Life is busy, gyms are annoying, and fitness regimes are completely impractical. How am I supposed to go to the gym five times a week for 1-2 hour workouts, and still get everything else done? Sure, it’s doable – if you’re intensely organized. But the reality is that most of us operate somewhere in the grey area between organized and disorganized.
Enter my super practical high-intensity workout.
With this high-intensity workout (also called HIIT), you get in to the gym, find a little corner out of the way, use 1 or 2 pieces of equipment, give it your all for 15 (or 20) minutes, then you get the fuck out of there. You’re done, you’re dusted, you’re ready to take on the world with a surge of happy hormones pumping through your veins.
A high-intensity workout like this one is fantastic for weight loss and lean muscle building, but personally I haven’t found that they work for building big, giant muscles. You’ll be jacked, but not in a big, bulky way (which I prefer anyway). And while it might look easy and straightforward, don’t fool yourself! This high-intensity workout is “intensely” difficult to complete (and if it isn’t, then you might not be pushing yourself hard enough).
The protocol is relatively straightforward and involves 5 separate movements performed back-to-back for 3-5 complete supersets, with as little rest as possible.
Choose 5 exercises:
- 1 explosive
- 1 core
- 1 leg
- 1 push
- 1 pull
For exercises that require weight, go as heavy as you can while maintaining proper form. For each exercise, choose in advance the number of reps you’ll complete, which should be somewhere between 8 and 15 reps. If you choose exercises that are unilateral (like a lunge or a side plank) then you should complete 8-15 for each side. Try to choose exercises that are as complex as possible (i.e., movements that require a group of muscles to work together in tandem, like a squat). Your goal is to take as little rest as possible (you should literally feel like you can’t go on!). Use the fact that it’s only a 15-20 minute workout as your motivation to rest as little as possible.
Another great feature is that you can change up the different movements on different days, so no one high-intensity workout is the same as the other. For example, one day you could choose a squat as your leg movement, the next day you could choose a dead lift.
The frequency you do these workouts depends on what you want. I once did this program for three months, 3-4 times per week combined with cardio – and I become very lean and chiseled.
Example high-intensity workout, repeat the following 3-5 times in a row with as little rest as possible:
- 10 burpees with push-up
- 20 side planks with a twist (10 each side)
- 10 goblet squats
- 10 spiderman push-ups
- 20 dumbbell rows (10 each side)
Here’s me performing each of these exercises. You can also scroll to the very bottom to watch the full-length high-intensity workout. I’ve also included a list of other exercises you can choose from (but the list of possible exercises is endless).
1. Explosive: Burpee with push-up – complete 8-15 reps
2. Core: Side plank with twist – complete 8-15 reps (per side)
3. Leg: Goblet squat – complete 8-15 reps
4. Push: Spiderman push-up – complete 8-15 reps
5. Pull: Dumbbell row – complete 8-15 reps (per side)
Repeat this sequence of exercises 3-5 times with as little rest as possible. The faster you go, the harder it gets, and the better your results will be.
Watch the full high-intensity workout video!
Other high-intensity workout movements you can choose from:
Explosive: Any burpee variation, jump squats, box jumps, overhead slam, power clean, clean and press, jumping pull-ups
Core: Any plank variation, leg raise, hanging leg raise, mountain climbers, decline crunch, turkish get up
Leg: Any variation of a squat, dead lift, lunge; glute bridge
Push: Generally this will be a push-up, but there are tons of push-up variations; you could also sub-in a more shoulder dominant movement
Pull: Barbell row or any row variation, pull-up, chin-up, overhead slam