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The A-Z Guide of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
Examples, No-Equipment Exercises, and Benefits

The A-Z Guide of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Examples, No-Equipment Exercises, and Benefits

What is a HIIT workout?

HIIT is an acronym for High-Intensity Interval Training. It is becoming an immensely popular way to work out because it is primarily a no-equipment fitness regime that does not require you to use a special environment or machines for training. It is also considered a time-efficient way of burning more calories in less time and thus achieving sustained weight management goals faster.

Did you know? HIIT is also called Sprint Interval Training (or SIT) or High-Intensity Interval Exercise (or HIIE).

Fitness experts support it because it may help one burn more calories in less than half the time as compared to those running on treadmills and lifting irons. This is especially true for obese or overweight individuals who are often short on time but are looking to maximize their workouts. If you too are on the list, we welcome you to take to this hard-hitting, no-equipment-based regime today!

Examples of HIIT workouts

Here are some examples of no-equipment HIIT workouts that you can do at home. These exercises would help you tone your upper or lower body (as you want), and lose weight faster. You may also note that these exercises can be done by men and women of all age groups as per their fitness requirements.

  • Crunches

  • Squat

  • Jumping jacks

  • Push-ups

  • Sit-ups

  • Lunges

  • High knees

  • Cable chops

It is important to do all these exercises after a proper warmup session only. It would help you and your body acclimatize yourself to the strenuous sessions. Working under the guidance of an experienced personal trainer too would come in handy (an aspect we shall discuss subsequently).

Fun tips:

  • You can get your heart rate goal by subtracting your age from 220.

  • If you achieve a heart rate of over 80% of your maximum limit, it means you are doing it right!

Doing HIIT workouts at home for beginners

This is an interesting concept. Most beginners may not be attuned to the concept of using all their steam in one go when it comes to High-Intensity Interval Training. Yet, it is the most obvious and viable option in the face of challenging fitness conditions like obesity, belly fat, lower body fat, flabby thighs and butts, and related issues.

A typical Sprint Interval Training or SIT workout should not be of more than 15 minutes for beginners. These are indeed taxing fitness regimes and doing them obsessively may cause you a lot of harm. Before you start with it, here are some expert ways to get more mileage out of them:

1. Take proper diet, as advised by your fitness trainer or nutritionist

2. Do some warmups

3. Go jogging

5. Cool down after you are done

It is important to make a decision based on the pros and cons of this high-energy fitness regime, and some of the most common mistakes that people make while pursuing it. All the details are mentioned ahead.

5 Quick HIIT Workouts with no equipment

You could start with or without dumbbells but there is a simple rule to know. You should work in short bursts of intense moves for the next 15 minutes. A simple rule is to alternate doing 15 reps of two exercises and change the stance every three minutes or so.

Here is a list of 5 quick High-Intensity Interval Exercises that you can do today without using any gym-based equipment:

1. Jumping Jacks

To do a jumping jack, stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your side. Then jump your feet out while raising your arms. Repeat as fast as possible. If you experience difficulties with regular jumping jacks, you could step from side to side while raising your arms.

2. Squats

To do a squat, imagine you are sitting on an invisible chair and try to keep your back and chest as straight as possible. Your legs should be hip-width apart and once you are in the position, you should push your hips toward the ground.

You may now lift your body into a standing position by pushing through the heels. Your body weight should be on your heels. If you need assistance with this exercise, you may use a chair.

3. Sit-ups

Because they are more exciting than push-ups, right? To do a sit-up, lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees 90 degrees. Pull your chin in slightly. While keeping your feet and butt on the floor, go for lifting your torso off the floor and towards your thighs. Try to come up as high as you can.

4. Burpees

Burpees are challenging, excruciating, and effective. To do a set of this at muscle building aerobic exercise, stand with your arms at your side, legs shoulder-width apart, and put your body weight in your heels. Push your hips back, bend your knees and lower your body into a squat. Place your hands on the floor, directly in front of, or inside your feet.

Shift your weight onto your hands. Jump your feet back to softly land on the balls of your feet, in a plank position. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe. Jump your feet back so that they land just outside of your hands. Reach your arms overhead and jump up high into the air.

5. Side Lunges

Hold down a pair of dumbbells with your arms, and stand with your feet and knees together. Then take a large step with your right foot to the right side and lunge toward the floor. Make sure your right knee does not extend past your toes and keep your left leg relatively straight. Push off through your right foot to return to the start.

HIIT workout plan for women

As discussed earlier, doing these High-Intensity Interval Training exercises is not limited to any gender or age group alone. All fitness-minded working women too can do these workouts to get faster results with weight loss, reduce flab on belly and waist, increase their strength and resilience, and look slimmer.

1. Single-Leg Switch

Stand straight. Now slowly take one leg in a backward clockwise manner towards the wall behind you as if to touch it. Lean forward by standing only on one leg and making your upper body parallel to the ground. Make sure to keep your hands stretched forward and parallel to the ground. Stay in this position for some time and then come back to your original position. Repeat.

2. Plank Push-ups

As one of the hardest no-equipment workouts, it builds your forearms and tones your abs. Start with the plank position. Now take one forearm off and try to maintain the posture by stretching yourself up. Now lower your body and put both your forearms on the ground. Repeat for both hands.

3. Squat and Twist

Stand properly. Now bend forward with both your hands touching the ground. Now move a bit sideways and stretch your leg by placing your hands on the ground. Now repeat for the other side. It is a low-impact workout and would take some time to show its results.

4. Mountain Climbers

Meant for beginners, this one can be done by placing your hands and feet on the ground in a lateral position, parallel to the ground. As the back becomes straight, force your body weight on your wrists and try to bring in your knees towards your chest, just as you would climb a mountain.

5. Split lunges with Shoulder Press (requires dumbbells as equipment)

This one works better with a dumbbell. Take two dumbbells and lift them above your head and keep your hands straight. Now slowly bend one knee as if to sit and keep the other leg perpendicular to the ground. Stand up and sit down alternating the legs.

You should do each exercise for 50 seconds in a stretch, and you may take a few seconds off in between. Post that, you should hold yourself back and then get back to working on a new type of exercise after a few minutes. It is important to not do them for more than 3 days a week.

Mistakes, Pros and Cons

As a strenuous and intense physical activity, High-Intensity Interval Training offers a wide range of benefits. Everyone could do it, provided they work under a qualified fitness training expert at home or in a gym. There is also no bar on age or gender for these exercises as we have mentioned in our section on workouts for women above.

Pros:

Here’s why you should opt for HIIT every week:

1. It can burn a lot of calories in much lesser time

2. It improves the nervous system and strengthens the digestive system

3. It usually doesn’t require any equipment

4. It challenges you to push your limits

5. Helps you burn fat faster

6. You gain lean muscles or lean mass

7. The calories keep burning even after the workout has finished

8. It improves metabolism

9. It improves blood oxygen and blood sugar levels

10. Your heart and lungs will thank you for it

11. It helps you build a more positive self-image

Mistakes:

It is just as obvious to experience some health or fitness issues if these high-energy workouts are done in an ill-advised or improper manner. Here are some mistakes that you should guard yourself against:

1. You are not taking a nutritious diet

2. You are not doing warm-up exercises

3. You are doing HIITs more than three times a week

4. Your rest timings are too less or too much

5. You are not working out under the expert guidance of a personal trainer

6. You are not focused or regular

7. You are lifting heavier weights than you should

8. You are stressing yourself beyond the point of exhaustion

Cons:

We shall discuss the side-effects of committing the above mistakes:

1. You can hurt yourself rather quickly if you do the exercises wrong

2. You should not do these exercises obsessively

3. You need to develop a strong base before expanding it as a fitness regime

4. You should not do it if you have heart problems or any cardiovascular disease

5. Doing it more than four times a week can harm the energy stored in your body cells

6. You can feel dizzy or weak after doing it initially

7. If you have just recovered from any illness or a fracture or any physical pain, it would be better to wait for some time before you take up this challenge

Listen to some music while doing the HIITs

Here is a simple tip for those who feel that these High-Intensity Interval Training exercises are taxing his or her body too much. You can plug in your headphones and start doing more warmups and smaller reps of these high-intensity workouts, and then gradually increasing your way up.

Using a wireless Bluetooth headphone comes with a lot of positives like tuning out the distractions, offering high-quality music quality, keeping you focused, keeping you close to your favorite music, staying tuned for longer hours, and making you more appear more fashionable.

With the presence of externally mounted controls and HD audio drivers inside, the experience only becomes better!

Don’t give up on your fitness: Consult a virtual personal trainer today!

It is easy to give up after a few days when the results are not going your way and you feel tired as anything. This is the very same phase that you need to press on and keep on doing the basics right. You should stick to your daily routine, take a proper nutritious diet, and keep working on your fitness goal.

Let’s take an example. You may have opted for training in a gym after paying an upfront fee but after a few days, you stop going there. The worse is not that the money went to waste, the worse is that you decided to stay stuck at a place where you never wanted to belong to. This is a common scenario but we have a solution to it. You can still work just as well (or even better) through it.

We recommend that you go for personalized fitness sessions from a qualified on-demand personal trainer as per your budget and work with him online. Availing these virtual sessions would keep you more focused because you can even work at your place and with your friends. It would also help you get real-time qualified guidance from some of the world’s best HIIT experts as and when you want!

Even more important is the fact that you should not give up, no matter how difficult it may feel!