High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is a beastly and very popular way to build muscle, lose fat, increase strength, improve endurance, and even increase overall performance capability.
HIIT weight training is an even better way to produce results rather than the typical body weight/cardiovascular exercise protocol which is common with this training strategy.
Not to mention, there’s plenty of variety in this intense workout strategy to keep boredom out of the equation.
So, let’s talk a little more about HIIT. We’ve put together a lights out workout routine for bigger muscle gains and greater stamina...
WHAT DOES HIIT INVOLVE?
HIIT entails alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity bouts of repeated physical activities. For example, you’ll do a high-speed activity at full intensity for a short period, followed by low-intensity activity for a few minutes until the round repeats.
You can do this with cardio style exercises (e.g. running, biking, etc) or you can utilize resistance training movements.
The HIIT process increases your ability to be able to perform at a high level which is typically about a 7 on a scale of 0-10 for intensity and about 80-95% of your aerobic capacity. (1)
When it comes to duration, it really depends on the level of intensity because the harder you go, the less amount of time you’ll be able to sustain this performance. You want the recovery phase to be about equal to or even a little longer than the actual speed interval. (e.g. 1-minute sprint equals about 1-minute recovery interval).
But never take too long in the recovery interval as this would defeat the purpose of the metabolic and endurance-increasing benefits of this form of training.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
There are many benefits to be had with a good HIIT regime which include…
- Muscle growth
- Increased strength
- Fat/weight loss
- Metabolic conditioning
- Improved endurance
- Performance/sports carry over
- Disease prevention/management
To build up any component of physical fitness, there has to be the element of progression. For instance, you have to either increase the resistance or work capacity to continue making improvements.
HIIT training also improves metabolic conditioning which is when the capacity of which you perform an activity is so high that your body requires fast fuel from Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to supply it with immediate energy.
ATP fuels all muscular contractions and it can supply your body with immediate energy even without oxygen. Thus, training in such a high-paced manner maximizes your body’s ability to produce these ATP stores.
Then you have the benefits of carry over to other forms of physical activity like sports and general training. By performing many functional movements in an explosive and interval fashion, you’re conditioning your body to perform at a high level and to work together efficiently.
Disease prevention and management is another reason why we as human beings are better off engaging in cardiovascular activities whether it’s HIIT or something else. (2)
Now, some people may or may not be able to engage in high-intensity training but for many, HIIT can be a great way to combat physical and even mental health conditions.
But, of course, you never want to just go at it full force if you’re a chronic sufferer as you always consult with a doctor before considering a similar workout regime. So, a good strategy, in this case, would be to do a few intervals and see how it works for you.
HIIT is a viable, low-risk option for improving aerobic capacity (all-cause predictor of mortality) in those suffering from many forms of chronic diseases (e.g. lifestyle-related, old age, cardiac disorders, obesity).
But, the level of intensity in which someone with chronic illness performs an HIIT protocol should be relative to each individual’s abilities for optimal safety/health.
HIIT WORKOUT FOR STRENGTH GAINS AND STAMINA
The best way to build overall strength is to perform exercises which push your limits utilizing multi-joint movements and activities which test your endurance while under some form of stress.
We’ll use a routine which covers the push, pull, functional, and cardiovascular functions of training. So, you’ll cycle through each movement before you engage in the active recovery phase until the workout is complete.
Anyone can do this workout but adjust the resistance according to your strength level.
- Sled w/ weights
- Trap bar (or dumbbells) for Farmer’s walk
- Barbell with weights for deadlift
- Pull-up bar or any bar to hang from.
Cycle through each exercise and use a weight that is relatively challenging for the recommended reps. For the Farmer’s walk, choose a weight that is challenging enough to where you start to lose your grip after 15 seconds.
For the sled pushes, set a predetermined distance to achieve during each round. Push for a 10-15 second duration.
Perform 3-4 rounds of this workout by performing one exercise before you do the other. Rest for the same amount of time that it takes you to perform one round before doing it again.
For example, if it takes you 2 minutes to complete the training portion of the interval, do the active recovery exercise for 2 minutes. As you become more advanced you can decrease the recovery time between sets.
HERE'S THE HIIT WORKOUT...
DEADLIFTS x 10 REPS
The deadlift is the king of full-body exercises and there’s no debating this. It’ll work your entire posterior chain, plus the strength, hypertrophy, and mental benefits are why it has the reputation it does.
- With your shins touching the bar shoulder-width distance apart, grip the barbell with hands slightly outside of the shoulders. Keep your back straight your upper legs should be just above parallel to the floor with your hips back. Drive upward using your heels and midfoot then hinge your hips forward as the bar passes the knee. Repeat.
Use a challenging weight and go to failure.
SLED PUSHES x 10-15 SECONDS
The sled push is an amazing explosive full-body movement and we had to include it for the intended purpose of the workout.
FARMER'S WALK x FAILURE
The Farmer’s walk will test your mental fortitude, grip strength, lower body strength, and it forces to maintain good posture. It’s a great strength and conditioning exercise overall.
- Grab two dumbbells or use a trap bar and stand straight with your shoulder blades retracted, while balancing the weight. Then simply walk until you start losing your grip.
HANGING LEG LIFTS x FAILURE
The hanging deadlift is one of the best core exercises since you’re utilizing your legs as resistance which is a very challenging feat. It’s a great muscles and strength builder as well as being very functional.
- Hang from a bar and lift both legs whether bent or straight as high as you can whole contracting your core. Do not swing yourself upward but rather perform the movement nice and controlled.
HIGH KNEE MARCH - ACTIVE RECOVERY
- Walk in place bringing your knees to hip level
Do this for the same amount of time that it took you to complete the resistance training interval.
This is a brutal workout but it’ll build your strength and stamina in a very functional way.
Do 3-4 total rounds.
HIIT Is A Very Effective Training Method
We hope you learned enough from this information to be able to safely and effectively implement this HIIT weight training training workout. HIIT is a popular approach that boasts several benefits beyond just aesthetics and power.
And incorporating strength building movements is the best thing you can do if you want to experience maximum gains.
It’s also a viable for improving overall physical performance and people suffering from less than optimal health can include this approach to reduce risk factors although not to the same extent as an athlete or hardcore lifter.
COMMON QUESTIONS + ANSWERS
Q: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DO HIIT WITH WEIGHT TRAINING?
A: Everyone is different so the frequency of training will vary between individuals. There are a few things to take into account like how long it takes one to recover, level of training experience, schedule, etc.
But in general, 1-2 times per week is good for those who are not as experienced whereas 3 times per week is a good number for an upper limit of session frequency. This is a good place to start for allowing your body and muscles to recover so that you can come back stronger (we’re not invincible).
You don’t want to train the same muscle two days in a row either as this will inhibit recovery. So, you have to split up body parts and train accordingly.
Q: CAN I DO HIIT BEFORE WEIGHT TRAINING?
A: You can but make sure that you’re not over exhausting yourself to the point where it’s affecting your performance. In order to train using maximal loads, it’s best to do weight training first in most cases to really reap the benefits of training for maximum strength and hypertrophy.
On the other hand, HIIT before weights is a great way to warm up if the session is kept relatively short. Otherwise, you can do HIIT before weight training if you incorporate exercises that use heavy weight, and finish off with a weight training workout using isolation exercises.
Now, if you do HIIT earlier in the day and then weights later on then this is also a feasible approach. However, overtraining is still a possibility depending on how much workload you’re incorporating so you’ll need to know when you’re doing too much.
Q: CAN I DO HIIT AND WEIGHTS ON THE SAME DAY?
A: You can either do them together or separate but if doing the latter, it’s best to focus on a completely different goal for each session as to not cut into your recovery, and to ensure you’re maximizing your training capabilities.
But it also depends on how intense your training is as doing too much is again not recommended. So, try to limit doing both on the same day with an exception being infrequent sessions.
Q: CAN YOU BUILD MUSCLE WITH HIIT?
A: Building muscle is one of the biggest benefits of implementing HIIT. Any time you’re working against resistance, you’re promoting hypertrophy and a good weight training workout will result in muscle growth as long as you’re consistently increasing the poundages and/or the repetitions.
But you must train with intensity to see the best possible gains.
Write down the weights which you use to track your progress and this way you won’t be spinning your wheels but rather, you’ll be getting better week from a strength and endurance standpoint.
Q: IS HIIT SAFE FOR EVERYONE?
A: HIIT is not for everyone and there’s no debate about it. If you suffer from heart conditions or any chronic illness even related to physical structure (e.g. osteoporosis, arthritis), then you should consult with a physician who can guide you toward a safer training approach which is less intensive.