A HIIT workout, or High Intensity Interval Training, is now one of the most popular types of workouts. The science behind this type of training shows that short, intense bursts of exercise are beneficial to the body in numerous ways.
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” Henry Ford
What is a HIIT Workout?
The acronym HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. This type of workout takes some familiar exercises and incorporates them into movements that work the body hard for a few minutes.
The goal isn’t to make you tired, but to push your body hard to burn fat. Burning real fat is the key to losing fat, and ultimately losing weight. What is the key to a great HIIT workout?
An Overview of the HIIT Workout
Let’s take a look at the key factors that make a HIIT workout a go-to for anyone who wants to get into peak condition.
Why is a HIIT workout so effective? Here are some facts:
The exercises that you’ll generally use for HIIT workouts target specific muscle groups. They also require a short period with intense movements.
Your goal with any fat-blasting exercise is to to raise your heart rate consistently. At a resting state, you are not pushing your body. Exercise is ideal for raising your metabolic heart rate and then keeping it maintained for a sustained time.
Using a HIIT workout causes your heart rate to come out of the resting state for a total of 24 hours or more.
This means that once your training session is over, your metabolic rate will continue to be higher than usual.
Thus, it leads to effective fat burning as well as more muscle definition than you would experience otherwise.
Weights do NOT have to be involved for you to get an effective workout. You also don’t have to spend an hour or two in the gym. HIIT focuses on more intensity for a shorter interval. A typical workout could range anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes at the most.
An easy example would be cycling for 30 seconds at high speed. You would then cycle at a slower pace before pushing hard again. The most effective target for this type of workout is 4 to 6 repetitions of the exercises you choose.
TIP: Keep your workouts exciting– mix it up and use different exercises every time.
Here are 10 HIIT workout moves that will challenge you.
This exercise is one that people almost always describe in one word– intense. It fits well into the HIIT workout plan. It adds to your strength, but it’s also great for burning fat.
The burpee will push you to your limit, by causing you to move down low and bring your body all the way back up. This is why it’s referred to as a “squat thrust.”
You start in the standing position, then squat with your hands on the ground, move into a plank, and then work your way back up.
“Champions aren’t made in the gym. Champions are made from something deep inside them– a desire, a dream, a vision.” Muhammed Ali
2. Mountain climber.
Mountain climbers are a challenging exercise, but they work for multiple muscle groups.
One of the best things about mountain climbers is that they improve mobility. Individuals that have struggled with mobility or flexibility may increase both with this exercise.
Because mountain climbers are intense and utilized in short intervals, they indeed work the heart. Exercises like mountain climbers are highly regarded as a way to improve fitness in functional medicine.
“If you think lifting is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.” Bret Contreras
3. Hand-release push-ups.
Push-ups are always a great exercise to throw into the mix for intense workouts.
You can do this push-up like a standard push-up, but when you lower yourself to the ground, lift your hands for a second, then slowly exhale as you push yourself back up.
While this makes your arms and core work harder, you’ll work up a sweat too. This process takes more time, but it’s a great way to increase the intensity of a HIIT workout.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” Bruce Lee
4. Russian twists.
Twisting the body in yoga is known to aid in massaging the digestive system. Russian twists, as they relate to your HIIT workout, are for strengthening your core.
All you need to do is sit on the floor. You can put your legs out in front of you on the floor, and twist from side to side with your hands touching your chest.
If you want to challenge yourself a bit more, you can lift your heels off the floor. You’ll feel the burn, thus adding to the intensity of your workout.
“What hurts today makes you stronger tomorrow.” Jay Cutler
Crunching up your abdominals can make you feel like you have tucked yourself into a ball. These tuck-ups are by far one of the most intense abdominal exercises in the High Intensity Interval Training.
You can do a tuck-up by lying on your back with your arms raised straight up above your head. You’ll bring your legs into the crunch position, by drawing them into your chest. As you do this, lift your back off the floor.
The goal is to use your abdominals and balance on your glutes. This move will give your abdominals an intense workout.
“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.” Jillian Michaels
6. Flutter kicks.
Strengthening the core is essential, and mixing up your HIIT workout is a great way to do this.
Flutter kicks are simple. You can lay on the ground, but this time you’ll put your hands behind your head.
Without pulling on the neck, you’ll want to raise your head off of the ground. Then, you’ll alternate your legs while doing so.
The burn in the abdominals makes this exercise intense, and it’s great for helping you build a stronger core.
“Take care of your body; it’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn
7. Superman’s with lateral raises.
You can look like Superman with this exercise. It will strengthen your low back, and ultimately your core.
You’ll need to lie on your stomach while placing your arms straight out in front of you. You’ll raise your arms and legs off the ground at the same time.
The goal of this exercise is to raise yourself off the floor without straining your low back. Gently squeezing the low back and the glutes, you can pull yourself up off the floor.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Frank Devito
8. Plank jacks.
Planks are ideal for building core strength, but a HIIT workout can be more intense when you opt for the plank jack.
Remember jumping jacks? When you combine a portion of that move with the plank, you have a plank jack.
You’ll get into a regular plank position. Then, you’ll pop your feet outside your hips to a greater width.
“A lot of times, people look at the negative side of what they feel they can’t do. I always look on the positive side of what I can do.” Chuck Norris
9. Star jumps.
Jumping up and down is one thing, but what are star jumps? The jumps start with feet together.
When you jump up, jump out with your legs and feet apart to look like a star. Keep knees slightly bent, so that you don’t strain the joints or tendons around your knees.
“Focus on progress, not perfection.” Josh Bezoni
This move is a classic, and it’s excellent exercise. The more you jump rope, the longer you’ll be able to do it. The goal is to do it faster with less time.
The short burst of intense time with a jump rope will help you burn fat quickly and easily.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” August F. Kantra
Final Thoughts on Trying a HIIT Workout
There are HIIT workouts, and there are exercise routines. The great thing about all ten of the exercises listed above is that they do not require a gym membership or exercise equipment.
The key is to challenge your muscle groups intensely in intervals. Remember, as we mentioned earlier, that this is how you get your heart rate up and keep it up.
Raising the metabolic heart rate is effective in enhancing athletic performance as well. New research proves this with youth soccer players.
The only time HIIT cannot be useful is when individuals are rushing through exercises, and not warming up properly.
Every exercise program calls for proper warm-up, just as athletes would warm-up before a sporting event.
The muscles should be prepped, and learning HIIT with an experienced and reputable instructor will help you determine the proper form and movements.
If you want to lose weight and get into better shape, this program is sure to be a hit!