A Quick Introduction To HIT (High-Intensity Training)

HIT, or High-Intensity Training, is not a fancy workout that requires special equipment. It can be done in the gym or in your living room.

It’s simply a different way to workout that can provide a more efficient workout in less time. It is also a way to improve strength, muscle tone and endurance, and burn more calories.

You may have heard of a couple of different types of high-intensity training programs. One is HIT high-intensity training which involves strength exercises. It focuses more on the quality of your workout over quantity.

What’s the best part about this type of exercise regimen?

It requires that participants take rest days to allow the body to recover. Sounds perfect for the busy lifestyle, right?

High-intensity training has to do with muscle toning, building and strength.

Many women would skip right over an article about weights simply because they instantly think of bulky, muscle men and bodybuilding when they think of hitting the weights. This is the unfortunate myth about weight training. The reality is that women should never fear the bulky look. It would take a lot more testosterone and hours a day in the weight room to achieve those results.

Women will find that lifting weights a few times a week will provide weight loss, while giving the body a more curved, shapely and toned look. High-intensity training with weights is a way to spend less time in the weight room while still getting results.

What does high-intensity training involve? Well, the good news is that this program allows you to lift weights two to three days a week and still see results. There’s really no catch! Use the method of quality over quantity. This means train harder, but for a shorter period of time.

Use more weight than you would normally lift, less repetitions and less resting in between exercises. The key is training the muscles to failure, which just means lifting the weights until you feel like you can’t lift anymore.

Typically, a high-intensity training session takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

A high-intensity training program should include all muscle groups.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? Wrong!

HIT Sets and Reps

With HIT, you are performing one set of two to 12 reps per muscle group. The movements should be slower, while using the full range of joint movement.

For example, a bicep curl using a barbell or a dumbbell in each hand should start at the thighs. Curl the weight in a half circle motion, keeping the elbows still and under the shoulders throughout the entire movement, up to the chest and back down to the thighs.

The curl should be slow enough to be controlled on the way up and down instead of jerking the weight up and slinging it back down.

A slow count curl would be a smooth four up and four down. Move between sets with little to no rest.

HIT and Supersets

Supersets are also a method often used to maximize intensity and efficiency. Supersets increase lactic acid production. This just means more fat loss offset with more muscle building. Supersets are put together to work opposing muscle groups. For instance, a set of bicep curls and then a set of tricep presses. Another example would be a set of chest presses followed by dead-rows to work the lower back.

In order for high-intensity training to work, a main component is lifting more weight than you are normally comfortable lifting. Since you are only performing two to 12 reps per set, per muscle group, choose weight that feels heavy on the first repetition. The last repetition should feel almost too difficult to lift.

Some trainers suggest lifting about double the weight you would normally use. If you are new to weight lifting and not sure what weight is right for you, choose something that feels heavy on the first rep and adjust it over time to find what is right for you.

A basic high-intensity training session should include all of the following exercises for maximum results: 

1. Squats using body weight only or with a plate held to the chest or barbell over the shoulders
2. Calf raises or lunges
3. Chest press and chest flyes
4. Tricep extension with barbell or dumbbells or tricep dips and tricep press
5. Shoulder press
6. Dead row with barbell or dumbbells and dead lifts
7. Trunk curl or crunches

HIT and Rest

Another key to high-intensity training is rest. Training programs that involve training the muscles with heavy weights to muscle failure, require that the muscles have a chance to repair and recover. This means take at least one rest day in between each workout. Beginners can start with one to two workouts per week, adjusting to three with progress.

Whether you are a man or woman, beginner or someone who is already in shape, HIT is a program for anyone looking to get great results in a short period of time.

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