Most people’s primary motivation for working out involves weight loss. The original school of thought for optimal results was performing a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at a moderate intensity three to five times a week in conjunction with resistance training two to three times per week. But in today’s world, most of us simply don’t have that much time to commit to the gym. The good news is we may not have to.
A multitude of recent research studies have shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has the potential to be just as effective for burning fat, increasing strength and improving cardiovascular endurance.
Researchers from the city of Eugene’s FitCity Wellness Center completed a 10-week study. Twenty-one people participated in HIIT three times per week with workouts finishing in just under 30 minutes. The results? Participants showed reductions in body weight, body fat percentage and circumference measurements. Another study published in The European Applied Journal of Physiology showed metabolism to be in an elevated state for up to 16 hours following intense exercise. And from a fitness perspective, the Journal of Applied Physiology did a study measuring the cardiovascular response of a high-intensity program and found endurance actually doubled in the high intensity group.
Now this isn’t at all to suggest we should completely eliminate longer workouts, especially if your goals are endurance-based. However, considering how precious time is in today’s society, isn’t it wise to incorporate short, intense workouts into the mix? So the question is, how does it work?
In a nutshell, HIIT workouts typically involve total body strength and conditioning exercises performed in a quick, all-out intensity for 20 seconds all followed by a 10-second recovery. This cycle is repeated for a total of four minutes, and HIIT workouts usually last between 20 and 25 minutes (5-6 cycles), not including the warm-up or cool-down. The goal is to work as quickly as possible but without compromising form.
And on that note, because of the intense nature and speed of the workout, it’s recommended to incorporate only exercises that primarily use body weight, resistance tubing or a medicine ball (5-10 percent of body weight). This will ensure better form and minimize the risk of injury. HIIT workouts should be self-paced and adjusted to your fitness level. If you are just starting an exercise program, I recommend at least 12 weeks of aerobic base conditioning, muscular endurance training and mastering the exercise technique before adding HIIT to your routine.
Now that you’re ready, try this challenging circuit that is guaranteed to get your heart pumping and your muscles burning for more!
Start in a standing position with your feet hip width apart. Lower into a squat and place your hands on the ground shoulder width apart. Hop or quickly walk your legs behind you until you are in a pushup position. Quickly hop or walk you legs back underneath you and jump into the air. Perform 2 cycles (20 seconds work/10 seconds of rest) then move to the next exercise.
Resistance Tube Punches:
Wrap a medium to heavy resistance tube around a solid anchor point at chest level threading it all the way through. Grab the handle with your right hand and position your body with your back facing the anchor point in a split stance with your left leg forward. Stand far enough away so there is slight tension in the tube with your right arm cocked at your side. Engage your abdominals, and explosively rotate your hips while pressing/punching your right arm straight forward towards 12 o’clock and then quickly return to the starting position, repeating the movement fast. Perform 1 cycle on the right and 1 on the left (20 seconds work/10 seconds of rest) before moving to the next exercise.
Begin in a lunge position with your left leg forward and your right leg back. Jump into the air scissoring your legs so you now land with your right leg forward and your left leg back landing both feet simultaneously. For modification, add a stutter step by letting your forward leg land prior to the back leg landing. Perform 2 cycles (20 seconds work/10 seconds of rest) then move to the next exercise.
Medicine Ball Slams:
Stand with your legs hip width apart with your arms hanging just below your hips holding a medicine ball. Keeping your core tight, quickly raise the ball overhead and slam it down to the ground catching it on the bounce. Repeat as many repetitions as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 then repeat for 20 more seconds.
Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian, has more than 18 years experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at email@example.com or www.championfit.net.