Short on time but looking to blast as many calories as possible? High Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT) workouts are the perfect way to torch calories and increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity. HIIT workouts provide the biggest bang for your buck in terms of time and effort, plus they carry some other great benefits, including:
- Metabolic Overload. The high-intensity intervals that characterize HIIT create a metabolic overload that challenges muscles to produce the energy needed to fuel muscle activity and remove the metabolic byproducts created by muscle activation. In other words, the more you (safely) challenge your limits, the more fit you become.
- EPOC. Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) are the “bonus” calories burned in the hours (sometimes over a day) post-exercise to help replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissue after an intense workout. Depending on the intensity of a workout, the extra calorie burn from HIIT can be anywhere from just a few to more than 300!
- Health and Wellness. Individuals who participate in HIIT training could experience an increase in aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels, improved blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, improved cholesterol profiles and decreased abdominal fat.
- Scalability. Not all HIIT workouts are reserved for elite level athletes. Based on exercise selection and intensity, they can be scaled for all levels and abilities.
- Measurement. AMRAP (As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible) workouts can be a great way to measure progress made over time. In this particular 4-week series, the last day of every week is an “AMRAP Testing Day” that acts not only as a great workout, but also a tangible gauge of your improvement.
- Fun. These workouts are short, intense and maybe even fun! When performed with friends, they can create a sense of competitiveness and camaraderie.
This 4-week program includes two types of HIIT formats: Tabata and AMRAP.
Tabata workouts use a time interval of 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, performed for 8 rounds total. In this program, you will be alternating between two different exercises in your 4-minute Tabata session.
During an AMRAP workout, a series of exercises are completed as many times as possible for a prescribed amount of time.
You can choose to complete these HIIT sessions at the end of your regular workouts, or if you plan to do a stand-alone HIIT workout, begin with a minimum of a 5-minute cardiorespiratory warm-up and some mobility work.
The goal of the weekly AMRAP test is to gauge your improvement throughout the program. Record how many rounds you complete each week and, hopefully, you’ll see better results as your cardiovascular health improves.
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For week 1, you’ll alternate between two AMRAP workouts and complete an AMRAP benchmark test on day 7. Perform 10 reps of each exercise and repeat for as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes. If there are single leg/side exercises, make sure to perform 10 reps on each side.
For week 2, you’ll alternate between two Tabata workouts and repeat your AMRAP test on day 7. On days 1, 3 and 5, perform the first exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Perform the second exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence 8 times total, so you’re performing 4 minutes of work. If there are single leg/side exercises, make sure to perform reps on each side.
Week 3 will look very similar to week 1, with an additional AMRAP added after a 5-minute rest. Perform 10 reps of each exercise and repeat for as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes. Rest for 5 minutes, and then do another 5-minute AMRAP round. If there are single leg/side exercises, make sure to perform 10 reps on each side.
Week 4 will look very similar to week 2, with an additional Tabata added after a 5-minute rest. On days 1, 3 and 5, perform the first exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Perform the second exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence 8 times total, so you’re performing 4 minutes of work. Rest for 5 minutes, and then do another 4-minute Tabata round. If there are single leg/side exercises, make sure to perform reps on each side.
The Move: Start in a high plank position, keeping your ears, hips, knees and heels in a straight line. With minimal movement or rotation, drop down to your right forearm, followed by the left. While maintaining a tight midsection, return to the high plank, one arm at a time. To make this move easier, it can also be performed from your knees.
The Move: Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Drive your arms behind your body as you sink your hips down and back. Simultaneously press your feet through the floor, drive your arms up and jump off the ground. As you come down, immediately absorb the landing by bending at your knees, hips and ankles upon impact, ending back in the squat position. To reduce impact, remove the jump and perform regular speed squats.
FRONT KICK THRU
The Move: Start in a high plank position, keeping your ears, hips, knees and heels in a straight line. Place your right foot on the outside of your right hand. Pick up your right hand and explosively shoot your left leg through to the front, opening your hips toward the sky and slightly pivoting your planted right foot. Return to the plank position and repeat on the other side. To make this move easier, it can be done as a simple step, plant and reach, rather than an explosive movement.
SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFT WITH KNEE DRIVE
The Move: Stand tall and shift your weight to one leg; lift your opposite foot behind you, slightly off the ground. Hinge at your hips, lower your chest and extend your arms out in front, trying to touch the ground in front of you. Extend your hips forward to return to standing, and drive your extended knee up and in toward your chest. Maintain a neutral spine and balance between reps; try not to set the other foot down unless you have to. To improve your form and reduce stress on your back, limit your range of motion.
The Move: Start in a high plank position, keeping your ears, hips, knees and heels in a straight line. While maintaining this plank, bend one knee into your chest as high as possible, and then place it back in the starting position. Repeat this process by bringing the opposite knee toward your chest, and repeat.
FORWARD LUNGE WITH ROTATION
The Move: Stand tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your right leg and bend your left knee toward the ground, stopping when both legs reach a 90-degree bend. At the same time, extend your arms forward and rotate your entire upper body (arms, hands and shoulders) to the right. Return your upper body to the starting position, and push through your right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. To lessen the intensity of the rotation, your elbows can remain bent while turning.
The Move: Start in a high plank position, keeping your ears, hips, knees and heels in a straight line. While maintaining alignment, bend your arms and lower your body toward the ground. Push through the ground to return your body to the starting position. Immediately snap your feet under your body to land in a perfect squat position. Explosively press your feet through the floor and engage through your glutes as you leave the ground for your jump. When you land, hinge your hips back, place your hands on the floor and hop back into a high plank position. That’s one rep. To make this move easier, step back to a plank and step up to the squat rather than jumping from plank to squat. You could also remove the jump or pushup portion to modify even further.
LATERAL SKATER JUMPS
The Move: Stand tall and shift your weight to your left leg. Push through the ground with your left foot and leap laterally to the right, immediately bending at your right knee and hip to absorb the landing. Simultaneously reach your left leg behind your body and tap it to the floor for stability. Repeat by pushing off your right leg and landing on your left. To make this move easier, remove the jump and simply step and curtsey to each side.
The Move: Start in a high plank position, keeping your ears, hips, knees and heels in a straight line. Bend your arms and lower your body until your chest is a few inches from the floor. Explosively push into the ground so your hands lose contact with the floor for a moment at the top of the movement. Absorb the landing with a braced core and softness in the elbows and shoulders. To decrease the intensity of this movement, it can simply be done as a fast push-up without leaving the ground. It can also be performed even from the knees.
PLYO (JUMP) LUNGES
The Move: Begin in a lunge position with your right leg in front with your knee aligned over your middle toes. Squeeze your glutes, drive your arms upward, jump upward and switch legs in mid-air, landing with your left leg in front. Ensure both feet land at the same time and absorb the impact at your hips, knees, and ankles upon impact. For less impact, this exercise can be done as alternating step back lunges.
For more fitness inspiration, check out “Workout Routines” in the app to discover and log a wide variety of routines by performance specialists. Or build your own routine with exercises that fit your goals.