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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

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

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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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            Reference

            More by this author

            Amy Johnson

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

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            Last Updated on January 5, 2022

            7 Practical Stretching Tips to Enhance Your Next Workout

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            7 Practical Stretching Tips to Enhance Your Next Workout

            Stretching is one of the most essential aspects of a healthy fitness routine. It’s also one of the most overlooked. Instead of thinking of this activity as a separate entity, consider stretching as a continuation of your exercise routine. By making stretching tips a part of your workout, you won’t neglect the attention your muscles and joints require to perform effectively.

            Whether using stretching as a way to wake up, get your mind in the game, or recover from strenuous activity, your body will reap its short-term and long-term benefits. In the moment, stretching is a great way to warm up the body and prevent yourself from overextension and injury. In the long run, stretching daily can help loosen your tendons and muscles, and ultimately help you maintain a full range of motion later in life.

            Taking these ideas into consideration, follow these 7 simple tips for stretching to add stretches back into your workout vocabulary.

            1. Stretch and Stretch Often

            Ultimately, your body can benefit from stretching daily. Many of us experience a somewhat stationary lifestyle at work, so we naturally need to warm up our bodies after remaining immobile for long periods of time.

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            With only ten minutes of stretching, you can increase your strength, balance and flexibility. From working out to waking up in the morning, slow, easy movements can warm up the body. Just remember to be gentle; any jarring movements can cause injury and muscle tear.

            For the best results, hold each stretch for at least sixty seconds[1].

            2. Warm up Before a Workout

            Similar to establishing a daily stretching routine, warming up the body pre-workout is vital for having a successful session and one of the most important stretching tips. Just grabbing your foot to stretch your calf for a couple seconds could actually harm your body, so make sure you begin slowly and take your time.

            Attempting any exercise with “cold muscles” or without “waking up the body” will also hurt your body and cause muscle pulls and tendon tears. Try taking a short walk or elongating your stretches for optimal results.

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            3. Gauge Your Tension

            Stretching should never be painful. Monitor how your muscles feel as you stretch. Naturally, you should feel some mild tension, but don’t push yourself past the edge of discomfort.

            If you’re starting to experience sharp pain or sensations that gradually get more severe, you are doing something wrong. Try to focus on one area at a time so you are only pushing yourself so far. When you begin to feel comfortable stretching, deepen your stretch, but don’t over-exert yourself.

            4. Avoid Bouncing

            Stretching tips don’t often mention this, but bouncing can be one of the most detrimental things you can do to your body while stretching. When your body constantly shifts, your muscles can tighten, and you can increase the risk of pulling or tearing a tendon. Find your balance or focal point, and remain steady.

            When in doubt, try using a mirror to watch yourself stretch to improve your form. Don’t be afraid to consult your doctor or trainer for someone to monitor your posture and stance[2].

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            5. Just Breathe

            One of the main benefits of stretching is its ability to help the mind and body relax. Therefore, try to breathe normally and make sure you don’t hold your breath[3].

            As you deepen your stretch, make sure to inhale and exhale slowly. Any abrupt, fast breathing or lack of breathing can cause tension in your body and increase your risk of injury. Make sure you are comfortable so that your mind focuses on the task at hand.

            6. Vary Your Routine

            While stretching, don’t forget to work on opposing muscles and incorporate as many muscle groups as possible in your routine for a holistic workout. Also, one of the most important stretching tips I can offer is to change your routine often so you don’t get bored.

            Often, boredom can cause carelessness and a loss of focus, which, in turn, can cause injuries. Look to Yoga workouts[4] or Pilates classes, as they are great resources for finding new stretches.

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            7. Always Remember to Cool Down

            Stretching is also an excellent form of recovery to avoid muscle soreness. Don’t overlook this part of a workout, as it releases the tension in your body and increases blood flow to muscles that are warm and worked. Cooling down can prevent injury and decrease your heart rate after an intense workout. Do what you can to help your body quickly recover from your daily exercise routine.

            Final Thoughts

            Stretching tips are vital when participating in an active lifestyle. However, your body needs fuel to assist you through these daily routines. Therefore, don’t forget to eat the right foods and stay hydrated. Not only do you replenish your body with fluids and nutrients lost, but you can keep your muscles strong and ready for the next routine.

            If you struggle with stress and anxiety, stretching can help you move into a calmer headspace and find both mental and physical balance. Furthermore, stretching can help you and your body focus on something else, which will help you move past the stress.

            As you plan your next workout, incorporate time for pre and post-workout stretches to see how it improves your exercise experience.

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            More Stretching Tips

            Featured photo credit: Oksana Taran via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Harvard Health Publishing: The ideal stretching routine
            [2] Harvard Health Publishing: Six tips for safe stretches
            [3] Penn State: Balance, Breathing and Flexibility
            [4] Health: Best Yoga Poses for Your Trouble Spots

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