“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anais Nin

Not every workout should leave you feeling this way... ...but some should.
Not every workout should leave you feeling this way…
…but some should.

So on the heels of my All HIIT / HIIRT, All the Time? post, this: a post about nailing a HIIT / HIIRT workout.  Because the training life is (or ought to be!) like that. Waving intensities, weaving modalities; for the long haul.

*Note*: for a primer on HIT, HIIT and HIIRT, see this.

Below is a typical (and actual) Efficient Exercise workout, picked at random from this week.  What you see here is not only an actual workout of one of my clients, but the fleshed-out “theme” of this particular day.   The non-fleshed-out version of the day’s theme being:

A) HIIRT (metabolic conditioning).  Pushed hard, but not to the point of “red lining” the client or compromising technique in the subsequent sections.

B)  push / pull upper

C) hinge / drive lower

From that base theme / template, I then begin to plug-in exercises and rep schemes according to each individual client’s needs and abilities.  Fleshing the template out, so to speak.

The result, for this particular client, looked like this:

A1) 2 min row / drag set at 10 (550 m)
A2) 20 swings / 20 goblet squats / 20 swings; all at 71 lb KB
A3) 10 bw dips (full ROM)
A4) 20 pull aparts (red jump-stretch band)
A5) 10 bw dips (full ROM)
A6) 20 pull aparts (red jump-stretch band)
x1 round
B1) ARXFit H press x 3, 2, 1 (rest pause)
B2) Nautilus pullover x 7, 5 (rest pause) + partials to failure at 145
B3) shrugs x 10, 10 at 165
x1 round
C1) Barbell RDL x 10, 10 at 135
C2) ARXFit Leg Press x 3, 2, 1 (slingshot just below knees)
x1 round

We got through all of that in just under 30 minutes.  A good, solid pace…but not blistering.  Time between sets was just enough to get from “station to station”, i.e., just long enough to regather composure and breathing.  I could increase intensity by either (1) decreasing the rest between sets/exercises and adding an additional round of A, B, or C, OR increasing the intensity factor of any or all of the individual exercises by (1) increasing time under load, (2) increasing force / load / reps, or any of a number of “intensification modifications”, i.e., forced reps, partials, drop sets… the list here is endless.  If the workout listed above is the “recipe”, the intensification decisions are made mostly on the fly, from the verbal and non-verbal feedback I get from the client during the session.  Tasting the stew, and seasoning as need be.

Toward that end, watch what Holden and I did later in the day with the “B” section of the above workout.  Now the *intensity* of each of those 3 exercises was at such a level that even an experienced trainee could only handle 2 rounds of that in a 30 minute window.

Here’s what we did:

A1) ARXFit H press 3, 2, 1  (Holden did and Omni pullover/flye)
A2) Nautilus pullover: rest-pause and drop sets; begin at 240
A3) shrugs at 225 x 10-ish

Here is a clip from round 2 of the actual session:


Again, not all workouts should be this blistering.  But some should be.  Wave and weave responsibly, kids 😉


DJ Wave-n-Weave...
DJ Wave-n-Weave…

Heal thyself.  Harden thyself.  Change the world!



    • Holden is a unique animal for sure. You can think of his workouts as HIIRT (about 4 days/week) + yoga. But he does wave the intensity of those HIIRT sessions, i.e., not each sesh is a barn-burner.

  1. Thanks for the explanation. My guess is that his conditioning levels are much higher than someone doing a bodybuilding split.


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