HIITing the Gym: Top 5 High Intensity Interval Training Workouts

Wellbeing Tips
November 7, 2018

Heard about HIIT workouts, but don’t know where to start? Get the lowdown on 5 essential routines for your HIIT workout plan.

The hype behind HIIT is reaching boiling point. According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal, it’s the number-one fitness trend of 2018. It boasts a number of big-time celebrity converts, including David Beckham, Britney Spears, and Scarlett Johansson. Intrigued? It’s no coincidence that this innovative training method is taking the world of fitness by storm.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a type of training defined by quick, intense exercises followed by short recovery periods. It’s intended to push you to your limit, time and time again. HIIT workouts are reported to have numerous health benefits, helping to reduce blood sugar levels, improve oxygen consumption, increase muscle mass, and torch body fat.
It’s hard work, but that’s the whole point. The harder you work, the higher your oxygen intake, and the more calories you can expect to burn. We’ve put together a list of 5 HIIT workouts to add to your exercise plan. Whether you’re a seasoned gym rat or a complete beginner, a HIIT workout plan could be exactly what you need to achieve those #bodygoals.

The basics: rest, ratios, and overkill

Before we get started, we wanted to clue you in on some basics. First off, rest. Your rest periods are just as important as the exercises themselves, and if you don’t take the time to properly recover, you probably won’t experience any of the potential benefits of a HIIT workout plan. Why is rest so important? By forcing your body to acclimate between two different states, you’re providing your body with exemplary cardio conditioning. This helps to prepare your body for the intensity of the next interval, ensuring that you perform at your max. Ignore the importance of rest at your own peril.
Second, your work-to-rest ratio. A HIIT ratio is the amount of time you spend working compared to the amount of time you spend resting. For example, a 1:2 ratio would equate to 60 seconds of exercise followed by 2 minutes of recovery. For beginners, it’s probably best to follow a ratio of 1:3. As your fitness levels improve, you can increase your ratio, ending up at 1:1. By the time you’re really comfortable with HIIT workouts, you could actually aim for a longer work duration than recovery, hitting a 3:1 work-to-rest ratio. Of course, that’s only for the real pros!
Finally, we just wanted to touch on overkill. A HIIT workout plan shouldn’t involve daily workouts. In fact, daily HIIT sessions can cause fatigue and soreness. After all, HIIT workouts are all about pushing your body harder than you’ve ever pushed it before. Plus, you’ll run the risk of injury. So, how often should you do HIIT? According to Greatist.com, 2-3 sessions per week—with 24 hours between each session—is the optimum HIIT regime. Oh, and remember, you should probably check in with a doctor before you get started on your HIIT journey.
Now that you’ve got the basics covered, let’s explore some of the best HIIT workouts to incorporate into your new exercise regime.

1. Squat thrusts

Building explosive strength in your lower body, squat thrusts are great for beginners and seasoned gym-goers alike. To perform a squat thrust:

  1. Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower yourself into the squat position.
  3. Touch the floor with your hands.
  4. Step back into the plank position.
  5. Jump forward into the squat position again,
  6. Stand up.

2. Plyometric push-up

Great for strengthening your upper body, a plyometric push-up works your pecs, triceps, delts, and abdominals. To perform a plyometric push-up:

  1. Start in the push up position.
  2. Bend your elbows and bring your body down until your face is almost touching the floor.
  3. Forcefully push yourself up with your hands leaving the floor.
  4. Clap your hands and then place them back on the floor.

3. Tuck-ups

Resembling a kind of modified crunch or sit up, a tuck-up is an effective exercise for your core. To perform a tuck-up:

  1. Lie on the ground in the hollow body position.
  2. Bring your thighs toward your chest and your heels toward your posterior.
  3. Bring your shoulders off the ground and your hands toward your feet.
  4. Finish in the tuck position.
  5. Return to the hollow-body position and repeat.

4. Jump rope

A full-body exercise, jump rope utilizes your leg, shoulder, chest, and arm muscles. There are loads of different variations. Here’s a guide to the figure-eight jump rope exercise:

  1. Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grasp the jump-rope handle with both hands.
  3. Trace the figure eight from your right shoulder to your left hip.
  4. Then, trace the figure eight from your left shoulder to your right hip.
  5. As your arms move across your chest, shift your weight from right to left.

5. Russian twist

To work your core and obliques, a Russian twist is a great HIIT workout. Make it even harder by holding a dumbbell in each hand. To perform a Russian twist:

  1. Lie on the floor.
  2. Place feet beneath something that will not move.
  3. Lean back, creating a V with your thighs.
  4. Extend your arms in front of you and clasp your hands.
  5. Twist your torso to the left, so that your arms are parallel to the floor.
  6. Hold for one second before you move back to the starting position.
  7. Perform the same exercise with the right side.

To accelerate fat loss, fry calories, and build muscle, HIIT workouts may be your secret weapon. Why not give it a go and see if you notice any results?