Training overview: The Ultimate Muscle HIIT

The urban legend about cardio eating up muscle comes mainly from decades-old in vitro and rodent studies. They showed that cardio activates a compound called AMPK, which tries to preserve the body’s energy stores by inhibiting a protein called mTOR, which signals muscle growth. However, newer research, as well as the anecdotal evidence of thousands of athletes, is prevailing. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning compared one group of women who strength-trained and performed sprint intervals with another group who only lifted. After 11 weeks, not only did the subjects who did both kinds of training see significant strength gains, they also had greater improvements in body composition. So not only do intervals not hurt your muscle gains, they can enhance them.

Our program will have you lifting four days per week. The first three workouts are standard bodybuilding split routines—back and triceps, chest and biceps, and legs and shoulders—designed to let you use heavy weights and isolate the muscles to deliver the best possible growth stimulus. The fourth lifting day is a high-intensity circuit of bodybuilding exercises, which aims to give the muscles a pump but keeps you moving around the gym at a fast pace, hitting upper- and lower-body lifts to keep the blood rushing from place to place. This makes your heart work overtime, burning extra calories and building conditioning like a combat athlete. Improving oxygen uptake through supplementation with ingredients such as PeakO2 can also boost your endurance and conditioning.

On two other days, you’ll do short HIIT workouts. One will be sprints on an exercise bike, a low-impact but highly challenging mode of cardio that won’t disrupt recovery from all your other training. The other is a short circuit of body-weight exercises.

Bodybuilding Split

Perform each bodybuilding-inspired workout once per week, resting a day between each session. These workouts are designed to put on mass.

Circuit

Complete one set of each exercise in turn, resting as directed in between. That’s one circuit. Repeat the circuit for the prescribed number of sets. This circuit’s fast pace will have you burning extra calories to get you lean.

HIIT Workouts

HIIT Workout 1

Perform bike sprints. Get on a stationary or spin bike and warm up using a moderate resistance. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest you can go, work at a pace that’s about a five for three minutes. You should be sweating afterward.

Now increase the resistance—not so high that it feels you’re pedaling through mud, but enough to make you work hard and still let your legs move at a brisk pace. Sprint at the highest intensity you can maintain for three minutes.

Repeat for one more round, then pedal lightly for three minutes to cool down. The whole routine should take 15 minutes.

HIIT Workout 2

Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one set of each in sequence. Rest 30 seconds between exercises, and repeat for five to eight circuits.

Training overview: The Ultimate Muscle HIIT

The urban legend about cardio eating up muscle comes mainly from decades-old in vitro and rodent studies. They showed that cardio activates a compound called AMPK, which tries to preserve the body’s energy stores by inhibiting a protein called mTOR, which signals muscle growth. However, newer research, as well as the anecdotal evidence of thousands of athletes, is prevailing. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning compared one group of women who strength-trained and performed sprint intervals with another group who only lifted. After 11 weeks, not only did the subjects who did both kinds of training see significant strength gains, they also had greater improvements in body composition. So not only do intervals not hurt your muscle gains, they can enhance them.

Our program will have you lifting four days per week. The first three workouts are standard bodybuilding split routines—back and triceps, chest and biceps, and legs and shoulders—designed to let you use heavy weights and isolate the muscles to deliver the best possible growth stimulus. The fourth lifting day is a high-intensity circuit of bodybuilding exercises, which aims to give the muscles a pump but keeps you moving around the gym at a fast pace, hitting upper- and lower-body lifts to keep the blood rushing from place to place. This makes your heart work overtime, burning extra calories and building conditioning like a combat athlete. Improving oxygen uptake through supplementation with ingredients such as PeakO2 can also boost your endurance and conditioning.

On two other days, you’ll do short HIIT workouts. One will be sprints on an exercise bike, a low-impact but highly challenging mode of cardio that won’t disrupt recovery from all your other training. The other is a short circuit of body-weight exercises.

Bodybuilding Split

Perform each bodybuilding-inspired workout once per week, resting a day between each session. These workouts are designed to put on mass. Push those gains further with these five rules for gaining mass.

Circuit

Complete one set of each exercise in turn, resting as directed in between. That’s one circuit. Repeat the circuit for the prescribed number of sets. This circuit’s fast pace will have you burning extra calories to get you lean. Here are six more ways to get lean in a hurry.

HIIT Workouts

HIIT Workout 1

Perform bike sprints. Get on a stationary or spin bike and warm up using a moderate resistance. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest you can go, work at a pace that’s about a five for three minutes. You should be sweating afterward.

Now increase the resistance—not so high that it feels you’re pedaling through mud, but enough to make you work hard and still let your legs move at a brisk pace. Sprint at the highest intensity you can maintain for three minutes.

Repeat for one more round, then pedal lightly for three minutes to cool down. The whole routine should take 15 minutes.

HIIT Workout 2

Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one set of each in sequence. Rest 30 seconds between exercises, and repeat for five to eight circuits. Why HIIT? Here’s seven reasons you need high-intensity interval training.