Don’t avoid weights out of fear of being a musclehead. If your workout begins and ends with one hop on the treadmill, you’re missing out on some of the best reasons to exercise. Weight training is key to burning calories, building bone density, defining curves, speeding your metabolism…even preventing heart disease! To make your cardio go further, it’s time to tone. The latest way to hit the weights is by ''HIT''ting the weight. HIT – high-intensity training – calls for you to push yourself to a near-maximum effort on every repetition of every set. You do relatively few sets (about 10), use relatively heavy weights and take as little rest as possible between sets. You stick with very simple, very straightforward exercises and use machines, free weights or a combination of the two. As the name more than implies, HIT is an intense form of weight training. You'll have to work hard, but the payoffs are big: You'll get results quicker than with milder forms of strength training. In fact, combined with a sensible eating plan and regular, calorie-burning aerobic exercise, HIT can reshape your body in as little as six to eight weeks. (Timing of your results may vary depending on your starting point, your genetics and how much effort you put into your overall fitness plan.) If you've been weight training for at least three months, consider giving HIT a try. Here are the rules and some suggested HIT workouts:
Overload. Every repetition should be a challenge, so don't wimp out on the amount of weight you use. Choose a weight that makes you feel pooped by the end of 10 repetitions. Once you can do that weight with good form, up the weight. Don't slack off as you move through your exercises: Take only as much rest as you need and not one second more. Typically that means no more than 90 seconds between sets. If you're not pooped by the end of the workout, you're not pushing yourself hard enough.
Don't overdo. Notice we said overload, not overdo. You want to feel worked out by the end of every HIT session but not so tired and sore that you can't press the button for the elevator, let alone walk up a flight of stairs without the help of your friends. Two HIT sessions a week is more than sufficient to get the job done; any more than that may leave you feeling burned out and overtrained. Listen to your body. It will tell you if you've gone too far and need to back off.
Form is everything. Though you're pushing hard, you never want to lose sight of the fact that form is the most important aspect of this or any other form of weight training . A helpful hint: If you hear a lot of clanging and banging or your body is arching, swinging or moving in places that have nothing to do with lifting the weight, you need to re-evaluate your technique. Try lightening the load, slowing down and sharpening your mental focus.
Buddy up. HIT is best done with a partner for two reasons: You can encourage and motivate each other to work harder than you could working out alone, and since you're using fairly hefty weights, you're going to want someone watching out for your safety. Choose a partner you trust and one you know you can push -- and will help you push yourself -- to the max. Or try hiring a trainer for a session or two.
Stick to the basics. Because the aim of the workout is to work very hard, there's no need to get fancy. Stick with traditional weight-training exercises that don't have a big learning curve or require a lot of extra skill and coordination to pull off. Here's our recommended HIT list for both gym and home workouts. Do them in the order listed. There's no reason you can't mix and match exercises from each of the lists so long as you include one move for each major muscle group.
Gym Machine Exercises: Leg press
Home Free Weight Exercises: Squat
Gym Machine Exercises: Leg extension
Home Free Weight Exercises: One-legged squat
Gym Machine Exercises: Leg curl
Home Free Weight Exercises: Alternating lunges
Gym Machine Exercises: Seated calf press
Home Free Weight Exercises: Standing toe raise
Upper and middle back:
Gym Machine Exercises: Lat pull-down
Home Free Weight Exercises: Dumbbell single-arm row
Gym Machine Exercises: Vertical chest press
Home Free Dumbbell kick-back
Gym Machine Exercises: Abdominal crunch on physioball
Home Free Weight Exercises: Basic abdominal crunch
Weight Exercises: Dumbbell chest press
Gym Machine Exercises: Shoulder press
Home Free Weight Exercises: Dumbbell shoulder press
Gym Machine Exercises: Arm curl
Home Free Weight Exercises: Dumbbell biceps curl
Gym Machine Exercises: Arm extension
Home Free Weight Exercises: