HIT Training – West Point Experiment Proof?

The West Point Experiment proving HIT works.

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After the Colorado experiment, Arthur Jones wanted to do another controlled study at a university, he sent out feelers to Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Clemson but they were slow to commit. Then he was told that West Point had bought a full line of Nautilus equipment, after negotiations where everything would be funded by nautilus and also provide training, West point would provide subjects and measurement evaluations for the 1975 study.

Jones believed that HIT would strengthen muscles, heart and lungs and increase flexibility without the pounding of running. The study was to test this contention. He even obtained some of Dr. Ken Cooper’s (Aerobics creator) colleagues to conduct the cardio fitness tests, to head off skepticism about results. The majority of subjects were 2nd and 3rd string football players, the coach wouldn’t let 1st stringers take part. The workouts were brutal HIT, AJ (Arthur Jones) style. Don Shula the Miami Dolphin football coach came in for a day. Jones even set up an after hours program so other West Point coaches, faculty and families could take part. That program was called Project Total Conditioning.

After 6 weeks the study was complete 19 subjects doing HIT with 16 in a control group. The results:

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Muscular Strength. After 17 workouts, the HIT group increased an average of 59% on ten exercises. There was no strength gains by the control group.

Cardiovascular Endurance. Subjects were wired with continuous EKG and blood pressure, tested several ways including an all-out test on stationary bike and a two mile run. The HIT group was significantly better on all heart rate and blood pressure tests than the control group during all types of exertion. The two mile run showed the only negative, The Hit group’s average time was reduced by 88 seconds, while the control group ran it 20 seconds faster than their average.

Joint Flexibility. The HIT group improved their average trunk and shoulder flexibility by 11%. The control increased their average by only 1%.

It was felt that he showed HIT and the nautilus machines build strength, cardo improvements and flexibility at a higher rate than standard training.

Several members of the West Point faculty wrote books on HIT they were sold on HIT including Dan Riley a premier strength coach at Penn State, Washington Redskins and the Huston Texans, always teaching HIT to players and other trainers along the way.

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