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High Intensity Training For Natural Bodybuilders

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High Intensity Training For Natural Bodybuilders

So for the past 33 years, I have trained with something I call Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, it’s a form of high intensity training for natural bodybuilders that became as well a cornerstone of my success as a personal trainer over the past three decades. part of my success.

It’s helped me go from a 125 pound skinny kid to realizing my dream as a natural bodybuilder. And I was able to do it training only three times a week with workouts that last 10, sometimes only 15, maybe max 20 minutes.

And now right there you might get a little bit skeptical as to how could someone build a physique like that training for a short period of time.

And could it just be that Kevin’s exceptionally gifted in terms of building muscle and was able to do a lot more than the average person could do by training less?

But it’s not just me as I’ve trained literally hundreds of men and women over the past 32 years with this particular way of high intensity training, with many of them also being natural bodybuilders who even went on to win their Pro Cards.

So it’s not a case of something that just works for me, it’s something that I have proven time and time again and refined time and time again.

And there are a lot of really popular high intensity protocols out there, but they lack the very important nuances of what needs to be done for a natural athlete, as all of them were created for and popularized by enhanced athletes.

And so in this video, I’m going to break down over three decades of observations of best practices for high intensity training for natural bodybuilders in terms of what is most important for a natural athlete to optimize muscle growth.

So stay tuned, let’s roll the credits and we’ll talk more about this.

So in this video, I’m breaking down some really important tips for high intensity training for natural athletes.

But before I go any further, I’d like to thank everyone for tuning in, especially those that say this should be a one stop place for anyone interested in training naturally and without drugs. I really and truly appreciate the support. And do be sure to like, subscribe, and hit that bell so you’re the first one to get the new content as it comes out.

So onto our topic at hand, which is high intensity training tips.

And I think that when people hear me talking about high intensity training, it becomes something that’s a little bit difficult to digest. And they tend to be quite surprised when I tell them I train only three days a week with workouts that can last as short as 10, 15, or 20 minutes.

It sounds too good to be true.

Naturally Intense High Intensity Training Was An Experiment

And the first thing I want to say is that when I started doing this as a teenager, it did indeed sound too good to be true, and I didn’t believe it was going to work.

Naturally Intense High Intensity Training was an experiment.

It was something I started putting together as a teenager, because I realized that I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted by following what the guys in the muscle magazines were doing or the guys in the gym.

They meant really well when they gave me advice, but it was a huge discrepancy in terms of what they were doing on their results and the results I could get because I wasn’t using drugs.

Most popular high intensity workouts were popularized by enhanced athletes

And so being a bit of a bookworm, I did what any nerdy kid would do, which is I would go to the library, I’d read everything I could find about how muscles actually worked.

And so I put together a set of training routines that were so difficult that I initially had to have the instructors at the gym take me through them, because they were way too hard for me to do on my own.

And I started seeing real results.

The experiment was working so much so that I was able able to compete in my first bodybuilding competition and started realizing my dream of actually being a natural bodybuilder.

Natural Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson posing

But I didn’t stop there.

I became a personal trainer and started training clients with the same methodology, again, as an experiment that I didn’t know if it would work for anyone else, but it did, and it was far more successful than I could ever have imagined. 

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Naturally Intense High Intensity Training has been featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News. I’ve trained everyone from celebrities to CEOs and helped hundreds of men and women realize their fitness goals of building muscle, losing body fat all in less time.

It’s been quite a journey from those initial days of trying to figure things out.

And in this video, I’m going to go over some of the basic principles of Naturally Intense High Training  and highlight as well some of the differences between this form of training designed for the average non-drug-using man or woman and other forms of high intensity training programs out there.

High Intensity Training Principle: No Full Body Workouts 

So here’s what distinguishes Naturally Intense High Intensity Training from other forms of high intensity training protocols.

Number one, is the three day training split– there are no full body workouts.

Naturally Intense High Intensity Training does not involve full body workouts

Full body workouts do not work at all within this particular form of training, because here’s the problem.

If you’re training at really high intensity, and let’s say you did a back workout, there is no way you can do your biceps on the same day, because with the intensity that I bring to a back workout, my biceps are completely shot and I could never train them as intensely immediately after a back workout.

No way.

Same for chest training.

If I did a chest workout, there is no way I can train my shoulders, because my shoulders are completely shot.

And vice versa if you switch the orders around, I wouldn’t even talk about legs.

Your training should be intense enough that you can't do a full body workout

If you’re really doing a high intensity leg workout, you should not be able to do anything else.

So the whole idea of full body workout right there is an impractical one.

And it’s not something I’m just saying  from hearsay or conjecture, because as I said before, I started off with high intensity training as an experiment and I tried every possible training split and realized very early on that it was impossible for me to get through a full body workout training at the type of intensity that I usually train at.

High Intensity Training For Natural Bodybuilders Tip #2: 3 Day Training Split

Naturally Intense High Intensity Training uses a three day training split

And so it became really important for me to have training splits, training three days a week.

And my standard training split is legs on day one.

Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson's high intensity training split starts with legs

Back and shoulders on day two.

Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson's high intensity training split has back and shoulders as day 2

And chest, arms, abdominals on day three.

Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson's high intensity training split puts chest, arms, and abs as day 3

Now again, as a natural athlete, we have to think in terms of our recovery.

There’s a lot of information out there talking about the fact that whenever we train, testosterone levels go up. And so we should do high volume training, because it means that the more you train, the more testosterone goes up.

Recovery after high intensity training is extremely important for natural bodybuilders and athletes

We have to remember that research is done in isolation.

Just because they find that there’s a slight increase in testosterone after a workout doesn’t mean that they found a consistent increase in overall muscle mass when someone was training with more days compared to someone training less days at a high intensity training.

And more importantly, none of the research found any conclusive links between post-exercise testosterone increases and an increase in muscle mass.

Research has found no conclusive link between post exercise testosterone increases and muscle mass increases

The data simply isn’t there.

And again, I have the intellectual humility to not say that higher volume training can’t work, but I’m saying that within the context of high intensity training, the type of training that I do, it is impossible to get the same gains training more than three days a week.

A 3 day training split has shown better overall muscle growth with high intensity training

I have always found with all the natural bodybuilders who I worked with who would not listen to everything that I said and would train four days, sometimes five days instead of three days, that those who trained three days at this intensity always did better in terms of overall muscle growth.

So no full body workouts and just a three day split.

High Intensity Training For Natural Bodybuilders Principle #3: The Importance of Exercise Variety
Principle 3 of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training is exercise variety

Exercise variety.

This is probably the most mystifying and difficult aspect to grasp in terms of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, because every single workout’s different.

Naturally Intense High Intensity Training involves using many techniques to keep workouts different every time

So when someone says, “Kevin, what does your workout look like?”

And I answer them that it doesn’t really look like anything. And because it’s always different, always evolving. 

Natural Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson can average over 100 exercises in 6 months

And the whole idea again is that as a natural athlete, we are focused on trying to make sure our muscles are always being hit with an overload it’s not used to.

And if you’re doing that, it means you can’t rely on doing the same exercises over and over.

Natural Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson has had no overuse injuries in 35 years

And in terms of injury prevention, I cannot stress as someone approaching 50 years old who is still able to train as hard and as heavy as I have in my 20s and doesn’t have any overuse injury, who’s also trained hundreds of men and women who don’t have overuse injuries from years of this form of training, that it’s really critical that you change your routines.

Best of all, that constant change of routine also makes it such that momentary muscular failure isn’t the be all and end all of this form of training, which leads to my next point.

High Intensity Training For Natural Bodybuilders Principle #4: All Sets Don’t Go To Failure
Not all high intensity training sets need to go to failure

One major difference between Naturally Intense High Intensity Training and other forms of high intensity training is simply the fact that momentary muscular failure, while important, isn’t the be all and end all.

Yes, you have to train extremely hard with everything that you do.

It’s absolute.

The idea of stimulate, not annihilate doesn’t apply to a natural bodybuilder doing high intensity workouts, because you need to really push it.

Someone on drugs like I always say, can grow without doing anything.

You can take loads of testosterone and grow sitting on your couch doing absolutely nothing, but that’s not how muscles work on a natural athlete.

Men and women on steroids can increase muscle mass even with no training

Your muscles are only going to grow if they’re confronted with some sort of overload that forces them to adapt.

And yes, momentary muscular failure is an exceptionally good way to do that. But there are more tools in that toolbox and think about this as well.

So let’s take for example, barbell arm blaster curls.

So this particular exercise, I have not done literally in maybe about three or maybe even four years, and I’m loading the bar up with 125 pounds. So it’s pretty heavy as an exercise that I’m completely unfamiliar with. And as such, as I go along, I’m training really hard as you can see.

Natural Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson demonstrating high intensity training with arm blaster barbell curls

The intensity is certainly there, but you will notice I am currently nursing a wrist injury, and so I can’t go heavier and I have to be a little bit on the careful side, but given the fact that I’m really pushing it and going close to but not quite at momentary muscular failure, because I don’t want to aggravate my wrist injury, the combination of the intensity, the heavy weight, and the novelty of the exercise means that there will be some muscle growth from this particular exercise, even though I didn’t go to momentary muscular failure.

Again, muscles grow in response to overload and unaccustomed stimulus.

Muscles grow in response to unaccustomed stimulus

And within the Naturally Intense High Intensity Training framework, we’re always focused on making sure all those factors are always met.

So yes, sometimes you train to momentary muscular failure.

You’ll do two sets. Last set, you’ll go all out.

Failure during a high intensity workout can happen in one set with proper warm up!

Sometimes you do one set, go all out, because you’re already warmed up.

But sometimes you’ll do three sets and you won’t go to failure at all with them, because you’re doing something that’s completely different. See my article: How Many Sets and Reps for Natural Bodybuilders.

Momentary muscular failure may not be necessary with a new exercise

And again, I cannot stress how very different my workouts are from one day to another.

Principle #5: High Intensity Training Techniques

Principle of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training for natural bodybuilders is to use different techniques to maintain intensity

So as far as what kind of techniques we employ with Naturally Intense, the answer is all of them. Every single workout is different, we utilize just about every single high intensity principle that you can imagine, and the intensity is blistering.

And that’s a very important aspect of why it works.

I’ve had training programs from me and they were really motivated athletes, but whenever I trained them, it was always much more intense than what they were doing on their own.

Clients who used coaching always had a higher gain in muscle mass

And comparing those who’ve trained directly with me or my trainers compared to those who train on their own, there’s always a significant difference in overall muscle mass and fat loss. See my article: How To Burn More Fat Lifting Weights- High Intensity Training Tips

Coaching is important.

You always have to train with the idea you need to step it up and find a way to do so safely. And the best way to do so is through coaching.

And that’s by no means an ad for a Naturally Intense High Intensity Personal Training.

But bear in mind, if I needed other instructors to initially push me to do the workouts when I first started, you should take that into consideration.

It takes 3 months to a year to become a Naturally Intense High Intensity Training certified personal trainer

Now, bear in mind, to become a certified Naturally Intense Personal Trainer, you have to go through an apprenticeship of three months to a year.

And even after being certified, you still have to train under supervision on a regular basis, because even trainers need someone to push them.

Naturally Intense founder Kevin Richardson with Senior Trainer Erika Citrin

Principle #6: 10-15 Minute High Intensity Workouts

Naturally Intense High Intensity Training workouts should last 10-15 minutes

The workout should last 10, no more than 15 minutes.

“One, two, three, four.”

If you can train and do any longer than that, you’re probably not training hard enough.

If your workout is intense enough it shouldn't last long

So we only have a finite amount of energy.

So you can train hard or you can train long, but it’s physically impossible to do both.

Which then leads to the question as to how is it possible to do a full chest, biceps, and triceps workout within the course of only 10 to 15 minutes?

10-15 minute high intensity workouts are possible!

And the answer is it can be done,  but you have to really push it. And again, it does make sense to have supervision while training this way, because you do need someone outside of yourself and knowing how far you can go and then pushing you to that limit. 

And so I hope this video gives you a little bit of insight into Naturally Intense High Intensity Training.

And I’ve always seen this as a tradition and traditions are not things that you hold for yourself.

They’re ideas that come with a responsibility of using them to also enrich the lives of others. 

Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson uses high intensity training to enrich the lives of those around him

So I have a lot of videos already here on this channel about this form of training, and if you have any questions as well, do feel free to put them in the comments, because I do read each and every single one of them, because I think what you have to say and your goals are important.

So thanks so much for tuning in, keep on training hard, and as always, Excelsior.

Related Articles:

High Intensity Biceps Training for Natural Bodybuilders

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Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, Kevin Richardson’s Naturally Intense High Intensity Training have helped hundreds lose weight and transform their bodies with his 10 Minute Workouts. One of the top natural bodybuilders of his time, Kevin is also the international fitness consultant for UNICEF and one of the top personal trainers in New York City.

Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardsonhttps://www.naturallyintense.net
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training. Kevin has helped thousands, from celebrities to CEO's over the past 30 years achieve their fitness goals with his 10 minute high-intensity workouts done just three times a week in conjunction with his holistic nutrition approach. You can learn more about about his diet and training services at www.naturallyintense.net

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