HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts have been gaining popularity for a number of years and they have become the strongest trend in 2019. HIIT workouts require short and intense bursts of exercise that are followed by short periods of low-intensity exercise.
Researchers found that HIIT is a highly efficient training modality that provides quick results within a relatively short period. Another benefit of HIIT is that it is very versatile and can be used by just about anyone from endurance athletes to office workers and even people with weight problems.
Benefits of HIIT for beginners
- Get fit in less time
The main reason that people don’t focus on fitness is because they can’t fit it into their daily schedule. A typical gym session lasts 60 minutes and travelling to and fro would take 30 minutes or more. A typical HIIT session is 30 minutes or less but still provides all the benefits of a longer but slower gym workout. A study on the effects of HIIT found that even a 10 min workout with just 1 minute of intense intermittent exercise significantly improved fitness levels and lowered blood pressure when it was done 3 times a week.
- Increase energy levels
HIIT workouts require short bursts of high energy followed by a cooling down period. This helps to improve your heart health and ensures that your body runs more efficiently. While a typical gym session may leave you feeling fatigued, an HIIT session will make you feel “charged” and ready to go!
- Increase muscle power
HIIT maintains lean muscle which means that it will help build strength. Researchers found that HIIT improves peak power output (muscle power) in endurance athletes as well as sedentary individuals. HIIT will also help to improve lung and heart health as well as strengthen muscles and joints.
Low-Impact HIIT workouts for beginners
- The 30-minute HIIT walk
Walking is a simple low-impact exercise that is suitable for just about everyone. Start your HIIT walk with a 3-min warm-up where you walk at a comfortable pace. Move on to a 3-min brisk walk followed by a 1-min fast walk. This fast walk is the high-intensity part of your walk so walk as fast as you possibly can. After this, move to a 1-min steady walk at a comfortable pace to help you catch your breath. Finish this rep with a 2-min cool down walk at an easy pace. Repeat this 3 times to complete your HIIT walk.
- The 15-minute HIIT elliptical workout
The elliptical is a low impact exercise as your feet never leave the pedals throughout the workout. This piece of fitness equipment allows you to use both speed and resistance to increase the intensity of your workout. Start your HIIT elliptical workout with a 1-min warm-up at a comfortable pace. Move on to 2 minutes at slow speed with light resistance and then 1 minute at fast speed with high resistance. This is the high-intensity part of your HIIT elliptical workout so focus on your form and speed. Finish this rep with a 1 minute at medium speed and medium resistance. Repeat this 3 times to complete your HIIT elliptical workout.
- The 10-minute HIIT cycling workout
Cycling is a great way to develop you upper leg muscles and your calves. It also helps to increase muscle flexibility and joint mobility as well as improve posture and coordination. Start your HIIT cycling workout with a 1-min warm-up at a comfortable pace. After that, move to your interval set of 1 minute at fast speed with light resistance followed by 1 minute at medium speed with medium resistance. Move on to 1 minute slow speed with high resistance and finally 1 minute medium speed with medium resistance. Repeat your interval set 3 times and then move to a 2-min cool down at a comfortable pace to complete your HIIT cycling workout.
HIIT tips for beginners
- Focus on proper form
HIIT requires you to push your body to its limits. Unfortunately, this means that if your form is poor, you are more likely to injure yourself. Many beginners make the mistake of focusing on their speed and the number of reps rather than their technique. Focus on your form throughout and if required, you can decrease your number of reps until your fitness levels improve.
- Don’t do HIIT daily
HIIT workouts are short but they are intense which means that they take quite a toll on your muscles. As a beginner, you will feel tempted to do them on a daily basis but this will increase the risk of muscle injury. It is best to start with just 2 HIIT sessions a week and then increase it to 3.
- Always warm up and cool down
Warm up and cool down exercises are important to avoid muscle injuries. Studies show that these stretches increase the elasticity of muscles and smooth muscular contractions which reduces the risk of injury during your HIIT workouts.
HIIT is a quick and easy way to get fit and stay healthy. However, it is an intense form of exercise so if you have an existing health condition, talk to doctor before starting an HIIT workout. Furthermore, if you experience any sort of pain, especially symptoms of sciatica, stop your workouts immediately and seek medical attention.