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What Is HIIT Fitness? – 7 Easy HIIT Exercises For Beginners

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What Is HIIT Fitness and What Are the Best Exercises To Try?  HIIT fitness, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a workout approach that has gained tremendous popularity for its ability to deliver quick and effective results. 

By incorporating short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods, HIIT maximizes calorie burn, boosts cardiovascular fitness, and enhances endurance. 

In today’s post, we will be looking at 7 different exercises to try that are perfect for a simple beginner’s HIIT workout, ensuring you get the most out of your training sessions.  

For anyone new to this concept we hope this information can be helpful.  

If you are someone with a keen interest in Exercise and Fitness these are some ideas that we hope can help introduce you to HIIT in the right way.  At first, HIIT can be quite physically demanding but with the right guidance, there is no reason this should be difficult for beginners to learn these routines.  

HIIT can be quite easy to learn for those interested and we hope this is something this article can easily demonstrate.

So! – with this in mind let’s get started…

What Is HIIT Fitness and What Are the 7 Best HIIT Exercises For Beginners?


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Photo by ‘Jonathan Borba’ on Unsplash.com

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has gained significant popularity in the fitness world due to its time-efficient and effective nature. This workout method involves short bursts of intense exercises followed by brief recovery periods. 

HIIT workouts are known for their ability to maximize calorie burn, boost cardiovascular fitness, and improve overall endurance.  In this article, we will explore what HIIT fitness is and highlight 11 Easy HIIT exercises for beginners to try for an exhilarating and results-driven workout. 

By the end of this post, we hope everything here is a lot more clear.  

So let’s get to it…

#1 Burpees For HIIT Fitness


Burpees are often considered the ultimate full-body exercise due to their ability to target multiple muscle groups and elevate the heart rate.  They are a compound movement that combines a squat, plank, push-up, and jump, making them a highly effective exercise for building strength and burning calories.

To perform a burpee; 

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Lower down into a squat position, then place your hands on the ground in front of you.  
  3. Kick your feet back into a plank position, keeping your core engaged and your body in a straight line. 
  4. Perform a push-up by lowering your chest toward the ground, 

Then push back up to the plank position.

  • From the plank position, jump your feet back up towards your hands. 
  • Explode into a jump, reaching your arms overhead. 
  • Land softly back into the squat position and repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

Burpees target multiple muscle groups, including the legs, glutes, core, chest, shoulders, and arms.  They also elevate the heart rate, making them a sound and effective cardiovascular exercise. 

Note:  Due to their high intensity, burpees can burn a significant amount of calories in a short amount of time.

#2 – Mountain Climbers


Mountain Climbers are a core-strengthening exercise that also targets the shoulders and legs. These are dynamic sets of movements that mimic the motion of running, making them a great option for improving cardiovascular fitness.

To perform mountain climbers; 

  • Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. 
  • Engage your core and bring one knee toward your chest 
  • Then quickly switch legs, alternating back and forth as if you were running in place. 
  • Keep your upper body stable and your hips level throughout the movement.

Mountain climbers target the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.  They also engage the shoulders, chest, and arms as they stabilize the body in the plank position. 

The legs are also activated as they drive the knees toward the chest.

Proper form is important when performing mountain climbers to ensure maximum effectiveness and prevent injury.  Keep your core engaged and your hips level throughout the movement. 

Avoid lifting your hips too high or sagging them too low, as this can put a strain on the lower back. 

Also, Focus on maintaining a steady pace and breathing rhythm throughout the exercise.

#3 – Jump Squats: 


Jump Squats are a lower-body power exercise that targets the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. They are a dynamic movement that combines a squat with an explosive jump, making them a highly effective exercise for building lower-body strength and power.

To perform squat jumps;

  1. Start in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight in your heels.
  2. Lower down into a squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back,
  3. Keeping your chest lifted and your core engaged.
  4. From the squat position, explode up into a jump, reaching your arms overhead.
  5. Land softly back into the squat position and repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

Jump Squats target the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. They also engage the core muscles as they stabilize the body during the movement.  The arms can also be incorporated by swinging them down toward the ground during the squat and up toward the ceiling during the jump.

Proper form is important when performing squat jumps to ensure maximum effectiveness and prevent injury.  

  • Keep your chest lifted and your core engaged throughout the movement.  
  • Avoid letting your knees collapse inward or extending them past your toes, as this can put a strain on the joints.
  • Focus on landing softly and quietly to reduce the impact on the joints.

#4 -High Knees: 


High Knees are a great way to boost your heart rate and target the legs and core. This is a dynamic exercise routine that mimics the motion of running, making this a great option for improving cardiovascular fitness.

To perform high knees,

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Lift one knee up towards your chest while hopping on the opposite foot, then quickly switch legs, alternating back and forth as if you were running in place. 
  3. Keep your core engaged and your upper body stable throughout the movement.

High knees target the leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.  They also engage the core muscles as they stabilize the body and support movement. 

The arms can also be incorporated by pumping them in rhythm with the legs, further increasing the cardiovascular intensity.

High knees can be modified for different fitness levels. 

For beginners or those with joint issues, low-impact high knees can be performed by marching in place while lifting the knees towards the chest. This reduces the impact on the joints while still providing a cardiovascular workout.

#5 – Plank Jacks: 


Plank Jacks are a total-body toning move that targets the core, shoulders, and legs. This is a dynamic exercise that combines the stability of a plank with the cardiovascular intensity of a jumping jack.

To perform plank jacks; 

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. 
  2. Engage your core and jump your feet out to the sides while keeping your upper body stable. 
  3. Jump your feet back together and repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

Plank jacks target the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.  They also engage the shoulders, chest, and arms as they stabilize the body in the plank position. 

The legs are also activated as they jump out to the sides.

Proper form is important when performing plank jacks to ensure maximum effectiveness and prevent injury. 

  • Keep your core engaged and your hips level throughout the movement. 
  • Avoid lifting your hips too high or sagging them too low, as this can put a strain on the lower back. 
  • Focus on maintaining a steady pace and breathing rhythm throughout the exercise.

#6 – Jumping Jacks (Star Jumps) 



Jumping Jacks
are a classic cardio move that has been used for decades to get the heart rate up and burn calories.  They are a simple yet effective exercise that can be done anywhere and require no equipment.

To perform jumping jacks;

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet together and your arms by your sides.  
  2. Jump your feet out to the sides while simultaneously raising your arms overhead. 
  3. Jump your feet back together and lower your arms back down to your sides. 
  4. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

Jumping jacks target the legs, glutes, and cardiovascular system.  They are a high-impact exercise, meaning they involve both feet leaving the ground at the same time. 

This makes them a great option for increasing the heart rate and improving cardiovascular fitness.

Jumping jacks can be modified for different fitness levels.  For beginners or those with joint issues, low-impact jumping jacks can be performed by stepping one foot out to the side at a time instead of jumping.  This reduces the impact on the joints while still providing a cardiovascular workout.

#7 – Tabata Training: A Popular HIIT Workout


Tabata Training is a popular HIIT workout protocol that involves 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for a total of 4 minutes.  This type of training was developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team of researchers in the 1990s.

The Tabata protocol can be applied to any exercise, such as burpees, jumping jacks, or mountain climbers. 

The key is to perform the exercise at maximum intensity during the 20-second work intervals, then rest for 10 seconds before repeating.  This cycle is repeated for a total of 8 rounds, resulting in a 4-minute workout.

Tabata training is known for its ability to maximize calorie burn and improve cardiovascular fitness in a short amount of time. The high-intensity intervals push the body to its limits, elevating the heart rate and metabolism. 

The short rest periods allow for partial recovery before the next round, keeping the intensity high throughout the workout.

Tabata training can be incorporated into a HIIT workout by choosing 4 different exercises and performing each one for 4 minutes using the Tabata protocol.  The end result is a total workout time of 16 minutes. 

*Now these are the 7 Easy HIIT Exercises For Beginners I wanted to share but before I go just a few more things I would like to go over.  I shall continue here…

Understanding the Benefits of HIIT Training:


One of the main benefits of HIIT training is its ability to increase calorie burn.  The intense bursts of activity during HIIT workouts elevate the heart rate and metabolism, leading to a higher calorie expenditure both during and after the workout.

This is known as the afterburn effect, where the body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate even after the workout is over.  Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of HIIT in improving cardiovascular health. 

A study published in the Journal of Obesity found that HIIT was more effective than steady-state cardio for reducing body fat and improving insulin sensitivity in overweight individuals.  

Another study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that HIIT improved cardiovascular fitness and increased oxygen consumption more than traditional endurance training.

The time efficiency of HIIT is another major benefit.  Traditional cardio workouts can be time-consuming, often requiring 30 minutes or more to achieve the same calorie burn as a shorter HIIT workout. 

With HIIT, you can get a highly effective workout in as little as 20 minutes.  

This makes it a great option for those with busy schedules or anyone looking to maximize their workout time.

The Science Behind HIIT Fitness


The physiological mechanisms behind HIIT are what make it so effective.  During high-intensity intervals, the body relies on anaerobic metabolism, which uses stored energy sources like glycogen for fuel. 

This leads to an increase in lactate production and a buildup of hydrogen ions in the muscles, causing fatigue.

After the high-intensity intervals, the body enters a recovery phase where it replenishes its energy stores and clears out the lactate and hydrogen ions.  This process requires oxygen, leading to increased oxygen consumption post-workout. 

This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and is responsible for the afterburn effect, where the body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate even after the workout is over.

The increased oxygen consumption during HIIT also leads to improvements in cardiovascular fitness.  The heart and lungs have to work harder to deliver oxygen to the muscles during intense exercise, which strengthens these organs over time. 

This can lead to improved endurance and overall cardiovascular health.

How HIIT Differs from Other Forms of Exercise:


HIIT differs from steady-state cardio in that it involves short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise.  Steady-state cardio, on the other hand, involves maintaining a consistent intensity for a longer duration.

While both forms of exercise can improve cardiovascular fitness, HIIT has been shown to be more effective for burning calories and improving insulin sensitivity.  HIIT also differs from weightlifting in that it focuses more on cardiovascular fitness and calorie burn rather than muscle building.  

Whilst weightlifting can increase muscle mass and strength, it may not provide the same cardiovascular benefits as HIIT. 

However, incorporating both HIIT and weightlifting into a fitness routine can provide a well-rounded approach to overall fitness.   Something that will be very important for any beginners looking to try out HIIT. 

In Conclusion


HIIT fitness has gained popularity in recent years due to its effectiveness and time efficiency.  It involves short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise.  HIIT offers numerous benefits, including increased calorie burn, improved cardiovascular health, and time efficiency.

The science behind HIIT involves physiological mechanisms such as the afterburn effect and increased oxygen consumption. These mechanisms contribute to the calorie burn and cardiovascular improvements seen with ongoing practice.

Incorporating HIIT fitness into your workout routine can bring numerous benefits, including increased calorie burn, improved cardiovascular fitness, and enhanced endurance.  The 7 exercises mentioned above including – burpees, mountain climbers, jump squats, high knees, and plank jacks—provide an excellent foundation for a challenging HIIT workout. 

Remember to warm up before attempting any high-intensity exercises and modify them to suit your fitness level. 

With dedication and consistency, you can achieve remarkable results through HIIT training and enjoy a fitter, stronger, and healthier lifestyle.  These are all ideas to help make this happen and I hope they can be what makes all the difference.

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