This style of burst training is a HIIT for strength and endurance.
What if you could do a type of high-intensity interval training that helps you get stronger, works your fitness and endurance, and torches fat? All without leaving you too trashed to exercise next day?
Here’s a type of ‘burst training’ or HIIT that alternates
sets of resistance training with cardio sprints and low rest, so you have a
high average heart rate through the session to help your endurance.
I’ve used this with trail ultra-runners in the morning
and they have gone out and smashed a 5km time trial the same evening because
this style of training primes the body without overstressing it. For the same
reason, I’ve also been able to use it with people trying to come back from
chronic fatigue issues. In both cases, this type of workout has helped build
their aerobic base while training strength and speed.
They key was that neither the cardio bouts nor the
resistance training was so hard or so long an interval that it exhausted any
muscle group or brought them panting to their knees. Alternating the intensity,
speed, activity type and muscles also meant they could get through a lot of
exercise in a short amount of time, while minimising muscle soreness. You still
get the proven benefits of HIIT training, including improved fat burning from
post-exercise effects on metabolism and hormonal responses to better control
blood sugar and insulin response.
3 important rules for maximum benefit
The resistance training should challenging to your muscles, not your fitness – i.e. like real weights training. You’re not just swinging weights about for speed.
The ‘sprint’ component is an all-out sprint, not just turning the legs or arms over a bit.
Don’t skip the rest – if you don’t feel you need it, you’re not pushing hard enough. Breathe deeply – you heart rate should drop just enough so that you can talk OK, but it’s not down to normal – it’s ‘partial recovery’.
This type of training that can be done in any basic gym,
even hotel gyms, or with a few simple pieces of home equipment or bodyweight
exercises following this basic format:
Do exercises in pairs – one resistance exercise and one cardio exercise
Do a set of the resistance exercise then walk straight over to a cardio exercise, slowly build up speed for 20 seconds, then do a hard sprint or burst of effort for 30-40 seconds (depending on fitness). Rest 60-90 seconds.
Repeat the step above for 2-3 sets before moving to the next pair of exercises.
Resistance exercises should be simple and use a combination of large muscle groups, preferably in a standing position, and be done at a slow to moderate speed
If possible, do a different cardio exercise in each pair of exercises so you change the strain on the body
Alternate upper and lower-body resistance exercises when you plan your exercise pairs
If using machines for cardio, don’t set the level so hard that it becomes a resistance exercise – it should be low enough so that you can go fast and push your heart rate up without exhausting your muscles.
could include stationary cycle, cross-trainer machine, rowing machine,
treadmill or use battle ropes. If you’re at
home, you could use a skipping rope, do jumping jacks and mountain
climbers, or lie on your back and raise your head while you do a cycling action
with your legs.
For your resistance training, you can cover all bases with 3-5 of these exercise types:
Squats – squats with barbell or dumbbells on
shoulders, front squats, zercher squat. Home option: jump squat – slowly
squat as deep as you can, then jump up explosively, landing on balls of feet.
standing bentover row with a barbell, dumbbells or cables or use a weighted row
machine. Home option: buy a couple power
training bands, attach them to a solid object and hold one in each hand to do a
standing bentover row.
deadlift, sumo deadlift, stiff-legged deadlift
the Superman – lie on your front, then raise both arms and both legs while they
are fully extended, as high as you can, then hold a couple seconds. Lower arms
and legs to the floor, then repeat.
press/push-up – Push press– stand with barbell on chest or dumbbells
held next to shoulders. Squat down a little, then extend the legs and hips
explosively, pushing weight straight up over your head at the same time until
arms extended. Home option: Push-up variations – on
knees, feet raised, feet on floor hands on a bench, jump or clap push-ups,
– forward, backward, jumping up and crossing
legs over in the air – holding dumbbells by your side or with weights held on
This is a great workout when you can’t train as often as
you like, or you can make a routine of it training every second day.
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