Going out for a responsibly socially distanced jog or bike ride are two easy ways to get cardio workouts if you’re sheltering at home. They’re both forms of endurance training, as opposed to interval training where you stop and start. While each kind of cardio has unique benefits, HIIT workouts can help you save time.
Continuous training is where you set a pace and stick to it for an extended period. For example, you can run at an 8-minute mile pace for 30 minutes straight. Interval training is much more intense. You go as hard as you can for a brief period of time, like 30 seconds, then rest and recover for a few minutes.
Strength and conditioning specialist Lucas Dunham explains that HIIT workouts train your heart to pump blood faster and with more force. Steady-state training helps your heart relax and fill with blood, making each beat more efficient.
A July 2018 study published in Frontiers in Physiology found athletes who did HIIT training had similar benefits to endurance training. They also found HIIT training wasn’t superior, but it could replace endurance training. The key is HIIT workouts can be done faster, saving you time.
Alejandro Terrazas, a New York City-based personal trainer, recommends doing HIIT 2–3 times per week. However, you plateau eventually and need to switch things up to continue progressing. That’s why Terrazas recommends doing strength-training, plyometric or yoga classes in addition to interval training.
It’s hard to design your own interval training workout at home. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) group classes are fun because the instructor plans the workouts ahead of time and tells you which equipment to use. Try these 10 exercises, which use minimal or no equipment, for an at-home HIIT workout. You can do them in a row or break them up and do each one-by-one:
1. Spiderman Lunge With Reach
You can use this move as either a warmup or an interval training exercise. The twisting motion helps open your hips and spine.
The move: Start standing. Take a big lunge step forward with your left foot. Put your hands down inside your left foot. Turn with your left arm toward your left leg, reaching your hand up toward the ceiling. Come back down, step back and switch sides. Complete five reps on each side.
2. Box Jumps
The goal for box jumps is to jump as high as you can, then use something to break your fall. This minimizes the impact from landing, which allows you to do more reps.
The move: Find a chair or couch you can safely land on. Jump up onto the surface of the chair or couch, landing softly. Bend your knees and stick your hips back as you land. Then, step back down to the ground and repeat. Complete 10 reps.
3. Pushup From Knees
This move is perfect for those who haven’t mastered the pushup yet but want to work the same muscles. If you’re more advanced, this exercise might be too easy. In that case, do pushups with your knees off the ground.
The move: Start on the ground on your knees. Plant your hands directly under your shoulders. Drop down until your chest is close to the ground, then press back up until your elbows are straight. Complete as many reps as you can with proper form. If you can’t go down all the way, it’s time to stop.
4. Lateral Skater Jumps
You’ll need a little room for this exercise. It’s a side-to-side movement that works the legs and hips. Control is key, so make sure there aren’t any distractions.
The move: Start standing. Lift your right foot off the ground. Squat down slightly on the left and jump off your left leg toward the right. Land on your right leg with your left in the air. Once you have your balance, jump back over to the left side. Complete 10 jumps on each leg.
5. Farmer Carry
Find two heavy objects, preferably of the same weight, for this exercise. Try to use something heavy, whether that’s a kettlebell or a suitcase filled with weights.
The move: Hold your weights by your sides. Walk in a straight line, as far as you can go, then turn around and walk back. If you do this exercise outside with plenty of space, try to take 20 steps in each direction.
6. Jump Squats
Rather than focusing on jumping for height, try to get as many repetitions as possible for this exercise. That decreases the impact from each jump and makes the exercise more demanding. Terrazas recommends putting a band around your knees or underneath your feet to increase resistance. You can also hold dumbbells by your sides to make it harder.
The move: Start standing. Reach your arms up overhead. Throw your arms down and, at the same time, squat down and stick your butt back. As soon as you reach the bottom, throw your arms up and jump up so your feet leave the ground. Land softly on your feet and go into the next rep without pausing. Complete 12 jumps.
7. Dumbbell Snatch
This explosive movement works your hips, legs and back. Use a light to moderate weight for your dumbbell. Anything too heavy can be dangerous, since the weight will be flying through the air.
The move: Start with a dumbbell on the ground, between your feet. Go down and grab the dumbbell with your hand. Your knuckles should be facing forward. Stand up with the dumbbell slightly so your knees are still bent and it’s between your knees. Complete 8 reps with each arm.
8. Stepup + Press
Using a pair of light dumbbells, you can use this combination exercise to get your heart pumping. Combining two muscle groups makes it a particularly challenging movement.
The move: You’ll need a chair, couch or stool that’s sturdy enough to step onto. Grab your weights and bring them up to your shoulders. Put one foot on the chair or stool. Step up so both feet are on top and you’re standing up straight. Press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are locked. Then, bring the weights back down. Step back down to the ground and repeat on the same leg. Complete 8 reps on each leg.
9. Mountain Climbers
As long as you don’t have any toe or foot injuries, this should be a fairly benign exercise for your body. There’s minimal impact, and you don’t need any equipment. Just remember to move quickly if you want a good workout.
The move: Start in a pushup position with your hands under your shoulders. Bring one knee up until it’s under your stomach. Keep your foot in the air. Then, you’ll hop and switch legs. Continue pumping your knees, alternating legs with each repetition. Complete 15 reps on each leg.
10. Tuck Jump Burpee
Burpees are tough, but this variation takes them up another notch of difficulty. For that reason, keep the number of reps low. Five to 10 should be plenty for this one.
The move: Start standing, then fold over and put your hands on the ground. Kick your legs back so you’re in a pushup position. You’re going to perform one pushup, which you can do with your knees on the ground. Then, stand back up and jump. As you jump, tuck your knees like you’re jumping into a pool and doing a cannonball. Land softly and repeat.
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