Building muscle has never been faster or easier than with this revolutionary once-a-week training program. Doug McGuff to present a scientifically proven formula for maximizing muscle development in just 12 minutes a week. Backed by rigorous research, the authors prescribe a weekly high-intensity program for increasing strength, revving metabolism, and building muscle for a total fitness experience. A strong body is key to good health and quality aging. This book does provide key insights into how strength training enables this. And does a far better job than perhaps all other books of this genre.
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And — if done properly more on this later - the results are profound. Increased muscle mass, decreased fat levels, improved health markers and cardio fitness, not to mention significant strength gains. At least these are the claims made by HIT strength training proponents.
But how does it work in the real world? Especially with someone myself who has tried all sorts of training techniques over the years and responds well to higher volume training protocols. Is 15 minutes of training a week enough to achieve beneficial performance and aesthetic results? Is it even a practical way to train? I wanted to find out, so 9 months ago November I decided to begin an experiment. I am a 28 year old male who has been strength training for 8 years now.
But all of this training has been at a moderate to high volume — 2 or 3 sessions a week, up to 6 or 7 sessions a week. Some sessions lasting up to 3 hours in my powerlifting day. I responded pretty well to higher volume despite the negative health effects.
So I was rather apprehensive as to how I would go on 15minutes of training a week…. Personally, I expected to waste away to nothing in a matter of weeks! Pre Experiment - Me around 95kgs after years of high volume 'conventional' strength training.
The big 5 includes 5 key lifts:. Yes these are a bit different to your usual big 5 lifts squats, rows, deadlifts, presses, chins etc , but this is all explained in this article. That same article also explains tempo, timing and all the other intricacies. You then record the weight and the time under load TUL.
Next time you train you aim to use this same weight and exceed the TUL. No rest between exercises. No warmup needed. Super slow tempo The first inch should take 3 seconds. Job done in 15 minutes. After a few months I then switched to a 3 workout split, so I now had an A and B workout,.
Workout A was:. Yes, this now meant the whole workout was completed in 10 minutes. And yes, you do 1 session a week. Along with this, I performed a short interval sprint session every fortnight 5x 6 seconds sprint with 1-minute rest. It has now been 9 months and I have been following this protocol religiously. To answer the billion-dollar question — does it work?
Here were my key results:. I lost about 4kgs of mass in this 9-month period. In fact, during this 9 month experiment I starting doing a lot of fasting , including a few 24 — 72 hour fasts.
Both which took 45 days to complete and invovled extremely restrictive diets. And finally, in the last few weeks I started doing a strict nutritional ketosis diet. I personally think if I was eating to excess or even my normal diet during this 9 month period that I would have maintained and maybe even put on size. Still plenty of mass! Remember, I used to train on average x a week, each session lasting minutes.
Now I had all this extra time in the week. It was great, I focused on writing articles, building my business, fixing health issues etc. Again, this is heavily influenced by diet. I stayed lean the whole time I was on this program. This was the biggest surprise. They had a 3 day Fittest Man of Paleo Fx competition. Beating some pretty serious athletes. There were a lot of CrossFit and obstacle racing athletes including the uber fit Ben Greenfield , and somehow I came out on top.
The events that made up this competition included Deadlifts for reps, 40 yard dash sprints, leg and chest strength tests, rowing intervals, agility exercises, vertical leap, chin ups and a medicine ball throw. Remember, for the 6 months prior I had only been using machines for 15minutes a week. Winning this event made me realise that there really was something to this HIT training! The goal is to keep tension on the muscle for 90sec-3minutes. If you go over this, the weight was too light - next time increase it, if you don't last 90seconds, next time decrease it.
It may be kg or Pin 16 on the stack, for seconds. You need to record this somewhere paper or notepad etc. So you would aim for seconds at kg etc. Once you hit seconds, then increase the weight next session. The reason why machines trump free weights with this type of training is due to the targeted load on the muscle. However, not all machines are designed well. Likewise with machines that have sticking points, perhaps half way through the chest press it gets very hard. You find you fail here every time, but if you do get through this sticking point then you feel like you have more reps in you.
Again, there is nothing you can do about this, but in an ideal world you would use a machine that has been designed to have an even force load. Nautilus and Med X machines are the best for this. However, there are some newer machines hitting the market that do an even better job. I learnt all about this revolutionary piece of equipment. The next day I spent a few extremely intense seconds on an ARX. The ARX allows you to set the tempo — no matter how hard you push the tempo is fixed.
The magic of the ARX is that it pushes back against you with an perfectly matched force. This from ARX :. The machine moves the handles or foot pads at the selected speed during the positive and negative regardless of how hard a user exerts. And even better, you can apply even more force in the eccentric phase as you are stronger in the eccentric phase of a lift. The best analogy is this — imagine a chest press machine that is designed in a way so the weight is changing in real time — every millimetre you press the weight forward, it adjusts based on your strength at the new position.
Then, on the way back down eccentric it loads up even more weight and now you have to resist this weight in a controlled manner. There is even a video of someone using the ARX with a big 5 workout routine that you can see here. Technically you could do a HIT session using bodyweight only. I did a few of these when travelling or when I wanted to train outdoors in the sun.
There is a great video by James Steele showing how a HIT session can be done soley using bodyweight:. It starts with the first exercise and only ends once you have finished the last exercise. There is no talking between sets, no watching tv or getting distracted. As I mentioned above, a total session should only take minutes. HIT sessions are brutally tough. Not only do they take the muscle to failure, they create a large amount of stress on the central nervous system — again assuming you have done it properly.
You cannot expect to do these sessions multiple times a week. You can try, but your numbers will plateau and go backwards. Even attempting to do 2 sets in the same session is unwise. I hear of stories where individuals started lifting a weight that was far to heavy for them. After 45seconds they have hit failure. They then decide to redo it at a lighter weight, again they fail within seconds.
You literally get one shot at each lift. Remember this. Do once session a week, and skip all other weight training sessions. Big time. To reap all the benefits, you need to do these sessions properly, and that means taking the muscle to absolute failure, which in turn means pain.
Lots of it. But all you are doing is cheating yourself. Your previous TUL times will keep you honest, if you did 2minutes at 90kg last week, that means you are aiming to exceed that time this week. I believe I have a ton of willpower and self-discipline. However, there were sessions when even I caved too soon, finding an excuse to stop early for example. Having someone present when doing these lifts helps. Fair enough, I was initially in the latter camp and then swung to the curious state of mind.
Dr. Doug McGuff – MD: Body By Science – #364
And — if done properly more on this later - the results are profound. Increased muscle mass, decreased fat levels, improved health markers and cardio fitness, not to mention significant strength gains. At least these are the claims made by HIT strength training proponents. But how does it work in the real world? Especially with someone myself who has tried all sorts of training techniques over the years and responds well to higher volume training protocols. Is 15 minutes of training a week enough to achieve beneficial performance and aesthetic results? Is it even a practical way to train?
Body By Science High Intensity Training Review: My 9 Month Experiment
By: Dave Asprey. Doug McGuff, MD, is an author, personal trainer, and practicing medical professional. In an effort to prevent, and not just treat disease, Dr. McGuff has developed a unique system of weight training that promises results in as little as 12 minutes a week. McGuff comes on the show to talk about how you can enhance your performance, health, and longevity with an exercise program that takes only 12 minutes a week. Podcast: Play in new window Download. Every now and then I have just the perfect interview happen.
The Expert in High Intensity Training and Fitness Medicine
Want to 4x your creative output? But I personally find it really enjoyable. Disclaimer: Always talk to your doctor and fitness professional before starting or changing an exercise routine. Try any of the following at your own risk. This workout is from a book called Body By Science , by Dr. Doug McGuff.