Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Interview: Drew Baye .....it is about hard work and progression

Time for another interview, this time with Drew Baye.   Drew is a renowned trainer and writer in the high intensity field.  His profile has been high recently as he is featured in Tim Ferris' new book - The 4-Hour Body  - with a photo of him with ripped abs despite no direct ab work. 

Drew has a book of his own coming out soon and you can find out more about it from his website at baye.com

Drew has also spoken at Anthony's 21 convention and you can see a video of him speaking here.

The interview touches on a lot of areas from diet to functional training.  I hope you enjoy it and learn from it as I have done.

UPDATE - Check out this video from Drew and his DVD available here]

Normally in these interviews I start off by asking a little about your background: how you got into training and how you developed your particular approach. In your case though your website explains your career in detail and clearly addresses how you have formed your philosophy of training.

It would be lazy to ask you to repeat all that stuff….but just to round out the introduction – there seems to be quite a focus on “bodybuilding”. What first got you interested specifically in bodybuilding as such?

I’ve always been big fan of action movies, and growing up in the 80’s Sylvester Stallone and Jean Claude Van Damme were my idols. I remember being amazed at how muscular those guys were in movies like Rambo III and Kickboxer and wanting to look like them.

Do you still practice any sports – you have mentioned that you used to be involved in martial arts?

I’ve studied various martial arts over the years, but these days I mostly focus on Wing Chun. I also occasionally practice Parkour with a group in Orlando.

Have you trained any athletes that compete in sports?

While attending college in Green Bay I trained Seth Dittman and Jeff Wilner who played for the Packers at the time. Over the years I’ve also trained a lot of clients who competed or participated in various sports at different levels, always with good results, but most of my clients have been more focused on fat loss or general health and fitness.

What are the key factors of importance in training athletes?

By far the most important factor is increasing an athlete’s resistance to injury. At the very least an injury can interfere with practice and competition, at the worst it can end a career or a person’s ability to perform an activity they’re passionate about. The entire body should be made as strong as possible with special attention to the areas where injuries are most common. For example, everyone involved in any kind of contact sport should perform direct strengthening exercises for the neck.

Everything else – strength, stamina, speed, etc. – is important, but none of it matters if the athlete can’t practice or compete.

Another important factor is making the distinction between training for physical conditioning and practice for improving specific skills and doing each in the most effective manner possible. When you try to combine the two, for example, mimicking a sport movement with a barbell, you end up with a less effective exercise that either contributes nothing to the sport skill being mimicked or can even interfere with the development of that skill.

If you’ve read some of my previous interviews you might have noticed that an area that I am particularly interested in is the idea of “functional” or so called sport specific training. Do I take it that you agree with Doug McGuff, John Little and Luke Carlson who explained in their interviews that such an approach is, at best, misguided? They key – they would say - is to strengthen the muscles in the most appropriate effective and efficient way…..and then learn the skills properly to apply that strength.

They are absolutely correct. Strength training should be performed using movements which are designed to safely and effectively strengthen the major muscle groups. Skill is very specific. To improve your skill in the performance of a particular movement or activity the practice must be as close as possible to the conditions the skill will be used under. When you add a significant amount of weight to the movement you change the balance, the relative contribution of the different muscles involved, and various other factors, and are doing something totally different as far as skill is concerned. There is no transfer of skill between different activities.

McGuff and Little’s book Body by Science seems to have reignited interest in HIT principles, at least among the “blogosphere”. You posted a very positive review of the book.  Reflecting on it, is there much in there that is truly new, or do you think it has just come along at an opportune time when the internet lets niche markets prosper?

Nothing in Body by Science is new, but it is currently the best presentation of the information. It provides a clear explanation of the science and how to apply it in one’s workouts.

Reading your own material you seem to differ in a few areas from McGuff / Little (e.g. rep speed, frequency of training, routine design) - but only a few. One of these distinctions is rep speed. You have a fascinating article on your site about your experiences with Superslow and your move towards more “conventional” speeds (e.g. 2 second positive, 4 second negative) In the scheme of things for the majority, how important are such details, such differences?

Not very. Details like rep speed, rep range, number and selection of exercises, sets, etc. are important, but people often make them out to be a much bigger deal than they really are. Ultimately, what matters most is that you train hard and progressively in a reasonably safe manner, don’t overtrain, and get adequate rest and nutrition.

Following on from that…do you think those of us with an interest in training – even or especially HIT type people – spend too much time obsessing over their training, reading the blogs and forums, analysing the details not the principles? Do we get too “cluttered”?

The problem isn’t analyzing the details or principles, as long as you take everything you read with a grain of salt. There is a lot of bullshit out there. However, I think a lot of people do this because they think they’re missing some little bit of information or some secret that is going to somehow dramatically change the results they’re getting from their training, when it is usually something as simple as putting more effort into your workouts, cutting back the volume or frequency a little, eating better or getting more rest. For someone having a hard time putting on size, a change in some detail like rep speed or which exercise you’re doing for biceps isn’t going to make the slightest bit of difference compared to getting more quality food.

Why is there so much “hate” directed towards HIT? After I posted my interviews of Doug McGuff and John Little I saw my blog get described on one forum as “HIT cock sucking”….

There are a lot of reasons for this, but most of them come down to ego. For many guys, strength training is one of those “manly” things like fighting and sex they think they know something about and have strong opinions on. Especially when strength training, competitive lifting or sports or bodybuilding is a big part of their self-image or identity. Telling a guy like that he is wrong about something exercise related is like calling him a wimp or having sex with his girlfriend and her telling him how much better you are. They don’t tend to take it very well and they react emotionally.

It doesn’t help some proponents of high intensity training have been very abrasive when talking about it. Nobody likes to be insulted or told they don’t know what they’re doing, and Arthur Jones insulted a lot of people and told them just that. Right or wrong, that approach will turn off a lot of people, even turn them against you, regardless of the merits of what you’re saying.

Something I always consider when coaching someone during a workout which applies to communication in general is anything can be phrased positively or negatively. When someone does something incorrectly I can either point out the mistake or I can instruct them on how to correct it. If I say, “your grip is too wide” I’m criticizing. If I say, “move your grip in about two inches” I’m instructing. Same general idea, but it will have a different effect and tend to produce a different response.

I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone, and it’s easy to become frustrated with some people and the things they say and go off on a rant, but I try to be more patient with people these days, especially if they seem sincerely interested in learning.

Can we talk about “Metabolic Conditioning”. Crossfit has brought “metcon” into the spotlight and indeed they seem to have coined that abbreviation. You have had some material up on “metcon” building on Brycki’s 3x3 routine . I’ve used with the routine a few times and it is tough.

However, I must admit to still being a bit confused around the principles at play: Where is the “overload” going – the muscles or the “CV system?”

Both. You can’t separate the two. The cardiovascular system supports the work being performed by the muscles. Although you can emphasize one or the other depending on the method used you can’t perform demanding muscular work without the cardiovascular system being taxed somewhat, and you can’t tax the cardiovascular system without performing muscular work.

How do you define metcon?

Metabolic conditioning, as opposed to cardiovascular conditioning, is the efficiency of energy metabolism in the muscles, as opposed to the efficiency of the cardiovascular system at delivering resources and removing waste to support the muscular work.

In the spirit of specificity, does the “fitness” developed by metcon / 3x3 transfer to sports?

The type of metabolic conditioning developed by 3x3 workouts, old-school Nautilus routines emphasizing rushing between exercises, and similar types of training will benefit an athlete in any sport with a significant metabolic demand, regardless of the specific work, rest intervals of the sport.
Even endurance athletes will benefit from this type of training because the aerobic metabolism is indirectly affected. Doug McGuff covers this in Body by Science in the section on Global Metabolic Conditioning.

Add specific skill training – the ability to efficiently perform the movements of the sport – and the athlete will be able to perform far more work, more quickly, with less wasted energy, while their opponents are sucking wind and struggling just to keep pace.

One thing that I notice with HIT style training is that is all seems very serious! This catches me a little. Those into “functional training” look like they are having fun (e.g. the Movnat guy Erwan LeCorre ! Movement, skill based movement, is often just joyous! Jumping rolling, fighting, climbing. How do we balance the need for proper training with the fact that movement is fun and exciting! (I’m asking this having seen YouTube videos of you doing parkour)

There’s no reason a person can’t do both, but they shouldn’t try to make their training fun and they shouldn’t ruin the fun of other activities by trying to turn them into workouts. Train in the safest and most effective manner to build strength and conditioning, then put it to good use doing activities you enjoy.

Do you see a role for prehab / rehab exercises? For example if you read the blogs of some trainers they make much of shoulder work (YWLT moves, face pulls, external rotation work, stretching etc.)   Others go into detail on joint mobility as a panacea for all sorts of problems. Is this just a diversion – an irrelevance for most - or is there a point to it?

Unless there is a pre-existing problem that requires specific exercises to address, a well-designed routine providing balanced work for all the major muscle groups through a relatively-full range of motion will do everything a person needs.

Ironically, there are trainers who will insist on doing all sorts of prehab or rehab to prevent injury or restore function, but then teach such poor exercise form they’re more likely to injure the trainee than help them. The whole issue is moot if you aren’t teaching proper form to begin with.

There is quite a movement out there now around “minimalism” – focussing on the essentials removing clutter (e.g. the Zen Habits blog). Do you think physical training is crying out for minimalism,  for stripping out some of the clutter?

Absolutely. There is so much unnecessary and unfounded complexity in a lot of what’s being promoted as exercise, much of it having to do with people trying to sell you shit you don’t need or convince you their program or products are somehow more scientific and therefore better, that people have lost sight of the basics – hard work and progression.

Most people would get far better results focusing on working hard and progressively on a few basic exercises than following routines requiring them to constantly change set and rep schemes, exercises or movement angles, etc. You don’t need anything fancy to get good results from training – you just have to be willing to work very hard at it on a consistent basis.

Much of my training is done at home – commercial gyms are not convenient and it is often difficult to get a decent session in with people hogging machines or chatting. All I really have at home are dumbbells. What scope is there for training productively with only calisthenics and dumbbells?

You can get tremendous results training with nothing but calisthenics and dumbbells, even if you have a limited amount of weight. The progression is just more complex.

With a barbell, you can increase the resistance by simply adding weight. Although you can add weight to some calisthenics and gymnastic movements like chins, dips, etc., to increase resistance in many movements requires increasing the lever you work against, by progressing to more challenging exercises for a muscle group.

Matt Brzycki and Fred Fornicola ( ed:  I interviewed Fred here) wrote a book called Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness which I highly recommend for someone who prefers to train with dumbbells. You can read my interview with Fred about the book at http://baye.com/interview-with-fred-fornicola-co-author-of-dumbbell-training-for-strength-and-fitness/

One area I struggle to train at home is legs / hips. I can do stiff leg deadlifts….but squatting with dumbbells feels awkward. Do you have any suggestions?

Hold the dumbbells at your sides like you would for a parallel grip deadlift, rather than overhead or at shoulder height, but use a more upright posture like you would during a squat.

Another option is one-legged squats, or pistols, of which there are numerous variations. They can be performed with dumbbells, which may help if you’re having difficulty maintaining balance.

Diet – you have a photo on the blog of your days as a competitive bodybuilder and you were ripped. How did you achieve that condition? How would you replicate it today – what would you do differently?

Many are going to find this hard to believe, but at that time I was only training once weekly, doing a single set to failure of only six exercises:

1.       Barbell Stiff-Legged Deadlift
2.       Hammer Strength Leg Press
3.       Hammer Strength Pulldown
4.       Hammer Strength Chest Press
5.       Hammer Strength Low Row
6.       Cybex Plate-Loaded Calf Raise

The sets were performed using SuperSlow, 10 seconds up, 10 seconds down, with a range of 4 to 8 reps. When I hit positive failure I’d continue to push for another 10 seconds or so, and occasionally my trainer, Mike Moran, would apply one or two forced reps or a forced negative. Then he’d rush me to the next exercise. There was zero rest in between. I still remember having to grab other machines for balance while I stumbled from the leg press to the pulldown as quickly as I could manage.

I did absolutely no cardio. Getting ripped was entirely a matter of diet. At the time I used a zone-type diet, but also kept track of calories. I just reduced my calories further for the two months to get into ripped condition. Since one of my photos in ripped condition appeared in Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Body I’ve received a ton of e-mail about this and wrote an article covering it at http://baye.com/getting-ripped-abs-with-no-direct-abdominal-exercises/

Today, I would do a few things differently. I’d use a more moderate repetition speed and add another upper body pushing exercise to balance out all the pulling. I would also eat a higher percentage of protein and fat on most days, but add more carbs in the meals before and after workouts on training days.
Finally, I know that there are a lot of people who read this blog who are not particularly gifted athletes – just average guys with jobs, worries and family responsibilities. What are the key things that they need to know as they try to integrate some training into busy lives?

Fortunately, it’s not as hard to integrate as many believe because very little time is required for good results if training is done correctly. The most anyone would need to train is half an hour two or three times weekly, and most people can get good results training only twice weekly or less, and depending on individual recovery ability some may do better training even less.

They should train as hard as possible on a few basic exercises covering all the major muscle groups, always trying to do more reps or lift a little heavier weight than they did previously, using strict form. The goal is to stimulate strength increases, not try to see how much weight you can throw up. Think long term, you want to train in a manner that provides the maximum benefit with minimum risk, so you can stay functional and active for your entire life.

Drew, I know you have a book coming out soon, what can we expect from it and how can we order it?

Thanks etc……

The book discusses every aspect of high intensity training for gaining muscular size and reducing bodyfat, including the basics of exercise performance and program design, as well as advanced training methods and tips for troubleshooting common problems. When it is finished it will be available through my web site at www.baye.com

You’re welcome, and I will be sure to stop by the site to answer follow-up questions from yourself or your readers.

Also be sure to check out Drew new editions of the classic Nautilus training bulletins - carefully annotated and brought up to date.


Katelyn said...

Great interview with Drew! I'm a big fan of his.


Eric said...

I'm a new and huge fan of Drew's. Great interview, highly reflective of his immense knowledge with all things training.

Kini said...

Great interview!!! Drew's experiences and in depth knowledges in High Intensity Training is invaluable.

Anonymous said...

sorry buy that guy (video, rest of the pics) looks super fat. he needs ny advice not the other way around.
try fasting. and weight training.

Simon Primal said...

Great interview Chris, I find it particularly interesting as I am currently conducting my own n=1 experiment combining BSB style HIT with Movnat.

Essentially conducting one superslow HIT single set to failure session per week to condition muscle tissue - This is the only fixed/structured training session of the week.

The rest of the week is spent practising skill based movements ala movnat - Climbing, Swimming, Jumping, Lifting, Throwing, Fighting etc, but all very unstructured, relaxed and fun.

Regardless of the end results, I can safely say it is the most enjoyable training routine I have ever done!

Maybe if it works it will result in a physique like the action stars Drew talks about, with the action skills to go with it...

Eric said...

So, according to your comment, you wouldn't take sprinting advice from Charlie Francis, or strength training advice from Mark Rippetoe or Dan John, or etc. Drew has achieved pretty decent body composition using the approach he espouses. I'd be careful before judging someone's knowledge solely by their appearance in "some" pics/videos of theirs... Ultimately though, it's your loss if you're not willing to take what Drew has to offer...

Anonymous said...

"Why is there so much “hate” directed towards HIT?"

1) The Jedi are really annoying.
2) Intensity does not mean trying really hard.
3) The claim that one set to failure every 2,4,6,7,9,21 days is optimal for strength or size gains is absurd.
4) Most HITers will eventually admit #3, and then fail miserably to describe what exactly HIT is.
5) HITers seem to think there's two warring factions: intensity (argh) and volume. No, there's Paul Chek, HIT, and everyone else. Everyone else is open to everything, including one set to failure.
6) Everything works for awhile. This is the real genius of HIT. It stretches out "awhile" with unobtimal, infrequent workouts. By the time the trainee plateuas, he's paid the trainers and bought the books and thus knows the reason: (say it with me) genetics.
7) HITers seem oblivious to the world around them. "For many guys, strength training is one of those “manly” things like fighting and sex they think they know something about and have strong opinions on. Especially when strength training, competitive lifting or sports or bodybuilding is a big part of their self-image or identity." Huh? Competitive lifters don't like being told a program that's developed zero succussful competitive lifters is better than the myriad that have? You don't say.
8) From the outside HIT looks like a cult.

Chris said...

I've requested this before in comments, but it woudl help if commenters gave a name - even a nickname - so that it is possible to direct responses to them appropriately in any debate that develops. We've got 2 anonymous now.

Chris said...

Anon 2 - point 6, I am not sure that I understand. If you are implying that HIT can get you to your genetic limit, why not apply it as an efficient protocol?

Genetics is always important and the HIT people I've read admit that readily - especially the Body by Science book.

Chris said...

"Intensity does not mean trying really hard" - who said it does mean that? Straw man

Chris said...

Simon Primal

Thanks for the comment. That is pretty close to where I am at the moment.

Chris said...

Anon your point 7 . I think this is back to genetics. Successful competitive lifters are such typically due to their genetic blessing rather than their training programmes. Just because a lifter follows a particular programme and is successful doesn't mean that the programme is responsible for his success

Anonymous said...

Fair enough Chris, my name is Desmond. I'll sign any future comments.

"If you are implying that HIT can get you to your genetic limit, why not apply it as an efficient protocol?"

By "awhile," I don't mean your genetic limit. There's many standardized programs and they all require more programming/periodization/whatever after the progress stops. HIT people claim to go years or decades without plateauing. Either that's because the program is that great or because progress is really slow (my vote). Honestly, who do you think squats more, someone who squats once a week to failure or someone who follows an Olympic weightlifting routine? This is an essential question for HITers; if you claim the first you're claiming a completely unproven training philosophy is superior to all the many proven training protocols; if you claim the second then you admit that HIT is a philosophy only applicable to those short on time.

"Genetics is always important and the HIT people I've read admit that readily - especially the Body by Science book."

This is exactly my point. Every HITer I've ever met (literally) excuses his weakness with genetics. They're indoctrinated with the genetics excuse from all the authors, gurus and trainers. Sure, there's genetic limits, but they're not 6' 150 with a 200lb 3/3 deadlift. As you approach your genetic limit, training must change. Every single human (and possibly Paul Chek) outside of the HIT community understands this.

""Intensity does not mean trying really hard" - who said it does mean that? Straw man"

In the HIT community, intensity means going to failure and quickly doing another exercise to failure. In the everyone else community, intensity is a % of 1RM. If going to failure and then quickly going to failure again and again doesn't mean "trying really hard," I'm really interested to know what exactly it does mean.

"I think this is back to genetics. Successful competitive lifters are such typically due to their genetic blessing rather than their training programmes. Just because a lifter follows a particular programme and is successful doesn't mean that the programme is responsible for his success"

Yes, we know! Random 140lb dudes cut from their middle school basketball teams turn into 200lb, 600lb deadlifting monsters all because of their genetics. If only one of the tens of thousands had ever found HIT. /sarcasm Seriously, competetive lifters don't just include the admittedly gifted world-class weightlifters, powerlifters and strongmen. These competitions are held daily throughout the world... And there's nobody, zero, zilch, nada doing an HIT program competing. I'm all for novel theories, but I need some evidence, like any at all.

Cheers, Desmond

Drew Baye said...

2) Intensity is related to level of effort, and can mean different things in different contexts. In HIT it is often used to mean the percentage of momentary effort, or how hard one is working at any particular time.

Not all HIT methods involve rushing between exercises. Some, myself included, recommend longer rest periods if size and strength are a higher priority than metabolic and cardiovascular conditioning.

3) One set to failure of an exercise is all most people need to stimulate strength and size increases in the muscles being worked. Whether this is optimal for the specific muscle group depends on the individual, but if they are working at a high level of intensity the amount of exercise done per muscle group needs to be balanced against total exercise volume to avoid overtraining.

HIT does not always mean single set to failure. It just means training at a high level of effort. Some HIT methods and workouts like 3x3s involve multiple sets of just a few exercises.

Recovery time varies considerably between individuals. Most people will get pretty good results training two or three times weekly, but there are some who will need more recovery between workouts.

4) HIT is simply training with a high level of effort. Everything else - the need to keep workouts brief, infrequent training, etc. - is a result of that. There are a lot of ways to do this.

5) I prefer to view it as a continuum matrix, with different training programs being all over the place in terms of intensity, workout volume, frequency, and other variables.

6) The idea that everything only works for a period of time is false. If the principles of a training method are correct, it can work for an individual as long as the application of those principles is correct and changes as the individual does.

7) The fact that something is popular with a particular group, like competitive lifters, doesn't mean there aren't other effective ways to accomplish the same or better results. With lifting and strength events the line between training and skill practice becomes very blurry, however, which confuses some people. HIT principles can be effectively applied to these, however, and there are powerlifters who have been successful using it.

Supreme 90 Day said...

Thanks for sharing this interview with Drew. I think a lot of guys develop an interest in training through experiences with Hollywood movie actors.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Baye,

Your comments on criticizing versus intructing is pleasing to read. Many people, mainly myself, would do much better using helpful, educated speech to instruct trainees. I'm sure my wife would appreciate this brand of speech most of all.

Teaching methodoly is an art, and must be developed, and since the tongue conveys instructions, it must be harnessed.

I think it would be very useful for someone to write an essay on intructive speech that is "seasoned with salt." This would be in stark contrast to what is currently acceptable by athletic trainers today.

Marc Pharmacist

Eric said...

I'm pretty much where Simon and Chris are at right now, in terms of training. One or two whole-body brief strength training sessions, the rest of my "training" revolving around play (Ultimate, basketball, long very slow "endurance" activities, such as rowing, hiking or cycling, and a sprint session of sorts when I can't play my sports). I'm all about finding the best return for investment in time, and I think HIT-like training principles certainly offer much in that regards.

I think that with all things training, there are always way more in common between approaches than there are differences. There are also a lot of misunderstandings. I am by no means what you would call a HIT-er, at least by people judging from the outside, since I have chosen to keep rest between sets longer than usually seen, have chosen a different rep bracket, for the moment at least (around 5-7 reps) and use freeweights only. Yet, and this is something Drew has pointed out, knowledgeable HIT-ers (or for that matter, any knowledgeable trainer) would recognize some HIT principles in my most recent approach to training, i.e. abbreviated, whole body sessions, done infrequently (about twice a week), at a slower tempo (though nowhere near Superslow protocols), each exercise being taken to failure.
It's just beyond me how someone would say that this could not work forever. The main principles I mean. Not "use exactly the same exercises, for the same number of reps, with the same rest periods", week after month after year!!! There are still many variables to work with. Reps, rest period, exercises (as long as you use mostly "bang for your buck" exercises), volume, etc. can all still be varied accordingly. The only difference lies in keeping the workouts intense (that could mean 3x3, taken to failure, or one by 5-7 taken to failure, or one by 10-15, taken to failure), short and frequent enough to push physiological adaptations, yet infrequent enough to allow adequate recover.
If someone can't see these differences and similarities, some of them subtle, some not so much, then I believe we are just wasting our time with semantics games...

Chris said...


I really think you are manipulating the arguments here to misrepresent a particular position. I also think that you are failing to understand basic logic. For example I have no idea what you are trying to get at saying:

who do you think squats more, someone who squats once a week to failure or someone who follows an Olympic weightlifting routine?

I've no idea-it depends on the individuals involved...in any case what does it matter. I suppose you are expecting me to say that the Oly lifter would squat more. So what? People who train in Oly lifting tend to be good squatters...not necessarily due to their training.

You have your own conception of what you think HIT is and for some reason you have a great antipathy towards it.

Anyway, while there seems little point discussing with you, you might want to check out Doug Holland, a competitive powerlifter who trains HIT (Superslow in fact)



Shiela Marvel said...

I just plainly admire guys like this man, Andrew, right here. I don't think there's anything bad to say but admire them for all the hard work that they put to action and not just mouthing words that mean blah. They do it. Great inspiring guy!

Anonymous said...


"So what? People who train in Oly lifting tend to be good squatters...not necessarily due to their training."

I guess I should have been more explicit: two people equal in every way before the training diverges.

"I also think that you are failing to understand basic logic. For example I have no idea what you are trying to get at saying:"

Yes, it's genetics. I get it.

"You have your own conception of what you think HIT is and for some reason you have a great antipathy towards it."

I have antipathy for it in exactly the same way as Crossfit. Both are perfectly useful as is, but yet insist on an informercial-like superiority to everything else. The idea that doing everything randomly or doing short workouts infrequently is some sort of new breakthrough is laughable.

"Doug Holland, a competitive powerlifter who trains HIT (Superslow in fact)"

My googleing of Doug Holland shows a guy who hosted a curl, bench and deadlift competition. That wasn't what I meant by successful strength competitor. I didn't listen to the interview but I saw this snippet on the link: "How he blended High Intensity Training into his Powerlifting program" If HIT involves "intensity," failure and prolonged rest, I reckon every powerliftier blends HIT into his training.

Cheers, Desmond

Anonymous said...

I surfed your site. Most of the HIT people strike me as complete hacks, but you seem like a well informed guy who just favors the HIT style. I respect that.

2) With all due respect (I understand I can say anything now) intensity means exactly one thing outside HIT in the context of strength training, %1RM. HIT always reminds of the scene in "Lost in Translation" where the Japanese director keeps telling Murray's character "next time, more intensity." So it means working hard at a particular time, but what does that mean? Are non-HITers not working hard or not at the right time?

I saw that you like longer rest times on you website. Good for you. HIT was originally a rush between stations, but it doesn't have to be. OK.

3) One set to failure will certainly stimulate size and strength in "most people." I don't think that's optimal for than a few months, but whatever.

HIT doesn't mean one set to failure either. This AFAICT is supporting #4.

I certainly agree that recovery times vary and from what I saw on your site, your recommendations are completely normal. My #3 was for the ludicrous stuff about once a week or, egad, every three weeks.

4) Boutique machines, books, conventions, etc. aren't based on "training with a high level of effort." Everyone from little league coaches to professional athletes to combat soldiers follow the same philosophy.

5) Well that's true of course. But all the other programs/styles/philosophies etc. acknowledge the utility of the others. It's really only HIT and the original Glassman vision of Crossfit that claim superiority over everything else for every conceivable goal.

6) I'm going to quote this one, "The idea that everything only works for a period of time is false. If the principles of a training method are correct, it can work for an individual as long as the application of those principles is correct and changes as the individual does."

We my be speaking past each other here, but I don't understand this at all. Uncle Ivan could take a young lifter and have him lift a few times a week, each time hitting a PR in a lift. Later on the same lifter would workout 6 or so times a week, hitting a daily max every day and a PR once a week or so. Later on he would workout more than 20 times per week, hitting a session max most sessions and a PR once or twice a year. (I know that Uncle Ivan was a great coach, but I have no idea if his "dark times" are optimal) Now is this a method that changes as the individual does? IMO just because all the knowledge is in Abadjiev's head doesn't make it a "method," at least in the same sense that HIT is a method.

7) There isn't some thing that is popular with competitive lifters. There's many, and they're all over the board.

"With lifting and strength events the line between training and skill practice becomes very blurry, however, which confuses some people."
True, but the line also becomes blurry with slow, timed reps.

Sorry, I don't accept Chris' idea that Doug Holland is an example of a successful powerlifter.

Cheers, Desmond

Kevin - Fitness Black and White said...

Loved the comment about HIIT - it's pretty funny that so many are against it when it is plainly obvious just how effective it is at burning fat.

True, you are not going to get humongous by doing interval training workouts, but you will actually look great!

Just my two cents - I'm a big fan of HIIT.


Anonymous said...

Desmond anonymous,
Doug Holland here.For the record,I've never had a workout last more than 27 minutes since 1979.All workouts were HIT-style,one exercise to the next with little rest between.I trained alone because my peers thought I was insane.I semi-retired from powerlifting in 1984 when I witnessed the abuse of the tight lifting shirt coming on(I never wore one).At 148 lbs,I hit,in a tightly judged meet,a 562lb squat,292 bench press,and a 534lb deadlift.The lifts were done in a singlet,cotton t shirt,knee wraps,and Converse low top sneakers.Drugs used were beer and NoDoz caffeine tablets.What have you done??

Chris said...

Doug - it is an honour to have you drop by! I love your posts at the BBS blog

Sonny said...

Drew knows his stuff! Train safely and progressively on the basic exercises and move "smoothly" and under control and you'll make as much progress as you can as an individual!

Anonymous said...

Desmond, S.T.F.U. and train you wimp, go marry with Rafael Santonja (IFBB president)and have kids with Weider Crap

Hater Hitman

Dwayne Wimmer said...

It truly is sad when comments are made against a point of view when the person making the comments obviously has never studied the subject and is making their judgments based on here-say and non-scientific evidence. I would suggest to Desmond anonymous, have someone like Drew Baye, instruct you and train you for 8-10 weeks and I would be willing to bet you have a different opinion.

Dwayne Wimmer