High Intensity Interval Training For Building Muscle

SprinterIf you want to maximize your muscular growth, then one facet of your training that you shouldn’t ignore are high intensity interval training workouts.

If used properly, high intensity interval training, or HIIT, can be a valuable tool for building up muscle and scorching through excess fat in a relatively short amount of time.

The goal of this article is to get you in the know when it comes to HIIT and how you can make it a part of your workout arsenal for building a sexy, muscular body.


High Intensity Interval Training: What Is It Exactly?

HIIT is a nutshell is a form of interval training. It is a workout where you have a mix of short periods of very high/maximum intensity effort followed by longer periods of low to moderate intensity recovery.

HIIT workouts can be very taxing, thus they are kept fairly short, ranging anywhere from 10 minutes to about 20 minutes.

An example HIIT workout would be sprints where you run as fast as possible for 20 seconds and then jog for recovery for 40 seconds and then repeat this pattern for several iterations. High intensity interval training workouts doesn’t have to be limited to sprinting, though.

You can perform HIIT workouts with just about any mode of fitness, including:

  • High Intensity Weight Training
  • Road Biking
  • Spinning
  • Swimming
  • Cross-country skiing
  • A stair stepper
  • An elliptical trainer
  • Rollerblading

You get the idea. Any exercise where you can perform intervals with a mix of short duration super-high intensity and low to moderate intensity can be made into a muscle building, fat burning HIIT workout.

High Intensity Interval Training: Is It Aerobic Exercise?

So is HIIT aerobic exercise?

Actually it is the opposite because HIIT is a form of anaerobic exercise. Typical cardio is aerobic in nature or steady-state.

This means you maintain a steady heart rate and a steady level of exertion or intensity for some period of time. An example of this would be jogging at the same pace for 30 minutes.

HIIT, on the other hand, is where you exceed the aerobic threshold, typically at 70% of your maximum heart rate. At this point, you enter anaerobic territory and your body can’t keep up with oxygen demands so it has to start using glycogen stores for energy.

Remember, glycogen is what the carbohydrates you eat get transformed into by the body.

HIIT is a form of anaerobic exercise where your body can’t take in oxygen quick enough to meet demands. It is at this point that your body is forced to tap into glycogen stores for fuel.

High Intensity Interval Training: A Wondrous World of Benefits

When aerobic or steady-state cardio is performed for long periods of time, longer than 45 minutes, your body can enter a catabolic state. In a catabolic state, the body will start to use protein for energy needs.

Basically, the body starts eating away at hard earned muscle to meet energy needs. You want to avoid this at all costs when you are not only trying to maintain muscle but when you are trying to bulk up and add muscle.

HIIT, unlike aerobic exercise, is muscle sparing and in fact muscle promoting. It is an excellent way to get lean and fit faster.

In fact, you get many great benefits from performing high intensity interval training workouts.

Some of these benefits include:

✔ A stronger heart and lungs
✔ A shorter workout versus steady-state cardio but more calories burned
✔ An increased stamina for higher intensity
✔ Muscle is spared more easily and fat is better utilized for energy

One of the biggest benefits of HIIT is that you will build up your cardiovascular system to astonishing levels. By performing HIIT workouts consistently, you actually add new capillaries and will strengthen your lungs and heart.

This means that over time, HIIT will get a little easier and you’ll be able to sustain the max level of intensity for longer. Your stamina will sky rocket.

These are huge if you do any competitive sports such as boxing, soccer or mixed martial arts.

Another one of my favorite benefits of HIIT is that it is short duration.

This means it is an efficient workout and that by doing HIIT versus steady-state cardio, I’ll burn fat more quickly, in a shorter time and I’ll get done sooner. I’ll have more time on my hands to do the things I enjoy.

Of course my favorite benefit of performing HIIT are its muscle sparing and promoting properties.

Take a look at the bodies of sprinters. What do you notice?

The majority of them are ripped and have very muscular bodies. Now compare that to the body of a marathon runner.

A marathon runner does most of their training with steady-state cardio or aerobic cardio.

A marathon runner’s body is lean but in most cases, they look “skinny-fat”. They are not muscular at all.

When performing HIIT, you are doing something the body is meant to do, move very quickly for short periods.

Think back to our beginnings as cavemen where it was “hunt or be hunted”. Our cave-dwelling ancestors had to often use their “fight or flight” capabilities at a moments notice, so a quick getaway was vital to survival.

Fast-forward to today, and fast movements hits the right type of muscle fibers (fast twitch) which equates to prime muscle building conditions.

High Intensity Interval Training: Some More Details

I enjoy performing HIIT workouts about 3 times a week. I don’t recommend doing more than that because they are so taxing, both on the muscles and on your central nervous system.

One of my favorite uses of HIIT is with HIIT weight training. I use high intensity weight training about every six weeks.

I find that the workout is a fresh challenge but it also helps put my metabolism in overdrive. This helps it easier to shed a little extra fat and the workouts give me an amazing pump.

When I perform high intensity weight training, I’ll do three full-body workouts (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) during my “high intensity” week. I’ll pick anywhere from 5 to 8 exercises.

Here is an example HIIT weight training workout that I like to do:

  • push-ups (25 reps)
  • squats (25 reps)
  • pull-ups (25 reps)
  • deadlifts (25 reps)
  • incline sit-ups (25 reps)
  • military barbell press (25 reps)
  • dumbbell bicep curls (25 reps)
  • barbell rows (25 reps)

You perform each exercise with as little rest as possible between each. Perform the routine twice.

Rest assured, your muscles will be engorged and burning, your heart will be pumping and you’ll be destroyed after this workout. You’ll also get stronger and well on your way to that chiseled body you’ve always wanted.

Here is a good example of a HIIT workout that you can use for sprinting, the elliptical trainer, a treadmill, stair stepper or just about anything.

Minutes 1 and 2

  • Level 5 pace

Minute 3-12

  • First 20 seconds – level 10 (max) pace
  • Second 30 seconds – level 6 pace

Minute 13-15

  • Cool down (level 5 pace)

High Intensity Interval Training: Concluding Remarks

For anyone who wants to maximize their muscular potential, high intensity interval training workouts are invaluable. What you get with HIIT is a workout that is a short, efficient, muscle sparing and promoting and fat incinerating.

You get all this with as little as one HIIT session a week. So make forging a muscular, sexy body easier and make HIIT training a regular part of your training!

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a superb way to increase and maximize your muscular growth.

If you’d like know more ways to stay on the right track when it comes to building muscle, please take a look at the No-Nonsense Muscle Building Program.

This 29 week program can help you build muscle like no other program.

It dispels all the muscle building myths, contains no fluff and it will put you on the path to building lean, sexy muscle.

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