How to Add Variety to Your HIIT Workouts

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) continues to make the “Top Fitness Trends” lists every year—and for good reason. While HIIT exercises don’t take long to perform, they can produce long-lasting changes to your clients’ health and fitness. We know that HIIT can improve cardiovascular fitness levels....

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High-intensity interval training (HIIT) continues to make the “Top Fitness Trends” lists every year—and for good reason. While HIIT exercises don’t take long to perform, they can produce long-lasting changes to your clients’ health and fitness.

We know that HIIT can improve cardiovascular fitness levels. With the heart beating near maximal exertion, there’s an increase in stroke volume, which improves VO2 max. Increasing VO2 max is not only great for performance, it can also help reduce many risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

And, of course, when you exercise at an intense level, the caloric burn is high. In fact, two main hormones released during HIIT—epinephrine and norepinephrine—are key factors in fat metabolism. Not only are more calories burned during the workout, the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) or the “afterburn” can result in as much 15% more calories burned.

HIIT has been shown to have anti-aging benefits, as well. In one study, when older men and women performed these types of exercises, they were able to stimulate the hormone responsible for muscle growth, which can help clients maintain lean muscle and sustain energy. In other studies, HIIT training in overweight adults has been shown to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been dubbed the “miracle grow for the brain” and linked to improved executive functioning and memory.

How to Get Your Clients Excited About HIIT

While the benefits of HIIT are pretty straightforward, getting clients and members to regularly perform this type of workout can be challenging. After all, these workouts can be brutal. While you might love the burn associated with HIIT, your clients and members might not, so you’ll need to add variety in your program design to help them get excited about doing these workouts. The original Tabata protocol involved 20 seconds of sprinting on a stationary bicycle with 10 seconds of rest; this was performed eight times, for a total of four minutes. If you put your clients through eight rounds of push-ups or jump squats, they will definitely be fatigued, but they might also get bored.

Creating formats that have a variety of work and rest ratios is key to keeping clients engaged in the experience. Here are some ideas for how you can structure HIIT workouts for your clients.

HIIT Workout Ideas

Equipment: One long band and one loop band

Following a 20/30/40 format, each exercise is performed for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Next, the same exercise is performed for 30 seconds with another 10 seconds of rest. Finally, the exercise is performed or 40 seconds, followed by one minute of rest before performing the next exercise. There are eight exercises total. When designing the workout, alternate between cardio- and strength-based exercises. Use the 20-second round as a warm-up or “intro to the movement,” while rounds two and three should be focused on increasing speed and power.

This workout takes about 30 minutes. If time and energy permits, repeat the exercises in the opposite time format of 40/30/20.

1. Two-foot lateral bound

Keep your feet hip-distance apart while jumping from side to side. Maintain a two-foot take-off and a two-foot landing.

2. Attacking and retreating bear crawls

Maintain a flat back while bear crawling forward quickly (about 4 steps) and then retreating backward.

attacking-retreating-bear-crawls

3. Jumping jack with letter “T”

Pull the band across the torso while performing jumping jacks.

jumping-jack-letter-t

4. Beast with alternating row

Start in a plank position while holding a versa loop. Sit back onto the heels while pulling the band into a narrow row. Return to the plank position and row with the other arm.

beast-alternating-row

5. Single-leg bridge with knee drive

Position the versa loop above the knees. While maintaining a bridge position, perform alternating knee drives toward the torso.

single-leg-bridge-knee-drive

6. Breakdancers

Start with the knees hovering off the floor, under your hips. Pivot the hips and shoulders to the right, while keeping the left hand on the floor. Kick the bottom leg (left leg) forward while pulling the right arm back as if pulling a bow and arrow. Retrace the pattern back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

breakdancers

7. Sumo drop to cross

From a squat position, jump up and cross the legs to make an “X” with the legs. Uncross the legs to return back to the squat. Alternate the leg that crosses in front.

sumo-drop-cross

8. Push-up with half burpee

From plank position, jump both feet up to the hands. Once you jump back, perform a push-up.

pushup-half-burpee

If you’re interested in learning more ways to spice up your HIIT formats, please register for a FREE LIVE WEBINAR on June 21st, 2017.

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