High-Intensity Training

The idea of high intensity training is to increase the exercise intensity. Not exercise duration and frequency. We can exercise hard or we can exercise long. It’s difficult to do both! High-intensity training stimulates gains by working the muscle harder.

High-intensity training involves maximizing the workout. You do this by demanding the muscles to work harder. PLus, you work over a shorter period with less between set rest time. This system maximizes the time spent in the gym.  The high-intensity training system is designed for maximal strength and endurance gains. Weight training causes the body to adapt to the stress. It does this by stimulating the muscles to grow stronger and larger.

Principles of High-Intensity Training

Every muscle group should have two days to recover following a high intensity workout. This is especially true for natural bodybuilders. Enhanced bodybuilders can get by with less. Either way, high-intensity training requires that the body have time to rebuild. What happens if you don’t give the muscles enough recovery time? Growth will not happen. Continued trips to the gym in an unrecovered state means one thing: overtraining.

A key principle of any training program is to use proper technique. Let the muscles to raise and lower the weight. Do not bounce, throw, jerk, or drop the weights. Ask gym staff about personal trainers if needed.

Negative Emphasis

Emphasize the eccentric contraction (lowering the weight). A muscle is approximately 40% stronger during an eccentric contraction. A lifter may not lift the weight anymore without the assistance of a spotter. Yet the lifter can still perform negative repetitions (lowering the weight) if a spotter assists with the lifting portion of the exercise. No spotter? Emphasize the negative by taking 4-6 seconds to perform that part of the rep.

To stimulate muscle enough to cause adaptation, the muscle should be brought to failure. Muscle failure is achieved when another repetition can no longer be performed properly. High-intensity training maximizes this effect.  You should go beyond what is perceived as your physical limit. Reach positive failure. This is the ability to lift the weight alone. Then concentrate on the negative or lower phase of the repetition.

Little rest between sets is needed. Lifters should move directly from exercise to exercise. Push/Pull supersets are effective in limiting rest time between sets. It allows the opposite muscles time to recover. Yet intensity remains high.

Intensity Training – Repetitions

The purpose of repetition is to create tension in the muscle. The rep should be done through a full range of motion. Also, you must minimize momentum. Perform each repetition explosive up, slow and controlled down. Increasing the momentum takes tension off of the muscle. Taking tension off the muscle during repetition is counterproductive. What’s the point of tossing it up, or letting it fall? At that point, why bother?

Intensity Training – Progression

In order for weight training to be beneficial, the workload should be progressive. As an example, a lifter can lift 70 pounds 6 times today. The next time the lifter should attempt 70 pounds 7-8 times. As well, progression can be increasing the weight. If you can lift 70 lbs for 10 reps with no trouble, add 15-20lbs. The progression continues with added weight or repetitions. The weight should be lifted until the lifter can no longer safely lift the weight with the assistance of a spotter. Ideally, shoot for 6-8 reps. This provides the best balance of strength and size. If you’re lifting 15-20 reps, you’re training for endurance.

Intensity Training Defined

The amount of work that muscles perform depends on volume. That’s defined as the number of times the weight is lifted. It also depends on time. That’s the amount of time it takes to perform the exercise. Intensity is a matter of increasing the rate that the exercise is performed. Also, it can be increasing the weight and decreasing the repetitions. Increasing the rate is done by moving through the movements quicker. Also, by decreasing the amount of time resting between exercises. This is the best method.

The high-intensity training system is not a highly advanced method of strength training. It is a matter of maximizing the benefits of weight training. This is done by increasing the intensity you use to perform the exercises. Also by maximizing the body’s capacity to lift more during the negative contraction.

Intensity Training Techniques

Overload Principle

To shock your muscles into growth, you can overload them with progressively heavier poundage. Example: Increasing the weight on your bench press each week. You should keep the reps the same.


When attempting negatives, you’re utilizing maximum weight. It should be 30-40% more than you use for the concentric phase of the lift. You need a spotter for this. Timing during the lift is very slow. Keep the weight under control. Rest a minimum amount of time between reps. Example: Bench press with weight exceeding your maximal press. Slowly lower the bar to your chest. With the help of a partner return the bar to the starting position. Repeat.

If you do not have a spotter, train in a power rack. Set the long pins just above chest height. If your max is 200lbs for 5 reps, Load the bar with 210. Unrack and lower it as slowly as you can. Seem too light? Add 5-10 lbs. You won’t be able to handle 30-40% more weight by yourself. In this case, that would 60-80lbs. But, chances are you can handle 10-20lbs.

Pre-Exhaustion Training

Pre-exhaustion is a method where a muscle group is isolated first. You use an isolation movement before a compound movement. Isolation exercises usually demand less weight. Example: For your chest – Do cable crossovers (isolation movement), three sets of 10-12 reps, then do bench press for 6-8 reps. (compound movement).

Load Sets

This is the same as pyramid sets. Load sets progressively add weight to a given set. The number of repetitions stays the same or decreases. Example: One set – 100lbs 10 reps, followed immediately by 120lbs 8 reps, etc.

Intensity Training – Drop Sets – Also Called The Stripping Method

With drop sets, you complete a set, then drop the weight. Do as many reps as you can. Drop the weight again. Knock out a few more reps. Each time, go to failure. Example: You’re doing lat pulldowns using 200lbs. Do your set. When you fail, drop 20 lbs. Now do as many reps as you can. When you fail, drop another 20lbs. Knock out as many reps as you can.


Here’s a great intensity technique. You do partial reps at the end of a set. Let’s say you hit failure. Don’t stop. Instead, knock out as many partial-range reps as possible.


This intensity technique is somewhat like drop sets. Instead of dropping weight, you’re counting to 10. Example: do your set till failure. rack the weight and count to 10. Unrack and knock out more reps to failure. rack it, count to 10. Unrack, and repeat one more time to failure.



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