HIIT workouts have been getting a lot of attention these days and for good reasons! HIIT stands for ‘high-intensity interval training’, and it’s all about cycling between intense bursts of exercise and short periods of active rest.
New research now suggests that HIIT workouts may be especially beneficial for those trying to burn fat -specifically that stubborn, subcutaneous and abdominal fat which sits just underneath our skin. These studies also suggest that HIIT may help to promote insulin sensitivity and even regulate appetite (Boutcher, 2011). Sweet, right?
Another wonderful thing about HIIT workouts is that they are efficient. Thanks to the high intensity under which they are performed, you can get just as good of a workout in a much shorter time period than with most training routines.
HIIT is my favorite form of exercise for a number of reasons: if you’re hitting the intensity portions hard enough, you’ll get your heart rate up way higher than with any other form of exercise, so your cardio will be on point; it is also the perfect workout when you’re short on time, traveling or when you simply can’t make it to the gym or a class.
Wearing the right clothing is critical during a HIIT workout. I mentioned HIIT workouts are sweaty. So you need material that will let your skin breathe. HIIT exercises involve wide range of motion and explosive movements, so fabric that’s flexible yet flattering is a must. I really love the Araksa pant from Alana Athletica [worn below] for both HIIT workouts and sweaty yoga flows. These pants are high quality, affordable [$68!] and socially conscious: each legging purchase supports abused women in Sri Lanka through education, employment and empowerment. Check out Alana Athletica’s story here!
If you’re looking to incorporate some HIIT workouts into your exercise routine, check out my no equipment needed, total body HIIT workout below that includes some of my favorite high-intensity exercises. Complete each cardio interval for 45 seconds, then do 10 reps (with each side, as needed) for the exercises in between. One full time through will take you about 10 minutes. So for a 30-minute workout, shoot for 3x through, resting for 1 minute in between each set. Please note I am not professionally trained in exercise physiology nor a personal trainer. Rather, I just love working out and enjoy creating workouts of my own!
HIGH KNEES ~ Drive the knees to the chest, running in place. Keep the entire core engaged, chest up and open, back straight.
SIDE PLANK NEEDLE THREAD ~ Start in a low side plank position with your elbow underneath your shoulders. Extend your opposite arm towards the sky, chest open. Look up towards your extended hand. Engage your core, lifting up from the lower hip. Thread your elevated arm underneath your torso, engaging the obliques and maintaining the lift at your hips. Return your arm towards the sky. Complete 10 reps on one side, then switch to the other side.
SQUAT JUMPS ~ Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and lower to a squat position. Keep weight towards your heels, and avoid letting your knees go past your toes. Chest stays up, hands at heart’s center. Explosively jump straight up towards the sky, extending arms by your side, squeezing glutes. Then, land back on your squat position and repeat without stopping.
PUSH-UPS ~ Begin in a high plank position, arms and feet shoulder-width apart. Lower all the way down, elbows in, hovering above the earth. Keep neck in line with spine and core engaged. Don’t let your hips or lower body sag or lift too high –your body should stay in one long, even line. Extend back up to high plank.
PLANK JACKS ~ Begin in a high plank position, hands underneath shoulders, feet shoulder-width apart. Similar to a jumping jack, jump feet in and out, keeping core engaged. Keep your booty in line with the rest of your body, avoid letting your hips sag or your booty rise up towards the sky.
PLEA LUNGES ~ Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight into your planted foot, and lunge diagonally behind your planted leg. Keep the chest up, core engaged and avoid letting your planted knee go past your toes. Return to a standing position. Complete 10 reps on one side, then switch to the other.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS ~ Start in a high plank position, hands underneath shoulders. Alternating legs, drive your knees towards the opposite shoulder. Suck your belly in, hips in line with the rest of the body. Mountain climbers can be done slow and controlled or as fast as you can for more cardio.
ARMY PLANK ~ Begin in a high plank position, hands underneath shoulders. One arm at a time, lower down to your forearms, then back to your high plank. Continue this, alternating which arm lowers and pushes up first. Engage your core and keep your neck in line with the spine.
BURPEES ~ Begin standing. Lower down to the ground, jumping your feet behind you into a high plank. Jump your feet back towards your hands, then, explode up, landing low to the ground again. Repeat without stopping. Be as explosive as possible!
Boutcher, S. H. (2011). High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. Journal of Obesity, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/868305