HIIT for beginners: how to do it and everything you have to consider before starting

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HIIT allows you to achieve the same results as long-duration cardio, but instead of needing 45 minutes, 10 or 15 is enough. In addition, it has proven to be effective both with sedentary people and with active or trained people.

Therefore, we are going to see today what HIIT is and above all, how we can use it in our routine to get rid of that excess fat in a short time.

What is HIIT?

The initials HIIT come from High Intensity Interval Training. In other words, high intensity interval training.

Basically, we intersperse short time intervals in which we work at maximum intensity with slightly longer intervals of rest, active or not. An example might be something as simple as sprinting for 60 seconds at full speed and then resting for 90 seconds by walking or totally static. Doing this four, five, or as many times as we are capable of would be considered a HIIT workout.

It is very important, the part of maximum intensity. It is said maximum intensity because we have to do it to the maximum, we literally have to give everything since that is how this type of training works.

Due to this maximum intensity, it is very normal that we end up panting and practically out of breath. It is normal, we are working at maximum intensity and in fact that is the feeling we have to look for with this type of training.

These workouts last only 10 or 15 minutes at most and that is why you have to give your all and no one thinks that because they are short workouts it will be a piece of cake because it is not like that. Quite the opposite.

If you are starting, it is important to go little by little and start with reduced work times and little by little, as we progress, increase that work time and even, if we are able, reduce the rest time. Another good option would be to use the Gibala method which, by reducing the intensity, is valid for all audiences.

Examples of HIIT workouts

Within HIIT workouts we have several types. We can do the typical sprint intervals running, treadmill or cycling, but there are other options such as circuits with body weight, with kettlebells or, why not, tabata-type workouts.

As for bodyweight workouts, practically any combination of exercises in which we work for 30 seconds and rest for 10 will be effective and valid.

A very good example is the proven 7-minute workout. There are many applications out there , but this training basically consists of doing series of 30 seconds of work with 10 rest of the following exercises and thus we can work the whole body at the same time as accelerating our body:

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Isometric squat against the wall
  3. Flexion
  4. Abdominal crunch
  5. Step-up on chair
  6. Squat
  7. Chair Triceps Dips
  8. Abdominal plank
  9. Running on site
  10. Displants
  11. Flexion with rotation
  12. Side plank.

Another option would be to do a tabata-type workout. These workouts are super simple since we simply have to work for 20 seconds and rest for ten. Normally they last only four minutes so we are talking about a total of about eight exercises although it is possible to do two workouts in a row and thus double the time.

We can do these exercises with body weight or, why not, with a kettlebell or any tool that helps us add some intensity.

How to progress? How many times a week can we do HIIT?

At first, as is normal, these exercises will be suffocating and difficult to endure. But, like everything, little by little you will get used to it and you will need to add more difficulty to continue noticing its effects and results.

To progress in this type of training we usually have three options:

Add more intervals. The most obvious. If you normally do six work intervals with their respective breaks. As you improve, you can increase the number of intervals. You can’t go over either. Keep in mind that we are talking about very high intensity work. If you are doing 10-12 intervals it is likely that you are not working at your maximum and therefore, it would stop being HIIT.

More high intensity work. In this case, instead of adding one more interval, what we do is increase the time of the intensity period or add some difficulty. For example, we can sprint on hills or we can add a few extra seconds to that sprint. In the end both are valid. Reduce rest time. Another valid option. In this case, we cannot reduce the rest much either. If you, do it at the end, you will not be able to work at maximum intensity in the work period, so be careful not to reduce breaks a lot