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I first learned about High Resistance Intervals (HRI) from Joel Jamieson and his Bioforce HRV course and later Bioforce Conditioning Coach certification, which I took. To be honest, I wasn’t very versed in the conditioning side of the title “strength and conditioning coach”. I tended to be much more on the strength side as the coach that was my main and initial influence had a bias towards. I knew a bit about the different energy systems with an idea on how to train them when it came to work– to- rest ratios. I had little to no knowledge of how many variables and possibilities there were and no real-world application or experience doing them myself or having clients do them, just knowledge from books. 

With that being said, I believe knowledge from books is great, but real-world experience trumps it by far.

One of the many methods of conditioning I’ve been using here at USI is High Resistance Intervals. This method requires an all-out effort for about 10-12 seconds with high resistance followed by a rest until your heart rate lowers back between 130-140 beats per minute. 

One exercise this works very well with are hill sprints. I have an S-Drive Performance Treadmill made by Matrix Fitness. This treadmill is self-powered and doesn’t have a motor; you are responsible for powering it through full hip extension (traditional motor-based treadmills you are not responsible for hip extension since the motor moves the belt you’re on. This is nothing like running outside). You can also increase the resistance to simulate running up a hill. This is my go-to exercise for training HRI. The high resistance is very important so that you’re tapping into your fast twitch fibers and increasing their endurance capacity.

The data I like to collect to see progress with this method is how long it takes for your heart rate to lower back to 130-140 bpm. We use a Polar Heart Rate sensor to measure this. For example, if someone first starts using this method maybe it takes around 90 seconds. As they get better conditioned that time should decrease. I have people ranging from 45 seconds up to 2-minutes. 

You have to have a good aerobic foundation to get the most benefit from this method. If you don’t, it will take longer to get your heart rate back down. One person, in particular, I’m going to have him do more Escalating Density Training to improve his aerobic base. I’ll talk about EDT in a future post soon (it’s one of my favorite methods to improve your aerobic base). 

Outside of great nutrition, sleep, and stress management, sprints are one of the best methods for fat loss. If done for the appropriate duration and with the proper amount of rest between reps or rounds, the EPOC you will elicit is pretty substantial. EPOC stands for Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This basically means you’ve caused a lot of metabolic disturbance and as an effort for your body to get back to its norm through homeostasis, you will burn a tremendous amount of calories, hence the fat loss.

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