Ask Kathryn: Your Exercise Questions Answered
I often get questions from clients that are too good not to share. This is one, about which exercises to choose for HIIT training.
From a client who incorporates HIIT into her program twice a week:
Are there certain moves that would be most beneficial during HIIT intervals? Could you provide suggestions to structure those sessions?
Kathryn: High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a powerful tool to drive improvements in conditioning and body composition.
HIIT involves doing highly intense intervals of hard work, unlike steady state cardio. To achieve work intervals intense enough to stimulate adaptation, you must choose exercises wisely.
If you need a primer on what HIIT is and who is a good candidate for it, check this out: HIIT Revisited.
Generally speaking, anything that gets your whole body moving works. Think big, compound, multi-joint movements like squat presses (very light weight), lunges or jumping jacks. Exercises like calf raises or biceps curls really don’t challenge you systemically, so for honest hard work, pick bigger movements.
The simplest options are movements that you can quickly and easily ramp up the intensity with. For example, running, sprinting, or biking.
If you don’t have cardio equipment or can’t go outside, there are other options.
You could pick 1-3 exercises and cycle through them. For example, during a bad weather bout pre-home gym, I did a session rotating between squats, lunges and pushups. I would do about 10 of each or until I got bored, and then move to the next exercise until I reached my time goal.
Want to add lunges in your session? Check out this How-To blog post about lunges and the lunge variations.
Don’t overthink it! This is just about getting your body moving! Try to keep movement steady for the hard but quick interval, but you can slow down when you need.
My client asked a great question, seeking more structure for her HIIT sessions. Of course, I can specify exactly what to do, but often I like to give you the option to pick your own movements. What feels fun and do-able will be different for everyone.
Pick a couple exercises, get warmed up, and put on some good music and go!