6 HIIT Exercises for Beginners to Get You Started
There’s a good chance that you’ve heard a lot about HIIT and the benefits of high-impact cardio. We've written several posts here about HIIT. Still, a common question about HIIT is, "Where do I start?" If you aren’t working with a personal trainer or in a fitness group, it can be tough to find workouts that truly push your cardio capabilities and force you to work hard. A well-planned HIIT program can do just that. But, what is HIIT and what's the best way for a beginner to get started? We've listed six HIIT exercises for beginners below, but you'll learn many more as you delve into the benefits of a HIIT exercise program.
HIIT 101 – The Basics
We've written about HIIT here before, but just to recap, HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. This practice uses brief bursts of intense, heart-racing exercise followed by low-intensity recovery periods. HIIT is very quick and a great way to mix a variety of exercises in your workout and keep you entertained. High-intensity interval training uses exact rest-to-work ratios to get the best results, and you’ll burn far more calories than you would with a moderate-intensity cardio workout that lasts for a longer period of time.
Our Favorite HIIT Exercises for Beginners
- Sprints – When you’re jogging or running, try mixing in sprints as fast as you can for 15-20 seconds. In between sprints, walk or jog for a minute. Repeat this interval and pattern for 10-20 minutes for an easy HIIT workout.
- Tabata Circuits – Instead of walking on the treadmill, use your body to get an awesome workout with Tabata circuits. Do an exercise for 20 seconds and give yourself 10 seconds of rest before starting the next exercise or repetition. What Tabata exercises do a good job? High-knee running, burpees, mountain climbers and squat jumps are some of the best movements for training. If you want an even bigger challenge, you can add in weights.
- Barbell Complex – A barbell complex is a circuit of compound movements that utilizes a single barbell. Usually, you will perform 4-6 exercises in a sequence without putting the barbell down. For example, you could do floor deadlifts, barbell rows, overhead presses, floor barbell bench presses and stiff-legged deadlifts with the same weight and then take a short break.
- Bike Sprints – Instead of standing on a track, use a stationary bike and pedal as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. Once you’re done, switch to a slower, easier pace. Repeat these intervals for 15-30 minutes.
- Sled Pushes – If you’re an athlete, you’ll know that many sports are anaerobic in nature. Sleds are a great way to improve anaerobic conditioning, as you perform sprints that are short in duration and high in intensity. Place 70-85% of your maximum pushing capacity on the sled and push it as hard as you can until you cannot move it anymore. In between rounds, rest for 3-5 minutes. By giving yourself a much longer rest period, you can recover your phosphagen stores. If you want an aerobic workout instead of an anaerobic workout, take some weight off and push the sled for longer periods with shorter rest periods.
- Hill Sprints – By forcing yourself to sprint on an incline, you will lower the impact on your joints and get your blood racing. Sprint as hard as you can until you reach the peak of the hill (or 20-30 seconds on a treadmill) and walk down the hill slowly for your rest period.
HIIT Can Make a Difference
Choosing to include a HIIT workout in your fitness routine can make a big difference in your cardio health. Like any other workout program, it requires consistent effort to pay big dividends. If you stick with it, HIIT can make a vast improvement in your overall health, particularly your cardio. If you're a rank beginner, it may be wise to seek the help of a professional until you're proficient. This can help you avoid injury from improper form and overworking some muscle groups. RX Fitness is always happy to help. Just ask.
RX Fitness Equipment Is Here to Help You Make the Best Choices
If you have questions about adding HIIT to your fitness routine, and you'd like to discuss it with a professional, RX Fitness works hundreds of personal trainers and professional coaches. We're happy to refer you to one who can help. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget. And, for some great advice about equipment and accessories, don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.