High Intensity Training

This post will be off-topic from my usual blog posts. I want to tell you about how I train.

Equipment

  • 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)

Methodology

One set to failure. Muscular failure is often 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.

5 sec. up; 5 sec. down cadence. (I use this to help me stay on track, and it counts my reps for me) This is a constant, slow, controlled movement—no swinging. This cadence is the optimal way to break down muscle and build strength.

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

If you can do 10 reps, add more weight. Ideally you want to do more than 6. But more importantly, time/form should be your focus. You want to put full strain on the muscle, in motion, for 60–90 sec. in good form.

HGH levels spike best 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 sec. I think less is better. Yeah, that’s right. It’s not only anaerobic, it’s also aerobic. Kill two birds with one stone.

Frequency

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

Log Everything

Most importantly weight used, reps and order. Train your weakest muscle first and strongest last. As your reps increase/decrease, change the order. 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.

Sprints

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

Recommended

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

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