INTENSITY: Ways to modify

By: Jim Bryan

Following are some of the ways you can alter or modify the intensity of your workouts. Some are from Arthur Jones learned in the 70′s. Others are more recent. None are my “discoveries” I learned them from some of the more well known Strength Training Authorities. I have been fortunate to meet many trainers in my 40 plus years of Strength Training. I’ll cover as many as I can.

Adding weight or Reps

This is fundamental. You have to train in a progressive manner. Add a little weight when you can do a certain amount of reps, or do extra reps if the weight feels “lite” that day. Keep a log and always try to improve from your last workout.

What if you are already training very heavy and the force of the weights on your joints is starting to worry you?

Then you can try some of these options before going back to your heavy weights and regular workouts.

Training to Failure or Overload

Don’t argue over this. Do it if you want……….or not! Nobody really cares. This is not only the domain of the HIGH INTENSITY trainee. Many also use it that don’t consider themselves to be of the “HIT” Camp. It is just a tool. In the old days we continued an exercise until we couldn’t move…….by any means. Today I stop a set for most of my clients when their form starts to break down. It is a judgment call for me and I prefer to keep my clients training as safe as possible. Now and then I find someone that can push like we used to and for those rare clients that’s what we do. Easier to do with machines but can be done with free weights, especially if you have a “Power Rack”.

Pre Exhaustion

Using an Isolation or “single joint” movement preceding a compound or “multi Joint” movement for a muscle group. Example: Leg Extension then Squats or Leg press. Or Side Lateral raise then Standing or Seated Press. You are “Pre Exhausting” the target muscle group then finishing off that group with a compound movement.


Immediately after reaching failure remove some of the weight and continue for a few more reps. Don’t overdo this one. One or two Breakdowns for an exercise are good.

Negative Only

Your training partners raise the weight or do the “concentric” part of the movement and you lower it. Lowering the weight is the negative or “eccentric” portion. You’ll be using quite a bit of weight for this. Research says you are 40% stronger lowering a weight than you are raising it. Make sure you are lowering under control. This is a hard way to workout. It is especially hard on your partners.

Negative Accentuated

Raising, pulling, or pushing the weight with two limbs and lowering it with one. An easier way of doing negative training. You don’t need help.


Pick three exercises. One for the legs and hips, one for the upper back, one for the chest and shoulders. Train one right after another in circuit fashion and repeat a total of three times. Usually done to failure with no rest at all. Example: Squat or Leg Press or Trap Bar deadlift. Then Chins or Pullovers (or pulldowns) or a rowing movement. Third movement could be Dips or overhead presses (standing or seated) or bench press. Check your shorts when your done!

Rest Pause

Find a rep range that you like doing and complete that set by pausing from time to time to finish that set. Another words you normally wouldn’t be able to complete the reps without pausing.

30′s Day

Pick a half dozen or so exercises that cover the whole body. Use your normal weight or close to it. Now all you have to do is complete 30 reps! One set each exercise. With most people this is a “rest pause” effort. However, I have one client that can go through a full workout doing straight sets! No rest! No she doesn’t use baby weights. She looks like a model and has Bull Dog determination. She won’t quit. I can’t do it!

50′s Day

Same as above only this time you have to complete FIFTY reps. Oh, By the way! She does this with out a pause also. Who says Women are the weaker?

100′s day

Never done it. Have heard that some have. Same as above only 100 reps. Call in to work and tell them you won’t be in for a while!

Forced reps

Similar to a breakdown set except the weight is not changed. At failure your partner supplies enough help for you to complete three or four more reps. This technique has been around as long as dirt.

Slow training

RenX (formerly known as “Super Slow” training) is a very effective protocol and it’s not easy. If you have an opportunity to learn from a certified RenX Trainer, do it. Check with Renaissance Exercise under Ken Hutchins. Their website can explain the details. There are many.

1 ¼’s

In each rep pause at the contracted position and then lower it a quarter of the way down. Then all the way back up to full contraction before lowering to start position. This is one rep. Do each rep like this.


Do one rep and take a full deep breath. Then do two reps followed by a full deep breath. Then do three reps followed by a full deep breath. Then do four reps following the same breathing format. Then five reps. Then six reps all using a pause with a full deep breath. You can also start with six reps and go to one. I guess you could call this “Regressions” but the same people that get their shorts in a knot over the term “Failure” would probably get in a hissie over this term also. Oh, please get a life.


Three consecutive sets followed by a 30 second rest between sets. After the first set, 10 pounds are added for the upper body exercises and 20 pounds for the lower. For the third set remove the added weights.

1 ½’s

Do a full rep and then a half rep. That counts as one rep.

30 second Hold

On the first rep pause in the contracted position for 30 seconds before continuing the set.

10 Second holds

Pause for ten seconds in the contracted position for every rep in a set of exercises.

7 Up set

A set where seven normal speed reps to failure are followed by a 30-45 second pause in the fully contracted position.

15 Second Reps

Five seconds to raise the weight, followed by a five second contraction, then a five second lowering of the weight. Do each rep of the set this way.

30 Second Reps

Same as above but use 10 seconds for the raise-hold-lower sequence.


Used primarily by the competitive Strength Athlete. Means simply to do sets using single reps, double reps, or triples. You will be using max weights doing this, so the force will be high. Can be dangerous, but if you accept the danger use it to your benefit! If you are worried about what the force may do to your joints over time, then avoid this.

Manual Resistance

Your partner or trainer/coach provides the resistance in these movements. I usually use it for the neck. (Manual Resistance for the neck can be done by yourself) The pressure or resistance is supplied by you or your partners hands. Can be done for many muscle groups, such as shoulders (laterals) Chest (flys) Thighs (abductor/adductor) Biceps (manual curls) Triceps (pushdowns/ tri press) Use your imagination and you can come up with several exercises. Can be a very intense way to work out. I don’t like it for to many workouts in a row but is fine from time to time. It can be hard on your partner, they usually get worn out before they workout.


Done at the end of a workout to squeeze every last ounce of effort you can supply. Farmers Walk for distance, Sand or sawdust bag carries for distance or time, Sled pull for distance or pushing some kind of weighted object for distance (car, sled, etc.) I use a two minute nonstop punching drill on a hanging heavy bag. Great for conditioning! I don’t use it for every workout just from time to time. Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Use what you think you can. This is by no means a complete list. I’ll probably think of some more as soon as I turn this article in. But it’s time to stop.

Strength Training is a journey, so enjoy the trip!

Train Safe….Train Hard….Train Smart

Thanks to: Arthur Jones, Kim Wood, Dr. Ken, Mark Asanovich, Matt Brzycki, Jim Flanagan and John Szimanski.


Another awesome article from my friend Jim Bryan. Thanks Jim!

The 4-Minute Peaceful Warrior Workout

Product Spotlight:

This week I want to let people know about a brief and effective fitness program that I have personally used for years. It’s called the Peaceful Warrior Workout.

The Peaceful Warrior Workout was developed by my friend Dan Millman, Dan is a former world-champion gymnast, coach, martial arts teacher, and the author of 15 books including the timeless classic “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”

The Peaceful Warrior Workout program draws on Dan’s  years of experience as an athlete and coach, and combines elements of Yoga, Dance, Martial Arts, and Gymnastics, to create a simple but effective, total-body exercise program.

As I said above, I have personally used the Peaceful Warrior Workout for years. I have used it as a stand alone program, but most often use it as a daily part of my total-fitness plan. I also find it works extremely well as a dynamic warm-up series before more intense activities.

In our modern society time is at a premium, while the need for exercise has never been greater. Learn how you can bring the joy of exercise into your life in just minutes a day.

Read a little more below.

Many of us want to develop a regular exercise routine to relieve stress and feel lighter, clearer, and happier — if only we could find the time in our busy schedules.

Now you can jump-start your day (and your life) with a powerful 4-minute workout that you can enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your home, apartment, or hotel room when traveling. This is the same efficient routine that Dan himself has done each and every day for the past 27 years – at home or on the road.

Visit the link and get started today.






Proskaor (Viking) Ikaika (Hawaiian)

By Jim Bryan

Two cultures that interest me are Norse (Viking) and Hawaiian. Both are fascinated with physical strength and so am I. I had my own home gym by 14, put together starting around 12 years old. I used money earned from my job with the Ski Show at Cypress Gardens . As youngsters, me and my friends were always trying to lift things. The kids most looked up to were the strongest. At that time I wasn’t one of them, but I was trying. My first courses were the York Barbell Courses. The pictures helped but you had to fill in the blanks. Before that I did body weight exercises and gymnastic movements. I also started Boxing. Fights broke out in the neighborhood often, I was usually one of the participants. We didn’t have video games, so we improvised. Sports and the resulting fisticuffs were part of it. I was good at wrestling but not so good at boxing. Our fights ended up on the ground most of the time and usually ended with some kind of bending a body part until you couldn’t stand the pain and said “Uncle.” This is called submission today. I was pretty good at this but had no formal training. I Just learned by having it done to me. Several of the Fathers were WWII Vets and showed their sons how to bend arms, legs, necks, and backs. It was good that I was strong. When I started Boxing I didn’t pay anymore attention to the wrestling. Today I feel that was a mistake, but I wanted to be better at Boxing. So I lifted weights and boxed too.

At first I lifted or boxed every day. I was getting better at both. Then at 14 I was riding my motorcycle (Triumph Tiger Cub) and was hit by a car. Damn near killed me. As I was getting better I read all of the Muscle Mags I could get. I was more determined than ever to be strong again. At 70 something pounds I was far from looking like a lifter. The Dr. told me that lifting weights had saved my back from being ruined in the accident. It seems that my Spinal Erectors were well developed and protected me. I got better slowly and went back to my gym and even started adding to it again. Mostly, I had free weights and some crude machines (leverage and pulley) my Dad made. I was into “Strength body building.” I wanted to look good but I also wanted to be as strong as I looked. I got interested in Olympic Lifting and met Bill LeMacks. Bill was an Olympic Lifting Champion as well as one of the top Physique guys in the South. He later was a Champion Power Lifter too. So now I was bodybuilding, boxing, and Olympic lifting.

Al and Vera Christensen opened up a Gym in Winter Haven , Florida where I lived and still live. Al set up a nice lifting platform for us in the back and I went as often as I could. Al was also well known as a lifter and Body Builder. Olympic Lifting was my thing then. I did a few curls after my sessions but mainly used the Olympic lifts, Squats, Front Squats, Presses off the racks and Jerks off the rack. I used High pulls, Dead Hangs and dead lifts. Taken to singles most workouts. I entered meets around Florida and when I started competing in Body Building I used the lifting as my athletic skill points. (Back then you had to show you could do something other than flex your muscles) I also continued my boxing, which by then I was pretty confident in.

I got interested in Power lifting and for awhile I used the Olympic Lifts and the Power Lifts in my training. Sometimes, all in the same day. Pretty much all I did was workout somehow, some way. I was tired much of the time. It took me a long time to figure out that I could get more out of less. Al tried to tell me and so did Bill. I wanted to be as good as them and just figured I had to work harder and more to get there. If you needed me I was at the gym. My workouts were in the two hour range. Sometimes, longer. Fortunately, I did learn to train in a briefer format. It wasn’t a piece of cake though. Brief, hard workouts can take it out of you too. You just have to pay attention to how you are feeling and plan accordingly. For me, I quit using the Olympic Lifts because of injuries incurred by competition and other Sports. I just couldn’t keep up the pounding I was taking on my joints. By this time exercise equipment had come out of the “Dark Ages” and I found I could train very hard again. I was still doing Power Lifting on the side. These movements complemented my Body Building pretty well. I didn’t want to be just another “Weak Body Builder.” I was training with Arthur Jones (I called him Art then) by now. I drove back and forth to Deland as much as I could. I met some great people (Kim Wood, Jim Flanagan, Casey Viator, Dan Howard) and was very inspired to train. I also had gotten married and bought a house. Funny thing happened, I acquired an Olympic set and set up a gym in my garage. I had a bench, 300 Lb. Olympic set (later 400lbs Plus), and squat stands. I was Power lifting and Olympic Lifting on alternate days. Didn’t compete but I was strong as hell (could it be the things I was doing in Deland helped? (Naw, there’s no evidence for that type training.) One day I fell while doing squats (heavy) and thought it was over. I trained by myself and used squat stands and not a rack. S-t-u-p-i-d. I wasn’t hurt, just shaken. Not long after, my back and shoulder started bothering me when I did the Olympic lifts. I stopped doing them and just trained High Intensity and some volume too. I used mostly machines. I sold all of my equipment to a local High school.

Since then I still use mostly machines. I like the Leverage machines and have a Pendulum Multi Machine. I’m still planning to get a Power rack someday and an Olympic Set, Just to have when I want to use it. My Cardio equipment is a Jumprope or the Squat Station on the Pendulum. We usually get our cardio from fast paced workouts including 20 to 20+ rep squats.

As you can see, I have done most forms of Strength Training, and competed in some. I feel you can get strong, and get stronger using ANY form of progressive weight training. Keyword PROGRESSIVE. What you have to figure out is what form is best for you? What are your goals? What is your experience? Can you get strong and well built from Olympic Lifting? Yes, you can. Can you get Strong and well built from Power lifting? Yes, you can. Can you get strong and well built from Volume training? Yes, you can. Can you get strong and well built from High Intensity Training (HIT) and it’s subsystems? Yes, you can. Do you have to train “explosively” in the weight room to be “explosive” on the field? No you don’t. BUT “The NSCA says I won’t be successful if I don’t!” The NSCA has an agenda and probably isn’t relevant to your situation. The choice ultimately comes back to you. What do you want to do? Don’t listen to some Bubba or some Brain if they are telling you to do something you don’t want to do. No Bro Science. This includes supplement usage.

No magic pills…….. Eat as raw as you can. Train as hard as you can. Train as safe as you can. If you want to compete in the Strength Sports……… it! You’ll have fun. Train for life. BUT don’t ever let anyone tell you that you have to train any certain way. I guarantee, if you don’t like what you’re doing, you won’t do it long. I train mostly High Intensity, or what I call High Performance Training but that’s just me. You may like something else and that is OK. Know your subject.

Live strong – Live long! Aloha!

Some Final points
1. You don’t have to Olympic Lift to be successful at sports other than Olympic Lifting.
2. You don’t have to use “free weights” to be successful at sport.
3. You don’t have to use machines to be safe. Training safe is a matter of choice and there are ways to use most equipment and still be safe.
4. You don’t have to lift weights explosively to be explosive in your sport.
5. You don’t have to mimic your sport in the weight room. Train for strength and practice your sport.
6. Using single joint movements in your routine doesn’t automatically make you a Bodybuilder.
7. You can use brief, hard workouts and succeed.
8. You don’t have to have supplements to be successful.
9. You can mix protocols.
10. Men and Women can train the same.
11. Don’t listen to Bubba Platehead or Discussion Board Bro Science. Gather your information the same way you do for other interests in your life. Bull dookey is still bull dookey no matter where it comes from. It all boils down to common sense.

“As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.”

TAKU’s NOTE: Thanks to my freind Jim Bryan for continuing to share his words of wisdom with us here at Hybrid Fitness

Sportband Appreciation

By The Viking

We call this “Sportband Appreciation” because sportbands are an easy and effective training tool. They’re very inexpensive, you can pack them anywhere and they work for everyone. If you’re never worked with sportbands before, give them a try.

This workout is very basic, but depending on the resistance and intensity you use, it can be very challenging. Go through all the exercises once, then repeat if you feel up to the challenge.

The resistance for these exercises is determined by the size of the band you use. Start light and move up accordingly.

Intensity may be increased in a number of ways:

1.) Using heavier resistance

2.) Limiting rest time between sets

3.) Increasing repetition speed

NOTE: Limiting rest time includes the time between switching sides, if applicable, as well as switching exercises.


Sportband Horizontal Rows

Right Side: 15 Rows

Left Side: 15 Rows

(Rest :45)

Sportband Chest Press

15 presses (both arms simultaneously)

(Rest :45)

Sportband Squat (band supported behind the neck, across the shoulders)

15 Squats

(rest :30)

15 Squats

(Rest :45)

Sportband Overhead Press

Right Side: 10 presses

Left Side: 10 Presses

(Rest :45)

Sportband Deadlift

15 Deadlifts

(rest :30)

15 Deadlifts


At Hybrid Fitness, we’ve always been a big fan of Iron Woody sport bands ( We’ve been using them for years and discovered a few things…they’re incredibly durable, guaranteed for a year and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate ANY level of strength. Iron Woody has a lot of other great gear so check them out and see what you find.

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