High Intensity Interval Training Exercise

Published February 13, 2018
Woman training using high intensity intervals

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of interval training that involves periods of high intensity exercise mixed with periods of rest or exercise at a lower intensity. This can include strenuous strength work, fast-paced cardio, or some combination of both.

Sample High Intensity Interval Training Exercise Routines

High intensity interval training exercises vary from simple moves to combinations. To give you a sample of each type, here are a couple of workouts you can try on your own at home or in the gym.

Cardio and Core HIIT Workout

Cardio-based HIIT workouts are meant to burn more fat and increase your heart rate. This can lead to enhanced cardiovascular endurance. The exercises in this workout were chosen because they also engage the abdominal muscles to firm and tighten your waistline.

The exercises (in the video below) include:

  • Crossbody punches - Simple punches across the body from a standing position. During this move, make sure to keep your shoulders down and firm your abdominals.
  • Clapping jumping jacks - Jumping legs wide and narrow with a clap in front. These can easily be modified by stepping your feet side to side instead of hopping.
  • Burpees - Also known as the squat thrust. Hop to plank and back, then jump as high as you can. To modify, step your feet back and in.
  • Mountain climbers - A high intensity exercise that makes your heart rate rise. Challenge yourself by driving your knees forward as fast as you can.

Follow along with the video. You will complete each exercise consecutively for 30 seconds. Once you've completed all four exercises, you get 30 seconds of rest. Don't be afraid to pause the video if you are winded and need a break. This is a tough workout, especially if it is your first time trying HIIT.

Full Body HIIT Workout

This is a full body high intensity interval workout that combines strength and cardio moves. By completing this workout, you will gain muscle definition in your chest, back, legs, triceps, biceps, and abdominals while increasing your calorie burn.

It includes the following exercises:

  • Pushup and renegade row - Also known as a pushup position row. Avoid rotating you body as you lift the dumbbell. If it feels too difficult on your toes, lower your knees.
  • Side lunge and deadlift - Step sideways about three to four feet and bend the knee of the landing leg. Simultaneously hinge at the hips and reach toward the floor. It's important to keep your back flat as you hinge to avoid injury.
  • Manmaker, also known as a Woman-Maker - This is a burpee with a curl and overhead press. Drop your hips before you stand to lengthen your spine. Your lift will be safer and stronger.

These combination moves increase the amount of muscles working during each exercise to create a more challenging and intense workout. Follow along with the video. The interval is set at 35 seconds of work with fifteen seconds of rest in between. You will complete three rounds. Don't be afraid to pause the video if you need longer breaks, especially if it is your first time trying HIIT.

Why Try HIIT?

HIIT is popular for three main reasons.

  • It challenges you to work harder than you do during rep-based workouts.
  • It drastically reduce the amount of time it takes you to get in shape.
  • It is much shorter than a traditional workout.

While high intensity interval training workouts vary in length, they don't often extend longer than 30 minutes. In fact, you can squeeze an effective HIIT workout into your day in under five minutes.

Get Started With High Intensity Interval Training Exercise

High intensity interval training exercise is not complicated. It is a simple way to change up your workout routine so that you gain the same benefits of traditional exercise in a shorter amount of time. If you're ready to take your fitness to the next level or you're looking to squeeze your workout into a busy schedule, add high intensity interval training into your routine once or twice a week.

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High Intensity Interval Training Exercise