High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the fastest growing trends in fitness. HIIT workouts consist of short, intense bodyweight and cardio exercises done in rapid succession to boost the heart rate, burn calories, and drive fat loss. HIIT is popular because it’s time-efficient, never boring, and above all: it gets results.
HIIT workouts generally include a mix of staple exercises such as burpees, lunges, squats, and assorted kickboxing drills. Most gyms now offer some type of HIIT workout class on their group exercise schedule. Because there is little or no equipment required, HIIT workouts can even be accomplished at home, in a hotel room, or outdoors.
Not all interval activities are HIIT workouts. Expect a HIIT session to be 20-40 minutes of short, intense activity bursts that push your heart rate up, broken up by brief rest and recovery periods. But if your idea of “intervals” is doing a few sets on a weight machine and taking a few 10-minute phone breaks… sorry, that’s not what HIIT is about (and come on, people are waiting to use that machine!)
Whether you are looking for a workout that targets a certain muscle group, or you just want to boost your heart rate and metabolic intake en route to weight loss, HIIT exercises are an awesome way to supplement or overhaul your current workout routine.
Mountain climbers are the best way to add more engagement to your core. They raise your heart rate while moving your legs at the same time.”
For those new to the world of HIIT, Generation Active contributor Caroll Zeamer, a NASM certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist, has provided a short list of workouts that almost anyone can add to their current routine. Here are some of Caroll’s favorite HIIT exercises:
Squat Pulse Jump
Those looking to strengthen their legs without jogging or getting on a treadmill will want to give the squat pulse jump a try.
“A squat pulse with a jump is a great way to enhance your lower body endurance,” Caroll says. “It’s going to enhance your quads, glutes and calves on the way up.”
Of course, maintaining proper form is critical for any HIIT workout. “Keep your core nice and tight, engage the glutes,” Caroll explains. “If you feel like you’re falling back, you’re doing it really well.”
The inch worm might sound cute, but it’s really a great workout that builds several different muscle groups. Caroll illustrates how “coming the whole way down and reaching the plank will really engage the core. Coming the whole way up will engage the shoulders, the biceps, and the triceps as well.”
Engaging the core is key for most HIIT exercises, and Caroll thinks mountain climbers do that beautifully. “Mountain climbers are the best way to add more engagement to your core,” she says. “They raise your heart rate while moving your legs at the same time.”
“If you’re tired of mountain climbers, spider pushups are a great way to add a little bit of fun to your workout,” suggests Caroll. “Spider pushups focus on upper body endurance, and they’re a great way to engage the outside of the pectorals at different angles.”
Like squat pulse jumps, form is critical for a quality bear jump. “Bear jumps are a really good way to engage the core and it puts a heavy focus on the quads as well,” Caroll says. “Bending at your hips and keeping your knees two inches from the floor is going to put a heavy emphasis on your legs.”
For more inspiring advice and workout routines from Caroll, follow her on Instagram.
Watch her perform these killer cardio workouts in the video below, or learn more about the Benefits of HIIT.