This Workout Makes Your Heart 20 Years Younger

Do you want your body to be young again? Then check it out. This workout makes your heart 20 years younger! But, we need to be very clear here, it is not going to happen overnight. This is not a magic trick that saves you from one day to the next – you need to be consistent with this workout and, after a few months or more than a year, you will have reverted your heart’s condition to when you were younger.

In the relentless pursuit of a longer and healthier life, individuals are increasingly turning their attention to comprehensive health metrics that extend beyond traditional parameters. One such metric gaining considerable recognition is VO2 max, a physiological measure that holds the promise of being the single most pivotal indicator of longevity. As we delve into the realms of understanding the intricacies of VO2 max and its correlation with increased lifespan, this article aims to unravel the significance of this metric and its connection to vigorous exercise.

Maximal oxygen consumption, as denoted by VO2 max, becomes a crucial standard, reflecting an individual’s ability to optimally utilise oxygen during high-intensity activities. The appeal lies not just in its measurability but also in the belief that a higher VO2 max is intricately linked to cardiovascular health, heightened endurance, and the potential for an extended and vibrant life.

In this exploration, we will navigate through the intricacies of what could be the workout that makes your heart 20 years younger, a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) regimen considered by many as a beacon for improving VO2 max. Through the lens of this protocol and backed by evidence from studies, we will unravel the transformative effects of vigorous exercise on cardiac structure and longevity.

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The information in this article is largely based on a conversation between Chris Williamson and Dr. Rhonda Patrick.

Chris Williamson is the host of the “Modern Wisdom” podcast. The “Modern Wisdom” podcast covers a wide range of topics, including health, fitness, psychology, business, and personal development. Chris often interviews experts and thought leaders in these fields, providing insights and valuable information for his audience. He also has his own YouTube channel boosting close to 2 million subscribers.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick is a highly accomplished researcher with a diverse background in biomedical sciences. As a postdoctoral fellow at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, she explored the impact of micronutrient deficiencies on metabolism, inflammation, DNA damage, and aging. Driven by a goal to reshape conventional health perspectives, Patrick advocates for a proactive, preventative approach to health and longevity.

Join us on this journey as we dissect the importance of VO2 max and venture into various strategies of vigorous exercise, culminating in a comprehensive understanding of how these elements can collectively pave the way towards unlocking the secrets to a longer and healthier life.

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Understanding VO2 Max

VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption, reflects the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise. Many believe that a higher VO2 max is associated with better cardiovascular health, increased endurance, and potentially a longer life. The ability to measure VO2 max makes it a valuable biomarker for assessing fitness levels and overall health.

The Norwegian 4×4 Protocol

At the forefront of VO2 max enhancement is the Norwegian 4×4 protocol. This high-intensity interval training (HIIT) method involves four minutes of exercise at near-maximum effort, followed by three minutes of light activity for recovery. This process is repeated four times, providing a rigorous yet effective workout. The protocol aims to push individuals to their limits, challenging their cardiovascular system and promoting significant improvements in VO2 max over time.

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This Workout Makes Your Heart 20 Years Younger

The workout mentioned that purportedly has the potential to reverse the aging of the heart by up to 20 years is the Norwegian 4×4 protocol. This high-intensity interval training (HIIT) regimen involves a specific sequence of exercise:

  • Four Minutes of Intense Exercise:

Participants engage in an exercise that pushes their cardiovascular system to near-maximum effort for a duration of four minutes. The intensity is brutal, close to an all-out level, typically ranging between 85-95% of the maximum heart rate. This sustained effort is a critical element to ensure effectiveness without compromising the ability to complete the full four minutes.

  • Three Minutes of Light Recovery:

Following the four-minute intense exercise phase, individuals transition into a three-minute period of light activity for recovery. The goal here is to allow the heart rate to decrease and the body to recuperate, preparing for the subsequent intense interval.

This entire cycle is then repeated three more times, resulting in a total of four sets of the 4×4 protocol. The overarching principle is to challenge the cardiovascular system through intervals of high intensity and recovery, ultimately promoting significant improvements in VO2 max and, remarkably, influencing the aging process of the heart.

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The mention of a study conducted at UT Southwest in Dallas, involving 50-year-olds who adhered to a similar vigorous exercise routine for two years, underscores the potential transformative effects of such protocols. Participants in this study exhibited a reversal in cardiac structure aging by an impressive 20 years, suggesting that consistent engagement in the Norwegian 4×4 protocol can yield profound benefits for heart health and potentially contribute to increased longevity.

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Evidence from UT Southwest Study

A compelling study conducted at UT Southwestern in Dallas provides insights into the transformative effects of high-intensity exercise on VO2 max and cardiac structure. The two-year intervention involved untrained 50-year-olds committing to a progressive training protocol. These individuals engaged in approximately four hours per week of maximal intensity exercise, including the Norwegian 4×4 protocol. Astonishingly, their cardiac structure showed a reversal of aging by 20 years, resembling hearts of 30-year-olds.

After that two years of doing this pretty vigorous intensity exercise protocol, the 50-year-olds reversed their cardiac structure aging by 20 years“, Dr. Patrick said.

Implementing Vigorous Exercise Strategies

While the Norwegian 4×4 stands out as a gold standard for improving VO2 max, other vigorous exercise options offer variety and cater to individual preferences. Running, cycling, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are excellent choices. Maintaining a heart rate at 75-80% of maximum for around 20 minutes during activities like running or cycling can yield substantial cardiovascular benefits.

Dr. Martin Gabala, a prominent researcher in HIIT, suggests that even shorter intervals, such as one minute, can contribute to VO2 max improvements. The key is to engage in activities that individuals enjoy, ensuring consistency and adherence to their chosen exercise routine.

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Frequency and Consistency

The frequency of high-intensity exercise sessions plays a crucial role in improving VO2 max. While the Norwegian 4×4 may be performed once a week for a challenging session, incorporating additional sessions can further enhance results. The UT Southwestern study demonstrated remarkable outcomes with just one session per week, emphasizing the transformative potential of consistent and well-structured exercise.

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Motivation and Long-Term Commitment

Maintaining motivation for vigorous exercise, especially when faced with the demanding Norwegian 4×4 protocol, can be a challenge. However, adopting a consistent routine, mixing up activities, and finding enjoyment in the process can significantly contribute to long-term commitment. Whether it’s running, cycling, or interval training, the key is to choose activities that align with personal preferences and goals.


In the quest for longevity, focusing on VO2 max through vigorous exercise emerges as a powerful strategy. The Norwegian 4×4 protocol, supported by scientific studies, stands out as an effective method to improve cardiovascular health and potentially reverse age-related changes. As individuals explore various exercise options, the key lies in finding a balance between intensity, enjoyment, and long-term commitment, unlocking the potential for a healthier and longer life.

For more information about the workout that makes your heart 20 years younger, you can simply watch the video below.

In it, Chris Williamson and Dr. Rhoda Patrick discuss the Norwegian 4×4 protocol and what exercises people can do to expand their VO2 max and the importance of it.

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