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High Intensity Continuous Training

My long time friend and special guest Mark McLaughlin of Performance Training Center joins the show to discuss how he trains his athletes and how to correctly perform the High Intensity Continuous Training Method to improve your conditioning. This is one of the most effective training methods out there that almost nobody knows about and it can produce dramatic results when peformed correctly. Check it out and let Mark show you how it’s done

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Read the transcript of this video

Joel: Hey there, welcome to another episode of 8 Weeks Out TV. I'm Joel Jamieson, your host along with Howie Howard Clark.

Howie: It's like that today, isn't it?

Joel: It's like that today. How are you?

Howie: I'm good man, how are you?

Joel: Good. What's new?

Howie: A lot of the same stuff, you know? Cruising around the Internet, trying to learn some stuff.

Joel: You and everybody else in the world.

Howie: Learn some stuff or see what they say and run it by you and see if it's worthy or not.

Joel: What do you got for me today?

Howie: I don't know. There's a lot of stuff. I'm big on the [aerobic haters].

Joel: The aerobic haters.

Howie: I take some of the information that I read and then I run it by you. I get it disproved. Example? I read one about sixty reps of sprinting eight seconds and resting 12 seconds for fat loss and it was not claiming to be aerobic, but I think it would be aerobic after a few sprints, but I don't know.

Joel: I think that would be aerobic after about three of them.

Howie: I don't know the difference. That's why I ask you, and then you come up with the information.

Joel: Say we've got a great guest. We've got Mark McLaughlin up at Performance Training Institute in . . . Center, sorry, in Oregon. Been a big friend of Mark's and discussed all sorts of training stuff over the years with Mark and we're going to first start off with a great segment that Mark put together for us on how to use the bike to build endurance and improve your recovery. So let's take it away.

Mark: Howie, Joel, thanks a lot for that introduction. My name is Mark McLaughlin with performance training center. Here with one of my trainer's that works with me, Jake Jensen. And today we're going to talk about the high resistant bike rides and why and how to use them in your training and how they can be used for training purpose or recovery.
And before we get started with how to perform the bike rides, we're going to talk about how to set the bike up before the athlete gets training and why it's important. First off we need to make sure that we take the inseam measurement of the athlete against the wall in his bare feet. Next, you take a thick book, put it up into the athlete where they will be sitting on the bike against the wall and then use a pen to mark where the top of that book is. From there have the athlete step back from the wall and with a tape measure, measure from the spot down to the floor.
Then once you have that measurement and for example, we'll use 30 inches. You would take 30 inches times 0.883 and then that number is the height measured from the top of the seat down to the middle of the bottom bracket. Okay, Jake hop on there and we'll show everyone how to do this. And so with this exercise the goal is to have enough tension on there to where you're achieving only 20 to 30 revolutions per minute.
Okay Jake go ahead and start, so it's a push, pause, push, pause, push, pause, push, pause. Okay. And so with this exercise, since there's no tension at the top because there's a relaxation phase, the hyperplasia of the muscle is being developed. Which is allowing the muscle to recover from any hard work given the day before. Then to also improve the aerobic capacity at the muscular level. So this is great for the day after extremely hard bouts of exercise for games after games and it really gives the athlete a sense of well being.
And the other part of the exercise is the duration of it. So Jake would do this exercise anywhere from five to 20 minutes of work and then he would have a two to ten minute rest period after. The goal of work throughout this exercise is 60 to 80 minutes of total volume and this can be done anywhere from one to two times a week. Make sure to pause there, good.
And the other thing too is you don't want to exceed the anaerobic threshold of the athlete. So again, to kind of recap some key points to this exercise. Number one, make sure that we get the right saddle height at the beginning. The second thing is, we want tension high enough to where the athlete is only getting 20 to 30 revolutions per minute. Total work time five to 20 minutes, followed by two to ten minutes of rest. Again, I'd like to thank Jake for being a great asset to the demonstration here and look forward to seeing you in the future. Thank you.

Joel: And welcome back, in the studio today we have with us Howie as always and of course Mark McLaughlin is back with us from performance training center down in Portland, Oregon. Thanks again for coming, Mark.

Mark: Yeah, thanks Joel. Appreciate it.

Joel: No problem. And today we are talking about just different methods of endurance training and Mark is one of those guy's that's worked a lot with soccer players, lacrosse and football, and maybe give us background on what athletes you've worked with mostly.

Mark: Yes. So, the typical athlete we see is American football. Probably 80-85% of the clients. We have basketball, baseball, little lacrosse and I'm trying to get in now into more of the endurance training.

Joel: More football than I realized. You were really one of the first kind of guys along with myself to use HRV and you use the Omegawave to train people. Can you talk a little bit about, what have you seen from an HRV standpoint, from a training standpoint, what's the biggest thing you've learned over the years with the use of technology?

Mark: Well. Probably the biggest thing that I've seen Joel, is the fact that everybody's going to respond to training much differently so whereas you could go out for, do squats for 45 minutes. Same with Howie, same with me and then we go back and test on the Omegawave. Each of us is going to have a different response and a different recovery time from that training and so really learning how to treat the training on an individualized basis. And also understanding that the stress outside of training will affect how our athletes recover. So it's just not the training stress that we have to think about. It's are they doing their homework? Are they getting to bed on time? Are they doing the things outside of the training that allow them to recover to go into harder training?

Joel: Yeah, I mean, Howie's a baseball player. Obviously you guys travel all over the country and get to play and all the stress go along with that. What do you think as far as the utility of HRV and monitoring all the stresses outside of just training?

Howie: I always look at everything from a baseball perspective, like you said. Whether we travel, mental stress. Sleep, food, the diet, everything is a factor. Game times, different game times. Baseball is a little bit different because you can play the game and not really do anything and there are other games where you can kind of be all over the place and so where recovery, and that's where I think HRV is great in terms of knowing when you may have to take a day and do some recovery work or if you're ready to train and what I was going to ask you was, how young do you, you know you deal with a lot of younger athletes.

Mark: Right.

Howie: Do you check our their HRV right away? Or is there a cut off?

Mark: Well, anybody and everybody that comes into our facility gets tested so whether they're 10, 11, 12 because the thing really what happens with high school and college athletes is the sudden cardiac death that happens. So what my stance was from when I opened the company, was that we wanted to take care of the health and well being of our athlete and the only way to do that was through the Omegawave and the HRV. So, I want to know, number one are they heart healthy to train? Whether they're 10 or 80, it doesn't matter. And then from there, they do need, and they do maybe have an underlying cardiac issue, we can see it, tell the parents, hey, you need to take your son or daughter to see your pediatrician and go for some more testing and that has happened more than once.

[no audio 09:45]

Mark: Yeah.

Joel: You see some results. It's startling.

Mark: Yeah. That's the big paradigm shift with the training side is teaching parents that more work isn't necessarily better and with this feedback system that we have, whether it's the Omegawave, the BioForce, it's telling us that your son or daughter is just not ready to do what you want them to do.

Joel: I think we're seeing unfortunately, especially within the last few years, we're seeing more and more programs going towards volume, volume frequency, frequency and we're losing the individuality. Coaching has become just how hard can you run your athletes in the ground and coaches like you and myself have seen that that is not a good approach. The individuality has to be focused on if you really want to take each athlete and deliver the results that they need when they want to get to the top.

Mark: Yeah, absolutely and looking at the training from a long-term perspective and understanding that it's going to take 10 years, 10,000 hours to reach elite status and that takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication, but if you're always hurt because you're trying to rush things too much then that athlete will never reach their full potential.

Howie: Well the hard part is it makes a lot of work for you right? Having to individualize each program. You can't just put together a workout and say this is what everybody's doing if half the people aren't able to train that way then it's . . .

Mark: Fortunately, because I've been doing this now for ten years, I have a good kind of the art side of training. There's a science side, which you need and then there's the art of it. So over trial and error, and believe me I've made my share of mistakes, you kind of figure out what works and what doesn't. And then also how the individual athlete is going to respond to those changes and you can only do that through practically applying it.

Joel: And pay attention to the person as and individual.

Mark: Yeah.

Joel: These classes with just 50 people or 100 people. To me it's crazy, there's no way you're ever going to really help that person get where they need to go by throwing them into a group of 100 people and doing the same thing to all of them.

Mark: Oh yeah and I think that's why there's some things in America where it's just over volumized and there's certain sports that we're just not good at and really the ones that the rest of the world cares about and the ones that we're good at, they could care less about. That's why with these types of modalities that we're talking about like the Omegawave we can hopefully help the athlete reach their potential.

Joel: Let's talk about the high resistance stuff we did today with the bike. Where do you see that fitting in? Today you talked about recovery and the aerobic [inaudible 12:43]. Let's talk about football. Where would you use that typically in football athletes and stuff, you said you work a lot with these days. Where would you fit that into their program?

Mark: Yeah. Well, first of all if you listen to coaches talk about football and based on the science it's alactic aerobic. So there's no lactic accumulation throughout the game. We can all agree on that, right?

Joel: Absolutely.

Mark: But, when you look at the practices and the way that these coaches put these kids through during a week. While the game may not be lactic environment, the practices certainly are. All you have to do is go watch it. And so one of the things that I've done with those high resistance bike rides is, for instance, we'll take a high school example, where they plan Friday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are typically the hardest days. So then I put that bike ride on a Thursday, or late after a Wednesday practice to help recover the mitochondria that's been damaged during those three days, so accumulation. And then when they get to Friday, they feel almost euphoric.

Joel: They're ready to go.

Mark: Yeah, and so it's partly the recovery of the mitochondria then just that sense of well being. Then there's a psychological component too of oh man this guy really cares about me. I feel great. This must really work, and so you get a psychological benefit out of it as well.

Joel: I've had Howie do those a little bit here and there and I know you liked them as well.

Howie: Yeah I did them on the bike and then we also did them with that rope. The endless rope which is very tough for the upper body, but you definitely feel rejuvenated and like you said, especially after a heavy leg day, a squat, maybe some [inaudible 14:37]. You can do that the next day and it's something to build on for the next time. You definitely notice your recovery the more you improve that aerobic side.

Mark: Right. Absolutely and then there's also the biological power side of it, where you have games that require 60 to 90 minutes and yes strength is important, but you also need the engine.

Joel: Yeah, maintain your strength, right?

Mark: To maintain that strength over 60 to 90 minutes and so this is another good tool to help build that capacity to carry out your speed or your strength for an entire game.

Joel: Yeah, absolutely. Real quick before we get going. For someone that doesn't have a spin bike, we talked about a couple alternatives. Maybe you can tell the audience what it is, what are ways they can get the same effect if they don't have spin bike? I know they're not pleasant. So we might have to make Howie do them.

Mark: Oh we're definitely going to I think have Howie do them for hours on end. The first one is the walking lunges and again it's the same parameters, five to 20 minutes of work, but you need to make sure that after you lunge and come up that you relax and then lunge out again. And then something that you and I talked about some years ago was the step ups. Maybe you could talk a little bit more about how you use that and how you've used it in the past.

Joel: Right. Genuinely it's the same principal, like you're saying. Instead of doing a lunge uphill or the bike you can just have generally about a 24 inch box, depending on the person's height. You just have them do step ups one at a time. Take a break in between and same principal, five to 20 minutes of work. Honestly, it's brutal so for the most part we throw in the bike unless it's Howie, then we throw him the step ups, but for the most part we try and stick to the bike as the preferred method of doing it.

Mark: Right. I know mental toughness is always the buzzword in the industry. I think there's some things that you and I know that could really test people's mental toughness that they have no idea about.

Joel: Overall, I've used the method for years and I know you have so it's one that most people don't do and people think of really high intensity intervals or they think of distant work and they don't realize there's ways to get the benefits of the high intensity work without necessarily as much trauma and as much stress on the joints and everything else and that's where something like this really comes in.

Mark: Absolutely.

Howie: Most of the time I was going to say people don't think about aerobic being painful. You know high intensity wise like that. It's challenging, but definitely it's a nice change from doing other types of cardio or aerobic work I should say.

Mark: Yeah. Absolutely.

Joel: All right, well that wraps up this weeks show. A special thanks to Mark McLaughlin. Where can people find out, I know you have some stuff on EliteFTS, but where else can they find you? What's your website, Mark?

Mark: Yeah so the website is and then within that website I also have my blog that I've been writing now for the past two months.

Joel: Facebook, Twitter, you got any social stuff online?

Mark: Oh yeah, Facebook.

Joel: You're connected?

Mark: Oh yeah, I'm super connected. And I sell the Blackberry.

Joel: Do they make those anymore?

Mark: They do, they do.

Joel: All right, well people will have to send you a message to your Blackberry.

Mark: That's right.

Joel: So you can make sure and stay tuned to next week. We're going to have a great show on nutrition and athletic performance and we have some special guests for that. In the meantime, make sure and enter your name and email to get instant email updates about the latest news and stuff going on here at 8 Weeks Out. You can find us again at Twitter. Just Twitter/joeljamieson, Facebook/8weeksout and of course here at we'll have more and we'll see you here again next week.

11 Responses to High Intensity Continuous Training

  1. Baltoe says:

    Joel – Ian (aka ‘Baltoe’) here. Can you post the protocol for the high intensity continuous training for the rower? Low RPM, but what intensity? PS – I am ‘connected’ out, so do not want to create any facebook page, thus unable to leave comment in box above.

    • Joel Jamieson says:

      You have to have a rower where you can use a pretty decent level of resistance and then you have to pay close attention to technique, but it can definitely be done. Pull as hard and fast as you can on each rep and then be slower on the return. I’ve actually used it with the Versaclimber a lot and I like that a lot as well

  2. Mr.natural76 says:

    At the end, when they were proposing alternatives to the bike they mentioned step-ups or lunges, but then added that they were “brutal.” Can someone help me understand how this 5-20 on approach can be a recovery tool, “low” day option, and approach to rejuvenate even the day before a game (they said Thursdays prior to a HS game on Friday) and be brutal at the same time?

    • Joel Jamieson says:

      You wouldn’t use those variations of HICT as a regeneration method, they are different than being on the bike because there is an eccentric load when doing step ups or lunges while there isn’t on the bike.

  3. Shannon_F says:

    Wow. From reading the book, I had no idea on just how slow the rotation is on these. I see others below looking for alternatives to a bike, and it appears that it is better to leave the eccentric loading out, if possible. Could you drag a heavy sled very slowly? What about carrying a moderately heavy load up a hill, such as a farmer’s walk? For the upper body, you mention the Versaclimber. Could you slowly pull a rope with a moderately heavy load as well?

  4. hornetdriver says:


    The link to Mark’s website and the end of today’s episode is wrong!

    The right is written like this, this is the one that works!



  5. akqjt says:

    I remember the book saying something like, “you should only be able to do 20-30 RPM, even if you’re trying very hard”. The subject in the video didn’t really look like he was exerting that much effort.

    What kind of HR range is ideal when doing HICT in this manner?

  6. npf says:

    What are the metabolic effects of training like this? Seems like a good way to NOT cut into recovery in between workouts and still get that EPOC effect of HIIT

  7. […] be worked through, and it should be. Prohaska says the second step to overcoming sore muscles is high-intensity continuous training. That is, five to 25-minute exercises the day after the workout that left you sore. Utilize […]

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