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Test yourself with these 3 challenging high intensity workouts

In this week’s column, David Last looks at the finishers guaranteed to get your heart pumping.

Image: Shutterstock/Pressmaster

OVER THE LAST few articles, I have talked about mechanics (technique), consistency and intensity. In today’s piece, I am going to focus on intensity.

Intensity can mean a vast number of things when it comes to your training: an increase in load of the weight, an increase in the amount of reps, but more than likely, to most it means that extra spike to your heart rate during your workout.

Over the last few years we have seen a huge increase in people doing HIIT-style training versus aerobic long slow distance work. High interval training takes many names such as the finisher, WOD, conditioning piece and so on.

I have talked a lot about of this type of training in my Tuesday column and when to do it. A lot of the time, people favour this style of training over others purely because of the response it gives our bodies: the increase in heart rate, the adrenaline kick, or even the endorphins released at the end while we generally sit there in a pool of sweat.

Intensity is good — but not for every single training session. Some people may think they need to keep hammering themselves with lots of intensity, load and volume in each workout to reach their goals but that’s not the case. The truth is that less is actually more, and quality over quantity is an approach that works best for me and my clients.

I have been around the industry long enough to know what works and I try to bring the useful information into this weekly column.

Below I feel is the best and smartest approach for a general HIIT training template.

Generally speaking, I break most of my clients’ sessions into at least three portions which are the structured warm up, the strength portion, and then we weigh up what way to finish off that particular session. Should we do some extra core work, perhaps finish with some easy stretching and mobility work, or is today a day we need to punch the clock and jack that heart rate up with high intensity workout?

Here are 3 workouts that I have put together that you can try.

Workout 1

This is an eight-minute workout which will jack the heart up quite fast.

I am using the kettlebell and the prowler for this high interval piece. I am big fan of pairing kettlebell swings and shuttle runs together and in a previous article, I have given you many different ideas on how to use the prowler. In this video I have included a voiceover which will tell you the amount of reps, along with weight and distance, to aim for.

Source: David Last/YouTube

Workout 2

This workout is a 12-minute high interval piece which aims to cover all areas.

In minute one we start off with some deadlift and push ups, followed by working on a rower in minute two to get that heart rate a little higher, then adding in some core work in minute three, then resting on minute four before starting the top of your second round again in minute five.

I am giving you a set amount of reps to aim for in a 60-second window. Ideally this style of workouts are called “EMOMs” (Every Minute On the Minute) and they are a smart way of doing high intensity workouts.

The reps and load are set up in a way so that when you do finish up each target in that minute, you should have just about sufficient rest before approaching the next minute.

Source: David Last/YouTube

Workout 3

The final workout is also a 12-minute finisher to your session.

In this workout I am trying to work on all areas again, starting off with some dumbbell thrusters which can test the heart rate and lungs quite fast while you perform that up and down movement with legs and arms at a high intensity, then into the jump rope for minute two while bringing in some ab wheel rollouts for minute three to test that core with an already high heart rate.

Remember the goal of any conditioning workout is really to spike the heart rate.

Generally speaking when we do these workouts you can run the risk of your technique falling a little due to the demands on the body with the increase in intensity. However you do need to make sure that your technique isn’t falling to pieces here or else somewhere down the line you will pick up a silly injury.

As always in all my videos, I have included a voiceover to give you some advice on what load and reps to aim for in each portion of the workout.

Source: David Last/YouTube

I hope you find this information useful and if you need any more advice, just pop me a message. You can see more advice from me on my social media pages, which are linked below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send me a direct message here.

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