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I could sit here and bore you with a textbook definition of high-intensity interval training and equally boring citations of data. However, if you are anything like me you would find another training article to peruse before I finish the sentence. In short, high-intensity interval training or HIIT is a series of short bursts of maximum intensity followed by a short period of recovery. I have seen countless fitness professionals post supposed HIIT workouts when in reality it is not HIIT – it is more MIIT (moderate-intensity interval training). Yes, I made that word up. The key words here are MAXIMUM INTENSITY, a concept that seems to be foreign to even the most respected fitness professionals out there today. HIIT training IS pulling or pushing a sled at maximum intensity for eight to 10 seconds followed by a 25- to 30-second rest period. HIIT training is NOT running on a treadmill for 45 seconds then resting for 90 seconds.

Allow me to give you an example so you can better understand the theme of maximum intensity. Usain Bolt is unequivocally the greatest sprinter of all time, holding both the world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash. Usain Bolt has openly talked about the strategy used in sprinting, and anyone who thinks it is just an all-out sprint, especially in the 200 meters, is dead wrong. He says that even at his best conditioning, he could hit a maximum speed after about four seconds and maintain for at MOST another six to eight seconds before he began to tire. Now if Usain Bolt can tire out at 12 seconds at maximum intensity, why do we surmise our supposed maximum intensity can last for 20-plus seconds?

The answer is a lack of fundamental understanding of what maximum intensity is and how much energy you must exert. I can grab any guy in the gym and we can go sprint on a treadmill at 15 mph. Now that 15 mph may be at the top end of his speed, and he may need to exert 95 percent of his maximum intensity to achieve the desired speed in our sprint. This is great, and exactly the concept you want to embrace. Now, let’s say my top speed is around 20 mph. Well, I would be drastically underestimating my maximum intensity running at 15 mph.

The point of all of this is don’t go by someone else’s book of what maximum intensity should be, and don’t define it by some arbitrary speed limit set on a treadmill. It does not matter if you are 20 years old or 50 years old. We all have our own level of maximum intensity. You simply push your body to that limit for the short period of time as discussed above, then recover in a period of two to three times of the max interval just performed.

Why HIIT Became Popular

Now that we understand what it is, and how to perform it correctly, let’s try to understand why it is such a hot topic. In my opinion, HIIT became such a buzzword for the three following reasons:

1. HIIT workouts/cardio have been shown to burn more calories and create more fat loss than regular LISS cardio (low-intensity, steady state). It is no secret that the majority of top competitive athletes in the world are now doing 10 to 12 minutes of HIIT cardio each day when they want to get their body fat levels very low, versus the hour they might have done in the past.

2. HIIT training has been shown to increase metabolic rate, which is the foundation for losing body fat. More and more data is showing that low-calorie diets combined with excess LISS cardio actually decreases metabolic capacity – the technical term is metabolic adaptation aka metabolic damage.

3. The body begins to adapt to traditional cardio in about seven to 10 days and the fat-burning component starts to become compromised. There is not one shred of empirical evidence that shows the body adapts to HIIT training and this is why HIIT is a better tool for fat loss and maintaining lean muscle mass.

Our world today is as hectic as ever, with the immediate transference of information. We are constantly on the go, tied to our cell phones, iPads, etc. Gone are the days of having two hours free in the gym to train. Knowing this, it is just not realistic to try to carve our two hours in each day to fit in an hour of weight training and an hour of cardio. It is much more feasible to remove that hour of traditional cardio and replace it with 12 to 15 minutes of HIIT training, especially when the benefits of HIIT will long surpass the traditional methods and move us closer to our goals.

Controlled Maximum Intensity

As a former NFL player, you could call me biased in my opinion, but it is pretty difficult to argue that NFL football players are not the finest athletes on the planet. There is no group of competitors anywhere who can match their size, strength, speed, explosion and agility. We’re talking about men like Vernon Davis of the 49ers, who can bench press 500-plus pounds, squat 600-plus and run a 4.38 40-yard dash at 255 pounds and 6 percent body fat. Then there’s Adrian Peterson, who benches 450-plus, squats 550-plus and runs a 4.2 40-yard dash at 235 pounds with God only knows how little body fat. I could go on and on naming the freaks of the NFL. The point is that the one and only type of cardiovascular work NFL players do is HIIT training.

When the goal is to maximize fat loss, while maintaining or gaining lean muscle and working to increase peak performance, HIIT is the wave of the future. It is a science of CONTROLLED MAXIMUM INTENSITY. From my personal standpoint, I am able to maintain a lean body mass of 240 pounds at 5 to 6 percent body fat year-round on the single fact that the only cardio I do is HIIT work. I do not count or cut calories; I eat sensibly and train all-out, end of story. I am an athlete, not a men’s Figure competitor. I am not interested in a fluctuating bodyweight and body fat. I am far too busy to go to the gym twice a day and waste an hour walking on a treadmill.

HIIT is not for everyone, and it might not be for you. However, if you are still reading, then you might have enough iron will and determination to take your training to a new level – to recreate the once meager limits you had set upon yourself and truly step out of your comfort zone and start living, rather than dying a slow death. You only get one shot at this life; make it count! No excuses, no regrets!

The Workouts

Here are my top 10 indoor/outdoor HIIT workouts (intermediate and advanced) from


Group 1:

25 jumping jacks
25 standing squats
25 high knees standing in place
(4 sets, no rest)

Group 2:
45 seconds fast jump rope
Drop to floor and do 25 crunches
Roll over and do 20 push-ups

(5 sets)

Group 3:

20 burpees
40-feet walking lunges
On all fours, do 25 mountain climbers

(4 sets)


2 minute warm-up at level 5

1 minute level 10
30 seconds level 7
1 minute level 11
30 seconds level 8
1 minute level 13
30 seconds level 9
1 minute level 14
30 seconds level 10
30 seconds level 15
1 minute level 10
30 seconds level 14
1 minute level 9
30 seconds level 13
1 minute level 8
30 seconds level 12
1 minute level 7
30 seconds level 11
3 minute cool-down level 5


Rowing Machine
3 minute 50 percent row for warm-up
1 minute maximum intensity, 1 minute moderate
2 minute max, 2 minute moderate
1 minute max, 90 seconds moderate
90 seconds max, 1 minute moderate


1. With jump rope, do double spins (2 spins per jump) for 12 to 15 seconds, then single spin per jump for 45 seconds for 10 reps.

2. Plate or sled pushes. Lay a 45-pound plate flat on ground. Place hands on plate, have a sprinter stance with butt in the air, and drive the plate 2.5 feet, spin around and come back (45-second rest, 8 reps).

Do this in completion 3 times through.


Treadmill turned off, use handlebars to brace yourself with head down and back flat. Sprint as hard as you can using leg drive to manually move the treadmill belt for 15 to 20 seconds. Rest 30 seconds. This is one rep. (20 reps)



1. 25 sets of bleacher walks/runs (active warm-up)

2. 12 x 100 yard sprints (45 seconds rest between sprints)

3. 10 x 75 yard sprints (30 seconds rest between sprints)

4. 10 x 50 yard sprints (15 seconds between sprints)

5. Lunge 15 yards, then jog to midfield. Lunge 15 more, jog to other end line. This is one rep. Repeat for a total of 6 reps.

6. 50 sets of bleacher walk/runs (cool-down)



1. 30 sets of bleacher walks/runs. Skipping a step, try to jog last half when you break a sweat (active warm-up).

2. Start by lying on back, legs straight in the air, and touch toes for 20 reps, contracting abdominals each time. Then sprint across the width of the field and back. This is all one rep. 10 reps total.

3. Still running the width of the field, add your choice of 20 mountain climbers on all fours, or 30 standing squats. Then run across and back. 10 reps total.

4. On the goal line, run the length of the football field and back. Total of 200 yards. One-minute rest and a total of 6 reps.

5. Cool down with 50 sets of bleacher runs/walks.


1. 10 x 40-yard sprints. (Sprint 80%, jog back at 40%) The jog back is your rest.

2. Hill sprints (40-50 yards in length, steepest incline you can find, sprint at max effort, walk down), 20 reps. As you get more fatigued, your speed will decrease. Remember, it’s not about speed; it’s about MAX effort on each rep.

3. 20 x 25-yard sprints. Rapid fire. These are shorter sprints, so 15 seconds rest max between reps.

4. 4 x 200-yard gassers. Sprint 100 yards, touch the line, then return. Two minutes rest between gassers.


1. 30 sets of bleachers (stairs) for warm-up (run up, run down).

2. 15 push-ups, sprint 40 yards (10 sets, no rest).

3. 30 mountain climbers, sprint 20 yards, touch the line, sprint back (8 reps, no rest).

4. 50 standing squats, lunge 25 yards, jog 50 yards (8 sets). The jog is your rest.

5. 20 leg lifts with hip thrust, sprint 50 yards, slow jog back (8 reps, the slow jog is the rest).

6. 90-second plank, sprint 100 yards (the plank is your rest, 6 reps).



1st Quarter

• On the steepest hill you can find, about 30-40 yards in length, do max sprint (6-9 seconds) slow jog down (20 seconds, this is your rest period). Do a total of 10 continuous reps and 4 sets. No rest other than slow jog down. 10 reps equals 1 set.

• 45-second break after each set of 10 reps. So 4×10=40 sets of hills!

2nd Quarter

• 16 x 100-yard sprints, 30 seconds rest between each rep (no jog back, stand tall and breathe deep).

3rd Quarter

• 50-yard shuttle runs (sprint 25 yards, sprint back). This is one rep. 10 seconds rest, 10 reps.

• 30-yard shuttle runs, (sprint 15 yards, sprint back). This is one rep. 10 seconds between reps, 10 reps.

4th Quarter

• Sprint to top of hill, sprint down, sprint back to top, sprint down. This is one rep.

• 25 seconds rest between reps, 10 reps.

For more with Joe Donnelly, visit

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By: Joe Donnelly
Title: Top 10 HIIT Workouts
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Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs



Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.

Active Muscles in Leg Extensions

The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1

Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.

The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.

The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.

Leg Extensions

The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.

1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.

2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.

3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).

4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.

5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.

6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.

7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.

8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.

The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6

Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.

This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.

GettyImages 674163248 600


1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.

2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.

3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.

4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.

5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.

6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.

7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.

8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.

9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.

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Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
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PRIMAL Preworkout



Training hard and intensely is the only way to train – you can’t step into the gym in low gear or
asleep at the switch and expect results. To get the most out of every training session with no
compromises, you need a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush
it every time you train. Bottom line, you need to maximize your workouts by pushing yourself to
your limits and that’s what Animal’s PRIMAL Preworkout delivers.

A Better Pump

PRIMAL is Animal’s most comprehensive pre-workout supplement ever, and is scientifically
designed for the advanced, hard trainer. Animal worked tirelessly to find the right combination of
ingredients that could be worthy of the Animal name. First on the agenda was giving you a better
pump, which is why PRIMAL Preworkout is empowered with the breakthrough, patented
3DPump-Breakthrough ® . Not only does it increase nitric oxide for the valued “pump,” but it also
helps increase exercise capacity and endurance and helps optimize vascular endothelial function,
aka vascularity.†

Other key benefits of PRIMAL come from four scientifically formulated blends that work in tandem
to deliver the ultimate pre-workout:

• Endurance & Performance Complex so you can train longer and harder. Beta-alanine,
betaine and taurine are combined as a powerful endurance trio†. Beta-alanine is a vital ingredient
used to combat the urge to quit.

• Focus & Intensity Complex helps you keep your head in the iron game so you train hard and
maintain focus. Includes the amino acid tyrosine, which is involved in neurotransmitter production;
Huperzine A for brain health; and choline bitartrate, which supports energy metabolism and helps
the brain send messages for improved mental endurance and focus†.

This blend is completed with the patented Teacrine ® . Among its many benefits includes increases
in energy without the jittery feeling, increases in motivation to accomplish tasks, mental energy
and decreases in feeling of fatigue†.

• Quick and Sustained Energy Complex is the energy core of PRIMAL Preworkout . It is
powered by a combination of tried-and-true caffeine, along with an herbal complex of green tea,
coffee bean extract and guarana†.

• Electrolyte Complex to support muscle hydration and help get you through those intense
training sessions – because proper hydration is key for maximal performance. PRIMAL
Preworkout tops it off with a combination of AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake and Senactiv,
which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is responsible for
producing more ATP†.

How to Use PRIMAL
30 minutes prior to training, consume 2 rounded scoops (20.3g) with 8-12 oz of water or your
favorite beverage. Users that are sensitive to stimulants should start off with 1 rounded scoop
(10.1g) to assess tolerance.

PRIMAL Preworkout

• Enhances energy and endurance†
• Supports muscle hydration†
• Supports intense focus†
• Contains AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake†
• Contains Senactiv ® which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is
responsible for producing more ATP†
• Absorption and nutrient enhancers
• Great tasting, easy to mix

PRIMAL is a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush it every time you train.

For additional information, visit
†These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
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