19 minutes of HIIT exercise for beginners
Done correctly, high-intensity interval training is one of the most effective forms of exercise. Here’s how to do it.
Exercise trends come and go, but when the biggest bang is for you, high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, has the power to stay up.
The specific origin of HIIT is uncertain. Some say it dates back to at least the early 1900s and Finland’s Olympic runners used short explosions of alternating intensity with short recovery bouts to increase their overall speed. Today, it’s one of the “Top 20 Global Fitness Trends,” according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
But ask 10 people what an HIIT exercise is, and what are the chances, you’ll get 10 different answers. The fitness industry has created a variety of iterations that aren’t actually HIIT.
An actual HIIT session will include several rounds of short high-intensity heart bursts — usually no more than 20 seconds — followed by a short period of rest. This allows you to complete a workout that delivers substantial fitness results in just 30 minutes or more. This usually requires very little equipment, and you can choose your favorite method of cardio.
However, to achieve a real high intensity, you have to work hard. You have to bring your heartbeat above your absolute maximum of 80 percent before you barely recover, and then do it all over again. “Tighten your intensity so hard that you can’t communicate, then recover and start over again,” says Daniel Wilson, trainer and coach at fitness app Evolution.
”This is important, and what distinguishes HIIT from other exercises,” Ms. Wilson said. “For example, holding the board for a minute won’t make your heart beat. You need to realize that you can’t move forward with this movement for more than eight to 10 seconds at a time.
When incorporated into standard cardio workout and strength training procedures, HIIT can enhance your overall fitness, improve health metrics, increase your calorie burning rate, and lead to better performance in competitive sports. Here’s how to get those benefits.
The key factor for HIIT exercise is to do each workout at a pace that is 80% of your maximum potential, which can be intimidating for some people. Credit… Why HIIT for
Gretchel Falsgan New York Times?
The key argument for HIIT exercise is that it has the potential to produce heart fitness benefits in a short time.
A 2019 review of research studying the health benefits of HIIT found that it was a more effective approach to aerobic training than steady-state cardio exercise — which keeps your heart rate in the same normal range for a longer period of time. A small study of 2020 on men who sat between the ages of 43 and 73 found that having HIIT in just six weeks significantly reduced their high blood pressure.
In addition to improving heart health, many people choose HIIT as a means of losing weight, said Cedric Bryant, president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise. “You’re getting a chance from HIIT to burn more average calories than a steady-state session for the same time.
And while this may be true, according to Miss Wilson, the best reason to include HIIT in your workout routine is to improve performance, whether you’re a competitive athlete or not. He explained that performance means training your entire body to move efficiently and at a more rapid pace.
”It’s improving your ability to move well in different directions,” he said. This could mean anything from LeBron James on a basketball court to an elderly man who prevents himself from falling after tripping. It’s about the quality of life. That said, you might want to talk to your doctor or physical therapist before adding HIIT to your workout.
For San Francisco-based event planner Sanna Yassin, 42, HIIT was a way to allow her body to do other activities of her choice. Initially, she found it difficult to exercise on her knees, but that changed as she got stronger.
Over the course of 18 months, Miss Yassin said, “My body became better able to withstand the pressure of activities like kickboxing or jumping.”
What is “real” HIIT?
There is a lot of confusion about what counts as HIIT. Some gyms or trainers call any circuit training – various exercises performed one after the other – hiIT. While these exercises can be tricky, most won’t get enough to qualify your heartbeat. For example, a runner runs for three to five minutes and rests in the middle, but he is unable to do HIIT.
Miss Wilson said crossfit is another exercise that people usually mistake for HIIT. “Cross-fit is not HIIT, although cross-fit exercise can incorporate a HIIT circuit within it,” he explained. “But they are not the same. ”
A real HIIT session — the short burst portion of exercise that causes a high heart rate — can only be 10 minutes long, especially for beginners. Sabrina Jo, an exercise and health scientist with the American Council on Exercise, says, “It will take you five to 10 minutes to slowly warm up with a light movement, do the HIIT circuit, and then cool down for five to 10 minutes. ‘
How do you get started?
For newcomers to HIIT, once a week is a good starting point. While you can do HIIT sessions by yourself, Miss Wilson often does one at the end of another workout. “For example, I can pair it with a leg day,” she said, “supersetting” joint movements like squats and lungs and then finishing with a 10-minute HIIT workout.
”Once you’re comfortable with them, aim for two to three sessions per week, but not more than that,” said Holly Roger, a personal trainer in San Francisco. “After that, you may be more susceptible to injury.”
Whichever exercise you choose, it’s important to make sure you know them and are using the appropriate form before putting them into the HIIT workout. Credit… Gretchel Falsgan for The New York Times
Avoid HIIT if you have heart disease, are recovering from an injury or regularly experience vertigo. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor beforehand.
”Initially, you may have to reduce the length of a break or two to catch your breath, or feel sluggish at the end of the session,” Ms. Roger said. But after about a month of regular HIIT, you should be able to go through one and observe improvements, for example, how fast you can walk, bike, or queue up on an aerometer. Until then you can try changing the exercise and rest ratio so that you can rest for a short period of time.
You can perform HIIT at home, in the gym, or in a group class setting, and it requires very little equipment — although if you have access to a treadmill, bike, or rowing machine, they work well. Short bursts of running, jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers or scoot jumps can also be effective. This simplifies HIIT, and also makes it easier to do when traveling.
Remember, these exercises are meant to be tough. Melissa Vasquez, an 80-year-old sales professional from Brooklyn, says pushing yourself up to 31 percent of your body’s maximum heart rate at this time can feel scary, but it can also feel beneficial. He said, “I like to do exercise that scares me a little bit. “After finishing the HIIT session, I feel very satisfied to face this challenge.”
The easiest HIIT exercise
If you’re new to the HIIT format, a good way to make it easier is to choose the same cardio-focused machine or workout. A treadmill is often the least intimidating for beginners. After the warm-up, try running as quickly as possible for 10 seconds, then try walking or resting for 50 seconds. Repeat this six times.
Simply, you’re on your way to mastering HIIT. As soon as you feel comfortable, try shortening the rest to 20 seconds, and then even 10 seconds.
Even more effective HIIT exercises include exercises that last longer than rest times. A standard format for this is Tabata, which often combines multiple movements in multiple rounds. One round of tabata lasts four minutes and consists of eight sets, each with 20 seconds of strenuous exercise and 10 seconds of recovery. Many trainers recommend doing a total of four rounds, but if it’s too difficult, start with two.
Start with a five-minute warm-up. Then do a round of eight sets. During each set, repeat as much as possible. After each round, take a minute’s rest and then do another round until ideally, you reach four. Finish with 10 minutes of coolness. Getting the right time can be difficult, so consider using an exercise app to signal each break.
Since HIIT is so intense, be sure to keep your number of weekly sessions to just one or two at the beginning, gradually increasing them to three times a week as your body becomes more accustomed to work. Always feel free to stop if you’re feeling lightheaded, dizzy or just out of breath to continue.
Here’s a version of tabata-style HIIT that requires minimal equipment. Before trying a workout, do an easy runthrough of each move to make sure you’re comfortable with it. If a move proves difficult due to a mobility issue, feel free to change it for another. The goal is to improve your heart rate with these combinations of exercises, so choose those that work for your body. As time goes by, exchange new exercises for a variety.
Round 1 (4 minutes)
Perform 2 sets of high knees (perform each for 20 seconds with a 10-second break) back-to-back or replace them with other exercises.
2 sets of plank punches
2 sets of jumping jacks
2 sets of side skaters
Take a minute’s rest.
Round 2 (4 minutes)
2 sets of rope
2 sets of high/low boat
2 sets of line jumps
2 sets of push-ups
Take a minute’s rest.
Round 3 (4 minutes)
2 sets of burpees
2 sets of Russian turns
2 sets of scots
2 sets of lungs
Take a minute’s rest.
Round 4 (4 minutes)
2 sets of mountain climbers
2 sets of push-ups
2 sets of distributed scots
2 sets of box jumps
Amanda Louden is a freelance writer covering health and science. His writings have been published in the Washington Post, Outdoor and many others.