A High Intensity Tune-Up at DeSisto Strength Training

I recently was invited to do a High Intensity Training workout at DeSisto Strength Training in San Francisco. It has been over 3 years now since I had those two HIT workouts from legendary trainer Greg Anderson (RIP). I learned that Dave DeSisto got his certification from Greg Anderson. Small world.

This past summer I haven’t been working out much for two reasons. First is my ongoing left knee problems, which I recently learned a lot more about and will be discussing in a future post. The second is I am very temperature sensitive and where I’ve been staying at this summer has a garage gym that is very hot. I like cold. I can lift a lot more and reach a higher level of intensity when the temperature is lower.

When I first entered DeSisto Strength, I was concerned it was too hot in the gym. The glass in the front captured a lot of heat. However, when it came time to begin the workout, the air conditioner was turned on and Dave had fans set up to directly cool me as I moved from one exercise to another. It was the coolest indoor workout I had in years.

desisto strength

DeSisto Strength Training – San Francisco, CA

Now that I am closing in on 4 years of High Intensity Training, I view the 4 essential components as:

  1. Safety – Selecting exercises that are safe to perform slowly and to failure.
  2. Form – Having a solid form that eliminates or greatly reduces momentum and targets the muscles appropriately.
  3. Intensity – Reach enough intensity to target fast twitch muscle fibers, often to failure.
  4. Rest – Allowing enough time between workouts.

If you read this site regularly, you’ll know that I attribute most of the effectiveness of HIT as #1. As for intensity, I have my doubts that always going to failure is ideal for ectomorphs. See the post Is High Intensity Training Best for Ectomorphs? One Year Later. Because I know which exercises are safe to perform and I know how to slowly move a weight and I’m not concerned with pushing myself to failure, I have been working out alone without the guidance of a HIT trainer. I also know to err on the side of another day of rest than racing back to the gym to squeeze in another workout.

What I learned during my workout with Dave DeSisto is how my form on exercises was off. Not a lot, but noticeable when he suggested corrections. When we work out alone there is no one there to provide feedback to guide us back into perfect form. Weeks, months and years can go by developing poor form habits. Once you understand the basics of HIT, I think this might be the greatest value in hiring a HIT trainer. In addition to helping me make adjustments to my form, Dave helped me with my breathing, which was too shallow. This is something I have to continue working at.

If you are in San Francisco and looking for a High Intensity Trainer to get started or for a tune-up, check out DeSisto Strength Training.


Add yours

  1. Have you considered one side only leg exercises? I dont know what your knee issue is, but it might help.

    A few years ago I had a mystery shoulder injury (from surfing, tho I dont know what caused it, it just started hurting and got really stiff after a day in the waves, and stayed sore and stiff for a few months after). Someone recommended doing one side exercises, It actually helped a lot, I couldnt say for sure but it may have sped up my recovery.

  2. @mrfreddy – No I haven’t. My right leg is already working harder to cover for my left, so additional work is probably not going to be beneficial.

    I have started a strength plan using an idea I got from DeSisto. I’ll save that for the future knee post.

  3. I dont know how it works, and it sounds like woo, but somehow working one side sends signals to both sides… or something (heh heh, really dont know what I am talking about here…)

    If I can find my original source on this I’ll post it here..

  4. @mrfreddy – For some reason I thought of the Simpsons episode where Homer only trained one arm.

  5. @mrfreddy – I’m sold! Thank you for the info.

  6. I saw a trainer twice and we didn’t go to failure. We got close. I’d like to continue with the trainer but it’s just really expensive. Since then I’ve been practicing HIT on my own. I haven’t gone to failure yet – I feel like I’m getting close. How would you recommend doing so? I go to the gym Mon and Fri. I really like this type of workout but sometimes I don’t feel like I workout lol not as tired and I go to the gym only twice a week (do yoga now once a week since I have more time/workout days open ). I was sore in the beginning not anymore. However, when I cheat with diet on the weekends my weight stays the same :))) Thanks for recommending the body by science. I’m enjoying this type of workout.

  7. @Michelle – As long as you are being challenged, exercising safely and getting stronger, you are doing it right.

  8. Thanks! Funny went went in this week and was surprised how the weights are going up ;)))

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