Put Your Heart Into It the HIT Way!

Thursday, January 31, 2013
February is Heart Health month and it's a great time to re-evaluate your fitness program, make changes & modifications, and really lock in a great total body workout.  Most of the articles you're likely to see during heart month will be related to traditional stationary aerobic exercise equipment; treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, etc. and group aerobic classes. While there is nothing wrong with those training systems, not everyone enjoys them or desires to put that much time into training.
Instead, we will focus on putting your heart into it without the traditional long endurance type exercise programs, using a strength training system known as High Intensity Training (HIT). For the person who is looking for a change to their program, with an emphasis on overall body development; muscle, strength, fat reduction, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory health and they want it in as little time as possible, HIT is the answer. Skip the hours on the treadmill and instead devote 15-30 mins/day - 2-3x/wk to training as hard as you can.
Here are the rules:
  • Perform one set of 4-6 exercises for the lower body, 6-8 exercises for the upper body,and no more than 12 machines in any single workout.
  • Select a resistance on each exercise that allows you to do approximately 8-12 repetitions in proper form, through the full range of motion. (8 repetitions or less means the resistance is too heavy; 12 repetitions or more means the resistance is too light)
  • Continue each exercise until no additional repetitions are possible in good form (15 repetitions maximum).  When 12 or more repetitions are performed properly for 2 consecutive workouts, increase the resistance by approximately 5% at the next workout.
  • Make certain that the rotational axis of the cam of all rotary exercises is in line with the joint axis of the body part that is worked.
  • Position the body in a straight aligned manner.  Avoid twisting or shifting your weight during movement.  Use the safety belts when provided with certain machines.
  • Maintain a loose, comfortable grip.  Squeezing the handgrips results in elevated blood pressure.
  • Work the largest muscle groups first, then proceed to the smaller. (Legs, Back & Chest, Shoulders, Arms, Abdomen)
  • Use the following count: 4 second lifting motion and 4 second lowering motion.
  • Use full range of motion on each machine to develop full-range strength and flexibility. Concentrate on flexibility by slowly stretching during the first three repetitions.
  • Breathe normally.  Do not try to hold your breath while training.
  • Move slower, never faster, if in doubt about the speed of movement.  Do not sacrifice form for speed.
  • Rest a minimum of 48 hours and not more than 96 hours between successive workouts.
That's it! It seems simple enough. The theory is simple, but the workout is intense and will produce equal results when compared with high volume workouts in 1/10 the time. This is a great program to have and use all the time or to pull out of the tool chest on occasion when you just don't have the time to do the traditional workouts.
You will see a positive modification in all the key cardiovascular risk factors when performing HIT as directed above. Blood pressure, Cholesterol, Blood sugar, Stress, Belly fat, etc. all change positively and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, you will gain greater cardiovascular endurance when performing HIT.
Heart month is 12 month long, 24/7, not just 30 days. You need to focus on heart health continuously and with the implementation of HIT, you eliminate the most common reason for not exercising - lack of time! Now go apply the steps above and strengthen your heart, you can do it.


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