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HIIT workouts are pretty darn effective at building endurance, strength, and a sweet toned bod.
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They’re also pretty darn tough.
But that means that you get an hour and a half of exercise done in twenty minutes.
Sounds pretty good, right? I mean, it took me that long to walk to class sometimes.
HIIT workouts can be done anywhere, such as sprinting through a field.
But today we’ll look at HIIT workouts you can do at the gym.
The Basics of HIIT
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training.
The basic idea is to alternate between going all-out and taking active rests.
You don’t stop during HIIT workouts until the very end.
The work period is something very intense, such as sprinting.
Then, for the active recovery, you do something only moderately intense. A brisk walk matches with sprints well.
If you like numbers, you might want to get a heart rate monitor.
Figure out your maximum heart rate then base the work and rest periods on a percent of that MHR.
The work section should get you up to 90% of your MHR while the recovery should only be about 70%.
You can split your time between work and rest or, if you feel up to it, work for twice as long as you rest.
But first, warm up!
Before performing any strenuous activity, and HIIT can be strenuous, you need to warm up.
HIIT pushes your body to the limits, so warm up your entire body!
Touch your toes, circle your arms, twist your trunk left and right.
Then, go for a jog or jump rope session for several minutes.
Lightly, mind you. You only want to hit 50% of your MHR right now.
Once you’ve warmed up, it’s time to get down to business.
This isn’t a routine, so don’t jump from one exercise to another.
Choose one of the following exercises and stick to it for the entirety of the workout.
It’ll go faster than you think, I promise!
Lots of treadmills have televisions in front of them so people can run mindlessly for an hour.
Don’t pay any attention to it.
Work: Turn the treadmill up until you’re sprinting as fast as you can go, for 20-30 seconds.
Rest: Turn the treadmill down until you’re taking a brisk walk.
I prefer stationary bikes over treadmills because they are friendlier on your joints.
Plus, you can’t turn the stationary bike up so fast that you fall and slide into your crush.
Uh, forget I said that.
Work: This is easy. Cycle as fast as possible, with enough resistance that it’s challenging!
Rest: Slow down your cycling. If you want to, you can also set the machine to be easier.
Remember, you want to stay around 70% of your maximum heart rate while resting.
A stair-climbing machine can really get your blood flowing.
You can set the stride length of most stair steppers.
Start with a low stride length and work your way up.
Work: Climb those imaginary stairs as fast as possible!
Rest: Climb those imaginary stairs at a moderate speed.
Yes, you can do HIIT with a bar, too!
The important thing is to not use too heavy of a lift.
Think cardio, not resistance training.
We’re not going for a one rep max here. Use lighter weights than normal and swallow your pride.
Work: Press a light-to-moderate amount of weight.
You can go faster than you would with a heavier weight but don’t go too fast!
Remember, we’re going for time, not for reps. Aim for 30 seconds of pressing.
Rest: I suppose that you could grab a second bar and use it without plates for an active recovery.
I’d probably jump rope, though.
Much like the HIIT bench press, HIIT squats are more about speed and less about lifting heavy weights.
Make sure that your form is as good as possible and use a lighter weight than you would for normal weighted squats.
Work: Lower then raise yourself with the weighted bar on your back.
Make sure your movements are controlled and don’t bounce at either the top or the bottom.
Rest: Same as the bench press.
Also, since you need to stabilize your core, it’s a pretty good ab workout too!
Work: Swing those ropes!
One method is to swing one rope up while you’re swinging the other down.
You can get your hips into it for more power.
Or, you can keep your hips facing firmly forward and use both hands in sync with each other.
Up and down or making circles are both good.
Rest: There’s not too much active recovery you can do with the ropes in your hand, so drop ’em.
You do want to keep moving, though.
I like to jog in place.
You could also jog around the gym or jump rope.
Hit the Punching Bag
Throwing a flurry of punches at a bag is therefore both a good way to exercise and to get out some aggression.
Work: Ensure you have good form and beat the stuffing out of the punching bag! Don’t let up!
Rest: I’d recommending using a jump rope for your active recovery.
Swinging a heavy ball doesn’t seem like much of a workout, but it sure can be.
Make sure you’re using proper form throughout the swing.
An instructor is great for this.
Work: Swing all out for 30 seconds! I prefer two-handed swings myself.
Just make sure not to let go. It’s not a bowling ball, and the other people at the gym are not bowling pins!
Rest: Put the kettlebell down and keep moving.
Oof, that was exhausting, wasn’t it?
However, you don’t want to throw in the towel quite yet!
After you’ve exhausted yourself, it’s a good idea to go through a little cool-down exercise.
Don’t do too much right now.
Just a bit of light jogging or jump roping will do.
Like the warm-up, do this light cardio for about three minutes.
Then take a shower and enjoy some sweet relaxation!
HIIT may be difficult, but it brings great rewards.
It’s fast, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time working out.
Plus, after a particularly good session, you can say to your friends that you “HIIT it hard last night!” and hold your fist up for an awkward fist bump.
Just don’t train every day!
You don’t want to burn out, do you?