More smash hits

If you liked the challenging nature of the routines in this issue's "Smash HIT," you'll love these two muscle-scorching programs

August 27, 2008
More smash hits
In the September/October issue of Hers, on newsstands August 25, we present four of the toughest programs ever printed in our pages. But that's the idea behind HIT, or high-intensity training. We want you to walk away from this workout and take a healthy hobble into your next (from soreness, that is). These routines are designed to wage war on every single fiber in the targeted muscles in one grueling set using advanced, proven training methods.

These two physique-changing programs are an extension of "Smash Hit" in the September/October issue. If you've tried those four already — and found yourself savoring each taxing set — then dive into these two to really test your mettle. If you haven't picked up the new issue, then perhaps these two routines will pique your interest in the other four.

In either case, tell us what you think by leaving comments in the "Smash HIT" thread on our message boards.

100s Training
When people refer to a "high-rep set," they're usually talking about 12, 15 or even 20 reps. (Insert sinister laugh here) What we're going to be asking — scratch that — demanding of you here is 100 reps per set. By the end of this workout, you will have knocked out an extraordinary 900 reps, hitting every single muscle fiber imaginable along the way. The key is in the way your muscle are recruited. As muscle fibers fatigue, others are called into play to pick up the slack.

To perform a set of 100, choose a weight that's roughly half of what you would normally do for 12-15 reps. Do as many reps as you can at the start of the set, aiming to reach 70 without stopping. Once you hit 70, take a 30-second break before continuing. If you fail again, rest as many seconds as reps remaining in the set. So, for example, if you reach 92 reps after that first rest, take eight seconds before starting again. The following routine hits every major muscle group using mostly machines to reduce your risk of injury. As you progress, you can switch out light dumbbells for these machine moves. Also, 100s can be used as a simple shock routine for one bodypart on a given day. So if you're bold enough, try finishing off your regular routines with a set of 100 on a particular bodypart to really call your body to task.

Exercise				Sets/Reps
Leg press				1/100
Seated leg curl				1/100
Seated cable row			1/100
Machine bench press			1/100
Smith-machine overhead press	        1/100
Cable curl				1/100
Rope pressdown			        1/100
Calf raise				1/100
Crunch	 machine			1/100
Timed Gains (Back + chest)
Like members of a team, individual muscle fibers have specialties. Fast-twitch fibers are primarily responsible for quick, explosive movements and are recruited to move heavier weight. Slow-twitch muscle fibers are the endurance specialists within a muscle, allowing you to complete more reps, particularly at lighter weight loads. Together, they make for a great team, yet within a given set, you usually emphasize one or the other.

Speed-rep training, in which you change your rep speed during the course of a set, allows you to make sure that your fast- and slow-twitch fibers are getting bombarded with equal ferocity. For this program, choose a weight that you can perform 20-25 good reps (except on the push-up, of course). For each 15-rep set, you'll complete the first five reps as quickly and explosively as possible using good form before downshifting and completing the next five reps very slowly, taking as 7-10 seconds on both the positive and negative portions of each rep. Finally, complete five reps at normal speed — 1-2 seconds on the positive and the negative. After this four-set workout, you will know why this falls under the HIT category of workouts.

Exercise			Sets/Reps
Push-up			        1/5+5+5
Two-arm dumbbell row	        1/5+5+5
Machine bench press		1/5+5+5
Seated cable row		1/5+5+5