Most of us struggle with finding the time to schedule in our workout, so when things get hectic, keep your sessions short and intense. You can actually tone your entire body in just eight minutes a day using a high-intensity circuit training, also known as HIIT training, which consists of several 30-second exercises performed in rapid succession.
HIIT workouts burn more calories than sustained aerobic exercises like jogging or swimming, with the added bonus of strength training from bodyweight movements. Another added benefit is that they can be done in as little as seven minutes, since the goal is to rest as little as possible between exercises.
There are many exercises you can include in a seven-minute HICT routine. Here’s a great workout you can get done in 8 minutes. The goal is to give it your all for each exercise, for 30 seconds, before moving on to the next one, with little to no rest, if possible. You should be completely fatigued by the end!
If you require a rest, by all means, take a short one, lasting 15 seconds and no longer than 30 seconds. Try to work your way up to no rest, if possible.
Push-ups are a great full body exercise that work the abdominals, triceps, pectorals, and deltoids. When you are doing push-ups, make sure to keep your back straight, and lower your chest to about one fist’s height above the floor with each repetition.
Jumping jacks help promote aerobic health and strengthen all your major muscle groups. To increase the speed of your jumping jacks, for the purpose of HIIT, stay on your toes during your jumps.
Planks are an excellent way to increase core strength. You can incorporate several varieties of planks into your workout, such as side planks, making sure to alternate to both sides. Make sure you spread out any additional plank exercises you do, switching to other exercises in between to increase the intensity and variation of the workout.
Dips are one of a select few exercises that manage to engage all three “head” muscles in your triceps all at once, plus, they don’t require any special equipment. With tricep dips, you’re able to employ your bodyweight, and you can change the intensity as you see fit. Dip lower and keep your knees straight, your feet far away from the bench for a real challenge; bend your knees and bring your feet in closer if you want to lighten the load.
Squats are considered to be one of the best ways to build and maintain total-body strength. Combine them with jumping, and you’ve got yourself a killer cardio move that builds strength from the ground up. When performing a squat, make sure to keep most of your weight on your heels. This will help you keep your back straight and maintain good balance.
Abdominal bicycle crunches can strengthen your core and provide a variety of other benefits. However, if you perform crunches incorrectly, you can seriously injure yourself, so be careful. When performing crunches, avoid pulling your head and keep your chin tucked in to protect your spine.
Lunges work your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. They can be performed with or without weights, but for the purpose of your HIIT, you will initially want to do them without weights. If you need more resistance, you can add extra weight in the form of dumbbells. Make sure you are lowering straight down, with your pelvis and shoulders straight forward, and go down until your knees are at 90 degree angles. Want an extra challenge? Do jumping lunges for added benefit.
Step ups work your leg muscles while also utilizing the core and back muscles. They can be modified in several ways, and are a great complement to your program. Make sure you alternate between stepping up with your left and right leg to stay balanced.
Bringing It All Together
This HIIT workout is just an idea to get you started, but you can incorporate virtually any exercise you like into the routine and tailor it to your specific needs and goals. There are several things to remember when designing your 8-minute workout. Make sure you are alternating muscle groups, so one group of muscles can rest while you work another. For example, after doing a 30-second step-up exercise, which works the lower body and leg muscles, switch to push-ups next, which focus on the core and arms. That way your legs can have a small reprieve, before you switch back to something which focuses more on your lower body again.
- Rest time between exercises should be less than 15 seconds, or as little as possible.
- You should not allow yourself to completely recover between exercises to maintain intensity.
- Maintaining proper form is essential, however, so make sure you pause long enough to properly transition into the next exercise. Proper form is always more important than speed.