Today's world is fast-paced, and when it comes to fitting a workout into the business week The Rolling Stones were wrong - time is not on your side, but that doesn't mean keeping fit can't happen. Instead, all that's needed is a health and fitness routine that works effectively and with minimal time, leaving you free to get down to business.
Enter High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT). There are many ways to train HIRT, but the principles are simple - be under load, move quickly but with technique, rest minimally and a do a lot in little time. When done well, an effective and efficient workout can be done in 30 minutes, including an outfit change and a warm up, making HIRT perfect for a busy day at the office. Here's a breakdown of the two kinds of HIRT workouts.
Density training requires you to select one or two exercises and either complete as many reps as you can of a certain weight in a given time, or a certain number of reps as fast as possible.
For example, a density workout may be five minutes of back squats at 70% of your 1RM (one rep max), resting only when absolutely needed. Or instead of a time, your target may be 50 reps as quickly as possible, again with that same 70% 1RM weight.
When it comes to resting, the idea throughout the workout is to keep 1-2 reps 'in the tank' each effort so that your rest time is shorter and your pace regular and consistent. So while you may be able to push out 10 reps on the bar, instead aim for 8 each set and keep your rest time to a minimum.
You might need to do a few heavier sets to warm up the body and nervous system, and round out your training programme with some complimentary strength work, before finishing off with a density set, as set out in the examples below.
Complexes are exactly that - a slightly more complicated workout that involves a barbell or dumbbell being used for a certain number of reps of a selected series of exercises, all done one after the other without the weight touching the ground. Completing this is known as one round, after which a rest period can be taken before repeating for the complex for the desired number of rounds.
For a complex, more challenging exercises are done first with fewer reps. These are commonly more power and strength based and allow for more difficult movements to be done before muscles fatigue, before the workout shifts to be volume-based with higher reps at its end, as per the examples below. And once you know what works with your body, you can get to the gym, push through a HIRT workout, and be showered and back at the desk before anyone notices you were gone.
It almost leaves you no excuse now, right?
Density Workout 1
A1: Barbell Back squat
A2: Chin up (assisted if need be)
Your aim is to get 30 reps of each as fast as you can (pick a weight that this could be done in roughly 5-6 sets of 8-10 reps, and about 5-10 minutes)
B1: Dumbbell goblet squat
B2: Dumbbell single arm bent over row
Set the stopwatch for 7 minutes and get as many reps as you can done in that time
Density Workout 2
A1: Barbell Dead lift
A2: Dumbbell chest press
Set the stopwatch for 10 minutes and get as many reps done of both as you can in that time
B1: Barbell push-press
B2: Dumbbell Romanian dead lift
Your aim is to get 40 reps of each as fast as you can
Barbell Complex Workout 1
A1: Push press x 6 reps
A2: Front rack reverse lunges x 6 reps/side
A3: Good morning x 10 reps
A4: Back squat x 12 reps
Complete all reps for one movement (e.g. 6 reps of A1) then move straight onto the next (e.g. 6 reps/side of A2) never letting go of the bar, THEN rest for 90-120s. Repeat for 3-5 rounds depending on time and conditioning.
Barbell Complex Workout 2
A1: Military press x 4 reps
A2: Pendlay row x 6 reps
A3: Snatch grip Romanian Dead lift x 10 reps
A4: Front squat x 12 reps
Complete all reps for one movement (e.g. 4 reps of A1) then move straight onto the next (e.g. 6 reps of A2) never letting go of the bar, THEN rest for 90-120s. Repeat for 3-5 rounds depending on time and conditioning.