Training in San Francisco. It has been over 3 years now since I had those two HIT workouts from legendary trainer Greg Anderson (RIP). I learned that Dave DeSisto got his certification from Greg Anderson. Small world. This past summer I haven’t been […]

Merging Foundation Training With Hillfit

Regular readers of this site know that I am a proponent of High Intensity Training (HIT) and that the bodyweight approach I discuss the most is the Hillfit program. As great as that routine is there is one exercise in it that I never got much benefit from: the Hip Extension. I tooled around with […]

I’m Done Talking About High Intensity Training Part 2

This is a follow up the post I’m Done Talking About High Intensity Training. But before I start I want to be clear that post was about conversations outside this blog. Not this blog. I will continue to blog about HIT. I even have a post planned that extends the Hillfit 2.0 protocol with a new […]

I’m Done Talking About High Intensity Training

Last night I made a decision that I would never talk about High Intensity Training unless someone solicits my opinion on the topic. I’ll still blog about it here, but I’m done discussing it in conversations. People don’t get it. I used to think it was a failure on my part to articulate the principles […]

Answering 3 Fitness Questions About HIT and Running

I received an email with three fitness questions. Instead of responding privately, I decided to answer them in a blog post. I will need help with the third question. The email came from someone that read and successfully tried some of the ideas from the post Lower Risk Alternatives to the Barbell Back Squat. 1) You […]

New Respect for Assisted Pull Up Machines

I’ve never been a fan of Assisted Pull Up Machines. From my 2012 post How I Improved My Chin-Ups: When you get under one of these machines, if you start with a decent pull, the lifter slides upward almost effortlessly. In other words, the tension is reduced just when more muscle should be engaged. The lifter games […]

Training to Failure is a Tool

I just finished reading Solving the Paleo Equation by Matt Stone and Garrett Smith. With a minor exception I really liked the book. The audience is not necessarily just those stuck on a Paleo diet, but any dieter that finds themselves stuck, especially those that exercise a lot. This book was an extension of some […]

On Building Muscle

Time to head over to Conditioning Research to read Hypertrophy training – What does the evidence say? Chris provides an overview on what the scientific evidence says is required to gain muscle. It isn’t about compound exercises or high volume. It is about recruiting muscle fibers. Your muscles don’t know if that recruitment is coming […]

Why I Traded Volume for Intensity at the Glitter Gym

Anyone that has read this blog in the past few years knows that I am a fan of HIT (High Intensity Training). Machine based workouts performed very slowly without locking out at the top or pausing at the bottom. When the movement gets extremely difficult, I might perform a static hold. Then I lower the […]

Hillfit 2.0: A Zero Budget Approach to High Intensity Training

In early 2011, I became a convert to High Intensity Training. Unlike traditional strength building protocols, HIT focuses on using slow controlled movements, less volume and higher intensity. Safety is a priority. Movements have a low skill component, so they are ideal for lifters at all stages of their fitness journey. My introduction to HIT […]

Kefir, HIT and a Touch More Volume

I thought I would post a quick fitness update. I may have stumbled upon the secret sauce for ectomorphs trying to gain muscle. Well at least for me. Last August, I posted Is High Intensity Training Best for Ectomorphs? where I revisited the great book Body By Science and how ectomorphs might respond better to […]

What Taleb Got Wrong in Antifragile

Let me start by saying that I loved the new book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, however there was one point I believe Taleb fell for the survivorship bias he warned us about in Fooled By Randomness. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb If he only mentioned this once in the book, […]

Reps, Sets and the Weight Aren’t That Important

When I first started lifting weights in 1994, I read the muscle magazines which endlessly repeated the golden rule of bodybuilding, which was to do 3 sets of 8-12 reps with a wide variety of exercises. A typical workout would take an hour. These were the important metrics during my early years of lifting. After a few […]

RIP Greg Anderson – My Fitness Mentor

Last night I received word from Bill DeSimone of Congruent Exercise that my fitness mentor Greg Anderson died over the weekend. Greg Anderson ran Seattle’s Ideal Exercise and has been active in the High Intensity Training community for many years. Greg was passionate about fitness and High Intensity Training. How I met Greg was pure luck. When my […]

A Loss of Strength From High Intensity Training?

I’ve read several claims that people tend to lose strength after they start a High Intensity Training program. I started HIT in December 2010. Have I lost strength? I guess it depends on how you measure strength. My thesis is that using traditional weight lifting exercises as a metric for measuring strength is unfair when measuring the […]

Is High Intensity Training Best for Ectomorphs?

Since December 2010, I have been a huge fan of  High Intensity Training. I’m in the best shape of my life and unlike my free weight days, I never get injured anymore. In other words, everything is going great. A few days ago, I was reviewing some information in the outstanding book Body By Science […]

Why I Don’t Measure My Workouts

One of the core principles to high intensity training and many other fitness programs is to record your workouts. I remember reading years ago that strength coach Charles Poliquin wants to see at least 6 months of workout data before he takes you on as a client. That may or may not be true, but […]

Exercise Update – Summer 2012

Three months ago I put out my 5 part series on exercise and fat loss. If you don’t wish to read it, my belief is that exercise is vastly over rated when it comes to long term fat loss. What looks like progress in the short term erodes when looking at longer time frames due […]

Static Weight Max Pyramid HIT Workout

When I was putting together the post Lower Risk Alternatives to the Barbell Back Squat, I found a video by Fred Fornicola, author of the book Strength and Fitness For a Lifetime. The video that peaked my interest was a Max Pyramid leg press performed with a static weight. I’ve done the Max Pyramid leg […]

Lower Risk Alternatives to the Barbell Back Squat

My previous post I No Longer Give a Squat About the Squat, I outlined why I no longer perform the barbell back squat. This post will list the exercises I’ve used to replace weight lifting’s most sacred exercise. Before I begin, I want to clarify that I am not a personal trainer and the only client […]

Maximizing Fat Loss with Exercise

This is the 5th and final part on my series of posts on the role of exercise and fat loss. For the most part, I strongly believe that you lean out in the kitchen and not the gym. I think the role of exercise in fat loss is vastly over rated. The benefits we see […]

Fat Loss and High Intensity Exercise

In my last post Fat Loss and the Case For Less Exercise, I explained how I’ve designed my exercise plan to be as minimal as possible to maximize my chances at fat loss without increasing my appetite or risk of injury. My HIT workout takes about 15 minutes, which includes light mobility work. The sprint session […]

Is HIT Really Less Effective Than Traditional Weight Lifting?

I’ve only being doing High Intensity Training for a little more than a year now, so I am far from an authority on the topic. Before I became a believer in the effectiveness of HIT, I really didn’t pay much attention to its supporters or detractors. However, in the last year I’ve read numerous fitness […]

Outdoor HIT – Too Cold?

I just got back from a very cold day at my gym. My gym is a neighborhood playground where I do a workout that I describe in the post Escaping the Glitter: Taking High Intensity Training Outdoors. It was 41 degrees today with a 10 mile an hour wind, which made it “feel like 35 […]

Hillfit: Strength is Not Just For Hikers

For the past few years I have been reading the fitness blog Conditioning Research by Chris Highcock. Although I would be hard pressed to name a favorite nutrition blog, I can easily say Conditioning Research is the best fitness blog. When I started reading the site, I had yet to be convinced on the effectiveness […]

Outdoor HIT: 2 Months Later

I thought I would post a 2 month progress report on my outdoor High Intensity Training program. I outlined my playground workout in the post Escaping the Glitter: Taking High Intensity Training Outdoors. Since November I have been averaging one workout every 7-9 days. I am pleased with my consistency. The Seattle winter hasn’t discouraged […]

Escaping The Glitter: Taking High Intensity Training Outdoors

My membership to the Northgate 24 Hour Fitness has ended. During my 2 year relationship with them, they upgraded their facility from a small gym (Express) to a monstrosity (Super Sport). The fair deal that I once paid would no longer be enough. They need more money to pay for all those treadmills, Zumba classes […]

My Bench Press Sucks and I Don’t Care

I’m going to share my dark embarrassing secret. My bench press sucks! Since I started lifting weights in 1994, there have only been three periods where I could bench more than my weight. And then I could only muster up an extra 10 or so more pounds. Until recently this has always bothered me a […]

Training to Failure or Training to Quit Part 2

In the post Training to Failure or Training to Quit, I discussed the disagreement about training to failure that exists between my fitness mentors. Pavel and Arthur De Vany believe you shouldn’t train to failure, whereas Dr. Doug McGuff and the rest of the High Intensity Training community believe you should. If you haven’t read […]

Keeping a Workout Journal

In the post High Intensity Training My 6 Month Update, I confessed that I no longer collect data from my workouts. I violated a core HIT rule. I didn’t record any workout. …My training philosophy is the Minimal Effort Approach. As long as I feel I’m moving in the right direction, I wont try and […]

My First HIT Injury?

Today I strained my back attempting a Max Contraction exercise in the gym. It was just last week that I read and reviewed the High Intensity weight training protocol of Max Contraction Training. Even in my review I had a concern with the plan. The problem I see with Max Contraction Training is that for […]

Max Contraction Training

I just finished reading John Little’s 2004 follow up book to Static Contraction Training. Max Contraction Training : The Scientifically Proven Program for Building Muscle Mass in Minimum Time by John Little is a much better book than Static Contraction Training. Instead of being light on text and heavy on photos of steroid monsters, this […]

High Intensity Training – My 6 Month Update

It was last December when I started up a super slow HIT program. For those unfamiliar with High Intensity Training (HIT), it differs from traditional weight lifting in the following ways: 1 set to failure slower movements – the goal is to remove momentum from the lift as little as 1-2 exercises per body part […]

The New High Intensity Training

My interest in High Intensity Training continues. The New High Intensity Training: The Best Muscle-Building System You’ve Never Tried by Ellington Darden Ph.D. is an outstanding book on the principles of High Intensity Training. It starts with a history lesson on the early days of HIT with Arthur Jones, Casey Viator and the Mentzer brothers. […]

Training to Failure or Training to Quit

There is a split in opinion with my fitness mentors on training to failure. Training to failure means that you completely exhaust your muscles to the point you can not do another repetition. I’m going to break down their arguments for and against training to failure and see if a conclusion can be drawn. Enter […]

Help Me Understand CrossFit

Am I the only paleo blogger that isn’t embracing the extreme “functional” workout program known as CrossFit? I’ve read articles from their journals, watched videos and talked to members. To me CrossFit seems like another lunatic over-training program. However, I accept the premise that I am still uninformed, so I am keeping an open mind. […]

Another HIT Advantage

A few months ago I started doing a High Intensity weight lifting protocol. Slow movement, machine based and one-set to failure. I’m guessing it will be another month or two before I know if it is right for me. So far I am impressed with HIT and I continue to learn more about it every […]

Static Contraction Training

John Little is one of my favorite writers in the fitness field. He co-wrote the definitive fitness book Body by Science. Recently, I listen to an outstanding interview with him on High Intensity Nation. In the interview he discussed a style of training called Max Contraction Training that sounded interesting, so I checked to see […]

High Intensity Training at Ideal Exercise of Seattle

After posting The Myth of Cardiovascular Training, I received an email invitation from Greg Anderson to come visit his North Seattle gym. Ideal Exercise is not a glitter gym (bright lights, treadmills, etc) nor is it a rust gym (hard rock and free weights). Ideal Exercise is all about coached High Intensity Training using specific […]

Returning to Slow Motion Weight Training

Earlier this year I decided to abandon my normal weight lifting protocol and try slow motion weight lifting. Body By Science is a stellar book and it made an excellent case for slow motion weight training using machines. How did my test go? From the post Is Slow Motion Weight Training Superior? I wrote: What […]