High-Intensity Interval Training is currently one of the biggest fads in fitness, and, according to personal trainer Ingrid Nelson, that’s because it works.
“It is a greatway to boost weight loss— it burns fat faster and for longer—it’s a short workout, it preserves muscle mass, it helps endurance athletes, and you can do it anywhere,” said Nelson.
Nelson, who will lead a 40-minute bootcamp at Washingtonian Fit Fest this Saturday, dished out her top five HIIT moves, why they work, and how to do them correctly.
Back to Basics: HIIT
Before starting your workout, remember that HIIT is about high intensity. “You have to do it with intensity. You have to push it,” said Nelson.
Interval training consists of high-intensity exercise followed by a “rest” period. Nelson says “rest” is not really rest, but a low-intensity movement that will allow you to catch your breath. For example, following a 30-second high-intensity movement, beginners might walk in place for a 60-second rest intervals, while intermediate and advanced athletes might do 15 seconds of planks or jumping jacks.
As you progress, your workouts will get longer. “If you’ve never done HIIT before, intensity would be shorter, recovery longer. That might mean a 15-minute workout,” said Nelson. With advancement, that’ll bump up to a 18-minute workout, and so on.
1. Mountain Climbers
Works your: Core
Start in a high plank position with your hands on the ground. One at a time, drive your legs up towards your chest.
2. Squat Jumps
Works your: Legs
Lower yourself down into a squat, with the weight sitting in your heels, and thrust yourself upward. Be sure to get your hands above you head, said Nelson, as this is vital to raising your heart rate.
Works your: Total body
Although burpee methodology varies by trainer, the basics involved dropping into a squat, kicking your legs out, and jumping back in and up. You can view a burpee demo, also known as a squat thrust, by personal trainer Errick McAdams here.
4. Pushups with a Shoulder Tap
Works your: Arms
Start in a pushup position, lower yourself down, and push yourself back up again. Raise your left hand and tap your right shoulder. Do another pushup, then tap your left shoulder with your right hand. These should be controlled motions.
If you want a challenge, try walking pushups. Do a pushup, and then move horizontally path by walking your left arm and leg out a few paces, carrying your body along with it. Do another pushup, and then repeat on the right side.
Works your: Core
Sit on your bum, lift your legs and hands off the ground, and pull your legs into your chest.