Fitness Toolkit: Protocol & Tools to Optimize Physical Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #94

I describe a fitness protocol that maximizes all the major sought-after aspects of physical fitness, including strength, endurance and flexibility. I discuss fundamentals of resistance training protocols, including repetitions, sets, inter-set and inter-workout rest periods and periodization of intensity and volume to improve strength and hypertrophy. I also explain how to integrate this with endurance training across the week by controlling the duration, timing and intensity of cardiovascular workouts. I also cover science-based protocols on leveraging the mind-body connection, deliberate breathing (during and after exercise), stretching, deliberate heat and cold exposure, and non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) for better workout performance and faster recovery. Further, I tackle a range of real-world issues that can affect a consistent training schedule, such as whether you should train if you are sick, have had a poor night of sleep or had a stressful event and how to start training again after a break and whether you should train in a fasted or fed state. Physical fitness is a key variable for immediate and long-term health. This episode provides a modifiable “foundational” template that can be adjusted based on your current fitness level, goals, time constraints, and access to different types of equipment.

#HubermanLab #Fitness #Exercise

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A potent physiological method to magnify and sustain soleus oxidative metabolism improves glucose and lipid regulation:
Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy with Concurrent Exercise Training: Contrary Evidence for an Interference Effect:

Relax into Stretch: Instant Flexibility Through Mastering Muscle Tension:

Other Resources
Dr. Andy Galpin: How to Build Strength, Muscle Size & Endurance:
Jeff Cavaliere: Optimize Your Exercise Program with Science-Based Tools:
Dr. Peter Attia: Exercise, Nutrition, Hormones for Vitality & Longevity:
ATHLEAN-X Neck Training:
Anna Skips:
10-minute Non-Sleep Deep Rest Protocol:

00:00:00 Foundational Protocol for Fitness
00:03:35 Huberman Lab Premium
00:04:35 Tool: Soleus (Calf) Push-Ups, Glucose Utilization & Metabolism
00:14:42 InsideTracker, ROKA, Helix Sleep, Momentous Supplements
00:18:53 Core Principles of Fitness & Modifiable Variables
00:23:37 Day 1: Long Endurance Workout
00:34:38 Day 2: Leg Resistance Training, Strength & Hypertrophy
00:38:09 Key Principles of Resistance Training
00:49:57 Day 3: Heat & Cold Exposure, Recovery
00:59:22 Day 4: Torso & Neck Resistance Training
01:08:40 Day 5: Moderate Intensity Cardiovascular Training, Running Alternatives
01:15:28 Day 6: High-Intensity Interval Training, Maximum Heart Rate
01:22:56 Day 7: Arms, Neck & Calves Resistance Training
01:27:30 Flexibility of Foundational Protocol, Workout Spacing
01:31:49 Tool: Mind-Muscle Contraction, Physiological Sighs
01:35:57 Safety & Endurance/Cardiovascular Workouts
01:37:18 Tool: Stress or Poor Sleep & Workouts, Recovery & NSDR
01:40:04 Should You Train Fasted or Fed?
01:42:43 Tool: Static Stretching & Flexibility, Irradiation & Resistance Training
01:47:56 Tool: Hanging from a Bar & Fitness Metric
01:49:02 Should You Train Sick?, Ramping Training
01:52:19 Tool: Deliberate Slow Breathing & Recovery
01:53:47 Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous Supplements, Huberman Lab Premium, Neural Network Newsletter, Social Media


Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac –


41 thoughts on “Fitness Toolkit: Protocol & Tools to Optimize Physical Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #94

  1. I love your podcast. I've learned a huge amount that I apply to my life. I share it extensively with friends and clients, and I signed up for the premium channel. All that said, I felt like this episode was too Andrew-centered. I'm an almost-70 y/o. I'm a distance runner (30 marathons+ in the last 26 years) and I lift weights. I don't know that I've ever heard you talk about how protocols need to be modified at different age ranges, and in this episode you're not speaking to distance runners at all.

  2. Recently discovered this podcast and I love it. Can't wait to implement some of the tips into my routine. I have a question about this protocol if anyone can answer. Do shoulders fall under Torso day on Wednesday or Arms on Saturday? Thanks!

  3. Thank you Dr.Andrew
    I have a question, can you talk about the positive/negative effects of drinking coffee right before taking a nap or doing an NSDR?

    I have tried it many times, and I noticed two things:
    1- It magnify the effect of the nap and I feel well rested and awake right after.
    2- If I do it right after waking up from bad sleep, I get into REM sleep (I dream) in just short time of napping (10-15min).

  4. It's a difficult dance around the various perceptions and preferences that people have related to fitness… you likely lost a few people at some places… but you won many back by loathing the stationary bike.

  5. The Friday workout, the 30s sprinting, and 10s recovery for 8-12 reps seems a bit weird to me. Can you really stay explosive for so many reps with such little recovery?

  6. Now this is real Science.
    Mainstream 'trust the science' is bought and paid for.
    What I like about Huberman is the fact he genuinely wants everyone to be the best version of themselves. You can tell that by the way he is excited about the science. He has also tested it himself and gives a this works for me feed back.
    Thank you.

  7. Love the podcast and everything about it. I have a topic suggestion. Pain. You mentioned it in one episode so I'm sure it's on your radar but as a physical therapist acute/chronic pain is almost universally misunderstood and is a huge problem in our lives. I do a lot of education about it and I find it very interesting. I enjoy Adrian Louw's work, but I confess I have not looked heavily into the research for other suggestions.

  8. So: long Endurance

    – maintain or building 60-75min, Zone 2 cardio (swim, job, cycle)
    – possible mix up with a long hike – Pure nasal breathing

    Mo strength/resistance: Legs

    – 10 min warm Up

    – 45-60 training

    – 2 exercises per muscle group (Calves, quadriceps, hamstrings)

    1. exercise which brings the muscle to a weighted stretch position

    2. Exercise contraction in the shortened position

    – month 1: 4-8 repetition, 3-4 sets, 2-4 sec rest

    – month 2: 11-15 repetition, 2-3 sets, 60-120 sec rest

    Tue: recovery, heat-cold contrast, (quick) walks

    – sauna/ice bath, hot/cold shower

    – 3-4 rounds

    – hot 20 min, cold 5 min

    We: resistance torso (chest/shoulders) and neck

    – pushing/pulling

    – if possible alternating

    1. Stretching exercise

    2. Exercise peak contraction/shortening of muscle

    Neck – Light to moderate weight

    Th: moderate intensity cardiovascular

    35 min, higher than zone 2,

    5 min warm-up, 35 min train

    75-80% off all out (off 100%)

    Fr: HIIT (include leg)

    Max or near max heart rate (220 – age = max heart rate)

    20-30 all out sprint, 10 sec rest, 8-12 rounds

    Sa: resistance, arms, neck, calves (torso indirect)

    additional dip exercise

    Zone 2 Cardio – 180-200 min/week

    max heart rate = 220 minus age

  9. So much Advertising.. ?
    25 mins with basically only the soleus pushups info given/mentioned, thanks for this but how much more can one hang in for…??
    More Advertising?? … ?

  10. How do you stay up to date on academic literature? Do you need expensive memberships to scientific journals? Or do you just need to focus on a specific topic and find peer reviewed papers? … and also how can you immediately recognize bad science/papers not worth listening to? Lol

  11. The soleus pushups are interesting. It sounds a lot like the "fidget" mechanism mentioned in an earlier Metabolism podcast. Loving these podcasts and striving to incorporate as many of these protocols into my routine as I can. Keep it coming!

  12. Here are my notes on the protocol:

    Sunday: Long endurance workout

    Hiking, running, Zone 2 cardio for 60-75 minutes, maybe hiking for three hours or so

    Monday: Leg Resistance Training for Strength and Hypertrophy

    10 minutes of warming up

    50 minutes of actual work, really hard work

    Not any longer, since past this point you get increases in cortisol that impede development.

    Choose a specific muscle group like calves or quadriceps. For each muscle group, try to get that muscle group into a weighted stretch position. For example, a standing calf raise, down at the bottom it’s weighted, plus another exercise where you’re getting the contraction in the shortened position of the muscle. For example, for hamstrings this could be the leg curl, for quadriceps it’s the leg extension machine.

    Look up specific exercises.

    Examples: Quadriceps → Leg extensions + hack squats.

    Hamstrings → Leg curls + glute ham-raises

    Calves → Standing and seated calf raises

    Tuesday: Rest Day (heat and cold exposure)

    Sauna to ice bath.

    15-20 minutes in the sauna, then 5 minutes of cold.

    3 to 5 rounds of this.

    Causes 16x growth hormone

    Wednesday: Torso Day

    Strengthens muscles of torso, shoulders, and back. Train your neck too.

    Bench press, incline press, shoulder press, lateral raise

    Bent over rows, chin-ups, pull-ups, cable crossovers.

    Push-pull method, go from bench press to chin-ups or similar

    Don’t do neck bridges because you can slip a disc

    Thursday: Mild Cardio

    Run for 30-35 minutes (you could also row for 30-35 minutes)

    If stuck in a room, dod jumping jacks or something similar

    Try to breathe only through your nose

    Friday: High Intensity Cardio

    Bike really intensely, max out your heart rate

    20-30 seconds of full sprint on the AirDyne bike, then 10 seconds of rest

    Sprint for 20-30 seconds, jog for 10

    Saturday: Arms, Calves, Neck Resistance Training

    Dips, chin-ups, 45-50 minutes

    Hope it helps! This is what I'll be using as my workout protocol.

  13. 'No neck' I think is because large necks are large in circumference and appear short, as in having no neck…the head appears directly connected to the head….

  14. This advice is so valuable! This guy is an absolute legend for doing this for free and I hope people don't take this advice for granted and really implement everything they can and optimise themselves for the better ?

  15. Just started this.
    I changed the leg day to a second Torso day and added legs to "neck & arms".
    Did my first Hot/Cold day yesterday – feels weird and awesome.
    Did HIIT this morning – I'm floored.
    Tomorrow: Torso.

    Looking forward to test this routine for a couple of months. Thanks a lot for that!

  16. Great info, very detailed. I do believe that a lot of listeners would benefit from seeing the actual routine of your exercises, and could come with great engagement.

  17. I have fidgeting pals (soleus pushups all day) who are always hungry and stay slim year round. I used to do it subconsciously as a kid, now trying to do it consciously is hard, think I was weened off of it because it was annoying to others when you shake the chair / sofa / bench etc

  18. First off, thank you for your contributions and everything you do! Recently my soleus raise video increased dramatically in views. I tracked this back to the initial video on the soleus push up from Houston University. I only just learned you also covered the exercise! I was interested and had a read of the article and thought a physiotherapy perspective might be useful. Here I discuss the article, particularly the prescription, potential clash with dual tasking, number of participants and the world health organisation physical activity guidelines.

    While I see the value for those who are physically unable to engage with physical activity, I'm not convinced it outweighs a balance between sedentary behaviour and a physically active lifestyle. Curious to hear more thoughts on this! It will be interesting to see if they do a larger trial across the same spectrum of participants.

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