Getting started with a new workout routine can be intimidating, but diversifying your exercise can help you build full-body strength and endurance while avoiding injuries. There are a huge variety of workout types and routines that you can try, but today we’ll be focusing on a popular way to get an intense workout in a short amount of time — HIIT fitness.
What is HIIT Fitness?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Like the name suggests, these workouts are about pushing yourself hard (with a high-intensity strength or cardio exercise) in short intervals. The exact details of a HIIT workout vary. An interval training workout can be as long as thirty minutes or as short as five and usually includes 3-6 exercises. With a HIIT workout, you’ll complete all the intervals and then have a short period of rest before doing another round. The number of rounds you do depends on how long your workout is, but three rounds is a good starting point.
While HIIT workouts can sound intimidating, they are a versatile fitness routine that can be adapted to fit anyone’s activity and fitness levels. The exercises you choose for each interval should be difficult enough that when you’re doing them your heart rate and breathing goes up (think about your effort during intervals like a percentage: high-intensity exercise should require about 75-80% of your energy expenditure), but not so difficult that you can’t complete them. As your strength and endurance grows, you can adapt your HIIT routines to include more weight or intensity.
Why is HIIT Training Useful?
HIIT workouts are popular for their intensity. In only thirty minutes you can complete a full aerobic and anaerobic workout. HIIT increases the strength of fast-twitch muscle fibers, a benefit of intense, quick workouts compared to longer strength-building exercise that includes more periods of rest. And a study comparing interval training to sustained exercise found that HIIT can improve lung capacity in sedentary adults.
How to Get Started
HIIT workouts are intense, as they are designed to build strength and endurance quickly. Make sure to have water available and include a dynamic warmup before your HIIT routine. Good warm-ups include jumping jacks, a brisk walk, or any other short cardio activity. A dynamic workout is a great way to warm up your muscles, particularly if you spend a lot of time sitting during the day, and is an important practice to include in your exercise routine to avoid injuries.
Before getting started, know exactly what each of your interval exercises will be and have the required equipment laid out, either in stations or within easy reach. Being prepared helps you maintain the quick pace of the workout and achieve the high-intensity energy output. HIIT workouts have timed intervals, so you’ll need a stopwatch, clock, or phone timer on hand to keep track of when you should switch to your next interval.
If you have an experience with exercising and feel comfortable creating your own intervals, choose a series of four or five interval exercises, with a good mix of cardio and strength-building. Aim for one minute of high-energy output for each interval exercise, and then take one minute of rest or active recovery. Complete four to eight rounds or more depending on how long you have to workout.
As HIIT workouts are so popular, there are a huge variety of online HIIT workouts you can use to guide your own exercise. Here at ViGOR FiTNESS, we love the adaptability and effectiveness of HIIT-inspired workouts. Join Coach Fola for an entire month’s worth of at-home workouts on our blog with full HIIT routines and cardio interval training for Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4. And don’t miss out on the workouts available on the ROW ViGOR app, with a HIIT ViGOR session that will have you working up a sweat!
After your workout is complete, don’t forget to stretch, cool down, and drink plenty of water. Integrating HIIT into your fitness routine can help you build strength and endurance quickly, but it’s important to include rest days and breaks in your fitness schedule, as well.