In a perfect world, we'd all have a good hour of free time every day, specifically for working out.
Unfortunately, that's not the case—and some days, between making time for work, friends, and family, it's hard enough to just find time to take a breath, let alone crush a workout. That is, until high-intensity interval training (HIIT) gained popularity.
For the uninitiated, HIIT workouts are a quick, efficient way to sneak in exercise, but the benefits go way beyond simply fitting it into your schedule. “HIIT training can improve anaerobic capacity, cardiovascular health, and result in fat loss,” says Lacee Lazoff, NASM-certified personal trainer based in New York City and creator of Bells Up. “It’s effective when work’s performed in short intervals at maximum capacity, followed immediately by modesty intervals of very low capacity or rest.”
So what does an effective HIIT workout look like? Lazoff suggests that you follow a 30-second on, 90-second rest formula. During those 30 seconds on, you’re really working as hard as possible. “Think of it as a rate of perceived exertion of least a nine,” she adds. And because they take so little time, HIIT workouts are a super-effective addition to any training plan with time restrictions, says Lazoff.
Once you're ready to kick things up a notch (and I mean that literally), try this 20-minute HIIT workout, courtesy of Lazoff—just make sure you've queued up a killer playlist first; you'll want those beats to keep you motivated, but you won't have time to switch the track.
Do each move for 30 seconds, rest for 90 seconds before moving on to the next. Repeat the circuit once.
Start in a high plank position. Alternate running your knees into your chest as quickly as you can, keeping the hips lifted and feet flexed. Move as fast as possible. You should be out of breath by the end of the interval.
High Knees with Arms Overhead
Start in a standing position with feet hip-width distance apart, arms up overhead with hands facing in, with a slight bend in the elbows. Begin to run in place, bringing knees up your chest as high as possible while pumping your arms. Keep your chest lifted throughout movement and land on the ball of your foot. Repeat.
Start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with toes turned out. Lower into a squat position (your butt should be below your knees). Jump up and land as softly as possible. Repeat.
Start in a high plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists. Engage your core and jump both feet up and outside your hands so that you’re in a squat position. Jump back into plank. Repeat.
Stand on left leg with right leg behind you. Explosively hop to right leg, placing left foot behind it to soften landing. Alternate sides. Repeat.
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Read more: health.com