The fundamental principles of High Intensity Training (HIT) are that exercise should be brief, infrequent, and intense. Exercises are performed with a high level of effort, or intensity, where it is thought that it will stimulate the body to produce an increase in muscular strength and size. The goal is to work to failure. You should be unable to complete the last rep of each set (after warm up sets). Advocates of HIT believe that this weight training method is superior for strength and size building than most other methods which, for example, may stress lower weights with larger volume (reps).
I use High Intensity Training for training elite athletes focusing on sports specific muscles groups. Working the muscles to MMF or "momentary muscle fatigue", will inspire muscle growth and strength. And example would be heavy slow bench press to failure immediately followed by peck deck to failure and then a short rest. This intense challenging of the muscles help them grow to accommodate the new workload.
As strength increases, High Intensity Training techniques will have the weight/resistance increased progressively where it is thought that it will provide the muscles with adequate overload to stimulate further improvements. In HIT, it is known that there is an inverse relationship between how intensely and how long one can exercise. As a result, high intensity workouts are generally kept brief. After a High Intensity workout, as with any workout, the body requires time to recover and produce the responses stimulated during the workout, so there is more emphasis on rest and recovery in the HIT philosophy than in most other weight training methods. In any workout, not just HIT, training schedules should allow adequate time between workouts for recovery (and adaptation).
While many typical High Intensity Training programs comprise a single-set per exercise, tri-weekly, full-body workout, many variations exist in specific recommendations of set and exercise number, workout routines, volume and frequency of training. The common thread is an emphasis on a high level of effort, relatively brief and infrequent (i.e. not daily) training, and the cadence of a lift, which will be very slow compared to a non-HIT weight training routine.
Most HIT advocates stress the use of controlled lifting speeds and strict form, with special attention paid to avoiding any bouncing, jerking, or yanking of the weight or machine movement arm during exercise. Variations of HIT will vary in advice from lifting the weights smoothly but at a natural pace, others will time the lift, peak hold and descent. In extreme cases, it may take up to 30 seconds to complete a single repetition. While high intensity training is strongly associated with Nautilus exercise equipment, advocates vary in their equipment recommendations.
Also emphasized when near exhaustion, doing static holds for periods of time, and negative reps (lowering the weight) are all methods to further exhaust the muscle or muscles exercised. This will stimulate further growth and strength because muscles are weakest in positive/contracting movements (sometimes referred to as first stage failure of a muscle). Although you may not be able to lift a weight for another rep you will almost certainly be able to hold it statically for a further period (second stage of failure) and finally lower a weight at a slow controlled speed (third stage of failure). Until all three (lifting, holding and lowering) parts of an exercise can no longer be completed in a controlled manner a muscle cannot be considered thoroughly exhausted/exercised. It is safe practice to workout with a spotter or trainer when challenging yourself past fatigue.
Below is a video of Frank Savino owner of Gridiron, training a client with a 12 minute High Intensity Training workout!.
Don't forget Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise In addition to weight training, an overall exercise program may include elements of aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic training. Aerobic training is what you will recognize as treadmill jogging or walking, cycling or swimming at a low to moderate pace up to a point at which you can still carry on a conversation, even if you are breathing a little heavy. You should be able to keep this up for 30 minutes or more. Low to moderate intensity aerobic exercise is at a heart rate of approximately 50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate. At this intensity, and with reasonable fitness, you should be able to supply the exercising muscles with sufficient oxygen to keep them contracting and performing for some time. Aerobic means “with oxygen.”
Anaerobic exercise In contrast, anaerobic exercise is at an intensity at which your muscles’ requirements for oxygen exceed the amount you can supply by breathing and via your blood supply. At this exercise intensity, you will stop sooner rather than later because the muscles will fail to function. At this level of intensity, your heart rate may be at 90 to 100% of your maximum heart rate. This is clearly high-intensity exercise. Weight training for strength with heavy loads is usually anaerobic exercise for short bursts of effort.
High Intensity Interval Training:, often referred as HIIT, is great way to improve endurance and speed.
In this case High Intensity means that for a time period between 30 sec and 1 min the heart rate goes up to about 85-90% of the max heart rate and then for a similar period of time, or up to twice longer, it drops down to about 60-65%. Then you repeat the same cycle again. The High Intensity Cardio usually lasts a half of what the regular cardio does or around 20 min for me for instance.
Here are some of my preferred HIIT cardio activities:
· Outside: 30 sec sprint with 80-90% of my capabilities followed by 1 min walking. I do this for 20 min. As you progress you can substitute the walk for a light jog.
· High Intensity Training on the treadmill with an incline: 1 min sprint followed by 2 min walking. Again I do that for 20 min As you progress, after 5 min jog warm up:
30 second high knees
1 minute jog
30 second butt kicks
1 minute jog
30 second sprint
1 minute jog ** repeat for 3 sets **
5 min jog cool down
· On the stationary bike: 1 min fast pedaling on a moderate level followed by 1 min fast pedaling on a high level followed by 1 min slow pedaling on the lowest level. I do that for 20 min too.
· On the treadmill with inclination: sprint to exhaustion followed by brisk walking till my heart rate gets down to approximately the 50-60% zone.
Remember, to get the most of of any "High Intensity" training plan you must fuel your body with proper nutrition.
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