By Jenevieve Roper PhD (ABD), CSCS (@jlynnfit)
Training like a professional athlete is one of the best ways to quickly transform your body. The combination of high-intensity and high-volume workouts may have you wringing your shirt out, but they aren’t actually as bad as they sound and the benefits are pretty impressive.
One of the many benefits of training with high-intensity and volume is the effect of EPOC. EPOC stands for “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” (a.k.a. the elevation in oxygen consumption after you finish a workout). Oxygen is consumed and used by your cells to break down fuel sources like glycogen and fat, and following an intense workout, this level of oxygen consumption is likely to increase as your body recovers. Therefore, EPOC can lead to an increased metabolism post-exercise, which may grant you a greater calorie burn.
One of the easiest ways to achieve this is speed training — a form of training which is designed to improve speed and increase the velocity of your movements. Here are three easy ways to add some speed to your routine:
1. Plyometrics: Plyometrics are all about increasing power, which is force times velocity. Plyometrics typically consist of explosive, resisted jumping or throwing movements. Because they are so intense, it’s best to limit these types of workouts to twice a week with plenty of rest in between. And if you do plan on incorporating these into your strength routine, there are two rules you should live by:
- If this is your entire workout for the day, only do four to five exercises.
- If this is only a part of your workout, always perform these moves first to avoid injury, as they are extremely taxing on the neuromuscular system.
2. HIIT: High-intensity interval training is another great way to improve speed. This involves a 2:1 ratio of high-intensity exercise followed by light exercise, repeated for as many times as your workout calls for. For example, most training programs for running always include 400-metre repeats. This is where one will run at a high intensity for 400 metres and then either walk or do a slow jog for recovery before running another 400 metres. This helps the body get used to running at a faster speed than normal, and also assists in maintaining that intensity.
3. Resisted Running: Resisted running can be done in several different ways and doesn’t have to involve a partner. If you do have a workout buddy, wrap a sturdy band or strap around your waist and have your partner hold on to it. As you run, they should be trying to slow you down, but still allowing you to make progress across a predetermined distance. No partner? You can always grab a parachute made for training purposes: you just need to attach it to your waist, and run. No equipment or partner? Running in sand will usually do the trick.
Jenevieve Roper, MS, is a doctoral candidate in exercise science at the University of New Mexico.