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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

Beginners’ Guide To HIIT: How To Choose The Best Moves For Your HIIT Workout

Beginners’ Guide To HIIT: How To Choose The Best Moves For Your HIIT Workout

If you want to burn calories and fat, you may benefit from a HIIT routine. HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is one of the most popular form of exercise in the fitness world right now, and it appears that it is a more effective way to burn calories than simply cardio.

However if you want to build your own HIIT routine it is important to understand the concept behind HIIT, as well as how it can benefit you personally. This is the first step to creating your HIIT routine.

The Concept Of HIIT

So what is HIIT? HIIT is a cardio training style where you will work out intensely for a short period of time before taking a break. One of the most popular methods is repeating a series of exercises for 30 seconds before taking a quick break to breathe and let your body recover. Another popular method is doing a few different exercises for a minute before taking a short break, but this is very intense!

The breaks allow you to put a high level of energy into the quick 30 second work outs, which could be why this is a more effective fat burner than normal cardio. If you want to try a HIIT routine it is important to remember that you must put all of your energy into the brief workouts, as this will raise your heart rate and burn calories.

The Length Of A HIIT Workout

Most people plan HIIT workouts that are 15 minutes or 30 minutes long. This is because it is an intense form of working out, so exercising for too long may leave you feeling weak and drained. It is also more effective to work out for a shorter period of time as you will put more energy into your workout.

If you only want to work out one area, such as your arms, a 15 minute HIIT routine can be created to target that one area. If you want a full body workout it is best to work out for 30 minutes so that you can dedicate time to each part of your body.

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HIIT Intervals

Intervals are an essential part of your HIIT routine. A 1996 study by scientist Izumi Tabata found that one of the most effective options is a 20 minute on, 10 minute off routine, as this boosted conditioning in professional athletes.[1]

However if you are doing more intense moves you will need more frequent breaks. A shorter option is six 30 second workouts followed by a 4 minute rest period.[2] These breaks are essentials as they raise your heart rate, blood and muscle lactate.

Choosing Moves That Work For You

There are a variety of different moves that you can choose to use. These moves will work out different parts of your body, and it is best to combine a range of lower body, upper body, core and cardio moves so that you are following a complete HIIT workout.

Here are some exercises that you could include in your work out.

Upper Body Exercises

The Up And Down Plank

This is a great variation on the classic plank that uses your body weight to help build muscle. It can be difficult holding this move for a long time, but you should aim to hold the position for at least 30 seconds. If you are struggling to hold the position keep your knees on the ground.

Find out how to do an up and down plank here.

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The Push up

The push up is a classic work out move that is a great way to burn fat as you build muscle.

Find out how to do a push up here.

Core Exercise

The Bicycle Crunch

A bicycle crunch is a modified crunch that strengthens your obliques and abs.

Find out how to do a bicycle crunch here.

Lower Body Exercise

Jump Squats

Jump squats are very difficult to do, but they are a great way to burn fat and build muscle. Aim for 30 seconds of jump squats!

Find out how to do a jump squat here.

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Total Body Exercises

Burpees

A burpee is a plyometric move that will raise your heart rate to burn calories. The exercise has three parts to it; you lower your hands to the ground, you jump your legs back into a plank, you do a push up and then you go back to standing position.

Find out how to do a burpee here.

Useful Infographics To Help You Build Your Own HIIT Workout

Here are five handy infographics that include more information about HIIT routines so that you can create the perfect personalized HIIT workout.

1. The Divas Run For Bling HIIT Workout

    2. The Flora Foodie HIIT Workout

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      3. The Fitfluential HIIT Workout

        4. The Bree HIIT Workout

          5. The Daily Burn HIIT Workout

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            Amy Johnson

            Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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            Last Updated on April 19, 2021

            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.

                                          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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