If you want to get a ton of work done in not-so-much time, a HIIT workout may be a solid addition to your workout routine. With HIIT—known officially as high intensity interval training—you’ll be interspersing periods of hard effort with lighter recovery periods.
You’ll likely see a lot of different work-rest intervals used in HIIT workouts, but there’s not one set way you need to structure your workout. In fact, “true” HIIT is actually a little different from the HIIT most general-population exercisers are used to, as SELF reported previously. With “true” HIIT, you’ll keep your work periods really short, and your rest periods longer—usually two to three times the duration of your work period. This is great training for athletes to improve their performance, but general-pop exercisers tend to prefer working longer, keeping the recovery shorter, and not going quite so all-out.
Just to be clear, there are tons of benefits of this HIIT-style training, too. As SELF reported, this includes performance-based benefits, like increases in VO2max, or the amount of oxygen your body can use while exercising, as well as health benefits, including improvements in blood pressure and cardiovascular function.
You can use HIIT-style protocols with various types of workouts, from cardiovascular forms of training (like running or cycling) to strength training. The HIIT workout below uses a combination of the two, incorporating cardio moves like butt kickers and skaters with traditional strength training moves like reverse lunges and planks. This way, you’ll be challenging yourself cardiovascularly, as well as working your muscles to get stronger.
Because you’ll be working hard during the HIIT workout below–and in any HIIT-style workout, actually—it’s really important you master your form for the moves before you begin adding speed to the mix. In fact, an emphasis on quantity over quality is one of the most common mistakes people make with HIIT. So if your workout includes a move you’re not familiar with, make sure to practice it first at a slower pace until you feel comfortable enough to increase the intensity. In the workout below, for instance, you’ll want to make sure you have a regular squat down, as well as a jump squat, before you try to do jump squats for time.
Another common mistake with HIIT? Doing it too often. Because you’ll be pushing hard, HIIT workouts are challenging to your muscles and your cardiovascular system, so they are definitely not something you should be doing every day (or every workout). In fact, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, you shouldn’t do HIIT more than two or three times a week, and you should always make sure to give your body at least 48 hours between sessions to recover.
Before you get started, it’s important to do a short warm-up first—we like this one or this one. Then you’re ready to get started with this sweaty, 30-minute HIIT workout you can do right in your living room.
What you need: An exercise mat for comfort.
Nikki Pebbles (GIFs 1 and 3-5), a New York City–based fitness instructor; and Delise Johnson (GIFs 2 and 6), CEO and strength coach at Wellness and Weights.
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