There is lots of talk about whether you should do a HIIT workout or a cardio workout.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to turn your cardio routine into a HIIT workout.
This article shows you how to enjoy five different HIIT cardio workouts.
I’m not going to explain how to do the different movements in these exercises. I’ve already explained some of these movements. For the others, I hope to publish articles soon.
Note: always include a proper warm-up and cool-down as part of your HIIT cardio program.
#1: Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are a popular exercise that works nearly your whole body. They are known to strengthen your
- back muscles
- core muscles
What else could you ask for?
It is important to use the right-weight of kettlebell. You want a weight that you can swing repeatedly with good form so that you properly engage your muscles.
Try this kettlebell HIIT cardio workout:
High intensity interval: 20 seconds. Do as many kettlebell swings as you can with proper form.
Rest / recovery: 40 seconds.
Total: 1 minute per set.
Start with 5 sets.
As your fitness level increases, try increasing your work intervals to 30 seconds each.
#2: Elliptical 30-30
I got this hiit cardio routine from the personal trainer Rusty Moore.
Rusty points out a significant benefit of hiit cardio workouts on his blog.
Let’s say that you do intervals of 30 seconds walking and 30 seconds running. Your average running speed is 10.5 mile per hour and you do intervals for 20 minutes. That is 10 total minutes of running at 10.5 miles per hour. If you ran at that pace for 10 minutes straight, you would be gasping for air as well as feel a burn in your legs after a minute or two. Alternating running with walking is what allows you to get this same amount of higher intensity exercise in without the pain and fatigue caused by lactic acid buildup. Same amount of work with less of a perceived effort.
Rusty explains that the reason HIIT cardio works is because it keeps lactic acid from building up in your muscles.
Lactic acid is what causes that burning sensation in your muscles when you work them hard.
Rusty suggests this HIIT elliptical workout:
High intensity interval: 30 seconds with the resistance set to 15.
Rest / recovery: 30 seconds with resistance set to 11.
Total: 1 minute per set.
Try this for 15 – 20 minutes.
Keep in mind that Rusty Moore is an extremely fit personal trainer. You may need different resistance settings on your elliptical for your cardio HIIT.
Also, be sure that your rest and recovery interval is slow enough and low enough. If it’s too high, then you’ll still be getting that build up of lactic acid in your arms and legs.
#3: HIIT Jump Rope
Jumping rope is a great exercise for cardio HIIT. It lends itself quite easily to the standard Tabata intervals of 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest.
A good beginners workout would be to do Alternate Leg Jumps.
High intensity interval: 20 seconds. Do as many alternate let jumps as you can with proper form.
Rest / recovery: 10 seconds.
Total: 30 seconds per set.
Start with 5 sets and gradually increase to 10 sets of HIIT cardio training.
You can add lots of variety into your jump rope HIIT cardio workout by using different jump rope techniques and altering the length of your intense and rest intervals.
#4: Sprint HIIT Cardio Program
Sprinting is a natural component of an HIIT cardio workout.
Did you ever compare the legs of a sprinter with the legs of a marathon runner?
Sprinters’ legs have more muscle mass because they are using their fast twitch muscle fibers in a way which causes them to grow.
Try this routine:
High intensity interval: 30 seconds. Don’t hold back. Give it everything you’ve got with proper sprinting form.
Rest / recovery: 1 – 4 minutes. In fact, I recently saw a recommendation that sprinters should rest for 5 minutes between work intervals.
Total: about 5 minutes per set.
There is experimental evidence that only 2 sets of sprint hiit cardio training done three times a week can increase your metabolism!
#5: Treadmill 60-120
Some people like using a treadmill for their HIIT cardio workout.
The treadmill lets you easily time your intervals for an effective workout. You can also increase the angle and speed of the machine.
However, others don’t like treadmills because it can take too long to switch from your high intensity interval into the rest interval.
Marc Perry suggests this HIIT cardio routine on a treadmill:
High intensity interval: 1 minute fast jog
Rest / recovery: 2 minutes walk/slow jog
Total: 3 minute per set.
He suggests doing this routine for 5 – 10 sets (between 15 and 30 minutes).
As your fitness level improves, try making your rest interval shorter.
I hope you see that any type of cardio exercise can be turned into an HIIT cardio workout.
You should only do HIIT cardio workouts 2 or 3 times a week.
Also, if you are just beginning, try doing exercises that minimize the impact on your joints such as an elliptical machine or stationary bike.
Photo Credit: Flickr – twon man on ellipticalPhoto Credit: Flickr – US Navy jumping rope at seaPhoto Credit: Flickr – tabor-roeder woman sprinterPhoto Credit: Flickr – uprating row of treadmills
- Steve Skinner