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Think HIIT training is just for the treadmill?? JDP Manager Matt Williams explains how you can get the most from your HIIT training in the weights room.

If I had a Pound for every well-intentioned person who’s centred his or her fat-burning efforts around low- to moderate-intensity cardio sessions, we could make Buckingham Palace our summer retreat. This “I’m trying to lose weight, so I’m just doing cardio” attitude has become epidemic, as people waste countless hours on cross trainers, tread-mills, and stationary bikes, with very little to show for it. The results they’re after, of course, are a good set of abs and an overall leaner physique, which is best accomplished through high-intensity lifting at appreciable volumes.

Personal Trainer, Liverpool Street

Enter Hiit in the weights room, JDP’s most efficient program to date for whittling away stubborn body fat in a short period of time. Stick to the following workout for a full six weeks while keeping your diet clean, and that toned body you could never achieve through endless cardio sessions will be yours very soon.


You’re probably familiar with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). When it comes to cardio, HIIT is definitely the best way to strip off body fat, to the extent that there’s literally no reason to hop on a treadmill and run at a steady pace for 30 or more minutes unless you’re an endurance athlete. And if you’re reading this article, chances are you don’t desire the physique of a marathoner.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with HIIT, it involves intervals of high-intensity exercise (such as running at 90% of your max heart rate) followed by low intensity (walking at a moderate pace) or complete rest. This is in sharp contrast to the typical steady-state cardio most people do at a moderate intensity, such as walking on a treadmill at 60–70% of their max heart rate. HIIT was originally developed by track coaches to train runners, but it has crossed over to the fitness industry due to its fat-burning benefits confirmed many times over in scientific studies. A lot of these studies found that subjects performing HIIT burned significantly more body fat—and in less time—than those who did steady-state cardio programs.


The major reason HIIT works so well for dropping body fat is due to the greater calorie burn (or EPOC—excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) that’s maintained after the workout is over. In other words, you burn more calories and more body fat while you’re sitting around doing nothing. In addition to this increase in resting metabolism, HIIT is effective at enhancing the mechanisms in muscle cells that promote fat burning and blunt fat storage.


When most people think of HIIT they think of it as applicable only for cardio, yet it can also be used in weight training. After all, weight training itself is a form of HIIT—you do a set with all-out effort, rest, then do another set, rest, and repeat. Resting two to three minutes between sets, however, is too long for a training session to be considered an effective form of HIIT. But all you have to do is shorten rest periods and you’re doing a kind of HIIT that burns fat.

Personal Trainer, Liverpool Street

For this HIIT program, you will perform two exercises with 15 seconds rest in between. However, the first exercise is a lower body exercise and the second is an upper body exercise. This will enable your legs, for example, to recover whilst your upper body is working and vice verse.


For this HIIT workout, select a weight that’s equal to 50% of what you could normally do for 10 reps. Don’t worry about going too heavy. If you can’t complete all 10 reps, drop the weight. .

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If any of the HIIT  exercises are new to you, you’ll need to spend some time figuring out how much weight you can do for 10 reps. The week before you start this HIIT weights program, work these exercises into your training to get a gauge on appropriate weights. When estimating your 10RM, be sure to do the HIIT exercise first for that muscle group. For example, if you don’t know what your 10RM is on the bench press, do bench as the first exercise in your chest workout, aiming for a weight that allows you to complete exactly 10 reps, then follow with your typical chest routine.


While the major benefit of this program is rapid fat loss, the fringe benefits are just as impressive. Even though the weights you use will need to be light, your muscles will still get the signal to grow. HIIT weight workouts make a very light weight brutally difficult to move. This pushes muscle fatigue to new levels, which stimulates the release of muscle- building hormones.


Another obvious benefit of doing HIIT with progressively short rest periods is increased muscle endurance, which will boost your conditioning—a big advantage if you play sports. Even if you’re not an athlete, this benefit will ring loud and clear in your workouts. When you go back to your regular regimen, where you’re resting a couple of minutes between sets, your muscle recovery will be quicker, thus allowing you to get more reps with the same weight on successive sets and delivering a greater stimulus.


Perform Exercise 1a rest for 15 seconds before performing Exercise 1b. Complete 10 repetitions on each exercise. Complete 4 sets of each exercise before moving on to the next pair of exercises. Good luck!

Exercise 1a- Back Squat

Exercise 1b- Shoulder Press

Exercise 2a- Romanian Deadlit

Exercise 2b- Bench Press

Exercise 3a- Alternate Lunge

Exercise 3b- Lat Pulldown

Exercise 4a- Box Jumps

Exercise 4b- Press Ups


author: Matt Williams


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