We are often told about the importance of changing our exercise programs around. The usual reasons for this include the need for variety; to hit muscles from various angles; and probably the most compelling reason of all, to keep the mind fresh and interested in the workout. Nothing puts a damper on training progress more than sheer boredom. And no matter how much you love to train, sooner or later doing the same exercises, using the same amount of weight for days and weeks on end soon equals sheer ennui. The new book, High Intensity 300,(HI300), written by trainer Dan Trink, offers a good solution to the boredom problem in a number of ways. For one, the 300 workout routines listed in the book are varied and used for different goals. As such, there are strength workouts, fat-loss workouts, core or abdominal specialization workouts, and much more. You will note, however, the words "high intensity" in the title. The workouts in this book are designed to be intense, but not overly long. The adage that you cannot work out very hard and very long is true. Over the 35 years that I wrote for various bodybuilding magazines, the athletes I interviewed often told me that they engaged in extremely high volume workouts. Some claimed to do 30 or more sets per muscle group. But when I had the occasion to either watch them train or even train with them, I soon learned the "secret" behind their high-volume training. It was also very low-intensity training. None of these guys ever came close to the Holy Grail of high-intensity training: Training to complete muscular failure. If they had, their total volume of sets per muscle group would have dropped from 30 to about 12 at best, and in some cases less.
The workouts listed in HI300 are all designed to be completed in 30 minutes or less. Some would say that isn't enough time to train any muscle thoroughly. But anyone who has truly trained in a genuine high-intensity style is all too aware that is more than enough time to nearly destroy any muscle. Trink notes that there are several definitions for what exactly constitutes training intensity. One way of viewing it is the amount of weight you use. Clearly, it doesn't take a doctorate in exercise physiology to know that lifting heavier weight is far more intense than doing the same exercise with much less weight. In relation to the amount of weight used in any exercise, the closer the weight is to your one-rep maximum lift in the same exercise, the higher the intensity. Lifting more weight is also related to a higher degree of muscle damage and muscle tension, which are two of the requirements for producing muscular hypertrophy . . .