How To Do High Intensity Intervals (HIIT) At Home

how-to-do-hiit-interval-training-at-home-no-equipmentChances are you’ve heard of HIIT (high intensity interval training) by now? Or maybe you’ve heard a girlfriend mention she just tried a new “hit” class at her gym? Well, now you know. It’s HIIT, not HIT. And here’s why it’s all the rage…

In as little as 10-20 minutes of total work time, high intensity interval training can improve fat loss, muscle strength and cardiovascular capacity. HIIT even improves insulin sensitivity better than moderate exercise, making it a more powerful tool to prevent and counteract metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes.

What’s “high intensity?”

Your regular 5K jog or usual spin class is probably about a 30-6o minute sustained effort at a moderate intensity. As trainers, we measure intensity with clients often on a scale of 1-10; typical cardio usually falls somewhere in the 5-6 range. Not exactly comfortable, but something you can keep pushing yourself through for quite a long time before requiring rest.

High intensity intervals are efforts anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 minutes, and on that same 1-10 effort scale, they would fall somewhere in the 7-9 range. Not a 10. The shorter the interval, the higher the effort. For example, running up a very steep but relatively short hill for 20 seconds would probably fall in the 9 range — as in, you want to punch your trainer 9 times when you get back to the bottom of the hill. On the other hand, quickly stepping on and off a stair at the maximum speed you can maintain for 90 seconds would probably fall closer to the 7-8 range.

The key with any high intensity interval is you are super glad when the interval is over. If you could keep going, your interval is not challenging enough. Your rest is usually as long or longer than the work interval, although some HIIT protocols have shorter rest periods.

Now an Oregon study has proven that HIIT in a group setting is also beneficial. Subjects performed a 27-minute bodyweight workout with high intensity intervals three times per week for 10 weeks. At the end of the study, subjects had lost weight AND improved body fat levels, and even showed a slight increase in lean muscle mass. All in less than 90 minutes per week!

Your key takeaway? Come join a Belly Bootcamp class, where we do fun interval training along with core and strength training to get you your fittest. But if you can’t join us…

Here’s how to do HIIT at home.

From easiest to hardest, steal these high-intensity favourites from BB and start burning fat & getting fit at home:

  • running on and off step
  • jumping jacks
  • high knee jogging on the spot
  • alternating chair or bench step ups
  • pushups (from the knees or toes, or against a counter or wall)
  • air squats
  • alternating lunges
  • jump squats
  • burpees

Now choose a recovery/rest exercise you can do between your high intensity intervals and do these much less intensely:

  • walking up/down stairs
  • jogging on the spot
  • shuffles
  • double leg hops/shadow skipping

And put it together… All you need is a clock! Warmup with a few sets of the exercises you intend to include in your workout, at a low intensity, to prepare the muscles for the high intensity work you’re about to do.

Time

Interval

Exertion level

5 min

Warmup

3-4

30 sec

High intensity

7-9

1 min

Recovery

5-6

30 sec

High intensity

7-9

1 min

Recovery

5-6

30 sec

High intensity

7-9

1 min

Recovery

5-6

30 sec

High intensity

7-9

1 min

Recovery

5-6

30 sec

High intensity

7-9

1 min

Recovery

5-6

30 sec

High intensity

7-9

1 min

Recovery

5-6

Stretch!

This workout starts with 6 high-intensity intervals for a total workout time of 14   minutes. Build your way up to 8-10 intervals.

To add variety, you might choose to do 30 seconds of fast pushups, followed by 1 minute of jogging on the spot, then 30 seconds of jump squats, followed by 1 minute of stair walking, and continue to alternate pushups and jump squats, with recovery between, until your intervals are done.

You can also choose 1 exercise (for example, fast high knee jogging on the spot) and do 4-5 work:recovery intervals; then a short rest and a second grouping with a different exercise (for example, burpees) for another 4-5 intervals.

The only rules with HIIT are to push yourself during your work intervals and to recover adequately between.

Have fun! Heart pounding, air gasping fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want more HIIT? Try this 4-minute (video) Tabata squat workout for a strong, sculpted lower body!