Everywhere you look these days, someone is talking about HIIT workouts. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) burst onto the scene about a decade ago and has only picked up steam since.
Why is HIIT so popular? People love HIIT workouts because they just plain work. Research has shown over and over again that HIIT workouts burn more fat than traditional cardio exercise, even up to 50 percent more!
But those results only come when HIIT is done properly, and more often than not, people are missing the mark.
2 Reasons Why HIIT Workouts Just Aren’t Working
Here are the two reasons why what most people consider a HIIT workout really isn’t HIIT at all.
Just as I explained in this video, the crucial element of HIIT is using VERY short, VERY intense bouts of exercise followed by quite moderate exercise that allows for significant recovery.
Not enough intensity? Not enough recovery? Say goodbye to the benefits of HIIT!
A HIIT Workout That Works
In the video above I demonstrate a simple but extremely effective HIIT workout.
What’s so special about it?
1. All-Out Intensity. You’ll notice that the cycling component of this HIIT workout states that you “could not exercise this intensely for even 1 minute!” That’s intense! It’s 45 seconds of all-out effort.
That’s one of the reasons I like doing HIIT workouts using a stationary bike. You can hop on, set the resistance and go! Using a treadmill isn’t so user-friendly because you have to wait for the treadmill to adjust, and then for it to get up to the appropriate speed.
2. Full Recovery. Notice what we’re NOT working during the recovery portion of this HIIT workout? Your legs!
I realize that a 45-second bike ride might not sound like that much work for your legs, but just wait until you’re on your fifth (or more) set. If you are really pushing to your limit on the bike, your muscles will need this break.
Also notice that these four exercises aren’t quick. It will take about 3 to 4 minutes to get through each of them before you’re ready to hop back on the bike. That is very strategic because, as we know, most people don’t give their body long enough recovery times.
At the end of this recovery phase, your heart rate should have significantly dropped (not all the way back to a resting heart rate, but still considerably), and your legs should feel ready to push all-out on the bike again.
Pro Tip: Try to find one or two dumbbell weights that will get you through all of these resistance exercises. Minimizing the time between exercises (i.e. finding the “right” weights) will keep your body moving. Test it out ahead of time and have your weights ready for you to get lifting immediately!
What are your favorite HIIT workouts? —Dave