When I was first introduced to HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, I wanted to cry. It was a lot tougher than it sounded, but at the time I was on a mission to uncover my elusive abs, so was up for anything. After about two months, my abs began to make their presence known, and after four months I was in the best shape of my life. So what is HIIT? In a nutshell, it is one of the most effective workouts if you’re looking to burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time.
HIIT workouts typically last about 15 to 30 minutes and combine short bursts of intense exercise with a period of low to moderate activity or rest. For example, you could sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 15 seconds repeatedly for 20 minutes. Perhaps the best part of HIIT though is that workouts come in all shapes and sizes, and you can power through a workout at home with a treadmill, elliptical or rowing machine.
HIIT on the Treadmill
When I was in search of my abs, I relied heavily on HIIT workouts on the treadmill. One thing to be aware of though is that not all treadmills are created equal. You’ll need one that has multiple speed settings, and one that is able to adjust to changes in those speed settings quickly, like the ProForm Performance 400 S Folding Treadmill. With its QuickSpeed controls you can switch between a gazelle-like pace to something a little less intense exceptionally fast and its motor makes the transition very smooth.
The Treadmill HIIT Workout #1
- Warm up for 5 minutes at a moderate pace (this will be your “low intensity” pace)
- At the 5 minute mark, choose your “high intensity speed”
- Sprint at this speed for 60 seconds
- Walk at your rest speed for 60 seconds
- Repeat eight times
- Cool down for two to five minutes
HIIT on the Elliptical
The great thing about elliptical machines is that they are very low impact, which means your feet never leave the pedals so there is no jarring impact on your joints. That said, you can still get a really great HIIT workout. Just like treadmills though, not all elliptical machines are created equal, so you’ll want one that gives you a smooth ride, and the ability to switch between speeds easily, like the PRO 9.0 NE from ProForm.
The Elliptical HIIT Workout
- Warm up: 3 – 5 minutes at an easy incline and limited resistance
- Minutes 0 – 2: Resistance 5, Incline 5
- Minutes 2 – 3: Resistance 10, Incline 5
- Minutes 3 – 5: Resistance 5, Incline 7
- Minutes 5 – 6: Resistance 10, Incline 7
- Minutes 6 – 8: Resistance 7, Incline 9
- Minutes 8 – 9: Resistance 12, Incline 9
- Minutes 9 – 11: Resistance 7, Incline 9
- Minutes 11 -12: Resistance 12, Incline 9
- Minutes 12 – 14: Resistance 9, Incline 11
- Minutes 15 – 17: Resistance 9, Incline 9
- Minutes 17 – 18: Resistance 12, Incline 9
- Minutes 18 – 20: Resistance 7, Incline 9
Cool down 3-5 minutes at an easy incline and resistance
HIIT on the Bike
I’m not going to mince words here–I hate working out on a bike. The minutes can’t go by fast enough. And while a HIIT program like the one below makes things a little less mundane and you can train like the pros with a bike like this Tour de France cycle from ProForm, it’s still painful to me. But if you like the bike, then this workout is sure to get your hear rate pumping.
The Bike HIIT Workout
- Begin with a five-minute warm up of easy spinning
- Increase the tension or gear ratio and sprint for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Increase tension or gear ration and sprint for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Complete 8 intervals
- Cool down with easy spinning for five minutes
The bottom line is that HIIT is the bee’s knees when it comes to packing an effective workout into a short period of time, and is something you can do with minimal equipment and at home, outside or in a gym. It’s a form of training that I’ve reaped the benefits of in the past, and one that I am definitely going to get back into! Happy training!