Being physically fit is an aspect that is essential in our lives. Many things can happen in a day that may require your body to be in mint condition. Being fit can turn out to be a life-saver, literally. However, with the tight ship that most of us run all week- yey capitalism- is there enough time to work out?
This is where High-Intensity Interval Training comes in. HIIT routines are efficient, intense, and quick exercises that’ll burn an insane amount of calories in a short period.
What Is A HIIT Workout?
HIIT workout routines are generally short bursts of intense exercises with periods of rest in between. These exercises are fast-paced, making them a time-efficient exercise routine that can be squeezed into your busy schedule. This attribute makes them an efficient way to torch the excess calories while working on your fitness levels.
However, in most training spaces, the purpose of these exercises is misinterpreted. Some instructors and beginners focus on the intensity bit of the HIIT protocol, ignoring the interval part. You should observe the recovery period of the exercise to realize the full benefits of the routine. Remember, the HIIT protocol dictates that you go all out, recover then work again.
Depending on your goal, you can implement different work-to-rest ratios. If your objective is to improve your aerobic fitness, then the ratio should be either 1:1 or 1:2. This means that if you work for 30 seconds, take either 30 seconds or 60 seconds to recover. However, if you’re training anaerobically for power or explosiveness, the ratio increases to 1:5. The higher recovery time allows you to achieve the maximum effort needed for the training.
What Are The Benefits Of Hiit Workouts For Beginners?
Maybe you’re new to HIIT exercises and are asking yourself whether these routines are ideal for you. Well, you don’t need to be a professional athlete to work out using the HIIT protocol. There is a multitude of HIIT workouts for beginners that can ease you into the training style. HIIT for beginners can be just as beneficial compared to the more complex routines, so worry not.
Let’s take a look at how HIIT exercises for beginners will help improve your health:
HIIT Helps You Torch More Calories, Helping You Lose Weight
During a HIIT workout, the amount of calories you burn is similar to when engaging in activities like running. The twist, however, comes after your workout. In steady-state cardio exercises like running, your heart remains relatively stable compared to HIIT routines. This is not the case after you perform HIIT routines.
Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is where your body burns calories after you stop exercising. After HIIT workouts, your body will consume more calories to heal the wear and tear resulting from the intense training. This results in more calorie consumption compared to typical workout routines.
The higher calorie consumption has a domino effect on weight loss. Fewer calories mean less weight, and the bonus is that it’s convenient. Convenient because you won’t spend so much time working out to achieve that.
HIIT Routines Build Up More Muscle Groups In Your Body
HIIT routines are not a specific type of exercise, rather a combination of different movements and routines. For instance, a HIIT workout will have you do push-ups, burpees, and squats. All these exercises target different muscles, therefore allowing you to work and develop different muscle groups.
The sheer intensity of these exercises increases your muscular endurance since they don’t get much rest during the workout process. These workout routines will then improve your muscles’ ability to work out in the long run.
HIIT Will Make Your Oxygen And Blood Flow Better
Studies show that HIIT exercises strengthen and support your circulatory system, ultimately boosting blood and oxygen flow in your entire body.
HIIT Routines Reduces Your Blood Pressure and Sugar
These exercises also have various long-term health effects on your body. Reducing your blood pressure and sugar, which are risk factors for heart disease, is one of them. Multiple studies have been done to ascertain this, and all had the same conclusion- clinically relevant improvements in blood pressure (1).
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How Often Should You Do A Hiit Workout For Beginners?
There are probably many articles talking about the best HIIT workout routine for beginners all over the web. Knowing which exercises are good for you is one thing; knowing how often you should do them is another. Before getting into these routines, you should take caution not to overtrain as that may be counter-productive.
You will take a shorter period to complete a HIIT routine, but that doesn’t mean you should do them every day. How often you engage in HIIT exercises relies on what your fitness goals are. However, the general recommendation is that beginners should do HIIT routines 2-3 times a week (3).
This figure sounds like it is a little inadequate, doesn’t it? Well, maybe to your ears, not to your body, though. Three days in a week of HIIT is enough to burn large quantities of fat in your body. This is demonstrated in a study conducted by The University of Western Ontario (3).
The kind of intensity these exercises impose on your body demands some downtime for recovery. Ideally, two days is enough for your body’s energy system to reboot, recover and adapt to the training stimuli (3). Sufficient recovery time will then allow you to go all out in your next workout session.
What Are Good Exercises For Beginners HIIT?
The intense nature of HIIT exercises may spark specific questions from people who are new to this. Questions like why HIIT is not good for beginners or why it is may be nagging your mind. Maybe you want to work out at home and are asking which HIIT workout at home for beginners is best. And if indeed they are suitable for beginners, then what is the best HIIT workout for beginners?
In this section, we’re going to explore which HIIT routines are excellent and convenient for you. When it comes to HIIT routines, procedure is critical. Sure, it’s made up of explosive bursts of exercises, but both beginners and pros should do them the right way. Let’s look at some of the exercises that will ease you into HIIT routines as a beginner:
Lateral squats primarily target your gluteus medius, hip adductors, and quads. Also, these exercises will fire up your posterior chain and inner thighs. Adding this exercise to your HIIT routine is an excellent way of strengthening and sculpting your lower body.
These are bodyweight exercises that work on your hip flexors and quadriceps. When you include it in your HIIT routine, it can effectively improve your legs, hips, thighs, and lower body.
Another great exercise that can rev up your HIIT workout is butt kicks. This move is explosive and will get your heart racing in no time. When done correctly, it primarily targets your hamstrings and glutes and can be used to stretch your quads dynamically. Pump your arms while you’re at it, and you bring in your core, arms, and back muscles in play, too.
Ah yes. We’ve all seen the military parades. These exercises are an excellent way of working on your quads, hamstrings, and calves. Your abs, arms, back, and glutes are also secondary muscles targeted by this exercise. Add it to your HIIT workout, and you have yourself an intense calorie-burning machine.
Athletes perform jumping jacks individually or collectively to warm up. You know when they spread their arms and legs like a starfish then jump them back together? Yeah, that’s a jumping jack, and it’s a beautiful way to warm up and fire your muscles. The muscles include your calves, core, hip, and arm muscles.
I now bring you the agility king. This exercise will make use of muscles throughout your body if done correctly. Your shoulders, back, and chest, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core will all be fired up. Adding this exercise to your HIIT for beginners routine and the results will be phenomenal.
This exercise will engage the muscles in your hamstrings, calves, quads, glutes, and hip flexors. It’s an excellent way to fire up your metabolism while increasing coordination and agility for side-to-side movements. Done as a HIIT exercise, it gets you revved up just in time to catch your 8 am bus to work.
These push-ups will strengthen and tone the muscles in your upper body and core. When you increase the intensity of the exercise, your metabolism significantly rises, leading to more calorie burn.
Squat To Inchworm
This is a solid movement that you can add to a lot of workout routines, including HIIT. Their ability to stretch and strengthen different muscle groups simultaneously makes it an ideal pick. When performing the exercise, the stabilizing muscles of your shoulder, hips, glutes, and quadriceps support your body when entering the plank.
Lateral kicks will primarily target your thighs, hips, and glutes. Other muscles that’ll also be worked on are your core, lower back, and calves. When done in HIIT routines, the intensity generated throughout the process will elevate your metabolism for a while.
All these exercises are just a part of a more significant piece. To benefit from a HIIT routine, you need a full-body workout, not just a single exercise. Keep reading to find out which HIIT workout is best suited for beginners.
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The Best HIIT Workout For Beginners
If after all that you’re frantically looking up ‘how to make a HIIT routine for beginners easy’, you’ll be very disappointed. Whether you want to accept it or not, that’s the thing about HIIT routines; they’re not meant to be easy. Instead, they’re supposed to be intense! There is a silver lining, though. The benefits reaped from this workout far outweigh the effort needed to pull them through.
There are many HIIT protocols that trainers use to make the most out of the exercise. However, if you are new to the routine, you should shelve the more advanced protocols and start easy. If you go in taking up the big boys, the routine may not elicit the intended response. Instead, you may end up injuring yourself due to inexperience.
The type of routine you’re looking for should be simple, effective, and intense. Easier said than done, right? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s look at a sample HIIT workout protocol for beginners, and then you can decide if it’s all worth it.
The Tabata Workout Protocol
This is one of the most effective and straightforward training styles out there. Simply put, the Tabata workout protocol is all about 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest on repeat. The short recovery periods make your body move before it recovers from the last set. This makes it a particularly effective aerobic and anaerobic workout.
Being a HIIT routine, Tabata has a bonus benefit- afterburn. Your body will continue torching calories hours after you finish working out. However, you must pick the right exercises when doing a Tabata routine if you’re a novice. This is because you’ll be squeezing in many reps in a short duration, so you need to be careful.
You can try out these exercise combinations to achieve a 10-minute full-body HIIT workout routine:
First, Do A Jab, Cross, Front (Right Side)
Standing with your right foot in front and hips facing your left, bring your arms in a boxing position. Punch forward using your right arm and throw a cross punch with your left. Let your body spin as your left arm crosses your body towards the right.
Your weight should be on your right foot as your back heel picks off the floor slightly. Return both arms into your body and shift your weight to where you started, facing the front. Repeat this on the left side.
Second, Get Some Jumping Jacks In
Stand upright and form a starfish shape with your arms and legs. Jump out while spreading your feet and raising your arms, then jump back in. Repeat this as fast as possible.
Finish Off With Some Sumo Squats
Position your feet wide apart- slightly wider than hip-width- and toes out at 45-degree angles. Keep your chest upright and back up and make sure your weight is on your heels. Next, lower yourself so that your thighs become parallel to the floor. Engaging your quads and glutes, push yourself to the original position and repeat.
Finally, recover and cool down using a reverse lunge, forward fold, and overhead stretch. These exercises should be done in three rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.
How To Make Your HIIT Workout Effective?
When working out, you should always take caution to make sure you’re doing it right. The stakes are even higher for HIIT routines because of the kind of intensity it brings. We don’t want to risk injuring ourselves now, do we? These tips will help you perform an effective HIIT workout routine.
Plan Before You Start
Just because they are explosive doesn’t mean they are impulsive. Make sure you decide beforehand what your work-to-rest ratio, length, and type of exercise will be. This helps you approach the whole activity with a focused mind.
Choose The Right Shoes
Before starting any HIIT session, always make sure you’re comfortable in whatever footwear you have on. If there are many high-impact exercises in your routine, consider putting on shoes that provide more cushioning.
Practice The Right Form
Ensure that you’re well conversant with each exercise in your workout routine. Incorrect forms may lead to faster fatigue and even injuries. If you’re not sure about what you’re about to do, consult with your trainer first.
Warm-Up Before You Begin
Firing up your muscles before a HIIT workout will prepare your body for the task ahead. Also, it reduces the chances of getting injured during the training since your muscles will be more flexible.
Allow Time For Recovery
Going all out in HIIT routines is not synonymous with working without a break. The intensity of the exercise is not dependent on how long you work out without a break. Injuries remain a risk in HIIT routines, and long periods without rest increase the chances of hurting yourself. Make sure you follow the correct HIIT protocols and allow for recovery time in between the exercises.
Working out ensures that we stay in shape while losing the extra fat. However, the current way of life has a way of making us feel we’re always in a time crunch. There’s just not enough time to hit the gym multiple times in a week to keep fit. And that’s why HIIT workout routines are convenient and efficient.
You’ll save a great deal of time while maximizing the amount of fat you burn during and after the exercise. Don’t let your schedule stop you from being in shape, and try out one of these intense and amazing routines today!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT) improves resting blood pressure, metabolic (MET) capacity, and heart rate reserve without compromising cardiac function in sedentary aging men (2018, sciencedirect.com)
- Is interval training the magic bullet for fat loss? A systematic review and meta-analysis comparing moderate-intensity continuous training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) (2019, pubmed.gov)
- Run sprint interval training improves aerobic performance but not maximal cardiac output (2011, pubmed.gov)