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Weekend Warrior Edition 1.1

Weekend Warrior Exercise

Weekend Warrior Edition 1.1

Visualize this typical work week scenario. Much of your energy is committed to traveling for business, meeting clients, taking phone calls, sitting in meetings, and repeating again the next day. Exhausting, right? However, just like you push through the week, you also power through the weekend. Even though you may dread going to the gym, you want to get the most out of the weekend. If you’re pressed on time and the option is working out Friday through Sunday, we have a solution for The Weekend Warrior.  


Maximize adaptations, minimize time.

Instead of spending hours in a gym, it is possible to optimize the amount of work and effort in a short amount of time. This time efficient workout is known as high intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves repeated bouts of intense efforts followed by varying recovery periods. This popular method of training may optimize your training adaptations if performed correctly and may be modified for individuals of all fitness levels.

You may be questioning how an individual accomplishes adaptive goals without spending a few hours lifting weights and doing cardio for 5-7 days a week. This is the ideal recipe, however, for your situation we can manipulate the frequency, intensity, volume, and rest to work best for your needs. Work-loads range between 5 seconds and 8 minutes, intensity is performed at 80-95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate (HR) and recovery periods may range between 40-50% of an individual’s estimated maximal HR (1).


Potential Benefits

  •      Improvements in cardiovascular function, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, cholesterol  

    profiles (1,3,4,5,8)

  •      Increased metabolic and skeletal muscle adaptations (2,6)
  •      Maintain muscle mass while decreasing abdominal fat and body weight (1)


Developing an Effective Program

  1. Fitness level. Ask yourself, have my workouts been inconsistent/consistent for several months, do I have proper lifting forms and/or muscular strength, how sore will I get? The keyword is progression. If you are starting a new workout program make sure to slowly increase from a low-to-high intensity, decreasing your risk of injury. If you have been working out frequently, try to challenge your energy systems (longer duration= aerobic system, short duration= anaerobic).
  2. Work to rest ratio. For example, a 1:2 ratio would be 30s of kettlebell swings followed by 60s rest. A 2:1 ratio, would be 20s sprints followed by 10s rest. Recovery periods may range between 40-50% of an individual’s estimated maximal HR. You may alter between active (lower intensity movements) or passive (very little movement) recovery depending on the amount of recovery before performing the next bout.
  3. Effort. Intensity is performed at 80-95% of a person’s estimated maximal(HR).


Level 1 (1:2) Level 2 (2:1) Level 3-Tabata (2:1)
  • 30s bouts: 60s recovery
  • Perform 13 bouts
  • 3x a week
  • For cycling: cadence @ 80 RPM


(Foster et al.)

  • 4min bouts: 2min active recovery
  • Perform 6 bouts
  • 3x a week
  • For cycling: cadence @ 85 RPM

TOTAL TIME: 24 min

(Seiler et al.)

  • 20s bout: 10s active recovery
  • Perform 8 bouts
  • 3x a week
  • For cycling: cadence @ 90 RPM


(Foster et al.)


Safety first! Again, these protocols may need to be modified based on training experience. Not only is HIIT a time-efficient method of reaching your goals, it also improves cardiovascular, metabolic, and skeletal-muscle function if done with appropriate intensity and frequency. Power through and HIIT on, Weekend Warrior!




  1. American College of Sports Medicine. (2014) ACSM information on high-intensity interval training. ACSM’s Consumer Information Committee.


  1. Burgomaster, K.A., Howarth, KR, Phillips, SM, Rakobowchuk, M, Macdonald, MJ, McGee, SL, Gibala, MJ. Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans. J Physiol, 586 (1), 151-60, 2008.
  2. Daussin, F.N., Zoll, J, Dufour, SP, Ponsot, E, Lonsdorfer-Wolf, E, Doutreleau, S, Mettauer, B, Piquard, F, Geny, B, Richard,R. Effect of interval versus continuous training on cardiorespiratory and mitochondrial functions: relationship to aerobic performance improvements in sedentary subjects. Am J  Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 295(1), R264-72, 2008.


  1. Foster, C, Farland, CV, Guidotti, F, Harbin, M, Roberts, B, Schuette, J, Tuuri, A, Doberstein, ST, Porcari, JP. The effects of high intensity interval training vs steady state training on aerobic and anaerobic capacity. J of Sports Sci Med, 14(4), 747-755, 2015.


  1. Helgerud, J, Hoydal, K, Wang, E, Karlsen, T, Berg, P, Bjerkaas, M, Simonsen, T, Helgesen, C, Hjorth, N, Back, R, Hoff, J. Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39 (4), 665-71, 2007.
  2. LaForgia, J, Withers, RT, & Gore, CJ. Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. J Sports Sci, 24 (12), 1247-64, 2006.
  3. Seiler, S., & Hetlelid, K.J. The impact of rest duration on work intensity and RPE during interval training. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 37 (9), 1601-1607, 2005.
  4. Zuhl, M, Kravitz, L. HIIT vs continuous endurance training: battle of the aerobic titans. IDEA Fitness Journal, 9(2), 34, 2012.