HIIT, or ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ as it’s also known, has been a popular topic of discussion amongst women and men of all shapes and sizes for the past few years. It wins time and time again against the usual lengthy cardio workouts thanks to its ability to encourage fat loss and improve strength. These are just some of the reasons why running machines are being ditched for weights, while stair workouts are replacing evening jogs. In simple terms, HIIT is all about getting the body to work at its highest level and its greatest intensity, bringing it up to 90 percent, and then taking it back to 50-60 percent for a resting phase before working up the intensity again. It comes from the principal of ‘overloading’ the body to push it to its maximum, thereby improving strength and fitness.
These five high-intensity moves can be put together to create a demanding and fat-burning workout, completed in less than 20 minutes – really, that’s all you’ll need! Perform each exercise for 40 seconds followed by a 20-second active rest. Repeat the circuit three times and feel the burn.
Plank Pike Jumps
Start in a strong and correct plank position with your core engaged and hands beneath your shoulders. Aim to keep your hips low whilst jumping in; it will challenge your core strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Once you have the upper-body strength to perform a full-length push-up, this is a great variation to challenge the body even more. It works a range of muscles including your chest, abdominals, shoulders, and arms. Start in the perfect plank position and bend your elbows as you would for a normal push-up. As the elbows bend, draw your knee to your shoulder and then back to the original position. Repeat the exercise with alternating legs until the time is up.
The aim of tuck jumps is to thrust yourself as high off the ground as you can, using the momentum from your arms and power from the lower body. It is only when you reach the highest point of the jump that the knees get drawn into the chest and then back down into the starting position. Repeat in a fluid motion.
Squats may be simple and well known, but this is with good reason! They are one of the most effective high-intensity exercises as they engage a number of large muscle groups and are also a functional exercise, meaning the movement is consistent with everyday life movements. Make sure your core is engaged throughout the exercise and your heels are used to drive off and back up into a standing position.
Step-ups can be performed in a number of ways; slow and controlled, raising a knee, weighted, or without weights. However, quick-feet step-ups are great for improving cardiovascular fitness, as well as increasing power and strength in the leg muscles. You can use almost any stable flat surface to perform the exercise and you can increase the intensity by increasing the height of the surface. It is important to make sure the movement is controlled, despite it being quick. Land softly back on the same foot that pushes off the ground so you don’t jar your ankle or knee.
Photographer Anna Shtraus Photo Editor Maya Itani Beauty Editor Frankie Rozwadowska