Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
10 Aug

Primal Blueprint Workout Plan: The Basics

2009 challenge workoutPlan2Based on the feedback I get, people like the Primal Blueprint for its simplicity. All it takes is a reasonably strict adherence to the ten Primal laws for most people to enjoy improved body composition, increased strength and general fitness, better sleep, and reduced inflammatory markers. The dietary component in particular is easy, simply because it stresses the inclusion of good fats, ample protein, and quality carbohydrates – the very same foods that have been naturally selected to appeal to our taste buds – but some have trouble with Primal fitness.

At first glance, this shouldn’t be an issue. No more chronic cardio and no more hour-and-a-half long workouts on the machines at the gym? Great – sign me up! But for those of you coming from a highly-structured fitness background of classes and strict schedules (which is most people, especially newcomers to the Health Challenge with their wrists still smarting from the shackles of Conventional Wisdom), putting the free-flowing, spontaneous Primal fitness concepts into practice can take, well, some practice. It sounds fantastic in theory, but we’re left with that lingering question: what, then, to do (and when, and how, and how often)?

Today, I hope to answer those questions by outlining the basic weekly Primal workout plan. Consider it my attempt at realizing the intangible; structuring the amorphous; anticipating the spontaneous. Just as the “planned randomness” of scheduled intermittent fasting carries all the metabolic benefits of actual food scarcity without being technically random, this Primal Workout Plan tricks the body. It’s a workout “plan,” with a few staples (squats, sprints, lots of low level aerobic activity), but by and large the Primal workout schedule provides a framework for those who need it while offering a wide variety of movements, routines, and exercises to keep everything fresh.

Monday – Sprint
Tuesday – Lift Heavy Things
Wednesday – Move Slowly, Play or Rest
Thursday – HIIT
Friday – Move Slowly, Play or Rest
Saturday – Lift Heavy Things
Sunday – Move Slowly, Play or Rest

Sprinting

Sprinting is pretty self-explanatory: run really, really fast in short bursts of output. Barring previous injury, we’re all built to sprint – which is why it’s a staple of Primal fitness. It builds both anaerobic and aerobic capacity while promoting growth hormone secretion, fat mobilization, and maximum power development. Simply put, if you want to build lean mass and burn body fat, sprinting at least once a week is the way to achieve both. Want proof? Just compare the bodies of your average sprinter and your average marathon runner. Which would you rather resemble?

Sprinting isn’t just about running blindly. You could do that and see some results, sure, but it’s probably better to go into it with a few goals outlined. You could try my beach sprints (sand technically not required, but it helps with dampening the impact and increasing the resistance) or perhaps some hill sprints (when I had my knee problem, hill sprinting worked best because I wasn’t “falling” as far on each step, if that makes sense – plus it’s hard as hell!). You could even do uphill sprints on a bike, or wind sprints in a pool. For me, sprinting should be about maximum effort at all times, which is why I tend to shy away from Tabata sprints on my dedicated sprint days. Twenty seconds at a time with a mere ten seconds of rest just isn’t enough for most to maintain top effort; it’s a great option for HIIT metabolic conditioning, but if I’m trying to tap into my burst power energy pathway, Tabata is too limiting. If you can maintain top speed for twenty seconds at a time performed eight times over the span of four minutes, though, be my guest! Most will find somewhere in the seven to ten second range more suitable. Take as long as you need to recharge between sprints, of course, and run on grass, sand, or trail with concrete as a last resort. Shoeless is best, followed closely by Vibrams (Geez…I’m starting to sound like a spokesperson for Fivefingers!). Your session shouldn’t take much longer than ten minutes.

For a few more ideas on sprint training visit this page.

Lift Heavy Things

I went over a somewhat advanced strength and muscle building routine a few weeks ago, but three days a week isn’t necessary for the average PBer who’s just interested in building/maintaining a little lean mass while developing strength and fitness. Two days a week of intense, heavy lifting is plenty for overall fitness. Besides, it’s not like you’re going to be doing five different variations of the bicep curl or spending an hour on the leg machines. You’ll be going all out with the classic, compound movements. Barbells, bodyweight, and honest hard work.

In the future, I plan on expanding the scope of our workouts by introducing new movements each month, but for now we’ll focus on the old stalwarts: the back squat, the deadlift, the bench press, and the overhead press. For experienced Groks, you should center your two weekly strength sessions around these basic barbell lifts. Tuesday might look like this:

Back Squats
Bench Press
Bent Over Rows
Dips (weighted, if possible)

And Saturday:

Deadlift
Overhead Press
Pull-ups/Chin-ups (weighted, if possible)
Thrusters (VIDEO)

Now, those are just suggestions. Feel free to switch it up and try different exercises (but at least do squats), or play around with the reps and sets. When I hit the weights, I tend to aim for four to five sets of five to eight reps for each exercise.

Beginners unsure of correct barbell form or people without access to equipment might try something like this for Tuesday:

Air Squats (or just the bar to practice form)
Lunges (perhaps with dumbbells)
Push-ups
Pull-ups
Inverted Row (VIDEO)

And for Saturday:

Air Squats
Lunges
Push-ups
Pull-ups
Handstand push-ups/presses

Obviously, for optimal strength development access to a barbell with weights is desirable, but – depending on your overall goals – completely unnecessary for basic strength training.

HIIT

High intensity day should be extremely exhausting. This is the day you’re going to dread, but luckily it’s only once a week! Make it count. If you find yourself looking forward to it, you’re either a sick individual or you’re going way too easy on yourself. The key here is metabolic conditioning – subjecting yourself to a steady barrage of multi-joint, compound exercises performed rapidly and with little rest to build muscular and anaerobic endurance. HIIT (high intensity interval training) day could be anything from a simple workout of ten sets of five pull-ups, ten push-ups, and fifteen squats, to the aforementioned Tabata intervals (sprints, burpees, squats, pull-ups, etc). For the most part, HIIT day workouts can be performed with little to no equipment (as in the Endorphin Mainline, the Prison Workout, or the 15 Minute Workout), but you can also put together an extremely solid metabolic conditioning routine using equipment, like the sledgehammer, the mace, or the sandbag. Just do it hard, fast, and don’t let up for a second.

By the time you’re tired of (as opposed to “from”) those workouts, you should be able to come up with some interesting alternatives to keep you busy. Also, stay tuned for more updates from me – I plan on introducing new routines on a regular basis to avoid stagnation (nothing worse than getting bored with a workout).

Rest/Play/Move Slowly

To rest, play, or move slowly – that is the question. Since the PB is largely about listening to the body’s natural cues, you’re going to have to trust yourself to make the right decision. If you’re worn out, take it easy. Give those muscle fibers a chance to repair. If you have a bit of energy left, go for a hike and just Move Slowly. Enjoy nature without turning it into a workout for a change. If you have a ton of energy left, though, load up a heavy backpack and climb some trees and scale some cliffs and do some tree branch pull-ups on that hike.

You can also use these days to play – with your kids, with the dog, with your buddies, with random strangers in a public pick-up game. My personal favorite is Ultimate Frisbee, but any game, whether structured or spontaneous, will do. And hey, if your idea of a good time is even more exercise or more strength training, that works too. As long as you’re enjoying yourself and whatever you’re doing doesn’t feel like work, you’re officially playing.

These days are also great for sport-or-profession-specific training. Trying to make the varsity basketball team? Go shoot jumpers for an hour straight. Got a fireman’s test coming up? Do some extra HIIT and strength work (hey, maybe the sledgehammer would come in handy here).

Three days of rest might sound excessive, but you could actually need it. If you’ve been hitting the Lift Heavy days extra hard and pushing yourself on the Sprint and HIIT days, three days of rest might be perfect.

Or, not. You decide.

Well, I think that’s a decent start. This simple plan provides some specifics for those that need some direction and a good deal of flexibility to accommodate a variety of fitness levels. It’s subject to change and refinement, but all in all it’s a solid basis for anyone interested in a Primal workout plan. Most anyone, from the experienced hunter-gatherer to the hesitant newbie, should be able to use this guide to build strength, burn some fat, and get on the right track toward true Primal Fitness. Grok on!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I did a 30 minute sledgehammer workout this morning and it wiped me out! 16 lb. sledgehammer and an old tire. Primal!

    Tomorrow I’ll sprint. I love primal workouts because they can be done quickly but you still get great results.

    DaveFish wrote on August 10th, 2009
    • Oh man, join the club. I buried a tire 3/4 into the dirt in my backyard and it’s a pretty good target now so I don’t have to rip up the lawn.

      If you do them regularly, a good workout I stumbled upon was a 1 min on/1 min off repeated 10x, with shorter rests on subsequent workouts. If you can eventually shorten it to 10 minutes straight [switching hands every minutes obviously] you’re a beast. I find shortening the rests gets a lot harder when you’ve got the mega 16lb hammer.

      Yash wrote on August 11th, 2009
  2. Thanks for your examples of HIIT days. I was never quite sure where to begin there. Funny, I just got home a few minutes ago from picking up an old tire from a truck/farm tire shop so I can try some sledgehammering. Got the hammer last week so I am all set to go.

    Rodney wrote on August 10th, 2009
  3. I’ve got a nice 10 to 15-min strength training routine, and I move slowly a lot (and rest a lot). But I need to work more on sprinting (i.e., remembering to do it). When I take my daughter to the park I always get a little HIIT in on the “kids” playground equipment. And it’s amazing what a game of tag with 4-7 year old kids can do to a 40 year old dude!

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on August 10th, 2009
  4. Can you explain to me the difference between HIIT and Tabata Sprints? I’ve always thought they were basically the same thing.

    musajen wrote on August 10th, 2009
    • Tabata sprints are an example of an HIIT workout. There’re lots of ways to put together a HIIT.

      Though Tabata’s are ‘sprints’, they don’t let you recover fully before the next sprint starts. So, they’re not really appropriate for the Sprint Day of the schedule. You’ll need more rest between efforts on those days

      james wrote on August 10th, 2009
  5. re: lifting heavy things:

    i added “straight leg deadlifts” today in lieu of the standard deads.

    60% of the weight i was using for standard deads was plenty of a challenge – my core is going to be a mess tomorrow!

    james wrote on August 10th, 2009
  6. Would you consider the interval routine from “Body For Life” (running etc. for 1 minute at each intensity level where 5=50% of max 5,5,6,7,8,9,6,7,8,9,6,7,8,9,10,5,5 for 20 minutes total) an acceptable/ideal/passable HIIT workout? I have done these running (not too often any more – plantar faciitis), on the elliptical (mainly – minus 40 in the winter – need I say more) and just today did one swimming (freestyle except for breast stroke on the easy (5,6) intervals). Ouch! I nearly keeled over (pardon the nautical pun) and think that I can safely say that I did met Mark’s criterion for “dreading” the next one of these workouts. But it this an acceptable HIIT workout? Any comments/suggestions/feedback would be welcome.

    p.s., I also did a couple of bodyweight workouts a la prison workout (without chin ups – need a chin up bar) and that also filled the “dread” quotient.

    Chris wrote on August 10th, 2009
  7. What’s a back squat? Is it different in some way from a squat? Can HIIT training be done w/a jump rope?
    Thanks…from a relative newbie…

    Beth wrote on August 10th, 2009
    • Beth, there are several varieties included in the term “squat”. The descriptors tell you where the weight is placed. A back squat is where you rest a barbell across your upper back (there are different variants of this too). There are also front squats (barbell up on your upper chest/clavicle area with elbows pointed out away from your body), and overhead squat (barbell held overhead with a fairly wide grip). Of course this just scratches the surface, but these are a few of the more common variants. Always keep weight on your heels (don’t come up on your toes) and try to keep your knees from falling inward (toward each other) as you squat.

      Rodney wrote on August 10th, 2009
  8. That looks like a great outline. I like to mix up my work out routine, both on a weekly and seasonal basis. I think what I do incorporates most of the concepts, probably with a bit too much cardio work during summer.

    From November-April I workout indoors mostly, gym climbing and swimming two times per week for each. Rock climbing counts as “lifting heavy things” I think, because you lift youself up steep cliffs/walls! When you really go for it rock climbing, it’s pretty strenuous. Stretching and pull-ups are part of my twice weekly climbing gym routine and we “lap to failure” during these sessions, as well (climb the wall up AND down repeatedly, fast, until our muscles fail and we fall–on belay with harness and rope!) We also climb without a rope on low stuff; falling to the padded mats gives me some weight bearing exercise. The climbing gym is a fun social scene where I hang out with friends; my teenager climbs there with her friends on the same nights, so it’s really positive. In the pool, I do sprints and intervals. I run on the treadmill sometimes, too, and try to get to California to ride my bike and soak up some Vit. D as much as possible during these months. My job (teaching) keeps me on my feet moving all day and I also run with my students on the “track” (the gravel driveway the our country school!). As the weather improves we start ditching the gym more and more to be outdoors rock climbing and mountain biking. The climbing involves lots of hiking with heavy packs for the approaches. Sometimes I trail run. July and August are usually big mountain biking months, as the cliffs are too hot to climb and my climbing partner is usually guiding rivers then. Summer rest days can be spent hiking along trout streams, paddling my kayak around the lake just mellow, or walking the “slack line,” which is great for core and balance (it’s like a tight rope except that it’s webbing and it swings from side to side.) Though my workout routine is unconventional, I think it fits with the primal principles and shows how one’s individual preferences for play can be woven into a workable plan.

    DThalman wrote on August 10th, 2009
  9. I like that schedule. I think I’ll use it.

    Grok wrote on August 10th, 2009
  10. I alternate between Lifting Heavy Things 3x week and doing Intervals 3x week (one session is tabata- my HIIT..ugh! But I’m probably too easy in myself). Still, I’m pretty strict about this schedule. While on our honeymoon on Nantucket last week we biked, swam, played frisbee (thanks Mark!), paddleball, kayaked- all low level cardio, every day. I’ve never felt stonger or more relaxed yet energized. Was in bed by 11, up at 7…and did not miss the usual routine at all (disclaimer: I was only able to be 60% primal– had to indulge in a little fried clam bellies, beer & lobster rolls!) If I didn’t live in a city, a true free-form primal workout would suit me just fine!

    marci wrote on August 10th, 2009
  11. Every time I do deadlifts i feel pain in my lower back the next day and my ‘trick’ knee starts popping more often and is sore the next day as well. Any reason why this might be happenning? Any way I can improve my form? Most of the folks at my gym don’t seem to know much more than I do about proper form.

    Ryan wrote on August 10th, 2009
    • You should find a trainer (even if it’s not at your gym) to check your form.

      However, you don’t have to do deadlifts at all. For people with bad backs, tight hips, and poor ankle mobility, single leg exercises can be a better bet.

      Lunge
      Reverse Lunge
      Walking Lunges
      Split Squat
      Bulgarian Split Squat
      Single Leg RDL
      Stepups

      Roland wrote on August 12th, 2009
    • Ryan, I don’t know what to do about your knee, but the lower back thing can be solved by adding an ab exercise. I had lower back pain when I did Deadlifts with perfect form. When I started hitting a tire with a sledge hammer and intentionally flexing my abs on the down stroke I didn’t have any problems the next day. I guess it’s a yin yang thing. :)

      Steve wrote on August 12th, 2009
  12. I’m so excited to have this framework! I’ve been gleaning the information about working out over the past few months of checking this blog daily, but it’s nice to have it all in one nice little list. And it’s what I have discovered I prefer anyway.

    Yay for primal workouts being my preferred way to play!!

    fritchbeetle wrote on August 10th, 2009
  13. Does anyone have suggestions for someone with previous back surgery and needs to be careful with their back and in their 50’s? Some of these exercises sound intense

    Sabio wrote on August 10th, 2009
  14. Also, do you have posts for skinny Primals? How to keep weight.,

    Sabio wrote on August 10th, 2009
  15. Last question: Can someone doing the Primal lifestyle train healthily for a “Sprint Triathlon”? It is the baby Triathlon. Does anyone have hints of what to eat prior to such a race. Should these races be avoided? Thank you

    Sabio wrote on August 10th, 2009
  16. This schedule came at just the perfect time. I totally needed some direction with my workouts. Thanks so much, Mark!

    Autumn wrote on August 10th, 2009
  17. Sabio I too am now worried about being too thin. Never thought I would have to say that coming from a high fiber “heart healthy diet” where I couldn’t shed 10 pounds now I am not sure how to maintain?

    I think your sprint tri will work with the primal life style. They are short but, intense. Just think about killing something or running from something that might kill you. What to eat prior to a sprint I like Bananas, cantalope, basicaly anything easy on the stomach. I have been having a problem with cramping since going primal, watch your salt intake you may have to up it a bit before the event. Most of all DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW on race day! Try everything out prior to your event and most of all have fun!!

    jimbo wrote on August 10th, 2009
  18. Mark (and fellow Apples),

    Exactly how hard to do you need to sprint for Tabata? I’d like to give them a try for HIIT (they’re what a Gymboss was made for ;)), but 20 seconds all out sprinting, followed by only 10 seconds recovery (repeat 8 times) seems extreme HIIT: I know what I feel like after one of those 20 second!! So, should Tabata be conducted at 90-95% of standard sprint efforts?

    My current (hill) sprint sessions are 4 x 20 seconds all out(particularly unpleasant for the last couple of seconds as the gradient gets steeeper at that point!) followed by 4 x 8 seconds, again all out, with slowly walking back down the hill as the ‘rest’. I usually ‘warm’ up beforehand with 4 x 20 seconds at about 70-80% up the hill, while maintaining proper sprint form.

    I also try 3 x 60 second runs on the flat (slightly uphill) using the 4 minutes slow walk back (which I sometimes stretch to 5 minutes!) to the start as recovery. I suppose this effort would be at 85-90% (feels more like 150% third time round!), would this intensity be better for Tabata intervals?

    GROK ON!

    Eegah! wrote on August 11th, 2009
  19. Ryan- I started deadlifts a few weeks ago and my lower back was sore as well. You really need to concentrate on keeping your back arched slightly upward (keep your chin up and shoulders back.) Also, from what I have read online, keep everything tight before you start your lift. Keeping my lower back tight before I begin my lift has worked wonders. Form is everything. In my experience, my soreness went away after about 5 lifts. Also, I tried to lift too much weight my first few sets, so I concentrated on form with smaller weights and that helped as well.
    Eegah!- I think the point is to go all out on the tabata.

    pinebark wrote on August 11th, 2009
  20. I really like this but the following variation would suit me better I think…

    Monday – Lift Heavy Things
    Tuesday – HIIT
    Wednesday – Lift Heavy Things
    Thursday – Sprint
    Friday – Lift Heavy Things
    Saturday – Move Slowly, Play or Rest
    Sunday – Move Slowly, Play or Rest

    Anyone else have their preferred variation?

    Nathan wrote on August 11th, 2009
  21. Here is my workout for the past 3 weeks:
    Monday-Weighted pullups 5×5
    Weighted ring dips 5×5
    Handstand presses 3×8
    Ring pushups 3×10
    Inverted rows 3×8
    (above are done HIITish style)
    Deadlifts 5×5
    Wednesday-Weighted chinups 5×5
    Squats 5×5
    (other exercises the same)
    Friday-Repeat Monday’s workout

    I like to alternate pullups/chinups and squats/deadlifts

    Saturday- tabata sprints

    Three mile walks with wife and kids as much as possible. All workouts take around 20-25 minutes.

    worthc wrote on August 11th, 2009
  22. That is what I do Nathan, but I’m wondering if Mark’s p[an was more healthily ideal. Any opinions?

    Sveninarxao wrote on August 11th, 2009
  23. Great stuff! Good variety of fitness levels.

    Vic Magary - GymJunkies wrote on August 11th, 2009
  24. Excellent post and advice. I would like to take the liberty to provide a link to an example of how the type of training Mark recommends really works, as an alternative to old-fashioned style endurance training:

    http://nutritionjocks.blogspot.com/2009/08/manifestation-of-value-of-high.html

    Bruce W wrote on August 11th, 2009
  25. I always part far from the door at work. Then I get a morning and afternoon sprint in just doing the car-door run. Most days I run up the stairs inside as well.

    Then Monday is volleyball with friends.

    Henry Miller wrote on August 11th, 2009
  26. Oh man, I envy you guys that can follow this. It sounds so awesomely perfect.

    I try to stay as primal as possible, but have to compromise due to limiting factors, [being a busy college kid being a major one] and the primal way of working out is one I really wish I could do. Playing rugby on the school team follows a lot of the same principles, but with higher volume: ie, 3 strength sessions, more sprints, more playing obviously, and the killer – more slow jogging or running at times. It’s definitely fun playing a sport, but I love exercising primally when I can in the offseason or during breaks.

    Yash wrote on August 11th, 2009
  27. I don’t think using Dwayne Chambers as an example of the sprinter’s physique is very helpful given his ban for drug use. Many marathon runners have excellent physiques – one thinks particularly of the Kenyan greats.

    It seems that you are making the error of using the propaganda techniques which you so often accuse others of adopting to make your case. It is not necessary and it undermines a lot of the good sense elsewhere on your site.

    Simon Wood wrote on August 12th, 2009
  28. Workouts, I have workouts at work every day, try fighting calves on a feeder, for an hour 2 x daily at least I ‘m only bucketing 50 now. Forgot how easy it was to have a pump! Anyway instead of those squats, ballet is good enough sure tightens the rear end and gives nice legs, just wasn’t working on the stomach.
    Being a girl bit worried about this birth control thats putting hormones into me, getting the odd bit of heart pain, have had one leg done for varicose veins and get pains in that too. Is it the hormones (as is illegal to cut off my husbands whatnots)or the diet, anything special I should cut out?
    Ps 1.79cm and about 63kgs

    Jacqui wrote on August 12th, 2009
  29. Oops meant 179cm!

    Jacqui wrote on August 12th, 2009
  30. This is great! There may be some adjustments for me with Tuesday & Thursday 2 hour rugby practice and games on Saturday, but I really need the conditioning! Being new to rugby, the practices are kicking my a$$! And I need much more strentgh as well. Seems like the perfect article at teh perfect time~

    Rusty wrote on August 13th, 2009
  31. I’m confused about the difference between HIIT days and how they differ from “lift heavy things” days.

    Is an HIIT day workout anything that is pushed to the extreme? e.g., it could be sprints, or pushups, or lifting weights, etc. ?

    And if an HIIT day can be weights, how is that different than a “lift heavy things” day? Do I just lift lighter or with less intensity on my “lift heavy” days?

    Thanks in advance for helping a newbie get sorted out!

    Andrew wrote on February 18th, 2010
    • Lifting heavy weights sets off your endocrine system. This can be useful for burning fat but may make you feel lethargic for a few days. HIIT workouts can give you a lot of the benefits of weight training but seem to give you energy + fat loss.

      Example: If I do workout A (below) I am energized and burn x amount of fat. If I do workout B I am lethargic for a few days but burn x+1 amount of fat.

      Workout A
      Sledgehammer (tabata) then,
      20x sledgehammer + 20 KB swings (20 min)

      Workout B
      BB Burpee, Clean, Push Press (20 sec on/2 min rest, 8 rounds) then
      5×5 Deadlift
      5×5 Clean
      5×5 Snatch
      5×5 Bent row
      2 min rest between sets

      Steve wrote on February 18th, 2010
  32. Also, for an HIIT workout, let’s say I do Tabata intervals w/ pushups. Do I then need to add other exercises w/ Tabata intervals to make it count?

    E.g., does 4 mins of tabata intervals (hard as I can) on pushups mean I’m done? Or for it to count, do I then need to do another 4 mins of tabata intervals on squats, and so forth?

    It seems the key difference between whatever I do on HIIT day and my other days is that the HIIT workout must have a) all-out intensity the whole time, b) little or no rest.

    Can anyone clarify for me, please?

    Andrew wrote on February 18th, 2010
    • Thanks, Steve. It also seems that a key difference between HIIT and “lift heavy” is the use of actual heavy weights.

      So, while I may be lifting things that are heavy in an HIIT workout (such as my body, a sledgehammer, etc.) it’s different from a “lift heavy” workout because it’s not dedicated to heavy barbell exercises in repeated sets. It’s more about intensity and endurance than lifting very heavy things.

      Is that a good way to think about it?

      Thanks again!

      Andrew wrote on February 18th, 2010
      • The idea behind HIIT is the 20 to 30 seconds that you go at 100% intensity. I have done both tabata and the “sprint 8″ or whatever it is called. You cannot go 100% in rounds 2-8 of tabata but it will still set off HGH. The idea behind sprint 8 is that you recover in between bouts of 100% intensity. In my opinion, as long as you are truly at 100% intensity, the sprint 8 approach is better.

        “Sprint 8″ – Sprint, jump rope, cycle, etc – 30 sec 100% rest 2:00

        Here are my top workout picks (in order) for stimulating HGH:
        Deadlift, Clean, Snatch, Bent row – 5×5 max weight
        Bench press, Squat, Lunge, Military press – 5×5 max weight
        Sprint, 30/2:00, 8 rounds
        BB Burpee, Clean, Push Press, 30/2:00, 8 rounds
        Sledge hammer, 30/2:00, 8 rounds
        Heavy bag, 30/2:00, 8 rounds
        Cycle, 30/2:00, 8 rounds
        Jump rope, 30/2:00, 8 rounds

        I am going off of my own estimation of muscle gain and fat loss.

        Steve wrote on February 18th, 2010
  33. Thanks again for the above help, Steve. Really useful.

    At the risk of sounding like an idiot, what does “BB” mean? (eg, a BB burpee)

    Andrew wrote on February 27th, 2010
    • Barbell. You’re not an idiot :) I should have written that.

      I do a burpee with my hands on the barbell minus the push up. I then clean and push press 135lbs as many times as possible for 30 seconds. Rest 2:00 and repeat 8 times. One of the best full body workouts.

      This workout is hard to do mentally (at least for me) because people usually don’t like to go to the ground, then get up, then go to the ground… But once you “dive in” it becomes easier.

      Steve wrote on February 27th, 2010
      • Awesome, thanks for the explanation. Do you just do one burpee per round, or multiple burpees before you do the clean/press for 30 seconds?

        Andrew wrote on February 27th, 2010
  34. I do a burpee, clean the BB, push press it, then immediately go back down and repeat the entire process. I usually repeat this about 4-6 times per round depending on fatigue. You can go light and do it quickly or go heavy which is what I do. If you go heavy you will get a great core workout.

    Steve wrote on February 27th, 2010
    • Cool, thanks. And this is an HIIT workout right?

      Andrew wrote on March 2nd, 2010
      • 30 seconds @100% intensity (strength or speed) and 2:00 off is HIIT.

        Steve wrote on March 2nd, 2010
  35. The yards 200 feet deep…Plenty of room.
    and I have a bench…
    lets see what happens with this addition to my crossfit week….AWAY I LEAP!!

    KOMBUCHABEAR wrote on May 3rd, 2010
  36. I had a question about this basic schedule and the one in the Primal PDF. Besides the shift in the order (which is no big deal), this schedule has 2 Lifting days and one HIIT. In the PDF, the HIIT is a “move slowly day” and HIIT/WOW are recommended instead of a lifting day. Why the shift in philosophy.

    For what it’s worth, I think the 2 Lifts + 1 HIIT/WOW is more to my liking, and I trend toward this schedule. I was just wondering if there was a reason for the discrepancy.

    Mattoomba wrote on January 18th, 2011
    • I have the same question . I also don´t understand why in this article the using of barbells and other means of adding weight are recommended instead of the bodyweight´s workouts performed in the PDF.

      Christian wrote on September 2nd, 2011
  37. Oh this looks great. Its not too complicated but incorporates all the important types of sports. Thanks a lot!

    Dieter wrote on June 29th, 2011
  38. Great article and got to agree rock climbing is excellent for fitness whilst of course a paleo style diet provides all the right nutrition.
    http://paleoworks.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/paleo-works-for-rock-climbing/

    Mike wrote on January 26th, 2012
  39. What if I like long cardio work outs? I enjoy going out running for hours at a time, not everyday, but I typically log 40-50 miles a week and I like it. Wouldn’t this theoretically fit with a “primal” lifestyle anyway, with the first form of hunting be persistence hunting?

    Drew Bragg wrote on March 21st, 2012
  40. Does anybody have any experience with Chalene Johnson’s TurboFire HIIT workouts? I just recently discovered PBF. Last time I “sprinted” was about 10 days ago doing some intense dancing. I figured it was time for another sprint, so I popped in the HIIT 15 DVD (since I stopped doing the “chronic” cardio sessions of 45 – 55 min in length). It was super-intense, and I feel great! I am not sure if I’m working too hard… Though the whole thing including warmup and cooldown took 15 minutes. Just a thought and wondering if anyone else has tried this. Thanks!

    PrimalNLovinIt wrote on April 27th, 2012

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