We live in a fast-paced culture and are often juggling overloaded schedules. Making time for fitness is important, but how is that possible when you don’t have the time to slog through a long and grueling workout? Lack of time is the most frequently cited excuse for skipping exercise. Too many people have been falsely led to believe that training sessions, particularly as they relate to building muscular strength, should be 45 minutes or longer to be beneficial.
Research in exercise physiology over the last ten years has demonstrated that short duration high-intensity training yields superior results to traditional aerobic training methods, especially in the areas total caloric expenditure and body fat reduction. Scientific data prove that high-intensity interval training also leads to greater improvements in insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
Short duration high-intensity training methods are beneficial for gaining strength and muscle mass as well because they can increase the production of human growth hormone (HGH), which promotes muscle growth. Cutting down your total duration will also increase recovery time and reduce the incidence of fatigue-related injuries.
The goals for high-intensity strength-training sessions are:
- Complete each session in 30 minutes or less, start to finish
- Increase strength and muscle mass within a shorter timeframe, and decrease body fat by stimulating large muscle groups at a higher frequency
- Avoid the burnout and boredom that are so common with long-duration routines
- Produce the desired results in a shorter timeframe
- Limit the duration of each rest period to keep intensity high
9-Week HIIT Workout Plan:
|1||Side Plank||3 per side||30 sec. hold|
|2||Bulgarian Split Squat||2||5|
|2||Dips||2||Maximal reps in 45 sec.|
|2||Farmer Walk||2||40 sec.|
|2||Plank||3||30 sec. hold|
|1||Dips||2||Maximal Reps in 40 sec|
|1||Plank||3||35 sec. hold|
|2||Farmer Walk||3||30 sec.|
|2||Dumbbell Bench Press||3||4|
|2||Side Plank||3 per side||35 sec. hold|
|1||Hanging Straight Leg Raise||2||4 (20 sec. hold per rep)|
|2||Box Jump with Kettlebells||2||4|
|2||Farmer Walk||3||30 sec.|
|2||Plank||3||40 sec. hold|
- Regarding rest periods, rest 60 to 90 seconds between sets of full-body exercises, and 30 to 60 seconds between sets of the upper extremity or lower extremity movements.
- Perform each repetition/set of each exercise correctly with the proper technique before increasing the weight.
- Add 5-10lbs per lift per week as you are able. The training plan is designed with progression in mind, with intensity increasing by decreasing the reps and loading heavier weight during the second and third three-week cycles.
- Limit your high-intensity strength training sessions to 3 times a week maximum, as your body will need longer to recover between workouts. You can repeat the plan from day one or day two on the 3rd day if you wish; eliminate one set of each single extremity exercise to avoid overtraining.
- Remember to warm up and cool down properly, and be sure to stretch before and after your session.
- Add in some fat-blasting cardio with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to keep your metabolism revved up. Do this on two of your off days from strength training. Sled pushes or pulls, bicycling, swimming, or running sprints, mountain climbers, or uphill bear crawls are all good choices. Work at 85-95% maximum for 30-40 seconds, and 50% (or rest if doing mountain climbers, bear crawls, or sled work) for 15-20 seconds. If you’re new to HIIT, reverse the work to rest ratio until your conditioning improves. Keep the total duration of your session to 15 to 20 minutes.
- Concentrate on staying well hydrated throughout the day to promote fat burning and optimal recovery.
- Commit to getting good quality sleep to enhance muscle fiber repair.
- Make wise food choices to ensure the best nutrition for strength building.
High-intensity strength training will not only significantly decrease your training time, but it will also help you attain your goals faster than you thought possible and will give you the extra free time for other enjoyable pursuits.