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High Intensity Intervals with Weights

Ramp Up the Intensity by Cross Training with Weights


Updated January 29, 2012

Overhead dumbbells

Overhead Dumbbells

(c) Paul Rogers

For this program, which combines weights and interval running, you need a set of dumbbells and a place to run about 30 yards fast, plus some 'slow-down' space.

The idea of this training program is to combine two different training modes to get a cross-training effect. You are going to do lifts with dumbbells then perform short interval runs at a strong intensity, alternating the two exercise modes. Perform three dumbbell exercise sets, run 60 yards fast, then walk back to the weights point and do a different set of dumbbell exercises. It's a type of circuit program, but quite a high-intensity one.

The Program

  • Find a venue where you can utilize dumbbells and run back and forth for about 30 yards each way. Pick a safe venue. A gym group-exercise room is a good place. A sports field or park is fine, except you must carry your dumbbells in.
  • Choose a set of dumbbells at a weight that will allow you to do 3 sets of 10 exercises so that you're working hard at the final repetition of each set. If any of the dumbbell exercises (below) are too difficult to do with a weight in each hand, and you only have one set of dumbbells, use two hands to grasp a single dumbbell -- the triceps extension, lateral raise and overhead press for example. Or you could use a lighter set of dumbbells if available.
  • Warm up first with about 10 minutes of walking or jogging and some dynamic stretching.
  • Start with the first dumbbell exercise and do three sets of 10 exercises.
  • Walk 30 yards to one end of the 30 yard running strip.
  • Rest 20 seconds, then do an interval, which consists of running to the other end (30 yards), turning and running back to the start. This should be performed at at least 85% effort, or higher if you are fit enough. In other words, this is not a jog, but a speedy run.
  • Perform the next dumbbell exercise, and continue until all eight exercises are complete, including the intervals in between the weights routines. Don't forget to do the interval at the end of the final dumbbell exercise.
  • That's eight exercises (3x10), and eight intervals of 60 yards each at fast pace. Walk for several laps and cool down.

1. The Dumbbell Arm Curl

Raise and lower the dumbbell in each arm alternately with bent elbow.

2. The Dumbbell Overhead Press

From the chest, push the dumbbells up over your head, and lower. Or use two hands with a single heavy dumbbell.

3. The Dumbbell Hang Squat

With dumbbells hanging at the side, squat down until the upper thighs are parallel to the ground, ensuring you keep the back straight.

4. The Dumbbell Bent Over Row

With dumbbells hanging at the front of the body, bend at the hips and raise the dumbbells to the ribs, then lower. Keep the back straight.

5. The Dumbbell Triceps Extension

With a single dumbbell in hand and held high, extend the weight over the head to the back of the neck (carefully), then return. A two-handed version is also possible.

6. The Dumbbell Shoulder Squat

Place the dumbbells at the shoulders and perform the squat as in number 3.

7. The Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Hold the dumbbells at the side and lift outward (abduction) until near horizontal, utilizing a slight bend in the elbow for stability.

8. The Dumbbell Lunge

With dumbbells hanging at your side, lunge forward and back, for the most part keeping the knees from extending too far over the toes.

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