Working on getting fit? You may want to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT), exercise that alternates bursts of heart-pounding activity with periods of rest. A growing body of research suggests that HIIT can be as great as moderate-intensity, continuous exercise for improving body composition (aka burning fat and increasing muscle) and insulin sensitivity (your body’s ability to use blood sugar) and lowering blood pressure.
Perhaps best of all, HIIT workouts are “short, sweet, and efficient,” says Minnesota-based Rally Health Coach Mara Ruttger, NASM-CPT. The key to doing them right is pushing yourself hard, but not so hard you flame out too soon. “You want to hit a seven out of 10,” Ruttger says, “if 10 is your max effort.”
Interested in giving HIIT a whirl? If you’re new to exercise or haven’t done high-intensity activity before, get the go-ahead from your doctor before you try it. Once you’ve gotten her thumbs up, check out the moves below, which “target all of the major muscle groups,” Ruttger says, and can be done as a simple circuit for a fast, effective HIIT workout. For each exercise, complete as many reps as you can in 30 seconds; follow with 30 seconds of rest. If that’s too tough, don’t worry — just adjust your work and rest periods as needed. It’s fine to do the hard work interval for 20 seconds, or even 10, and then rest.
Do each move twice before proceeding to the next. Complete the circuit twice for a 12-minute sweat session that strengthens muscles from head to toe.
Squat With Crossover Crunch