By Thomas Fahey, Ed.D. and Jaime Baird

Do you still need to tone up and blast fat before summer hits? Luckily, breakthroughs in sports science make it possible to see results fast. High-intensity, explosive training (HIET) is the key to quickly taking your fitness to the next level with increased aerobic capacity, lean muscle, power and fat loss. HIET turns on biochemical pathways that mobilize fat-burning hormones to give you that lean, athletic look. This type of training is tough, but it will produce results. Combine high-intensity training with protein and amino acids and you will make faster progress than you thought possible.

Luckily, IFBB Pro Bikini Justine Munro is here to help us meet this goal. Give this four-week plan a try and you can experience a transformation by summer!

What is HIET?

HIET involves three sets of 10 repetitions per exercise using moderate loads (75 to 85 percent of one-rep maximum) and performing reps explosively. The program is supplemented with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that involves maximal intensity intervals performed on an elliptical trainer, stationary bike, treadmill or track.

HIET and HIIT programs are exhausting and difficult. Unlike other programs, you can see positive changes in a matter of weeks. The program works if you are willing to work hard and put in the effort!

The Science Behind High-intensity Explosive Training

HIET can increase lean muscle at an incredibly fast rate. Canadian researchers, led by Tim Shepstone, found that high-speed training increased muscle cross-sectional area and the size of fast-twitch motor units (muscle fibers and their nerve) better than slow-speed training. High-speed contractions caused greater disruption at the cell level, which promoted muscle protein synthesis.

We are beginning to understand why high-intensity explosive training works so well. HIET creates high levels of metabolic stress that include the release of inflammatory chemicals such as prostaglandins and free radicals (i.e., reactive oxygen species) that combine with other chemicals and cell structures to trigger cell damage. Cell damage from these chemicals stimulates protein synthesis.

HIET programs also promote weight loss. Many recent studies have shown the power of high-intensity interval training for increasing metabolic rate and reducing body fat. HIET workouts are consistent with the kinds of exercises that produced rapid weight loss while maintaining lean muscle. The combination of explosive weight training and high-intensity interval training triggers rapid fat loss.


The program involves interval training two to three days per week and weight training three days per week. For best effect, do intervals and weights on separate days.

Interval training: Practice HIIT on an elliptical trainer, stationary bike or treadmill two to three days per week for 10-20 minutes each workout. Sprint for 30 to 60 seconds at 100 percent of maximum effort on a stationary bike or elliptical trainer, followed by light recovery exercise for two minutes. Each workout, do six to 10 sets of these maximum sprints. Sprints can also be performed in a safe location outdoors.

As an option, substitute one of the above HIIT cardio sessions with a plyometric session—perform an explosive plyometric move for 20 seconds followed by 40 seconds of rest for a total of 15 minutes. You can do one or all three suggested moves in each session.

High-intensity Explosive Training: Choose eight exercises per workout from the following list. Do three sets of 10 repetitions, resting one minute between sets. Use a weight that allows you to complete the sets with some difficulty (75 to 85 percent of maximum effort). Use good form for each exercise but try to perform each rep explosively. Each workout should contain two of the leg exercises, at least one ab exercise, one chest, one shoulder exercise, one back exercise and two arm exercises. Switch up the movements each workout— try to include most of these exercises into your workout each week.


Exercise Descriptions


Romanian Deadlift

Begin standing with feet about shoulder width. With a slight bend in the knee and a straight back, push your glutes backwards and hinge at the hips to lower your body down to grasp the bar just outside your legs. Look straight ahead as you drive your hips forward to lift the barbell. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, then lower the barbell back to the floor, keeping the weight close to your shins.

Smith Machine Squat

Position the bar on your upper trap muscles. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out slightly. Keeping your abs tight, head up and torso upright, lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Focus on pushing through your heels as you drive upward toward the starting position.

Smith Machine Stationary Lunge

Position the bar on shoulders and assume split stance. Lower into a lunge until the back knee almost touches the ground and then press back up. Be sure to keep your front knee behind your toes. Finish all reps on one side before moving on to the other.

Leg Extensions

Sit on the bench and position your shins under the pads. Extend your knees until they are straight; then return to the starting position.

Lying Leg Curls

Lie facedown and place the bottom part of your lower leg underneath the pads. Flex your knees and drive your heels towards your butt and then return to the starting position.

Leg Press

Place your feet on the platform and push your legs forcefully until they are nearly fully extended and then returned to the starting position.


Stability Ball Pike

Assume the plank position with the tops of your feet elevated on the Swiss Ball. Tighten your core and legs for balance and stability. Engaging your abdominals, pull your feet toward your chest until your hips are close to being in line with your shoulders. Return to the starting position.

Bicycle Crunch

Lie on the floor and place your hands lightly behind your head. Elevate and extend your right leg out straight and bring the left knee toward your chest. Simultaneously, cross your right elbow over to reach for the left knee. Repeat motion to the other side. Continue alternating the bicycling movement.

Cable Crunches

Using the rope attachment, kneel in front of a cable with arms extended. Flex your trunk until your elbows touch the floor and then return to the starting position.

Bench Leg Raises

Sit on the end of a bench with your legs extended in front of you. Grasping the side of the bench for support, lift your legs until they reach a 45-degree angle and then return to the starting position.


Barbell Upright Row

Hold a barbell with a narrow grip. Leading with the elbows, pull the weight to your collarbone, keeping traps relaxed. Return to the starting position.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Hold dumbbells at shoulder height with your palms facing forward. Press the weight straight up until your arms are just short of straight. Lower and repeat.

Lateral Raise

Hold dumbbells at your sides. Keeping the elbows slightly bent, raise each arm out to the side so that your elbows and wrists are at shoulder height. Return to starting position.


Lat Pulldown

Position your hands wide on a long bar. Using your lats, pull the bar down toward your upper chest. Release the weight. Be sure to keep a slight arch in your back but don’t lean back.

Smith Machine Row

Bend at the hips to lower chest to about a 45-degree angle. Keeping your back straight and your head facing forward, draw the bar to your abdomen, initiating the movement from your back. Lower the weight down and repeat.


Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Begin holding dumbbells at your sides with a neutral grip. Keeping your palms facing toward your body, curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders and lower back to starting position.

Close-grip Triceps Press

Lying on a flat and using a narrow grip, hold a barbell over your chest. Keeping the elbows close to the body, lower the weight to the lower half of the chest and then press it back up.

Preacher Curl

Using a supinated grip to hold the weight, place your elbows on the preacher stand, and fully extend your arms. Curl the weight until the weight almost reaches your collarbone, then return to the starting position.

Bench Dips

Sit on a bench with your legs extended out in front of you. Place your hands on the edge of the bench behind you and lift your glutes up off of the bench. Lower your body by bending your elbows to about a 90-degree angle. You will feel a stretch in your chest or shoulder. Press up from the palms of your hands, squeezing the triceps and repeat.


Smith Machine Explosive Push-up

Set the Smith Machine bar to a low level. Get in a push-up position with hands on bar. Lower your chest down to the bar and the press up explosively such that your hands come off of the bar for a brief second. This can also be performed on the ground, if you are strong enough.

Incline Chest Press

Whether you use a barbell, dumbbells or a machine to perform the incline press, slightly arch your back, push your chest up and plant your feet into the ground while you raise and lower the weight. The more upright the bench, the more you will work the deltoids rather than the chest.


Squat Jump

Lower into a squat position and then jump up into the air as high as you can. Land back in a squat and then immediately explode back up into another jump.

Box Jump

Lower into a squat position and then jump up into the air and land on top of a box or bench. Jump back down into a squat and then immediately explode back up into another jump.

Tuck Jump

Jump as high as you can and tuck your knees into your chest before landing. Immediately explode into another jump.

Switch Lunge

Begin in a lunge position with the right foot forward. Jump in the air and land in a lunge with the left foot forward. Then, jump in the air and land in a lunge with the right foot forward. Continue alternating at a brisk pace.

Keep Up with Justine

Justine is available for online contest prep training. You can connect with her through Facebook (Justine Munro Fitness Model), Twitter (@JustineMunro) and Instagram (JustineMunro).

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