The benefits to high intensity interval training (HIIT) are numerous but the reason we like it the most is because you can squeeze in a lot of work into a short amount of time. By getting into your anaerobic heart zone you reap the benefits of your workout all day long. Your metabolic rate is increased for the entire day, you burn more fat and the best part is you don’t even need equipment to do it.
Typical HIIT workouts alternate between periods of high intensity cardio, followed by more static movements or recovery. It’s also important to remember that while in the cardio intervals you are striving for intensity but you don’t want to push yourself to the point of injury. Listen to your body and give maximum effort without overdoing it.
This could be whatever you want it to be. I use this time to get my head in the game and focus on the task at hand. By increasing blood flow, your vessels dilate filling your muscles with oxygen and getting them prepared to work. Your warm-up should be at least five minutes. If you’re at the gym try hopping on a treadmill and doing a fast paced walk or jog, use the stair stepper, elliptical machine or even some jumping jacks and push-ups will suffice.
Repeat these circuits three times. The first time around do each exercise for a minute, the second each one for 45 seconds, and the third for 30 seconds. All cardio intervals should be one minute.
One Minute Cardio Interval – Slam ball on tip-toes: Raise medicine ball overhead, slam it down then after you pick it up stay on your tiptoes and do a 180 degree turn slam down and repeat. Keep reversing directions while staying on your toes.
Circuit 1 ||
Squat with weight pass through the legs – Think figure eight! Make sure head and chest are lifted.
Push-Ups with shoulder taps – Start in plank position, do a push-up then tap each shoulder while keep hips stable. Your hips should be parallel to the floor. To modify take out the push-up or drop to your knees.
Cross Jacks – Similar to a jumping jack but alternate crossing your feet in front of you and clapping your hands in front while legs are crossed. Squeeze your back when you open.
Squat to a press – Feet shoulder width apart, weight in heels while squatting down then raising arms straight over your head.
One Minute Cardio Interval – Burpees: Start standing, jump up and then down into a push-up and repeat. Can modify by doing the push-up on your knees or just going down to plank.
CIRCUIT 2 ||
Lunge with tricep extension – Remain in a static lunge while keeping elbow glued to your ribs and extend your arm straight back.
Plie Hops – Make sure toes are pointed outward, if you don’t like to jump then squat.
Plank to pop-up row – Start in plank with a weight in one hand, when you pop up alternate between legs, bringing one leg up between the hands, then row, repeat.
Russian twists with weight or medicine ball – Begin in a boat position and twist your weight side to side, make sure your eyes follow the weight. If it’s too difficult to keep your feet on the ground then modify by placing feet on the ground.
One Minute Cardio Interval – One legged Pop-ups: Start in plank but with only one leg down, pop up to a squat and then down into plank with the opposite leg down.
Circuit 3 ||
Donkey Kicks – This is a good way to prep for a handstand in yoga. Start from a downward dog position and kick legs up in the air. Keep eyes focused slightly in front of hands.
Weight Pass Behind the Back – Lay flat on stomach, arms extending forward holding a light hand weight, pass around the back. Make sure to keep eyes on ground and don’t strain your neck.
Weight in back of leg lift – Transition to hands and knees and place a light weight behind your knee. Lift leg straight up to the sky while squeezing your glutes.
Weight in back of leg and fire hydrant – Same position as above but instead of lifting leg towards the sky lift out to the side.
One Minute Cardio Interval – Mountain Climbers: Start in plank position, butt low and shoulders over wrists, keeping your back flat. Bring knees into chest, modify by speeding up or slowing down.
Even if you only have a few minutes it’s important to do a couple stretches to cool down. Stretching prevents the buildup of lactic acid in muscles which can lead to cramping and stiffness.
Cat and Lauren are two best friends who started The Resource Girls to encourage and empower women to be themselves! We’re two girls who survived our twenties as strong, successful, independent women in this crazy world. We blog about fashion, fitness, finance, food and friendship but most of all loving ourselves and embracing who we are. Connect with Cat and Lauren at www.theresourcegirls.com, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photo Credit: Noah Berg Photography