A Beginner’s Guide to Interval Trainingby Annie Jones on October 20, 2017
Have you ever felt like you’ve tried every exercise regimen, but you’re still not losing weight?
Have you lost weight but keep reverting to your previous weight because you stopped exercising?
Well, you’re not alone. Most people have this challenge, and one of the “excuses” is that there isn’t enough time in the day to fit in exercise.
If you’re one of those who wants to lose weight or improve your health, but don’t have a chance to hit the gym regularly, this training regimen is for you. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s effective.
Enter Interval Training
Interval training is alternating between short intervals at high intensity and longer periods of lower/moderate intensity. For example, you perform as many reps as you can in 10 seconds, and then cruise moderately for 50 seconds on an elliptical machine. That would be 1 round or 1 interval. Or you might run a 20-yard sprint and then walk or job 200 yards before repeating. You get the idea.
Sounds easy? Well done right, it is very tough, but the good news is that once you get used to it and you put 100% effort and concentration, you’ll be successful.
Benefits of Interval Training
Why do into interval training?
Here are 6 good reasons!
- The high intensity work challenges your body! Your body can adapt to the less strenuous activities very easily and it presents no real challenge (limits opportunities for improvement). You want adaptation though, so to force it, you must challenge your body!
- High-intensity interval training provides an “after burn” calorie burn effect. You still burn calories even when you have finished your workout session. You burn more fat during and after a workout.
- High-intensity interval training targets as many muscles as possible without putting a strain on one muscle group.
- It’s fast, fun, and effective! You can do these exercises in 15-30 minutes! No need to worry about going to the gym. You can perform the exercises in the comforts of your home.
- You lose fat and tone the muscles. High-intensity interval training boosts testosterone production and the human growth hormone responsible for lean muscles and fat loss.
- It contributes to cardiovascular health because you push yourself deep into the anaerobic and aerobic zones.
10 High-Intensity Interval Cardio Exercises for Beginners
As a beginner, here are some recommended cardio exercises that you can perform. Perform as many reps as you can for 30 seconds for each of the exercises below. Since there are 10 exercises, plus 30 seconds of rest in between each exercise, it should take you about 30 minutes per day. Perform these exercises 2 to 3 times a week and add more minutes per week. You can set your training schedule every other day.
Keep in mind that you have to focus on quality and not quantity when you are just starting out. Push yourself to the limits. In no time, you’ll get used to it and perform more reps as you progress.
Cardio exercises are great for endurance and increasing the heart rate. Short intervals of high-intensity bring you into an anaerobic phase to burn more calories. Here are some exercises you can perform:
Step 1: Start with a standing position with your back straight, feet together, and arms at your sides.
Step 2: As you jump, spread your legs as far as you can and raise your arms directly over your head.
Step 3: Exhale as you jump.
Jumping jacks target all muscle groups such as abs, arms, back, shoulders, legs, and glutes.
Step 1: Stand with your back straight and your legs at hip-width apart. Place your arms on your sides. Bend slightly at the knees to tighten your core.
Step 2: Perform a jump then land with your right foot crossed in front of your left foot. Your right arm should be raised over your head with the elbows slightly bent. Step 3: Repeat steps but this time cross the left foot in front of the right, and the left arm raised.
This modified version of jumping jacks works great in working the shoulders, thighs, glutes, and hamstrings.
Step 1: Start from a squat position and place your hands on the ground just outside your feet.
Step 2: Kick your feet back keeping your palms on the ground.
Step 3: Go back to the squat position then stand up and jump, raising your arms over your head.
Burpees target the arms, chest, abs, hamstrings, glutes, and quads.
Step 1: Start with a standing position.
Step 2: Jog in place until you achieve the right pace.
Step 3: For an advanced version, hold out your hands at hip level and aim to touch your knees with your hands. The knees should move towards the hands and not the other way around.
High knees are like jogging in place. The difference is that you lift your knees as high as you can but at a comfortable level.
High knees are perfect for runners who wish to develop their form and speed. This exercise also improves cardiovascular endurance and strengthens the hip flexors.
Step 1: Start with a push-up position.
Step 2: Hold this position as you lift your knee up so that your thigh touches your chest.
Step 3: Point your toes as you bring your leg up to touch your torso.
Step 4: Extend your leg back then repeat with the other leg.
This exercise targets the core muscles and stabilizes them.
Step 1: Stand up with the right foot at least two feet in front of the left foot with your knees slightly bent.
Step 2: Tighten your core and lean forward a bit.
Step 3: Raise your arms in front of you with your palms facing each other.
Step 4: Jump while switching your feet and your arms extended to your sides with the fists clenched.
Step 5: Squeeze your shoulder blades as you jump. You should land lightly now with the left foot in front.
This exercise helps improve cardiovascular endurance and targets all muscle groups.
A sprint looks like you’re running but with extra effort. The trick is to raise your knee as high as your chest and swing the opposite arm forward with the elbows bent. Keep your core tightened as you sprint. You can perform this exercise in a stationary position or open area.
Step 1: Stand with your back straight, and your core tightened with the heel of your right foot in front of your left foot.
Step 2: Raise your arms in front of you with the right arm crossed slightly above the left arm.
Step 3: Jump, then switch feet before you land. Your arm should also switch places with the opposite arm. Try to perform this exercise as quickly as you can for better gains.
Step 1: Start from a standing position with your legs apart wider than your shoulders.
Step 2: Lace your fingers and raise your arms over your head.
Step 3: Twist to the right and lift the heel of your left foot while your right foot remains planted on the ground.
Step 4: Lift your left knee towards the chest going to the right.
Step 5: Pull your arms down so that your right elbow barely touches your left knee.
Step 6: Go back to starting position then repeat with the opposite leg. Do as many reps as you can.
This exercise targets the abs, hip flexors, and thighs.
Step 1: Stand with your feet a shoulder-width apart and the toes pointing forward.
Step 2: Concentrate your body weight towards your heels as you inhale and bend your knees to a squat position. Your arms should wrap loosely around the shins.
Step 3: Tighten your core, exhale, and jump. Make a star shape as you jump, opening your arms and legs as wide as you can.
Step 4: Land softly and bend slightly at the hips, knees, and ankles.
This exercise combines the power of the squat and the jumping jacks.
The key to the success of your high-intensity interval training is dedication, 100% effort, and concentration. You won’t obtain your desired body weight and form if you are not diligent in going through the exercises. Remember, you can spend as less as 30 minutes a day and get the best benefits. Keep going and motivate yourself towards achieving a physically fit body!
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