HIIT exercises (high-intensity interval training) are an increasingly popular form of exercise and for good reason. It is by far one of the most effective and efficient ways to boost your metabolism and tone your body when you’re short on time.
The idea is simple: alternate intense bursts of activity with fixed periods of rest or active recovery. That might look like 45 seconds of burpees followed by 15 seconds of rest or a 1-minute sprint followed by a 2-minute walk. Rinse and repeat! It doesn’t have to be a complicated movement so it is accessible to anyone.
Probably the best part of a HIIT exercise routine is the after-effects. As of result of this workout, your body will continue burning calories for up to 48 hours after the workout. Here is how it works and some quick and easy HIIT exercises to begin your journey.
How Do HIIT Exercises Burn More?
HIIT exercise training gets your heart rate up FAST and burns more energy than if you were to stick to a steady cardio routine like a light jog. How?! Because of the high-intensity nature of HIIT, it creates an oxygen debt within your body. So even after you’ve completed your workout and you’re back to your regularly scheduled day, your body is still working hard to restore the oxygen debt you created.
This process is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), also known as the after-burn effect, and it can add up to 15% to your total energy burn for that quick session!
5 Reasons to Love HIIT Exercise Workouts
1. Slashes your workout time in half
If finding time to work out is your struggle then HIIT it instead! You’ll get the same fat-burning and cardiovascular benefits of traditional endurance exercise. You can complete an effective HIIT routine in as quickly as 10 minutes and see serious results.
2. Supercharges your metabolism
If you can commit to doing a HIIT routine even twice a week, your metabolic rate will be boosted for HOURS after your workout. It all comes back to that amazing after-burn effect!
3. Boosts your endurance
If you’re an athlete, runner, or biker (and you’re looking for a way to boost your performance), HIIT can help you level up. HIIT has been shown to boost your VO2 max, a.k.a your muscles’ ability to use oxygen. What this means is that your body can better handle aerobic fitness activities that require a lot of oxygen intake like running, swimming, and other types of cardio.
4. Helps your heart
Protecting your heart is everything. HIIT has been shown to reduce your heart rate and blood pressure and lower blood sugar and insulin resistance.
5. HIIT it anytime, anywhere!
No machines or weights? HIIT is the perfect workout to do with just your bodyweight! While you can find HIIT routines that include the use of weights, most HIIT workouts only require your bodyweight which makes this an easy workout to do ANYWHERE. In a time where many of us are stuck indoors, working from home and working out from home, it’s nice to have something that doesn’t require expensive or fancy equipment.
3 Quick and Easy HIIT Exercise Workouts
Let’s take a look at 3 Quick and Easy HIIT routines at varying levels of intensity. Please click on the links to learn the proper form of each move. Proper form is key to avoiding injury when performing exercises.
15-Minute Beginner HIIT Exercises
The following workout combines 3 basic cardio and bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere, anytime—hence it’s ideal for the complete beginner. Take a moment to explore the links for proper form and assess if these moves are right for your body right now. If you are currently recovering from an injury, please consult your doctor before performing these exercises. The good news is that each of these moves come with variations and modifications that can be performed based on fitness level.
Complete the following circuit five times, resting one minute between each round. Modify where needed:
- 10 Pushups: Click here for 3 variations to explore.
- 20 Jumping Jacks: Whether you want to intensify your jack or explore a more low-impact option, click here.
- 10 Burpees: The word burpee may strike fear in even the most physically fit person. Take it slow, explore variations, and modify!
20-Minute Lung-Busting HIIT Exercises
Consisting of mainly cardio-based moves, the following routine will increase your heart rate like nothing else. Perform each exercise for one minute, moving from one move to the next with no rest.
Once you finish the circuit, rest for two minutes, then repeat two to three times.
- Squat Jumps: If you find that a squat jump is too hard on your joints then perform a basic squat instead.
- High Knee Jog: This is a cardio blasting move. To modify, simply march in place or alternate lifting each knee towards your chest as you march.
- Burpees: Again, the dreaded burpees, but they offer so much in the way of fitness!
- Mountain Climbers: These are also knowns as running planks. You can level up or modify based on your level.
Calorie-Torching HIIT Exercises
This circuit is less dependent on the clock and more focused on the number of times you perform each move. Moving through a routine this way allows you to move at your own pace and ease into a HIIT routine. Modify where needed. Repeat the circuit 3-5x.
- Mountain Climbers: 20x
- Squat Jumps: 20x
- High Knees: 20x
- Up-Down Planks: 20x
- Burpees: 20x
It is important to note that you should only exercise for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. While researching HIIT, doctors urged patients to set the duration and intensity to what they felt comfortable performing. In fact, it is suggested that if you are fairly sedentary, then HIIT may not be the best exercise to begin with right away. Take things slowly, and take a break when you need to.
Want to know if HIIT Exercises are right for you?
Talk with your AlignLife chiropractor or healthcare provider on whether you should HIIT it or take a slower approach to start off. The most important thing is to get your body moving and add in more as your endurance and strength grows. If you want to maximize your workout, AlignLife chiropractors also recommend Aceva’s Muscle Support which is a unique combination of L-glutamine and Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AKG) that helps you build endurance and help your muscles recoup during post-workout recovery.