How to Get Started with High Intensity Interval Training

A lot of wellness experts are fans of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), but what exactly is it? And how can HIIT benefit your wellbeing? Fitness expert Kenny Thapoung explains, ‘HIIT consists of short, intense bursts of exercise with either active recovery (like less intense exercise) or complete rest in between. Cardio workouts and strength routines both qualify — they can both get your heart pumping AND fire up your metabolism thanks to the phenomenon known as afterburn. You can get a super effective workout in 20 minutes or less—even in as few as 4 minutes if you do Tabata-style training (20 seconds hard, 10 seconds easy).’


So that’s HIIT, but how do you get started? There are many HIIT workouts out there, so it’s a good idea to look online for a routine or circuit that suits you. Before you get going with your HIIT routine, it’s also wise to run it past your doctor, just in case it doesn’t suit your individual wellness needs. If you’re struggling to find a HIIT routine that works, why not try this one from Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist Jen Ator, author of Shape-Up Shortcuts? Ator notes, ‘It’s a shortcut, fat-burning workout that actually works. It’s also one that leaves you with zero excuses.’ For this workout, you choose one of the interval patterns and then complete the exercises in order to burn calories, build muscle, and blast fat.


The Interval Patterns:

  • 30:30 Do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise. If you’re doing more than one round, rest for 60 seconds at the end.
  • 50:10 Complete as many reps as you can in 50 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Again, rest for 60 seconds at the end if you’re doing more than one round.


1. Marching Glute Bridge: Ator instructs, ‘Lie face-up with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees (a). Lift your right knee toward your chest (b). Hold for two seconds; lower and repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep.’


2. Inverted Shoulder Press: ‘Place your hands on the floor outside your shoulders and raise your hips so that your torso is nearly perpendicular to the floor,’ Ator advises. ‘(a). From that position, bend your elbows to lower your body until your head almost touches the floor (b). Pause, then push back to start. That’s one rep.’


3. Alternating Switch Lunge: Ator notes, ‘Step your right leg forward and bend both knees to lower into a lunge (a). Press through your right heel to return to standing, keeping your foot lifted, then immediately step your right foot back and lower into a lunge (b). Press through your left heel to return to standing. That’s one rep.’


4. Skater Hops: Ator details, ‘Stand on your left foot with your left knee slightly bent and your right foot slightly off the floor (a). Jump to the right and land on your right foot, bringing your left foot slightly off the floor (b). That’s one rep. Jump to the left and continue alternating as quickly as possible.’


5. Rotating T Extension: ‘Start in a push-up position,’ says Ator. ‘(a). Keeping your arms straight and your core engaged, shift your weight onto your left arm, rotate your torso to the right, and raise your right arm toward the ceiling so that your body forms a T (b). Hold for three seconds, then return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.’

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