High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval training is an extremely effective form of exercise. It uses various intervals of high intensity work while alternating with lower intensity work for recovery in between. This style of workout is much shorter in duration than steady state cardio. This is perfect for those with limited time to exercise. For those who travel frequently, and for people who wish to burn fat or anyone wanting a challenge.
You can do this type of training anywhere, in the gym, at a park, swimming pool or even in your own home. And most of the time with zero equipment needed. There are so many other benefits to interval training, such as:
- Highly targets fat burning while also giving your metabolism a boost,
- Assists in building lean muscle tissue
- Preserves muscle while losing fat
- Greatly improves cardiovascular endurance
- Burns fat and calories in a shorter amount of time
- Versatile, efficient and challenging
Due to the intensity of a HIIT workout, your body consumes more oxygen than non-interval workouts, and with the excess oxygen consumed; your metabolic rate is increased for up to 2 hours after the session is finished. Your body also needs to work on repairing itself following this type of high intensity exercise meaning more fat and calorie burning for a further 24 hours afterwards.
More great news is that you can enjoy a shorter workout but still reap the benefits if not more than other forms of cardio. A 15-minute HIIT session can burn more calories than jogging at the same pace on a treadmill for 1 hour.
How to perform a HIIT workout
A HIIT workout can incorporate bodyweight movements, weights, TRX training, dancing, running, and so much more. The variations are endless. HIIT sessions are best done 2-3 times per week or more if you are an athlete or advanced trainee.
You will be alternating bursts of high-intensity work with rest periods in between. The intense work periods can be anywhere from 15 seconds to 8 minutes, and are performed at approximately 80-100% effort, followed by a rest period of approximately 20-30 seconds of recovery before your next bout of high intensity drill.
The workouts can be low or high impact depending on how healthy your joints are. As effective as HIIT is, there are also risks associated with any type of exercise and you should choose your exercises wisely. If you have any knee issues, avoid too much jumping and deep squats. As for any back issues, avoid loading up the spine.
Ensure you listen to your body and research for workouts that will suit your personal needs. There are so many workouts online for beginners to advanced exercisers and many you can do in your own home or backyard.
Example HIIT workout
Try this workout to get the feel of how a HIIT session should be performed and enjoy!
Complete each exercise in a row with your rest in between and repeat 3 times. Cool down with some stretching at the end of your workout.
- Jogging on the spot for 30 secs; squats x10; hip circles each way x 5.
- Jump squats 45 seconds – With feet turned out slightly and a little wider than hip width apart, slowly bend the knees while imagining your about to sit in a chair, going down half way. Come back up with a jump in the air and land as soft as possible into the next squat. Repeat until 45 seconds is up.
- Recovery 15 seconds – Simple slow marching on the spot.
- Air boxing 45 seconds – You can use extra resistance with light weights (1-2kg) in each hand as an option for this exercise if you want more intensity. Hold the arms in front of you with hands in a fist. Brace your abdominals, and start punching out in front of you with a slight incline, as fast as possible for the given time.
- Recovery 15 seconds – Arm circles in a reverse direction nice and slow.
- Sideways hops 45 seconds – Place a broomstick on the floor next you or even two hoops apart from one another on either side. You will be hopping from side to side on one foot, over the broomstick or try landing in the hoops with each foot. Keep momentum and speed as well as soft knees at all times.
- Recovery 15 seconds – Shake out the legs
- Mountain climbers 45 seconds – Start with your hands on the floor and in a plank position on your toes. Bring one knee up to the chest and then back to the floor on your toe. Bring the other knee up to the chest and then back down again. If you feel able, do this exercise with a running style so you are moving very fast. You can modify this exercise by placing your hands higher on a bench or chair, which makes it easier.
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