Jason McPherson is a certified strength and conditioning specialist living in Toronto, Ontario. He is also an accomplished entrepreneur with three fitness products successfully brought to market with his business partner: Sledbarrow, Crossbell Fitness, and Battle Bar.
McPherson lives by the philosophy that “movement is medicine” and 4 x 20-minute sessions per week is the best amount of time to train, practice technique and master a new movement.
Notable Life and Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer met up with Jason to learn exactly how precise timing equals success when one is weight training and improving the performance of their body:
What is your favourite warm up before a training session?
I like to use the elliptical machine as a warm up because there is less ground force and a greater range of motion than jogging, for example. Some days I may do mobility work or core activation work — front plank, side plank, glute bridge march — on the ground. I would do a core activation warm up before a heavy legs work out.
How many HIIT workouts do I need per week to benefit from exercise, and how long do they need to be?
High intensity workouts make up a portion of your workouts, or a micro-cycle, of your workouts. In a 3-week period, you could try to put about 14 HIIT workouts in a 21 day period. By definition, a high intensity workout is simply tracking an energy system and the body is made up of 3 different energy systems so, you can’t just train one of those energy systems.
How many minutes should I be warming up cardiovascularly before a HITT workout?
A younger individual in their teens or 20’s would probably benefit from a short 5-minute warm up. Someone coming off an injury, or somebody more mature around the age of 35 or 40-plus, would probably benefit from a longer slower warm up — around 10 minutes in length.
What is the ideal amount of time for interval training with Squat variations, for example?
High intensity workouts can have a number of different intervals. You can perform an interval of up to 15 seconds if you’re going to train plyometrics, and then switch to a different energy system with a Goblin squat, for example, and do a longer interval of 30 to 120 seconds. I don’t recommend staying longer on any kind of squat variation greater than two minutes in total length.
What is your favourite tri-set for glutes? How long should this take to complete?
I would start with a stiff-legged dead lift, move on to a thruster, and finish with a front squat. That tri-set would take about 40 seconds x 3 and 10 second transfer between each exercise.
What is your favourite tri-set for core? How long should this take to complete?
Dead-bug cross crawl, a variation of a front plank shoulder tap and then a type of core exercise called BEAR where my knees are elevated off the ground and I contra laterally extend arm and leg and alternate that pattern. When I do core, I try to do each exercise for exactly one minute.
Can swimming be apart of a high-intensity training schedule? How?
Of course swimming could be part of a high-intensity training schedule, it just depends whether you have a pool at your disposal. You can do laps in the pool, jump out and do squats, push ups, and hold a plank then hop back in and do laps.
How important is it to track progression when you’re strength training independently? What exactly is important to track?When it comes to strength training there are a couple major factors you need to track. First is the frequency, how often in a particular week do you hit a particular muscle group. You would like to hit a muscle group between 48-72 hours and if you want to track gains then you really have to hit muscle within that 72 hour window. Another factor is Volume, volume would pertain to how much weight or resistance you move through an entire workout.
How would a performance timepiece fit into your life, given that you’re also a model who cares about style. What qualities do you look for in a timepiece?
Style is a major key factor, but so is function — my timepiece needs both, to track my individual workouts and to have an amazing fashionable quality.