High energy total body workouts - how to feel fitter faster
HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training is a form of cardio-based workouts that focus on shorter bursts of concentrated activity, sprinkled with short breaks in between each set. The idea is to reach high heart rates in short bursts, whilst giving yourself an opportunity to rest. The work/rest ratio to aim for with HIIT training should be around 1:2, so about thirty seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by about a minute of stationary rest.
What are the benefits?
The very sudden and significant increase in heart rate and respiration causes your body to burn far more calories to keep up with the sudden change. The more you do HIIT training the greater your stamina will become, and so will the number of calories you burn. Even if you aren’t looking to lose weight, the improvements that this type of training will make to your stamina will benefit you hugely in other areas of training.
Additionally, the very concentrated nature of interval training means that much of the time we would usually take steadily working towards our goal is greatly reduced. This makes interval training a good option for those of you on a busy schedule who want to fit in some exercise into smaller windows, or for those looking for something a little more straightforward. This can also mean that fitting more sessions into your week is that little bit easier, making the process feel less complicated
Bamae has compiled some of the best options for HIIT training here, so you can get some ideas of the best possible workout for you. These exercises are best done in a circuit so you can get the full benefits from each, but if there’s a specific area you are looking to improve then you can always change out one less wanted choice for repeat activity.
Planning your routine
This is where you would add your own personal touch- there isn’t a rigid routine that must be followed, so it’s more about deciding for yourself what areas you want to focus on and building from there. If you are looking to improve your cardio, then choosing to sprint is a good choice. This may also affect how often you take part in HIIT, as beginner levels should try not to go too hard too soon and build up their strength.
As you increase your ability, you may want to increase the amount of time a week you train so you can keep developing your skills. If you can, try to keep your routines under an hour- high-intensity resistance training is brilliant for you, but persevering too long can cause injury and higher cortisol levels than we necessarily want. Keeping your routine short and sweet lets you get the best of both.
Below are some suggestions of ideal high-intensity exercises that cover multiple muscle groups. The order in which you choose to do these exercises is entirely up to you, but you should aim to work through them in a circuit followed by a rest. They don’t necessarily require any equipment and can be done at home, but for some of the examples below working on a comfortable surface or using a mat is recommended. You can click here to view Bamae’s studio yoga mat if you’re unsure where to start.
You really can’t go wrong with burpees. They cover a large number of areas of your body and don’t require any additional equipment. They’re a fantastic way to get your blood pumping whilst simultaneously working your legs, core, and heart.
Starting in a standing position, bring yourself down into a squatting position with your hands on the floor in front of you and your knees bent. Kick your feet back so you are in the pushup position, with your weight balanced on your hands and feet and your chest lowered to the floor. As fast as you can, jump up and return to the squat position.
Much of the movement here is focused on improving your stamina, but with the added bonus of working on your lower body and agility. This can be a very useful choice if you are looking to improve mobility and stamina, or just general strength training.
This exercise requires you to jog on the spot, but with additional focus on raising your knees up to about your hips height. It can be useful to put your hands at the necessary height, so you can track your movements as you work out.
Jump lunges are great for working on your lower body, but also challenge you to work on your balance too. This is great if you’re looking for a way to work on conditioning your body in specific ways.
Begin in the lunge position, with your knees bent at an angle. You will most likely feel some tension in your thigh muscles as you hold this position. Jump up high and switch your legs as you do so, aiming to return to the same position as when you began, only with your legs having alternated positions.
Squats work your core, lower body, and improve your posture all at once. A very good option for leg day.
Start with a standing position with your legs hip-width apart- try to keep your back as possible and your shoulders back. Begin to lower your hips and push your butt out as though you are sitting in a chair. Keep lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Steadily raise yourself back into the original stance, being sure to engage your thighs and core as you move.
If you want to mix it up a little, or are looking for another way to increase your cardio, then jump squats might be a good option for you. The initial steps are the same, but you would instead push up into a jump from the lowered position. Using your arms to increase upwards momentum can help you keep your rhythm going and exert greater force.
Fantastic for stamina and full-body conditioning, as well as being incredibly simple to do, this one is an easy choice.
To begin, start in the standing position. Take a small jump and move your legs past your hips, lifting your arms above your head at the same time before jumping again to return to the original position. Be sure to maintain a good form over speed, but try to be as consistent as you can for the best results.
Dumbbell squat with front raise
Another variation of squats, but with the addition of arm workouts too. This one requires a dumbbell in each hand, but if you don’t have access or are set on working from home then a weighted item in each hand might just do the trick- I’ve heard that a small backpack or 1L water bottles are an effective alternative because you can increase the weight if you want more of a challenge.
Great for targeting your abdominal and back muscles, and quite simple to do, this is a reliable choice for building up your core strength.
Lying on your back with your feet planted on the floor and knees bent, place your arms across your chest. Using your core muscles, bring your body up to meet your knees as if doing a sit-up. Good form is essential here to avoid long term damage- try not to strain your neck in the upwards move. Steadily and carefully lower yourself back into the starting position.
Mixing all the techniques into one full-body fitness package, this is a fantastic all-around option. Starting in the push-up position with your weight stacked on your hands and feet, engage your core as you continue to maintain this position. Rather than remaining in the same spot, begin to step from one side and back, using your arms to also move you. Be sure to keep your core engaged as you steadily move from right to left and back.
So an example of how your first set may look is:
Which exercises you choose and how many sets in each circuit depends on your own personal factors, such as focusing on specific areas more or deciding your training level. The final result is ultimately yours alone, so try to have fun creating something that works for you.