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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

HIIT: The Workout for Those Who Don’t Have Time to Exercise

HIIT: The Workout for Those Who Don’t Have Time to Exercise

“I want to exercise, I just don’t have enough time.”

How many times have these words come out of your mouth?

If you’re like most of us, you think that staying fit requires hours at the gym, long evenings spent jogging, and lots of fancy equipment.

That’s actually not true.

There are loads of new workouts which are designed specifically for people with very little free time – and HIIT workouts are some of the best.

What are HIIT workouts?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and is a type of workout that combines short bursts of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods.

It’s ideal for anyone who wants to stay fit without adding another chore to their already busy schedule.

Ready to learn everything you need to know about HIIT workouts, and how to get started?

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Then read on.

What does a HIIT workout involve?

Confused about what you actually do during a HIIT workout?

There are loads of different workouts, suitable for people at different fitness levels.

We’ve given one basic example below, to give you an idea of how HIIT looks in practice.

Beginner HIIT workout

Complete the following exercises for 45-second intervals, with a 15-second rest interval after each.

Repeat for three rounds, resting for one minute between rounds.

1. Pushups.

2. Squats.

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3. High knees running on the spot.

4. Side lunges.

5. Jumping jacks.

See how simple HIIT workouts can be?

You don’t need to learn any complex moves, or splash out on any expensive equipment.

What happens to your body during a HIIT workout?

Curious about exactly what’s going on in your body during high-intensity interval training?

During periods of intense exercise, your body needs more oxygen than usual. This leads to an oxygen shortage, which causes your body to ask for more oxygen during the recovery period. This process is named EPOC– excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It is the KEY to burn more fat than usual! This keeps your heart rate high and causes you to burn more calories than you would in a regular workout. [1]

What should you focus on during a HIIT workout?

To see maximum benefits from your HIIT workouts, it’s a good idea to define a goal beforehand.

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You might be looking to:

  • Burn fat and lose weight.
  • Increase your endurance.
  • Improve your performance in high-intensity activities.
  • Stay fit and healthy.

Pick a goal beforehand, and look for workouts tailored towards helping you achieve it.

Depending on your goal, you’ll vary the lengths of your work and rest intervals, the intensity of the exercises you choose, and the length of your overall workout.

What do HIIT workouts offer?

HIIT workouts aren’t just convenient – they also have loads of amazing benefits. Check out the list below.

1. Increase your endurance. If you take part in another sport, like running or cycling, there’s a good chance you’ll notice an increase in your endurance after completing HIIT workouts.

2. Keep burning calories after your workout. HIIT workouts send your body into overdrive, which means you keep burning calories even after you’ve stopped exercising. Bonus!

3. Good for your heart. Pushing yourself to exercise until your heart rate increases is good for heart health and promotes healthy circulation.

4. Boost your metabolism. Because HIIT uses more oxygen than regular workouts, it boosts your metabolism – ideal if you’re trying to lose weight.

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5. Easy to stick to. Short, simple workouts are much easier to stick to than complex training plans. It’s much easier to stay motivated when you can workout anywhere, and with HIIT, you can.

Wait…Is there any risk for HIIT workouts?

Like any workout, HIIT does carry some risks. It’s important to choose exercises you can carry out safely, and avoid pushing yourself too hard, too fast.

If in doubt, always ask a professional for advice before attempting a new workout.

Are you ready to try out your first HIIT workout?

One of the best things about HIIT is, you don’t need any equipment to do it and you can customise your moves based on your goals! You don’t necessarily need to stick with the same move because there are so many options for you to choose from.

You can pick your favourite moves that target what you want and switch to the others to keep yourself entertained! The most important thing is you give your full potential during the workout in order to achieve the best performance!

Here we offer you an infographic that shows you how basic HIIT workout can be formed! If you are interested in customising your workout, you can always check this article to help you get started!

So no more excuse to not exercise now! Start now and SWEAT ON!

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    Reference

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    Eloise Best

    Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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    15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

    15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

    Stretching is one of those aspects of fitness that many people conveniently forget about. Perhaps you’re one of those who consider stretching nothing but a mere chore meant for ballerinas and gymnasts. While they are great for both, static stretches can offer a boost to any workout routine for people of all fitness levels.

    Irrespective of your reasons for working out, be it for sports or personal fitness, one thing is certain: stretching can help you. Static stretches come with myriads of benefits, such as improvement in flexibility and reduction in muscle tightness, which ultimately allow you to go through your workout routines with greater efficiency.

    For the purpose of this article, we’ll zero in on several great static stretches and take a look at the benefits and when they should be done.

    Benefits of Static Stretches

    Static stretches come with tons of benefits that can help you make the most of your workout routine. Some of them include:

    Improved Flexibility

    If you want to perform better, flexibility is of tremendous importance, irrespective of the specific workouts you do. Luckily enough, static stretches are all you need to get all the flexibility you desire.

    Flexibility, also known as the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, has been shown by several studies to be improved by static stretching.[1]

    Although the specific mechanism through which this occurs is still unclear, static stretches have been shown to greatly increase muscle and joint flexibility[2] and tissue length[3], which work in tandem to make your workout more effective.

    Prevent Injuries

    If you’re looking to push yourself to your training limits without coming down with injuries, then stretching will do you a great service. Research has shown time and again that performing the right stretches pre- and post-workout greatly helps with injury prevention.[4]

    Think of it this way:

    When you stretch, you literally push your joints and muscle fibers to their limit. This increases the stretch tolerance in these muscles and joints over time, and the increased tolerance allows you to perform more rigorous exercises without negatively impacting your body or risking an injury.

    Increased Blood Flow to the Joints

    Another benefit of stretching is increased blood flow – and by extension, nutrient supply – to the joints and muscles of the target areas. This, in turn, improves the performance of these muscles and joints due to the availability of more nutrients, improved oxygenation, and removal of metabolites.

    For static stretching, though, the mechanism of action isn’t as straightforward. When stretching statically, blood flow (capillary oxygenation) temporarily reduces due to vascular compression.

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    However, immediately after releasing the stretch, the blood flow to these areas nearly doubles the pre-stretching levels.[5]

    Improvement in Recovery

    If you’ve been working out for some time, then you’ve probably discovered that a rigorous workout session can leave you battling sore muscles for days.

    Recovery essentially means getting rid of this soreness and returning your muscle fibers back to their tip-top condition.

    Research has shown that practicing static stretches after your workout session helps to reduce muscle soreness. And while some may argue that this effect is minimal, the fact still remains that stretching does help shorten your recovery time.

    Stretching allows tissues to be better hydrated after the induced tension is released, and this encourages reduced inflammation and faster repair of such tissues.

    Other reasons why you really should incorporate stretching into your workout include:

    • Improved relaxation
    • Increased movement efficiency
    • Reduction in the risk of lower back pain
    • Reduction in muscle tension
    • Improvement in neuromuscular coordination
    • Improvement in balance and postural awareness
    • Relief from cramping

    15 Static Stretches to Enhance Your Workouts

    Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level.

    1. Neck Stretch

      While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head, and place the other arm out to your side. Slowly pull your head towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing, and repeat for the opposite side.

      Many people tend to hold stress and tension in their neck and shoulders. If you find this is the case, this is one of the best static stretches to use for a muscle release in this area.

      2. Chest Stretch

        Stand upright, with your fingers interlocked behind your back, near your buttocks. While keeping your shoulder blades together and your back straight, push your arms up behind you until you feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

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        3. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

        Shoulder Cross-Arm Stretch « CASS FITNESS

          Stand upright or sit up tall on a chair or mat, and extend one arm out in front to shoulder height. Grab the extended arm with your other arm, and pull it towards your chest while keeping the extended arm straight. Continue the pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

          4. Triceps Static Stretch

            Lift your arms overhead, with both arms slightly behind your head and bent at the elbow. Use your right hand to pull your left elbow until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

            Many know this stretch from gym class, but it really is one of the best static stretches for the arms.

            5. Biceps Stretch

            Arm Exercises | Seated Bent-Knee Biceps Stretch

              Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With your fingers pointing away from your body, place your two palms flat on the floor behind you. While your hands are steadily in place, slowly slide your butt downward toward your feet until you can feel the stretch in your biceps, shoulders, and chest. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

              6. Wrist Stretch

              11 Best Tennis Elbow Exercises For Pain Free Mobility [PDF]

                While standing up straight or sitting tall, extend your right arm forward to shoulder height with your fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Grab your right fingers with your left hand, and pull your right hand to bend the wrist until you can feel the stretch. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite arm.

                7. Side Stretch

                  Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Take your right arm and reach over your head towards your left side while bending your side. Keep bending your side slowly until you can feel a stretch on your right side. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite side.

                  The muscles down your side body are notoriously difficult to stretch out. This is one of the best static stretches to try on a consistent basis to get them loosened up.

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                  8. Abdominal Static Stretch

                    Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor as though you’re about to do a push up. While keeping your pelvis firmly on the floor, gently push your upper body up from the ground. This should make your feel some stretch in your abs. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                    9. Reclined Spinal Twist

                    Supta Matsyendrasana - Supine Spinal Twist - Yogaasan
                      Lie down, with your arms extended to the sides and placed on the floor. While keeping the right leg straight, pull up your left knee towards your chest, tilt it toward your right side, and then drop it slowly over your extended right leg.

                      Keep your shoulder blades flat on the ground, and you should feel the stretch around your back. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                      10. Knees to Chest

                      Knee-to-chest exercise from Physical Therapists' Advice to Manage Pain at Home - The Active Times

                        Lie on the ground facing the ceiling, with your knees bent. Hold your shins, and pull your knees toward your chest. This should make you feel some stretch in your lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing. If you’re looking to loosen up your back muscles, this is one of the static stretches you can do daily.

                        11. Hip Flexor Static Stretch

                        How to Do the Standing Lunge Stretch

                          Stand upright in a standard lunge position, and place your two hands on your hips. Step out on your right foot into mini-lunge position, without your knee going beyond your right toe. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left side.

                          12. Figure 4 Stretch

                          How to Do a Figure 4 Stretch | Openfit

                            Sit tall on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor. Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, while your left knee remains bent. Pull both legs inwards toward your abdomen for a deep stretch of your glutes. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.

                            13. Standing Quad Stretch

                              Stand tall while maintaining a straight posture. With your left hand, grab a pole, wall, or anything durable for balance. With your right hand, grab your right foot and pull up your heels until they touch your buttocks.

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                              Keep your knees close together while doing this, push your hip forward, and you should feel the stretch in your quadriceps. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other side. This is one of the best static stretches for the quads.

                              14. Hamstring Stretch

                                Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight in front of you and your left leg bent. Reach forward with your right hand, and touch your right toes. This should cause a stretch in your right hamstring.

                                Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the left leg. If you’re unable to reach your toes, try holding your shin instead, but seek to go further every time you perform the stretch until you can touch your toes.

                                15. Calf Stretch

                                  Sit on the ground and extend your right foot straight in front of you. Gently pull your right toes backwards with your right hand. This should cause a noticeable stretch in your calf.

                                  Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg, if you’re unable to reach your toes, use a rope or towel to pull your toes inward.

                                  Bonus: Stretch With a Resistance Band

                                  Resistance bands offer a unique benefit from free weights and create tension throughout your movement. Get the free 30 Day Resistance Band Full Workout Challenge, and challenge yourself to stretch with a resistance band.

                                  When Should You Do Static Stretches?

                                  Static stretching is great when done correctly and at the right time. Over the years, research has shown that static stretching produces best results when done after working out or on rest days,[6] but not as a part of warm up routines before an explosive workout session.

                                  This is because static stretches have a cool-down effect on each muscle group and are more effective when done after the muscles are already warm.

                                  That doesn’t mean you must never ever perform static stretches before working out, but do it sparingly. Dynamic stretches, which involve more movement, are generally recommended for warming up as it helps the body prepare better for the work ahead.

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  Carving out the body of your dreams isn’t only about lifting weights and running. You need to keep your body “elastic” if you’re going to make the most of your training, and that’s the whole point of static stretches.

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                                  Starting today, be sure to incorporate these static stretching exercises into your routine, and in no time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and performing better than ever before.

                                  More Tips on Stretching

                                  Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

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