High-intensity interval training or HIIT is a popular workout routine that alternates between intense or high bursts of activity and less-intense periods of rest and recovery. For instance, a 1-minute of sprinting can be followed by 2 minutes of walking and then repeating similar sequences for 15 to 20 minutes. As much as HIIT sounds simple or basic, it’s arguably one of the most effective workout methods. It will help you to burn a high number of calories within a shorter period, thus boosting your weight loss goals. Also, HIIT will also boost your endurance, strengthen your cardiovascular system and help you to build more muscle. There are different types of HIIT workouts, designed for different workout goals. Some of the most popular include:
Circuit training remains one of the most effective and efficient exercises for burning fats, building muscle and lose weight. When you combine it with resistance exercises, this workout will help you to build functional strength while giving you some cardio workouts. To perform this exercise, you will need a set of light dumbbells. For a complete workout, you will perform 12 reps of different exercises and then rest for approximately 30 seconds. You will then repeat the circuit for at least 2 or 3 rounds for an effective workout. Some of the exercises that you can combine with circuit training include side lunges, squats, shoulder press, bent-over dumbbell row, reverse lunge as well as dumbbell chest press, among others.
Indoor Cycling Ladders
Cycling is a low-impact exercise, which will activate various muscles in your legs. One great thing about this exercise is that you can perform it using an indoor bike, in case the weather is not friendly outside. Another benefit of using an indoor bike while performing this exercise is that you can vary the level of speed and resistance, depending on the intensity that you want to achieve. After your warm-up, you should then perform 1-minute sessions at varying speeds and resistance. For instance, you can do a one-minute fast speed at light resistance, a one-minute medium speed at medium resistance and a one-minute slow speed at high resistance. You can then alternate these sessions as you wish, changing the speed and the levels of resistance.
High-Intensity Elliptical Workout
If you have bad knees or problematic legs but you still want to accomplish an intense workout, then you should use an elliptical machine. When you are working out on the elliptical machine, your foot remains on the footpad throughout your session, thus helping to minimize stress on your knees, ankles and hip joints. So, how can you perform a HIIT routine on the elliptical machine? First, you should do a warm-up session of around 3 minutes. After your light warm-up session, you should increase the incline or resistance and then do an intense run for approximately 30 seconds. The intense session should then be followed by a lighter run of 60 to 90 seconds, to allow your body to cool down. You should aim for at least 10 reps of these sessions. You can also change the placement of your feet on the pedal to make the workout more interesting.
Lifting heavy weights for 2 to 3 reps can activate the release of HGH and testosterone, thus boosting muscle growth. To perform these lifts as part of a HIIT program, you should start with heavy, low-rep moves, using compound movements like bench press, deadlift, back squat, front squat as well as the shoulder press. Make sure you’ve warmed up properly before you start your weightlifting sessions. Also, it’s important to note that your body will require longer periods of rest when performing heavy lifts compared to other HIIT workouts. Ideally, you should rest for about 3 to 5 minutes in between your sets.
Treadmills HIIT Workouts
Treadmill training can become boring quite fast, especially if you do the same things every other day. The good news is that you can improve and refresh your treadmill workouts easily, through high-intensity interval training (HIIT). By incorporating HIIT into your treadmill workout, you will burn more calories and improve your aerobic fitness significantly. Similar to other HIIT workouts, a treadmill HIIT workout should start with a light warm-up, and do an intense workout session of 1 minute, followed by a lighter session of around 2 minutes. You can experiment with different inclines and speeds, depending on the intensity that you want to train at. The beauty of this workout is that you can accomplish a great and effective workout session within 20 minutes or even less.
HIIT Workout Tips
High-intensity interval training or HIIT is designed to be efficient and fast. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are maximizing your workouts, every time you hit the gym. Whether you are performing burpees, running on the track or jumping rope in the gym, here are some tips that will help you to reap maximum benefits from your workouts.
- Opt for full-body workouts: As much as you can do HIIT workouts with any exercise, it’s highly advisable to choose bodyweight training exercises such as pushups, squats, and burpees, if you want to hit all the main muscle groups in your body. Once you’ve mastered bodyweight training exercises, you can then make your workouts more challenging by adding weights such as medicine balls, kettlebells, or dumbbells. This approach will boost the growth of lean muscle mass while building strength.
- Fuel properly: It’s almost impossible to attain maximum benefits from your HIIT workouts if your body is not adequately fueled. Therefore, proper nutrition can make a huge difference in your performance. According to the American Council on Exercise, you should eat before and after your HIIT workouts. Your pre-workout nutrition should include a moderate to a high carbohydrate meal, including adequate amounts of protein. The pro-workout meal should be taken approximately 3 to 4 hours before you start your HIIT workouts. For your pre-workout meal, you can opt for whole-wheat toast with banana and peanut butter or dried fruit and almonds. The post-workout nutrition should be taken within 30 minutes of completing your HIIT workouts. Similar to the pre-workout meal, your post-workout meal should feature a combination of proteins and carbohydrates, in adequate proportions. Also, you should drink water throughout your workouts, to ensure that your body is adequately hydrated.
- Train with proper footwear: As noted earlier, HIIT workouts are fast and intense. They involve fast transitions from one exercise to the other. And that’s why you need to train with the right type of shoes. Wearing proper shoes during your HIIT workouts will help to keep your feet comfortable while minimizing the occurrence of injuries. Most cross-training shoes are ideal for HIIT workouts.
- Don’t skip the warm-up: Just like other forms of training, you need to do some warm-up before starting your HIIT training. And your warm-up session doesn’t have to be a long one. Two to five minutes should be enough to warm up your muscles without leaving you feeling tired. Leg kicks, arm circles, and jumping jacks are some of the methods that you can use to warm up your body.
- Incorporate strength training: As much as HIIT is mainly cardio, it doesn’t mean that you cannot combine it with strength training. Combining strength training workouts with HIIT is an effective, safe and powerful means of building lean muscle mass and help you to maintain your strength.
- Mix up your workouts: If you are doing the same workouts every day, you will eventually hit a plateau. Furthermore, it will become repetitive and boring. To avoid such issues, you should mix up your workouts every other day. Avoid doing the same workout for two consecutive days. For instance, you can switch up your jumping jacks with burpees or flutter kicks.
- Sleep adequately: Since HIIT workouts are rigorous and intense, you need to get enough sleep for adequate recovery. Also, your body will only rebuild muscle when you are sleeping. Therefore, you should be sleeping for 7 to 8 hours every night or even more, depending on the intensity of your training sessions.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, build muscle or just improve your overall fitness levels, HIIT can help you accomplish all your workout goals. Furthermore, some HIIT workouts don’t require any equipment, which means you can do them anywhere. In short, it’s an efficient way to exercise, especially for people who are short on time.