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  • Zak Lanzas

Super High Intensity Training Principles

Super High Intensity Training (S.H.I.T)

S.H.I.T Training Principles

Push yourself to the MAX and beyond!

Exercises properly performed using S.H.I.T guidelines produce faster results more efficiently than any other strength training protocol. A clear understanding of the following principles will assure you the best possible results from your S.H.I.T exercise program.


A core principal of S.H.I.T is that the building of strength is proportionate to the intensity of exercise. The higher the intensity (using strict form) the better the muscles are stimulated. Performing a S.H.I.T exercise to the point of momentary muscular exhaustion (failure) assures that you've trained to maximum intensity. Muscular failure occurs when no additional repetitions are possible using strict form. Only by working to this extent can your engage a maximum number of muscle fibers. The first few repetitions of a S.H.I.T exercise are merely preparation and do little to increase strength. The final repetitions are productive because the intensity is high. With S.H.I.T it is at the point of failure that you need to go beyond. Once failure is achieved using strict form, relax the form slightly so that you can lift the weight up, but then re-engage the form for the lowering part of the movement. OR at this point have a partner help you to raise the weight so that you can lower the weight in a controlled manner. It is these repetitions that occur beyond the point of momentary muscular failure that will stimulate the largest amount of growth.


One of the main pillars of S.H.I.T training is progression. Progression means increasing the workload done on a particular exercise from that which you achieved on that exercise the last time it was part of your training session. With each subsequent workout you should try to add another repetition, increase resistance or both. Experience has shown that for S.H.IT to be most effective, at least 8 reps and not more than 20 repetitions should be performed. If you cannot achieve 8 reps, the resistance is too heavy. If you can perform more than 20 reps, it is not heavy enough. When you are able to perform 20 repetitions or more it is time to increase the resistance on that exercise by approximately 5% at the next workout.


Form is very important to your S.H.I.T training program. When repetitions are performed in a slow controlled manner, steady force is applied throughout the entire movement. It is important that when you train you actually use and can feel the muscle that you are training while you are exercising. If , for example, you are doing an exercise designed to stimulate chest growth, but you cannot feel your chest working, then there is something wrong with the exercise. You may need to adjust your positioning, grip or stance in order to engage your chest fully. OR it might be, that despite what you have read in some magazine, that particular exercise does not work YOUR chest effectively. You need to pick exercises that work for you. Everyone has different length limbs, is a different height/body shape etc. Sometimes some exercise equipment might be totally unsuitable for your particular body especially if you are very tall or sort or overweight or …. Well a multitude of things. Find exercises that work for you.

Accentuate the Lowering of the Weight

For best results each repetition should be performed in a negative-emphasized manner. When you raise the weights you're moving against the resistance of gravity and performing positive work. Lowering a weight under control brings gravity into play and is often referred to as negative work. In normal positive-negative exercise performed using S.H.I.T you should always concentrate on the lowering (negative) part of the movement. Depending upon which form of S.H.I.T you are doing it should take 2-4 seconds to lift a weight smoothly it should take about 4-9 seconds to lower it. The bigger numbers for what looks like slow motion repetitions work really well especially when you are looking at ways to further enhance your mind:muscle connection as the slower movements require a lot of concentrated effort.

Sometimes, especially if you reach a sticking point, it is a good idea to perform negative-only exercise. For this you need to select a heavier weight than you would normally use – 40-70% more weight than you can handle for 10 reps in a normal positive-negative manner. You will typically need a partner to help you to do this form of exercise so that they can assist with the positive part of the movement.

These negative only reps should take 10 seconds per rep to lower the resistance in a slow even manner. The exercise is finally terminated when the downward movement can no longer be controlled.


S.H.I.T done properly should typically take 30-40 minutes to complete a full workout. You cannot workout for longer using super high intensity. If you try to do more all it will do is to interfere with your muscle gains. Perhaps the best example is if you compare the body of a world class 100 metre sprinter to that of a world class marathon runner. The marathon runner obviously trains for longer but at the detriment to his or her muscle gains.

It is entirely possible to go through a S.H.I.T workout in as little as 15 minutes. Such a workout not only develops muscular size and strength but also develops a high level of cardiovascular endurance.

An advanced trainee does not need more S.H.I.T exercise than a beginner. As you get bigger and stronger so you will start to use bigger weights than you did previously. It should be the resistance that increases and not the time that you train.

An every-other-day, three-times-per-week S.H.I.T program will provide the body with the needed irregularity of training. The schedule of training prevents the body from falling into a regular routine. Since the system is never quite able to adjust to this irregularity of training, growth is stimulated. Always vary your exercises and never do the same exercise twice within a 14 day period.


Initially beginners should do full body workouts starting with the biggest muscle groups first. After 3 months of training split your training into upper and lower body sessions. 3 months later move towards training specific sets of muscles.


The human body grows accustomed to almost any kind of activity very quickly. Once this happens no amount of participation in the same activity will provide growth stimulation. This is typically why people attending exercise classes do really well for the first few weeks and then their gains start to tail off quickly. It is important to provide growth stimulation. It is important to provide many forms of variation in S.H.I.T training and variation can be achieved in several different ways. Weight or repetitions can be varied for each workout. The exercise should be changed/ alternated or performed in a different sequence every time you train. As stated above never repeat the same exercise twice with a 14 day period. Training days can be varied.


Some people can push themselves to a 100% effort occasionally or on two or three S.H.I.T exercises. However, experience proves that this is virtually impossible to do consistently.

S.H.I.T is very demanding. It is not surprising that few people can do it on their own initiative. If you have a training partner who is committed to S.H.I.T then they can put you through a 30 minute session and then you can return the favour. OR you might be very lucky to find one of the rare breed of S.H.I.T Trainers who truly understands this process. These people can help you attain the biggest gains in the shortest space of time, but they are truly a rare breed.

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