By Cindy Whitmarsh, a certified personal trainer, nutritionist and fitness correspondent for Good Morning San Diego.
The popularity of High Intensity Interval Training (“HIIT”) has surged, and if you haven’t tried it yet now is the time. I just released three new DVDs based on HITT, which I call my Ultra Focused Interval Training (UFIT) program.
What exactly is HIIT? It’s a workout that is meant to push speed, endurance, and strength to the next level. You perform activities at a VERY high intensity for short bursts, or intervals, and you complete multiple sets of these intervals with minimal rest between them. This drives your heart rate up, forcing your body to adapt and accommodate.
Just what do I mean by “adapt”? With HIIT, you’ll burn calories in the moment but you will also increase your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (“EPOC”) which basically means that you’ll continue to burn more calories even long after your workout is over. This can will lead to significant changes in muscle tone and strength, along with a reduction in body fat.
There’s more good news: A HIIT session doesn’t require special equipment and it might even be shorter than your current routine! Here’s why: You may get the same caloric burn from 20 minutes of HIIT that you would from 45 to 60 minutes of more moderate activity while still billing strength! All you really need is a wristwatch or stopwatch to track your time!
To give this type of training a try, do this 6-minute routine, which is one of my favorites from the Ultra Tight DVD. My formula is simple: Do a 1 minute of cardio blasts—in this case the Twisted Mountain Climbers—followed by 2 minutes of muscle conditioning.
Twisted mountain climbers (1 minute cardio blast)
Start in a plank position on your hands and toes. Draw your right knee to your left elbow then return your leg to plank position. Alternate sides for one minute. Make sure to twist your hips and torso to maximize your oblique work and also exhale every time your knees come in.
V sit and twist (1 minute muscle conditioning)
Sit with our feet up and your back as straight as possible with the abs pulled in. Hold a dumbbell in front of your chest with both hands. Rotate your ribcage to the right then back to center, keeping your feet up. Alternate sides for 2 minutes. Contract your abs and use your oblique muscles to rotate you from side to side! If you are a beginner, you can keep your feet down and do the same motion!
Spider man ab crunches (1 minute muscle conditioning)
Start in a plank position on your hands and toes with your abs pulled in. Alternate pulling your knees in towards your shoulders back and forth while contracting your oblique muscles. Continue for a minute!