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Moving your body is a great way to improve your mood, reduce stress, and boost your immunity. Why not take your next workout outside! Read on to learn about interval training and try out this fast-paced, fun workout.
Interval training is exercise that alternates between periods of high-intensity effort and rest or lower intensity. Intervals can be done as cardiovascular exercise like running, rowing, or cycling. They can also be done with resistance equipment. No matter how you do your intervals, the goal is to get your heart rate up and challenge the cardiorespiratory system.
It’s important to point out that HIIT is not the same as a TABATA workout. True TABATA training is 8 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, and the cycle is repeated for 4 minutes. With this style of training, you should be wiped out after just 4 minutes. Interval training you can do for a bit longer.
Most often, you’ll hear of intervals as HIIT—high-intensity interval training. HIIT training is great for knocking out a workout in a shorter amount of time than lower intensity training. Research shows that 20-25 minutes of interval training three days a week has similar effects on the body as 60 minutes of lower intensity cardio training performed five times a week!
Working at a higher intensity can also help you torch calories since you’re working harder than at lower intensities. At the right exercise intensity, you can also promote EPOC—excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Simply put, that means your metabolism will be elevated and in need of more oxygen for 24 to 72 hours after your HIIT session!
This workout requires no equipment and can be done outside in the yard or at a park! We’ll offer some alternative movements if you have a park bench close by plus modifications depending on your fitness level. You’ll need just over 25 minutes for the entire workout including the warm-up and cool down!
Every workout should start with a warm-up to prepare your body for movement.
Start warming up your hips and legs with lateral shifts. Set the feet outside of the shoulders with the toes facing forward or slightly turned out. Hinge from the hips and shift the weight to one side, bending that knee like in a lunge. Keep the opposite leg straight. Return to the start position and switch sides.
Repeat for 60 seconds.
Get your arms moving with some circles. Set your feet about shoulder-width apart and keep a soft bend in your knees. You can alternate arms or circle them together. Keep the arms straight and make a full circle from your shoulder. Make sure you go forward AND backward!
Repeat for 60 seconds.
Next, stand tall and alternate kicking one leg forward. Reach with the opposite arm to try to touch your toes (or keep your arms out at your sides). Alternate legs and arms.
Repeat for 60 seconds.
Drop down into bodyweight squats for the last minute of the warm-up. Set the feet just outside the hips or you can go a little wider. Hinge at the hips and bend the knees to drop into the squat. Be sure your knees follow the direction of your toes!
Repeat for 60 seconds.
For your intervals, you’ll be completing 30 seconds an exercise, allow 30 seconds to recover, then move on to the next exercise in the circuit. Complete the entire circuit 3 times!
For a challenge, count the number of repetitions of each exercise during the round and try to match or beat it on the next circuit!
Remember the timing:
30 seconds of work
30 seconds to recover
Go as quickly as you can while maintaining good form and balance! For the entire workout, it should take about 18 minutes!
Start from a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step back with the left leg and bend the left knee toward the ground. Make sure your weight is in the mid-foot on your right side (not your toes!). Press through your right foot to return to the top. Switch legs and repeat.
If you have a park bench or a step nearby, add a step up! The leg that you will be stepping up onto the bench with is also the leg that will step back into the reverse lunge.
Start from a high plank position with both hands at chest height. Slowly bend the elbows and lower the body down in a straight line. When your elbows reach about 90 degrees, press through the hands and return to the top. Don’t forget to breathe! Inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up.
You can also do your push-ups from your knees! Be sure to keep your bottom down and you’ll be in a straight line from your head to your knees. Take this modification if you feel your shoulder shrugging or if you have a difficult time getting your elbows to 90 degrees.
Burpees are always a crowd favorite! Start from standing with feet just outside of the hips. Squat down and bring both hands to the floor in front of the feet. Step or jump the feet back until you’re in a push-up position. Immediately jump or step the feet back into the start position, shift your weight into your feet and end the rep with a jump straight up in the air.
Remember, you don’t have to jump through this movement. You can step the feet in and out. Feel free to add another push-up at the bottom of the burpee, too!
For those who are not jumping, simply stand up from the burpee and reach overhead. Make sure you fully extend your legs and squeeze your glutes!
These can be done on the floor or, if you have a bench or chair nearby, from an elevated position. Start by sitting on the floor (or bench). Place the hands on either side of the hips with the fingers pointing forward. Pinch the elbows in and drop the shoulders down away from your ears. Slowly bend the elbow.
If you’re on the ground, lower until your bottom touches the ground. And then press back up. If you’re on a chair or bench, lower down until your elbows are at 90 degrees. Either way, be sure to keep the chest open and the eyes looking forward (or at your toes).
Next up, mountain climbers. Start in a high plan position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Tuck the hips and keep them low for this one. Alternate legs and drive one knee at a time up towards your chest. You can go as fast or as slow as you like on this one!
For an added challenge, cross your knee over to reach toward the opposite elbow as you drive it to the chest. This is called an atomic mountain climber!
Think jumping jacks on this one except when your feet jump wide, add a squat!
Start from standing. Jump both feet out to either side until your feet are just outside the shoulders. Hinge at the hips and drop down into a squat. Explosively stand back up and hop the feet back to the start position.
If you’re not jumping, simply step one foot out to the side about a foot, drop into your squat, stand, and reset the foot back to the start position. Alternate legs.
Your heart rate should be up there by now! Keep going! You’ve got to get through this circuit 3 times! Keep breathing!
Whew! You made it! Time to cool you down!
Feel free to keep your legs moving as you start to cool down! Take one arm across your chest and keep that arm straight. Wrap your opposite hand around the elbow to assist in pulling your arm across your chest and relax your shoulders down. Keep breathing!
Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and switch arms. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Start from a standing position and you may need something to balance against like a chair, a tree, or a wall. Lift one leg and bend the knee to bring the foot back toward the glute. Reach back with that same side hand and grab the foot. Keep your knees side by side and push your hips forward to really feel the stretch in the front of your thigh.
Hold for about 15 seconds before switching legs. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Last one! Now that your heart rate has come down a little, we can fold forward to stretch out the back of your body.
You can start with your feet together or take them out wider than your shoulders. The legs will stay straight as you bend at the waist and reach toward to floor. Relax your head and neck.
You can deepen the stretch by reaching both arms toward one foot and holding. Be sure to do both sides!
Hold for about 30 seconds. Slowly return to the standing position. You can repeat this one 2-3 times as well.
Way to work! You just burned some serious calories—all in under 30 minutes! Net time, change up some of the exercises! The possibilities are endless!
Want to learn more about HIIT workouts? Check out these blogs:
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