Building Strength, Endurance and Muscle, High Intensity Interval Training Works!

 I tend to train for specific goals, rather than to look good for whatever reason. So long as I can fit into my pants and board shorts, I'm happy. .

That said, if I need to increase my strength, muscle mass, or to burn off some extra fat, the training protocol that gets the fastest results in the shortest amount of time wins. Even it hurts. A lot. Like HIT. A couple of brutal workouts a week of non-stop all out weight lifting, body weight training or both is highly effective. You will build muscle, you will burn fat. You will increase anaerobic capacity. (Allelujah!)

Why do I bring this up? Because after trolling (is it still trolling if I don't leave comments?) a few six pack ab type videos this morning, it dawned on me: The majority of trainers/wannabe trainers and coaches posting these videos are doing bodyweight calisthenics and HIT training. 

This is good. Bodyweight routines such as

5 rounds of 10 each:

Jump Squats
Tripod Switches
Hindu Pushups

are very effective at increasing anaerobic and aerobic capacity. You might even build some muscle and increase speed, agility and power. But if these folks are saying to build muscle with HIT in order to burn fat and look good, heavy free weights are a faster way (although you should always keep tons of bodyweight work in your program-stay in touch with your temple and all that.) and yes, the exercises I choose will also encourage six pack abs. Just don't go out and chow down at Olive Garden afterwards...

So, to demonstrate this better way, I am challenging you to follow along with these workouts I post here, which may or may not be accompanied by my own or someone else's (read: stolen) photos or videos.

Let's start right now. I am actually going into my garage gym to do this after we're done talking. Do a warm up of joint rotations and bar only or light weight for each exercise before you start hitting it for real. Use weights that allow 10-12 repetitions initially. This further prepares the muscles and allows you to make several drops to failure.

Per the HIT principles, go until you literally cannot go any more. If it is a deadlift, pull until you can't get the bar off the floor at all. When you fail at one weight, drop some plates off and keep going. This will work much better with a partner, but if you don't have one, move as fast as you can and get right back under/over the weight. When you can not lift even a light weight, your set is done, and so is that exercise.

So Workout 1:


Standing Military Press (to front)

Overhead Squats

An example deadlift set might be: 225# x10-12, drop to 205# for 8-10, drop to 185# for 5-8, drop to 135# for ?, drop to ? for ? These are just example weights and reps. Push yourself at a weight appropriate for you, whether that is 355# or 135#. Either way the poundage will go up quickly over the weeks.

So do the above three exercises, in order, without resting in between (except to drop weight) using the 'one set to failure' HIT principle on each. If you want to ensure a quick transition to each exercise, set up stations using barbells and dumbbells. For example, barbell deadlift, dumbbell standing press, bb, kb or db oh squat. Of course, then you need quick change dumbbells or lots of equipment, but it's an option.

Although this is a simple routine, it is a great way to stimulate massive growth, especially in the lower body. Try keeping it simple for awhile, and keep the intensity high. Then mix it up after a few weeks with new exercises. The results will be phenomenal, if you can take the pain!

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