Intro to HIIT

High-Intensity Interval Training.  Just the name conjures up images of torturous exercises and people gasping for air lying on the floor.  True, there are many HIIT exercises that can leave you in that state.  However, the reality is that anybody of any age or fitness level can perform HIIT exercises.  It all comes down to your own ability.

There are some people who choose not to exercise at all because they are under the impression that they need to be of super strength and impeccable cardio condition.  We here at Mind Body Spine and Cape Kettlebell pride ourselves on meeting you where you are.  This should be the approach for anyone who is new to any sort of physical activity.  You should not expect to bench press 200lbs, run a sub-20 minute 5K, or pass a black belt exam in Jiu Jitsu on your first day.

This is also the case when it comes to any sort of HIIT exercises.  Doing a dozen Burpees, 20 rounds of battle ropes, or 2-miles of sprints, are not feasible expectations on a first try.  The good news is that you can get all of the benefits of HIIT right now.  How is that so?

The basic definition of high-intensity interval training is performing an exercise in short bursts of maximum effort, follow by longer period of rest.  Typically the work:rest ratio is 1:2/3. So 10 seconds of work followed by 20-30 seconds of rest.  Each set of work and rest is a round, and the total workout time can come down to a certain number of rounds, or a certain amount of time.  The exercises and overall duration are totally based on the person and their own fitness levels.

Some examples of beginner HIIT workouts are:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Medicine Ball Slams
  • Shadow Boxing
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Bodyweight Squats

You can choose one, or a few of those, and perform short HIIT sets. Start with 10 seconds on and 30 seconds off for 3-5 rounds to gauge how your body reacts.  You will likely find yourself out of breath from the rapid increases in heart rate.  This is a major benefit of HIIT.  The rapid raising and lowering of one’s heart rate is beneficial as it strengthens your heart, and overall cardio system.  This leads to a lower resting heart rate, as well as a longer period of increased metabolism known as afterburn.

We here at Mind Body Spine and Cape Kettlebell have trainers that can guide you through HIIT safely and make it fun.  If you’re looking to strengthen your heart, boost your metabolism, and increase your fitness level HIIT might be for you.  Give us a call, email, or stop by to learn more!


by Christopher Setterlund

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