Some people love going for runs or long bike rides. Endurance exercise can boost your mood, help you burn fat and make you more healthy. However, long workouts aren’t for everyone. Whether you’re short on time or motivation, there’s still hope: HIIT workouts.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of cardio workout useful if you don’t have much time or if you get bored doing endurance workouts like running, cycling or swimming. The upside of HIIT is you don’t have to work out for very long. The downside is the high level of intensity.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, work periods for HIIT are 5–8 minutes long at 85–90% of your maximum heart rate. Noted benefits of this form of exercise are:
- Improved aerobic fitness
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improved insulin sensitivity
A 2016 study from the International Journal of Exercise Science showed it takes longer to recover from HIIT workouts than longer-duration medium-intensity cardio. The researchers speculated you burn more calories after a HIIT workout, even though it’s shorter because it takes a while to recover.
In 2018, a study published in Science, Movement and Health compared long-duration training with HIIT. The researchers found HIIT helped the subjects lose more fat. This study is further proof longer workouts aren’t necessarily better.
Before you go through the entire circuit, practice each exercise to learn the technique. Once you start, you might be too tired to focus on your form. When you’re ready, take out a timer and begin the seven-minute circuit.
Your goal is to get through as many rounds as possible. Perform the required amount of reps for each exercise. Each time you do this workout, your goal is to beat your previous record. Limit breaks to as few as possible.
The impact of this exercise can be difficult on your ankle, knee and hip joints. If you feel pain during this exercise, perform alternating lunges instead.
The move: Start standing with your hands on your hips. Get down into a lunge position with your back knee an inch above the ground. Both knees should be bent at 90-degree angles. Jump and switch legs in mid-air. Land and sink into a lunge position. Continue to alternate until you’ve completed 10 reps on each leg.
You can compare this exercise to a beginner-level handstand. It’s going to work your shoulders and abs while leaving you breathless.
The move: Start on the ground in an all-fours position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Shift your weight forward onto your arms and kick your legs up and back. For a moment your legs will be in mid-air. Bend your knees and bring your feet in before you land. Try to end the exercise in the same position you began in. Perform 10 reps.
Lateral Jump Burpees
There’s one move that makes this different from a standard burpee: the lateral jump. Clear a few feet of space on either side before you start this exercise.
The move: Start standing. Jump up as high as you can. When you land, plant your hands on the ground and kick your legs back into a pushup position. Drop down and perform one pushup. Then stand back up and jump to your side as far as possible. Perform another burpee, then jump back to where you started. Repeat six times total, three times to each side.
If you’re confident with your pushup skills, you can do the normal version instead of elevating your hands, which is easier.
The move: Find an elevated surface like a chair or bed that won’t slide when you put your weight on it. Place your hands on the edge and straighten your legs out so you’re in a pushup position. Lower yourself down until your chest is between your hands, then press back up. Perform 10 repetitions.
READ MORE > 7-MINUTE BODYWEIGHT CORE WORKOUT
Lateral Skater Jumps
This is a purely plyometric exercise, which focuses on side-to-side movement. It’s a similar motion to speed skating.
The move: Start standing. Shift your weight into your right leg and pick up your left leg. Drive off your right leg and leap into the air and to the left. Try to cover as much distance as possible. Land softly on your left leg. Then, load up on your left leg and jump back to the right. Repeat until you’ve done 10 jumps on each leg.
Now that you’ve completed the circuit, start again from the beginning.
Check out “Workout Routines” in the MyFitnessPal app to discover and log workouts or build your own with exercises that fit your goals.