Tip for HIIT – Train Your Upper Body for More Fat Burning

Tip for HIIT – Train Your Upper Body for More Fat Burning

Tip for HIIT – Train Your Upper Body for More Fat Burning

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I always wondered why whenever I did like the airline bike like where you’re got the fan bike with your your arms and your legs moving or whenever I did that battle ropes I would get like such a crazy good workout like I didn’t really process it I thought maybe is okay I’m just moving my entire body so maybe I’m having a massive increase in my heart rate but the reality is there’s actually some interesting science surrounding the world of doing upper body high-intensity interval training like it’s a huge difference in terms of not only the perceived exertion but also the heart rate and blood pressure so like if you’re trying to get a quick workout and getting your most bang for the buck it actually pays huge dividends to do upper-body hind into the interval training now I used to always do a ton of like sled pushes and a bunch of squats and everything like that with my hit workouts and that was great it would get my heart rate up and I think there was a strong metabolic effect because I was moving big muscles but when I started shifting towards doing more upper body like plyometrics and hit I can notice a huge difference in my physique so of course my team and I started diving into the research to try to figure out exactly what’s going on and we’ve discovered some interesting stuff that’s exactly we’re gonna talk about in this video you are tuning the internet’s leading performance nutrition and fat loss channel new videos every single Tuesday Friday Sunday at 7 a.m. Pacific time and a bunch of other videos throughout the week as well please please please turn on that little notification button so you can know whenever I go live or post new videos and for those of you that are aiming to lose a bunch of fat and get in the best shape possible whether it’s doing keto or fasting you have to check out my thrive grocery box that I created this down in the description below they’re a huge sponsor of this channel and I’ve created a grocery box so you can click on that link and literally get what I would recommend at the grocery store delivered right to your door so let’s go ahead let’s get right into the science okay so the Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy actually published a study that found when you were doing upper body movements upper body actual activity or resistance exercise you had a bigger increase in overall heart rate and blood pressure so what this particular study did is it took a look at a few individuals had them do their one repetition max so that they could determine what their strength level is at and then what they had them do is they had them start at 10 percent of their one repetition max and they measured a bunch of different things and then they would increase 10% until 30 percent and then increased 5% after that so basically all that means is they had them progressively increase the load until they were completely exhausted so basically 10% increased 10% increased 10% increase until 30 percent and then five percent five percent five percent until exhaustion so what they found though was that the group that was doing upper body movements ended up having a higher sympathetic nervous system response and vagal response so what that means is it was triggering more of the catecholamines that would signal the heart rate to get higher it was pretty wild stuff so there we found there’s actually like a hormonal sort of response to work in the upper body now we can make a lot of different conclusions from this like we can hypothesize that you have more androgen receptors in your upper body so you might have more hormone activity you might have more adrenaline function all this stuff the fact is there’s a pretty big difference there but then we actually take a look at some other stuff and we discover what’s really going on when we’re working our upper body see what we’re finding is that the upper limbs generate a different response there is what is called a higher work component so what that means is the body has to work harder to move blood to the upper limbs you see think of it like this we have active muscles that really would cause what’s called kind of a peripheral resistance on these on these arteries so when the heart is moving blood to the lower body we have these massive arteries and these massive arteries open up they vasodilate to allow the blood to move because it’s a bigger muscle so the heart is able to sort of in some ways effortlessly move the blood down there and it comes right back when we talk about our upper bodies they’re not really designed to have that amount of blood flowing through them so there’s some constriction the muscles actually constrict the actual blood vessel so the heart has a hard time pushing the blood through those vessels so we see an increase in blood pressure not to a bad degree but we see that the heart has to work really really hard now additionally we have a lot less in the way of just like capillaries that are available like down in the legs we have lots of different vessels lots of different arteries lots of different capillaries in our upper limbs it diffuses in the smaller capillaries so the blood has to work really really hard or the heart has to work really hard to get that blood there additionally there’s also less site in which the red blood cells can actually deliver oxygen so the red blood cells have to stay in a specific area for a longer amount of time to actually deliver the oxygen so to make it simple envision this the heart beats it has to work really hard to push the blood into the smaller capillaries in your upper body and then the oxygen that has been carried by the blood is having to actually kind of go slow just so that it can be absorbed the action can actually be absorbed so it’s like it’s hitting this back up so the heart’s just like oh my gosh we have to work really really hard it’s not like it’s going to give you a heart attack or anything like that it’s just a really cool hack so whenever you’re trying to get your heart rate up super fast you want to incorporate upper body movements so we’re talking like battle ropes we’re talking a plyometric push-ups we’re talking muscle ups we’re talking anything where you’re just going to be incorporating the upper body so anything where you can just get moving a lot faster the Aerodyne bike again the fan the bike with the fan on it we’re actually incorporating the upper body these are gonna get your heart rate up significantly higher but we’ve also found there’s an increase in what’s called perceived exertion so some studies have taken a look at lower body hit versus upper body hit and although there is a change in a difference in the blood pressure and the part rate there’s an even greater distinction between the perceived exertion so for lack of a better way of saying it if we just say for general simple numbers that 100 is a very high perceived exertion and 0 is a very low perceived exertion it didn’t quantify the same amount as correlated with the actual exertion so if we use okay if we took a hundred beats per minute as just like a normal heart rate like again this isn’t gonna be realistic I’m just doing it for comparative reasons a hundred beats per minute as a normal heart rate zero being a low heart rate it didn’t compare so basically someone that’s doing an upper body movement might end up having a 70 heart rate whereas someone that’s doing a lower body movement might have a 50 but that same person that has a 70 heart rate is registering a 100 on the perceived exertion so their perceived exertion is much higher than their actual exertion so the point is is that when you perceive more exertion you can actually create a better workout for yourself and get more of a hormonal response so again that’s kind of you know a weird way of looking at it but the reality is there if you want to feel like you have a better workout then that’s the way to go so there’s nothing really else to this video other than the fact that you need to be incorporating this kind of stuff so one of the things that I do now rather than having to work extra hard to get my heart rate up in between sets is do a few plyometric push ups or do some battle ropes in between my sets it gets my heart up super high without fatiguing me dramatically that way I feel like I’m getting my heart rate where it needs to go so I feel like I’m getting the calorie burn but I’m not exhausting myself at a thorough metabolic level like it would be if I was training my legs heavily so anyway take it or leave it but I highly recommend that you incorporate upper body hit into your routines whenever possible and I promise you you can get more bang for the buck as always make sure you’re keeping it locked in here in my channel and I’ll see you in the next video

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Tip for HIIT - Train Your Upper Body for More Fat Burning

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Tip for HIIT – Train Your Upper Body for More Fat Burning

Study – Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

Looked at the cardiac autonomic responses during upper versus lower limb resistance exercise in healthy elderly men


Ten volunteers underwent the one-repetition maximum (1RM) test to determine the maximum load for the bench press and the leg press

Discontinuous RE was initiated at a load of 10% 1RM with subsequent increases of 10% until 30% 1RM, followed by increases of 5% 1RM until exhaustion


Parasympathetic indices decreased significantly in both exercises from 30% 1RM compared to rest and HR increased (69 to 90 bpm for upper and 66 to 89 bpm for lower)

Cardiac autonomic change occurred from 30% of 1RM regardless of RE limb – however, there was more pronounced sympathetic increase and vagal decrease for upper limb exercise than for lower limb exercise

Why This Is

Upper limb RE generates different cardiovascular responses compared to lower limb exercise

Upper limb exercise leads to higher blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) than lower limb exercise due to a higher work component and elevated peripheral resistance caused by reduced active muscle mass

In addition, upper limb exercise also induces greater perceived exertion compared to leg exercise at the same relative workload

Peripheral Vascular Resistance & Hemodynamic Demand

As mentioned, upper and lower body exercise produce significantly different blood pressure and heart rate values at similar cardiac outputs

The greater peripheral resistance could possibly be due to the greater hemoconcentration elicited by arm-crank exercise than that elicited by cycling

Peripheral vascular resistance is the resistance that must be overcome to push blood through the circulatory system and create flow


Blood pressure is increased with upper limb exercise since the muscle contractions increase the peripheral vascular resistance to a greater degree than what is found in lower limb muscle contraction

This is because muscle volume has an impact, and the muscles in the upper limbs are generally smaller in volume than those in the LE

In other words, exercises have a blood flow redistribution component – arterial dilation is seen in places being exercised and constriction in places where no activity is carried on

In upper limb exercises, blood is redirected to this area and the amount decreases in lower limbs – therefore smallest blood vessels are containing a bigger amount of blood

The heart has to increase its contraction strength to deliver blood to upper limbs

*Simply that the blood vessels in the upper body are smaller which means the heart has to work harder to pump blood*

Note: In arm exercise, the relative obstructed area is greater than in leg exercise and this is another aspect that may explain the higher sympathetic modulation in upper limb exercise


1) Cardiac autonomic responses during upper versus lower limb resistance exercise in healthy elderly men. (2014, January). Retrieved from

2) Tulppo MP , et al. (n.d.). Differences in autonomic modulation of heart rate during arm and leg exercise. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from

3) Kang J , et al. (n.d.). Physiological responses to upper body exercise on an arm and a modified leg ergometer. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from

4) Volianitis S , et al. (n.d.). Effect of fitness on arm vascular and metabolic responses to upper body exercise. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from 2

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