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More Training Info > Research - Hit or Miss

Hit or Miss: A Review of Research Relevant to High Intensity Training

Extensive research review done by Bill Ebben and Chris Simez. The topic was presented during the NSCA National Conference in Las Vegas, July 2002.

Bill Ebben and Chris Simez made a presentation at this year's National Conference for the NSCA on what research tells us about the characteristics of HIT (High Intensity Training) programs.

What is HIT?

From their research identifying what HIT is they listed the following characteristics of a HIT program:

  • Pro-machine
  • Pro bodybuilding techniques such as eccentrics, partial reps, isometrics and manual resistance and slow muscle action
  • Argue against concepts of biomechanics and velocity specificity and the "Transfer of training"
  • Anti-weightlifting (snatch, clean and jerk and variations) plyometrics and dynamic/ballistic training
  • Single set
  • Non-periodized
  • High rep to failure

After identifying the main points of HIT programs they discussed their findings of the research studies that had been carried out dealing with each characteristic. They were able to show that for each component of a HIT program there was a more productive way to train in order to improve sport performance. They summarized their presentation with the following points:

What does this mean?

  • Higher volume training leads to greater strength gains
  • Periodization increases the effectiveness of resistance programs
  • Research strongly supports the use of biomechanically and velocity specific exercises for improving motor abilities
  • HIT training may be effective for untrained populations
  • HIT training is far simpler to implement, requiring no knowledge of periodization, program design, weightlifting technique, or multiple training modes (e.g. plyometrics).
  • Need additional peer-reviewed research

NSCA Position Statement

Basic guidelines for Resistance Training of Athletes

  • Progressive overload should be a fundamental characteristic of resistance-training programs directed at the development of neuromuscular capabilities and athletic performance.
  • Resistance-training programs for athletic performance must adhere to the principle of training specificity in order to match the demands of the sport to the training program developed for a specific athlete.
  • Resistance-training programs for athletic performance should be periodized in order to optimize the adaptations over long-term training. Periodized training also helps reduce the potential for overtraining.
  • Multiple-set periodized resistance-training programs are superior to single-set, non-periodized programs for physical development over long-term training programs.
  • Care must be taken when developing resistance-training programs for younger and older athletes because the volume of exercise and the intensity may have to be altered to meet the recovery demands of each individual.


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