Beginner HIIT Workout
How is HIIT different from interval training?
HIIT workouts are different from other types of interval training because the high intensity intervals involve your MAX effort and not just a higher heart rate. The high intensity part of HIIT involves giving it your all for a certain amount of seconds (duration can vary).
Are there different types of HIIT training?
There are many ways to create high intensity intervals by changing the timing of the work vs. rest. I change up the interval timing of my live classes, but my absolute favorite type of HIIT is Tabata Training. Tabata-style takes high-intensity training to another level with workouts comprised of 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of recovery, eight cycles in a row—a total of four minutes.
Tabata intervals can be incorporated into riding a bike, running, exercises using your body weight, plyometrics and strength training, but there is one variable that doesn’t change—the formula. You can do as many Tabata intervals in a row as you’d like but for most fitness enthusiasts, if you are going full out effort, 20-30 minutes is max.
How did Tabata-style intervals come about?
Tabata is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata who discovered that he could shorten the training time and vastly improve fitness levels with a specific HIIT regimen. He worked with the Japanese speed skating team and developed a timed interval program as described above. His research challenged the notion that you need a lot of time and miles under your feet to see results.
HIIT Class (Tabata style) can consist of body weight exercises, strength exercises, calisthenics or plyometrics. I recommend starting with light weights the first few sessions to figure out your limits. During the 20-second work portion, you have to go all out so you should try for as many reps as you can do without compromising form or range of motion. In my class, I verbally coach my members to figure that out. The funny thing is often newbies will keep working through the 10 second rest segments in the first Tabata interval due to their adrenaline kicking in … but quickly realize they are gasping for air and will be flat on the floor if they don’t use their 10 second rest segments wisely. Here’s a 10-Minute Beginner Tabata Workout you can try!
Who is HIIT for?
HIIT can be for all types of people, you just may not be using all out effort when you first start. HIIT helps people significantly improve their cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and fat loss without losing the muscle mass they already have. HIIT is for you if you want to try something new, if you want more for from your workout or if you are a diehard fitness enthusiast and you want a bigger challenge. Nonetheless, If you’re just starting a workout routine or have been sidelined for sometime due to injury or life – the key to success lies in doing the moves with modifications, at your own pace. Yes, HIIT should be intense, but pushing too hard, too fast can result in injuries and other setbacks. My suggestion: listen to your body, use modifications where necessary, choose good form over speed and ease into how many HIIT workouts you do a week.
How often should I do HIIT?
If you are new to HIIT, just try one workout per week. If you are accustomed to working out, you can do HIIT three to five times max per week.
Safety Tips for HIIT Workouts
With the increased intensity, you can cause more wear and tear on your body, so make sure you follow these HIIT safety tips. Like I said before, HIIT can be for all types of people, but ideally, you should be able to exercise for 20 minutes without any issues before trying a HIIT workout. HIIT workouts are physically demanding, so build up your cardiovascular fitness slowly. You don’t want to overdo it.
If you have a sedentary lifestyle or are inactive, you may have an increased risk for coronary disease. Family history, cigarette smoking, hypertension, diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels and obesity increase this risk, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Make sure you check with your physician before trying any rigorous exercise program.
If you are new to working out, you can try HIIT workouts but with modifications for your current fitness level. If you are a beginner or new to HIIT, watch your heart rate, stop when you need to, and don’t do the plyometrics (or jumping movements) just yet. Start out with one HIIT workout per week with the ultimate goal of working yourself up to three times per week.
- Always warm up and cool down for at least five minutes before and after your HIIT workouts.
- Take time to recover from your HIIT workouts. Take at least one to two days off per week from HIIT workouts.