Joel Peterson, Personal Trainer

High Intensity Training

Joel Peterson – Level V Trainer


Over the last several weeks we have explored several ways we can slow down the aging process. If you missed them please check our archives for the latest three issues. High Intensity Training (HIT) is in many opinions the best way to exercise and very effective at slowing down aging. Let’s start by a brief description of HIT.

The fundamental principles of HIT are that exercise should be brief, infrequent, and intense. Exercises are performed with a high level of effort, or intensity, where it will stimulate the body to produce an increase in muscular strength and size.
High intensity workouts are generally kept brief. After a High Intensity workout, as with any workout, the body requires time to recover and produce the responses stimulated during the workout, so there is more emphasis on rest and recovery in the HIT philosophy than in most other weight training methods.

In any workout, not just HIT, training schedules should allow adequate time between workouts for recovery (and adaptation).

Most HIT advocates stress the use of controlled lifting speeds and strict form, with special attention paid to avoiding any bouncing, jerking, or yanking of the weight or machine movement arm during exercise.

High Intensity Training

I firmly believe that most people would benefit from strength training, but the key is to start slowly. When doing a strength training session—whether it’s with dumbbells or something else—you are wise to follow a few basic guidelines:

  • Use an appropriate amount of weight; using weights that are too heavy makes it difficult to maintain proper body form and sets you up for an injury.
  • Don’t rush
  • Don’t ignore pain
  • Allow full recovery of your muscles between strength training sessions, and alternate muscle groups

I’m going to start you out slowly, with only four exercises to start with, then we will add new movements every week as you progress. The key here is to push yourself through these movements with the highest intensity you can produce. It’s important that you “feel your body” in knowing how hard to proceed. At all times you should feel safe with what you are doing. Experiencing a “burn” is not bad so push through it. Experiencing a “pain” like a stabbing pain or deep joint pain is an indicator to stop and consult Dr. Ward before continuing. Ok, ready to rock?

On all exercises complete four sets to failure.

1. Let’s start with a core/abs movement.

Lay flat on the floor (use padding) and slowly raise your legs until feet are facing the ceiling. At the same time crunch your torso towards your hips. From this position lower your legs slowly, or about 4 seconds until they lightly touch the floor. Then relax your torso briefly and repeat. You may only be able to do one or two at the beginning but you will work up to 10 reps so don’t get discouraged.

2. Now let’s do a good Triceps/Pectoral movement.

Using a chair position yourself as shown in the illustration. Slowly lower your body down until you reach a point of very mild discomfort, then raise yourself back up to a straight arm position and repeat. Note: the illustration shows the “down” position.

3. Next let’s work the legs/balance.

Standing straight at starting position slowly lower yourself down, using the illustration as a guide, until you feel a mild discomfort. Slowly raise yourself to standing position. The entire movement should take about 6 seconds. Work up to 15 reps.

4. Now let’s work the biceps and shoulders.

Using dumbells (or anything with adequate weight) using the illustration as a guide slowly raise the weight from position one to position two. From position two raise overhead to position three. Then reverse the process until back at position one. The entire movement should be about 8-10 seconds. Work up to 10 reps.

I recommend you get a set of dumbbells for your home workouts. Craig’s list, garage sales etc. are usually good places to find them without spending a lot of money. Most athletic stores sell them also. You will find them invaluable in your resistance workouts.


I will periodically add new movements so watch for them. They may be an adjunct to any subject on these articles.

Be persistent and all good things will happen.

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