Adding some extra intensity to your training plan can do wonders for body composition. It can turn your regular weight training program into a full on fat loss training plan! I use a number of simple systems towards the end of training session to maximise the intensity, help burn more calories and work towards reducing body fat. I tend to incorporate these at the end of the sessions once the main the lifts have been performed.
Firstly a quick look at the benefits of high intensity exercise – If you are going to work very hard you want to be reassured that what you are doing is going to work!
Given the importance of being healthy and in good shape, it is understandable why there are so many different options and plans when it comes to exercise routines. There are a lot of people looking to find the most effective ways to work out and of course, there are plenty of people looking to make money from this industry. This means that not every form of exercise is of benefit to an individual but there are some fitness trends that do offer a lot of benefits. One example would be high intensity exercise, which has been proven to offer a number of benefits to people.
Training with a higher intensity is more efficient
One of the reasons why High Intensity Exercise is of benefit is the fact that it is very efficient. People are very busy these days which means that there is not a lot of time for people to fit in a training regime. Thankfully, this form of exercise is perfect for busy people. Research has indicated that people who carry out three sessions of intensive training for 15 minutes a week will receive more benefits than running on a treadmill for an hour each session. Being able to get a better return in a shorter period of time has to be seen as a positive step for many people.
Training with a higher intensity burns more fat over the course of a day.
A high intensity training schedule will see you burning more calories but your body will also remain in fat burning mode for up to 24 hours after an intense workout. This means choosing a high intensity training routine will provide you with fat burning abilities even when you are back at work or are resting up between sessions.
You don't always need specialist equipment for high intensity training
While most people like the idea of using a gym and working out, the cost of doing so can be prohibitive. Some people will even be put off by the thought of needing specialist equipment but with high intensive training you don't need any equipment or a gym membership. This helps in finding the time and being able to work out in a way and place that suits you.
High intensity training is less likely to cause you to lose muscle
Even though many people are keen to lose weight, they have concerns over losing muscle at the same time. Studies indicate that traditional moderate intensity steady state cardio sessions can lead to muscle loss but weight training and high intensity training has been shown to suggest that muscle loss does not occur. If muscle retention or gain is a goal for you, this style of training will help you to reach your goals.
Training with a high intensity can boost your metabolism
While this level of training is carried out in a shorter time period, the benefits last a longer period of time. This means that this style of training will boost your metabolism, by way of natural production of human growth hormone, over the 24 hour period after your complete your work out. An increased metabolism is of benefit for burning calories but it can also play a key role in slowing down the aging process.
In the race and rush to get fit, many people are worried that they don't have the time to work out in the correct manner. This is where high intensity training can provide you with a workout session that meets your schedule and your fitness needs.
Here is a look at 5 of these mentioned methods.
50 club is a system I have mentioned before, I am mentioning it again now as it is one of my favourite systems.
I like to use it both as part of the main training session and also as a fat loss finisher, if you are using it as part of your main lifts then you should be aiming to use more weight than you would be if you were doing it at the end of the session. Here is the description of the system if anyone missed it before.
Here is the system.
You pick a weight you can lift 12 times for the first set.
You take it in turns to reach 50 reps in as many sets as it takes.
Your rest is while your partner works, and absolutely no more!! (or 35 second if you are training by yourself)
A few simple rules
You do your maximum number of reps on each set.
If you reach more than 12 on the first set, it only counts as 12 and you have to increase the weight.
If you don't reach 12 make slightly lighter of the next set.
The weight should never be decreased (apart from if set one doesn't reach 12) even if towards the end you are down to threes and fours.
Great exercises for this format
Upright row and press
Trap bar deadlift
Burpee bench jump
Body weight rows
Weighted press ups
I like to set these circuits at the end of the session that has just been completed. I suggest choosing 3-5 movements doing them back to back with as little rest as possible for the 10-15min duration. My suggestion would be to start with a 10min round then work your way up to the 15min round. Here is an example.
12 x Dumbbell clean and press
12 x Dumbbell renegade row (each arm)
12 x Dumbbell front squat
12 x Press up
12 x Sit up
Cardio + Resistance intervals
This system utilises both high intensity cardio and either resistance or body weight movements back to back. The intensity is very high and these are particularly tough drills.
Here is a look at 2 such cardio and resistance systems. I suggest 3-5 rounds with around 2min rest before repeating the movements.
Spin bike 1min flat out
10 clean and press
12 sit ups
Or another example round
1min on the rower flat out
This is a very simple system that uses just two movements per workout. It is very effective as a high intensity portion of a training session.
To explain the system I will use an example of a squat and a press up as the 2 movements. The system works like this
1 press up
2 press ups
3 press ups
If once you have reached your 10 reps for both movements you still feel like you could do more then come back down from 10 to 1 reps.
Here are some example exercises to be used
Clean and press
Another example pair
Body weight row
Tabata sets can be a great if used correctly. I too often see them done with exercises that are sub maximal in intensity, they will still be productive but the "Tabata" format is meant to be performed at 170% of Vo2 max. So don't do body weight squat or elliptical versions and expect to be getting more benefit than you would with any other interval format.
For those that don't know the format it is
20 seconds work
10 seconds rest
Complete 8 rounds.
Here is a list of some of the exercises that I believe can be performed at the correct intensity
Barbell front squat
Dumbbell clean and press
How to program these systems...
When adding these workouts into your training you can either choose one and simply add it your current training or you can adapt your training to add multiple techniques.
Here are a couple of example sessions that are adapted to use the systems.
Day 1 – Rest SetsxReps Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Notes
Warm up Dynamic stretch, Foam roll
1 BB Bench press 150 4x 5
2 Dumbbell shoulder press 60 4×10
3 Behind neck press 60 4×10
4 Upright row and press – 50 club 50 club
5 12 x Dumbbell clean and press12 x Dumbbell renegade row (each arm)12 x Dumbbell front squat
12 x Press up
12 x Sit up
10-15 min circuit 10 -15 circuit
Flexibility Static stretching, Foam rolling
Day 2 – Rest SetsxReps Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Notes
Warm up dynamic stretch, foam roll
1 Back Squat 150 4x 5
2 Front squat 60 4×10
3 Single leg – 45degree leg press 60 4×10 4 sets on each side
4 Trap bar deadlift/front squat – 50 club 50 club
5 Spin bike 1min flat out10 clean and press12 sit ups 120 3-5 rounds 3-5 rounds performed at maximum effort with 2 min rest between rounds.
Flexibility Static stretching, Foam rolling