High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an improved type of interval training. Also known as high-intensity intermittent exercise, this exercise strategy alternates short bursts of intense exercises with less-intense recovery periods. Sessions may last 4-30 minutes, depending on the person’s goals and fitness level.
Doing quick, intense bursts with short resting periods can do wonders for your overall health. If you’re hesitant to give it a try, these 6 amazing benefits will change your mind:
1. It can strengthen your most important muscle — the heart.
The more intense your workout, the harder your heart has to work, which ultimately translates to improved heart health.
2. You can integrate it with a strength training workout.
If you incorporate strength exercises into the intervals of your HIIT workout, you will reap muscle-building benefits. Just make sure to do this sparingly to avoid overworking your adrenal glands. Give yourself plenty of rest in-between sessions, and feel free to try the best protein shake in the world to enhance your recovery.
3. It burns fat fast.
Your aerobic and anaerobic fitness can improve if you consistently do intervals of high- and low-intensity activities. This will help you shed more fat in less time than longer endurance workouts like long-distance running.
4. You can do it anywhere.
HIIT doesn’t require a fully-stocked gym. Don’t have access to free weights or resistance machines? Turn sprinting and bodyweight exercises into an HIIT workout that works your entire body. And if you can’t figure out how to make time for exercise, check out these 5 simple tips.
5. It is adjustable.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned gym-goer; HIIT can be tailored to suit your fitness level. You can always tweak the movements and rest periods depending on your personal preferences and abilities.
6. It boosts your metabolism.
Running laps at a steady pace for 20 minutes doesn’t use up as much oxygen as a few minutes of HIIT. When you work out to the point where it’s hard to breathe, your body uses more oxygen and your metabolism cranks up. You also burn more calories during and after your workout. For more info on improving metabolism, check out these 8 easy tips.
Ultimately, doing HIIT once or twice a week can help improve body composition and overall conditioning. Need help on getting started? Here are 3 suggestions:
7. Barbell complexes
These are a series of movements performed with a barbell that never leaves your hands until all movements are completed. A set number of reps is performed for each type of movement before you go on to the next. Whether you’re doing barbell complexes at the start or the end of your strength training workout, always keep the reps explosive. Start with an empty bar, do as many reps as you can in 10 minutes or less, and add weight plates as you go.
8. Strongman intervals
There’s a reason why a lot of strongmen are lean; many of their exercises are a perfect mix of cardiovascular and strength exercises. If you have access to strongman equipment, you can perform different combos of power cleans, farmer walks, keg lifts and log lifts. Performing combinations of these exercises in a fast but controlled manner intermittently for 10 minutes will work various muscle groups and get your heart rate up.
If you can’t use weights or resistance equipment, burpees are an excellent alternative. These can build upper and lower body muscle, burn fat and improve endurance. In fact, burpees are so effective that they are used as a universal fitness test for military and combat conditioning.
With HIIT, you could spend less time working out while still burning fat, building muscle, and improving your metabolism and cardiovascular capacity. You’ll get the most out of it if it’s part of a balanced training regimen that includes strength training and dynamic stretching.
If you really want to push yourself to the limit, choose a target number of repetitions and do your best to hit that before your workout ends. The number of reps in one set and the rest interval between them is entirely up to you. Just keep in mind that if you’re a bit out of shape, getting the medical all-clear goes without saying.
If you can’t decide how long your workout should be, I have the perfect answer.
The first time I tried HIIT, I thought I was going to die. I felt like vomiting and I almost passed out.
The key is keeping yourself hydrated!
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