Table of Contents
- 1. Is HIIT a Cardio Exercise?
- 2. HIIT vs Cardio - What’s the Difference?
- 3. 30 Minutes HIIT Cardio Workout - Full Body
- 4. Lateral Lunge
- 5. Mountain Climbers
- 6. Glute Bridge (Single Leg)
- 7. Commando Push-Ups
- 8. Double Pulse Sumo Squat Jump
- 9. Overhead High Knee
- 10. Will 30 Minutes of HIIT Cardio 5-7x a Week Help or Hurt?
What comes to mind when you are asked to name one exercise technique that takes less time, more power, and has limited rest periods? You're right, it’s HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
1. Is HIIT a Cardio Exercise?
But how is HIIT different from traditional cardio exercise?
Actually, HIIT is a cardio-focused exercise. According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine,
“HIIT increases cardiovascular fitness by almost double”.
2. HIIT vs Cardio - What’s the Difference?
HIIT involves short but extremely high-intensity levels of anaerobic exercises that are interspersed with rest periods. During anaerobic activities, oxygen demand surpasses oxygen supply.
According to Jessica Mazzucco, a New York-based certified fitness trainer,
“To achieve HIIT intensity threshold you should be out of breath or unable to talk”.
On the other hand, cardiovascular exercise or steady-state cardio is aerobic exercise.
According to MedicineNet.com, “aerobic exercises promote oxygen circulation in the blood and increase breathing rate”.
Both methods of exercise increase calorie expenditure.
3. 30 Minutes HIIT Cardio Workout - Full Body
This cardio HIIT program is an entire-body workout program that trains your upper body, lower body, and core. It boosts muscular endurance and athletic performance.
As you perform this workout, your heart rate will elevate.
3.1. Start and End Workout Protocol
When writing a workout program, we always emphasize the importance of warming up first. It reaches a point where it becomes redundant. Unfortunately, some people still ignore the warm-up and start exercising without it. They don’t realize that their heart, lungs, and muscles suffer extra stress because of it.
Since it is a high-intensity cardio workout, get warm with a low-intensity cardio exercise, for example, in place jogging for 5 minutes.
After the warm-up, perform the exercises with little rest in between. End it with a 5-minute cool-down walk or dynamic stretching to bring your heart rate back to normal.
3.2. Equipment Required
You are your equipment as all the exercises utilize body weight.
4. Lateral Lunge
A lateral lunge or side lunge is a lunge variation that strengthens multiple groups of lower body muscles:
Here’s how to do a lateral lunge:
- With your knees slightly bent, place your feet hip-width apart.
- Position your shoulders just above your hips and hold your neck and head in a neutral position.
- Your chin should touch your chest throughout the lateral lunge.
- Your weight should be distributed between your feet. This would help to maintain balance.
- Push your chest outward, your spine neutral, hands on your hips, and inhale.
- Take a big step to the left side with your left foot. Keep this leg straight.
- Now bend the right knee, push your hips back and lower yourself into a squat. Your right knee should be just above your toes.
- Both of your feet should point forward.
- To lift yourself back up, push your right foot into the ground and use your glutes and quadriceps to support the upward movement.
- Bring your left foot to the original position. Alternate sides and repeat.
The lateral lunge may seem like a regular exercise; however, speed is the key here. Push past your limits to perform this movement as many times as you can within 30 seconds.
4.1. Benefits of Lateral Lunges
- Lateral lunges improve balance and hip flexibility.
- It increases leg strength. You may also observe less cellulite in your thighs.
- Lateral lunges decrease the workload of the spine. Unlike other exercises, your spine gets to relax during this movement.
- Increases calorie burn rate.
5. Mountain Climbers
The mountain climbers are a body-weight exercise that works your entire body. This HIIT movement targets different muscle groups:
- Lower Back
Here’s how to do a mountain climber:
- Position yourself into a high plank position. For a high plank, bend your knees and get into all-fours-position. Place your feet hip-width apart and flex your toes. Engage your core and then use your hands to support your weight. Straighten out your legs behind you so that your knees are above the ground.
- Once you are in a plank position, bring your right knee up to your chest then straighten it again.
- Now bend your left knee and bring it to your chest. To get back in the original position straighten out your leg.
Perform this exercise quickly, with maximum reps. Take deep breaths continuously as you do so.
5.1. Benefits of Mountain Climbers
- Mountain climbers activate major and minor muscle groups including triceps, hip flexors, deltoids, and calf muscles.
- It elevates heart rate, boosts cardiovascular health, and increases fat burn.
- A strong core helps maintain balance, stability, and posture. Mountain climbers are an excellent way to engage and strengthen the core.
6. Glute Bridge (Single Leg)
A single leg glute bridge is a complex variation of a standard glute bridge. It targets almost all muscle groups in the body:
- Gluteal muscles
- Hip flexors
- Lower back muscles
Here’s how to do a single leg glute bridge:
- Lie down on your back, your face up towards the ceiling. Your spine should be in a neutral position.
- Your arms should rest by your side
- With your left foot pressed firmly to the ground, bend your left knee so it points towards the ceiling.
- Lift your right leg upward and extend it forward.
- Squeeze your glute muscles to push your hips upward. Drive your left foot further into the ground to achieve full hip extension.
- Engage your core to keep your upper body on the ground.
- Lower your pelvis to return to its original position.
- Switch sides and repeat.
6.1. Benefits of Glute Bridge (Single Leg)
- It improves core control.
- It provides stability to the spine.
- It alleviates back and knees pain.
- It improves heart health, athletic performance, and endurance.
7. Commando Push-Ups
The commando movement and push-ups are the most effective strength training exercises; however, they can be a great cardio workout too. When combined they make for a challenging HIIT workout. The commando and push-ups engage the following muscles:
- Upper body
Here’s how to do commando push-ups:
- Place your forearms on the ground (preferably a yoga mat) and extend both your legs behind you. This is the commando position and your entire movement will begin from this position.
- Now do a push-up.
- Take deep breaths throughout this exercise. Lift your forearms, one at a time, and replace them with your hands. With your hands placed firmly against the ground push yourself up. Engage your core throughout the movement to maintain balance.
- Keep your spine neutral, slowly lower your upper body towards the ground by bending your elbows. Both of your arms should make a 90-degree angle.
- Straighten your elbows and push through your chest to get back in the push-up position.
- Replace your hands and place your forearms on the ground, one at a time to accomplish the commando position.
- Perform maximum no. of reps by alternating between commando and push-up movements.
7.1. Benefits of Commando Push-Ups
- It gets your heart rate up.
- It is a ruthless exercise that strengthens your upper body.
- It helps to melt belly fat.
8. Double Pulse Sumo Squat Jump
The double pulse sumo squat jump is a high-intensity cardio movement.
It engages the following muscles:
- Hip flexors
- Lower back
Here’s how to do a double pulse sumo squat jump:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your toes pointing outwards.
- Bend your knees, push your hips back, and with your upper body erect lower yourself. Make sure your thighs are in alignment with the floor.
- After that, raise your hips to do the second squat.
- Hold your squat. Then use your heels to thrust yourself upward.
- Land gently on your toes. Quickly, get into another squat.
- Keep repeating for 30 seconds.
8.1. Benefits of Double Pulse Sumo Squat Jump
- It enhances aerobic fitness.
- It specifically strengthens hip muscles and helps protect them from injury.
- It burns excess fat and is a great exercise to tone legs.
9. Overhead High Knee
It is a HIIT cardio exercise and will raise your heartbeat and breathing. The exercise actively targets lower body muscles.
- Hip Flexors
Here’s how to do overhead high knee.
- Stand tall with your spine erect. Engage your abdominals and relax your shoulders.
- Place your feet hip-to-shoulder-width apart.
- With your arms in line with your shoulders, extend them upwards and try to reach the ceiling.
- Take a deep breath and drive your right knee up towards your chest. Simultaneously, pull your arms down, your elbows should be at waist level.
- Put your right foot down as you reach overhead again.
- Alternate sides, bring your left knee up this time. Pull your arms down as you do so.
- Bring your left foot down and reach overhead. Repeat.
9.1. Benefits of Overhead High Knees
- It enhances muscular coordination and endurance. Improves cardiovascular health and burns more calories at a faster rate.
- It builds up abdominal and lower body muscles and prepares them to undertake more challenging activities.
10. Will 30 Minutes of HIIT Cardio 5-7x a Week Help or Hurt?
Doing a HIIT Cardio workout five to seven times a week is unsustainable. It will disrupt your metabolism and cause muscle strains. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced-level exercise enthusiast, performing this cardio workout twice or thrice a week is enough. Simply put, it will hurt if you go overboard!