High Intensity Training

This is how I’ve been training since last season.


  • dumbbells
  • pull up bar (local park)
  • ankle weights

The Big 5

  • 1 vertical push (dumbbell overhead press)
  • 1 horizontal push (push ups; ankle weights on back)
  • 1 vertical pull (pull ups)
  • 1 horizontal pull (dumbbell bent over rows)
  • 1 compound leg exercise (squats; dumbbells on shoulders)


One set to failure. Muscular failure is described as the “held at gunpoint scenario.” Imagine someone has a gun to your head, demanding you to do another rep, but your muscle has reached its limit. You’re trying, but you can’t. Bang. You’ve reached muscular failure.

A 5-seconds-up and 5-seconds-down cadence. I use this to help me stay on track, and it counts my reps for me. This is a constant, slow, and controlled movement—no swinging. This cadence is the optimal way to break down muscle and build strength, yet minimizing risk of injury.

Never let the muscle rest during sets, e.g., locking your arms at the top of push ups or locking your legs by standing up straight during squats.

If you can do 10 reps, add more weight. The minimum should be 6 reps, but time/form should be your main focus. Put full strain on the muscle for 60–90 sec. in good form without rest.

HGH levels spike more if you keep your breaks short between sets. Catch your breath, but your heart rate should not drop to its resting rate. Try to keep it under 30 seconds.


Do this no more than once a week to ensure complete recovery.

Log Everything

Log the weight used, reps and order you did the exercises in. Train your weakest muscle first and strongest last. As your reps increase, change the order so that your highest rep one is last. Look at your previous week’s least performed reps. Do that one first. If you’re allocating appropriately, you shouldn’t have to adjust your weights too much. Near the end of your training, your strongest muscle should be weakened, so you don’t have to use heavy weights. This is my data.


Light jog for about 50 meters to warm up, then sprint the same distance back. That’s 1. Do it 5 times. Do this once or twice a week.


Read more from Doug McGuff, co-author of Body by Science. Search for videos of him on YouTube, too.


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