High Intensity Training Techniques!

Learn how to increase the intensity in your workouts. Sample workouts and principles included!

Let me introduce myself. I don't have any fancy titles to put by my name; I'm just a lifter just like you are. I have been training since 1975. I have done just about every training style that has came down from Mount Olympus. High intensity training, volume training, power lifting; I've tried them all. During this time, I've come to the conclusion all types of training have their good and bad points. If you limit yourself to just one training style, you may miss out on the benefits from the other training styles. As a matter of fact there are more than one way to achieve your goals.

My experiences with high intensity training has been good. The first time I tried them was in 1985. I had been reading about this new style of training in Perry Rader's Ironman for a couple of years. To be honest with you, I was intrigued by the training 30-45 minutes every other day and got the same results from training everyday for an hour and a half.

The basic premise was hit your muscles extremely hard than allow time to rest. You could say it was the ultimate in shock training. I had a bit of bad luck that year; I blew a knee and had to have an ACL reconstructed. While I was in the hospital my wife brought me some reading material. At that time Ellington Darden books where everywhere. So I studied these books while I was in the hospital. I decided to give it a go when I was able to go back to the gym.

I went back to the gym in a cast, my wife went with and started training also. She did the same workout as I did just with higher reps. The results where excellent, we had to use the nautilus equipment because I could not balance myself on the free weight equipment. Eight weeks latter when the cast came off I had maxed-out on the stacks on the compound chest and the compound shoulder machine.

The gym police caught me adding 45-pound plates, so needless to say I had to move back to free weights, still stuck to the principles I had been using on the machines. My workout weight on the bench went from 245 pounds for 6 reps to 315 pounds for 6 reps at a bodyweight of 200 pounds ... we are talking about picture-perfect reps with a pause at the bottom.

My wife's best lift was the squat at a bodyweight of 115 pounds she did 20 reps with 155 pounds. These are the lifts we made the best gains on. All of our lifts jumped a bit. You owe it to yourself to at least give this type of training a try.It has worked on everybody that knows that has tried it and put 110% into it.


This form of training is time efficient. The whole concept of this training is to hit your muscles as hard as you can in a short period of time. So your rest time in-between sets is minimal plus you are taking every set to failure and past.

The basic principles of this is stimulate your muscles than allow enough time for growth using workloads 80%-100% of your 1RM some times you will go over this when using partials, negative only training, static contraction training. Needless to say this is hard on your system. This is Shock Training taken to the max.

Your basic principles used in this type of training are:

OVERLOAD PRINCIPLE - This is used in all types of training programs you are trying to add either reps or weight every workout.

NEGATIVES - These are the down stroke of your exercise you are stronger in the phase of your rep than in the positive portion.

STATIC CONTRACTION - All this is holding a weight at lockout as long as you can you are even stronger in this part of your lift.

PRE-EXHAUST TRAINING - This is where you use an isolation exercise to fatigue the muscle than go directly to a compound exercise to exhaust it even farther. The downside to this is you are not as strong on your compound exercises. A good example of this would be triceps extensions and the dips you do these two exercises back to back with no rest in-between.

DOUBLE PRE-EXHAUST - This is one of my favorite high intensity training principles it is the same as above except you are doing 3 exercises in a triset.

COMPOUND + ISOLATION + COMPOUND - When you do it in this fashion you are fresh for your compound exercises.

BREAKDOWNS - Take a weight you can do for 5-6 reps take it to failure than reduce 20% and do more reps to failure.

BURNS or PARTIALS - You do these at the end of a set to keep the blood in your muscle longer. Your body doesn't know if you are doing full or partial reps it just knows you are still demanding it to fire more muscle fibers.

NEGATIVES - This is lowering the weight most of the time this is done at the end of a set not all the time.

PURE NEGATIVES - These are where you only do the negative portion of the rep and your partner's help you get it back to the lockout position. Your normal try should to take 10 seconds in lowering the weight.

NEGATIVE EMPHASIS - You can only do these on certain exercise mostly with machines. You raise the weight with 2 limbs and lower it with one.

REST-PAUSE - Training there are two types of this training.

PURE REST-PAUSE - Is where you take 90-95% of you 1 RM and do singles with it resting 10 seconds in-between reps I like this style because every rep is a perfect rep when you get 6-8 reps move the weight up.

MODIFIED REST-PAUSE - This what 20 rep squats and dead lifts are take a weight you can do 10 reps with than take as many breathes in-between the reps as you need to complete 20 reps.

Let us look how we would put all this together. Remember our workouts will be short and sweet. In my opinion you need to allow at least one day of rest in-between workouts. Five days between body parts. REMEMBER: THIS IS NOT A BEGINNERS TRAINING PROGRAM. This is a very intense training program. Your rep cadence will be like this you will lower the weight in a four count [negative] you will pause the rep to prevent any momentum than you will explode into the bar driving the weight to lockout [positive] expect a reduction in poundage from doing the reps in an ultra-strict fashion. Then take your reps to failure than throw in some intensity tech's to take it past failure. Remember you are only doing 2-5 sets per body part and only once every 5 days so don't hold anything back.

Week One

Monday-Friday [chest-back-delts]

Benchpress [rest-pause] 5-8reps
Incline flys [6-9reps] + dips [5-8reps][Pre-exuast]
Chins [5-8reps] + pullovers [6-9reps] + pulldowns [5-8reps][double pre-exuast]
Seated press [5-8reps] + side laterals [7-10reps] + wide grip upright rows [5-8reps][double pre-exuast]

Click Here For A Full Bench Press Video w/ Audio! (MPG, 37 sec, 3.95MB)

Wednesday [legs-arms]

Squats 1x20 [modified rest pause]
Thigh extensions [7-10reps] + sissy squats [max reps][pre-exuast]
Leg curls 7-10reps [negative emphasis]
One leg DB calve raise 1x50reps [modified rest pause]
Closegrip bench [5-8reps] + lying tricip extensions [5-8reps] + negative only dips [4-7reps][double pre-exuast]
Preacher curls [5-8reps] + negative only chins [4-8reps][pre-exuast]

Click Here For A Close-Grip Bench Video w/ Audio! (MPG, 31 sec, 2.91MB)

Week Two

Monday-Friday [legs-arms]

The same workout from Wednesday week one.

Wednesday [chest-back-delts]

Same workout from Monday and Friday week one.

Squats: The Right AND Wrong Way To Do It.
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This workout is very intense I usually peak in 6-12 weeks, when you know you have peaked you can not add reps or weight for 2-3 workouts. Another little tidbit if you want variable resistance add chains to your barbell exercises I picked this little trick up from reading about the westside training style. You will have to experiment on which exercises you like to use it.