Summer is the perfect time to make sure you’re in tip-top shape. If you’re a bodybuilder or weightlifter looking for a great way to push your fitness to the next level, look no further than high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It’s an excellent way to get in shape without spending all day at the gym.
HIIT involves alternating between short bursts of intense exercise and a short rest period. For example, running as fast as you can for 45 seconds, then recovering for a couple of minutes by walking or jogging lightly. That’s one round. You might repeat that process five or six times during a workout session.
High-intensity interval training is ideal for burning fat, building muscle, losing weight, and improving performance in less time than steady-state cardio while providing similar benefits.
In addition, you can do HIIT workouts anywhere — at home or the gym. Also, you don’t need fancy equipment either; a jump rope, dumbbell, kettlebell, or your weight is all you need to get started. And most importantly, you can apply this method to almost any exercise, including running, biking, swimming, and weightlifting.
Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training
While there are many different HIIT workouts, they all have health benefits: They improve aerobic capacity, reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. Here are excellent benefits you can get from adding high-intensity interval training into your fitness routine:
1. Burn More Calories in a Short Time
High-intensity interval training may be a better option than fasted or steady-state cardio if you want to build muscle and lose fat. This kind of workout burns calories in a shorter amount of time. In fact, one study showed that 30 minutes of High-Intensity Interval Training burned more calories than a steady-state exercise session.
Also, in one study, people performed either steady-state cardiovascular exercise or HIIT for 25 minutes, three times per week, for 15 weeks. The HIIT group lost more body fat and had greater improvements in their VO2 max, the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during intense exercise, compared to the steady-state group.
2. HIIT Increases Resting Metabolic Rate
Your resting metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn when not exercising. It makes up the bulk of your daily caloric needs. The more muscles you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate.
High-intensity interval training increases your resting metabolic rate. Studies show that resting metabolic rates increase for up to 24 hours after HIIT workouts.
HIIT also increases the metabolic rate during exercise by increasing the number and size of mitochondria in your cells. Mitochondria are responsible for producing energy in cells. The increased number and size of the mitochondria enable them to work more efficiently to produce energy over time, so you don’t get fatigued as quickly during exercise.
3. Build Muscle Mass
HIIT builds muscle mass in certain individuals such as obese and ice hockey players. However, muscle mass increases primarily in the muscles that are used most often, often those in the trunk and legs.
This workout method stimulates muscle growth by increasing the number of mitochondria — your cells’ energy factories — in your body.
These tiny mitochondria produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which powers your muscles during exercise. The more mitochondria your cells have, the more efficiently they can produce ATP. However, a HIIT workout is more likely to increase muscle mass in less active people like obese individuals.
4. Rapid Result
High intensity is the way to go if you want to see quick results with your workout routine as a bodybuilder. The fat loss benefits of HIIT are so great that you only need 20 minutes a day, three times per week, to see results as opposed to 60–90 minutes per day performing regular steady-state or fasted cardio. You can get in shape faster than ever before without spending hours in the gym every week.
A study found that obese individuals doing 20 minutes of HIIT per day lost 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of body fat in 12 weeks without any change in diet, while a control group only lost 1 pound (0.5 kg).
5. Improve Heart Health
High-intensity interval training is an excellent way to strengthen the heart and improve its overall health. It has been shown that high-intensity interval training reduces blood pressure and improves cholesterol, two key risk factors for heart disease.
HIIT is also effective as steady-state workouts for reducing blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and increasing the amount of oxygenated blood pumped throughout your body.
A study found that high-intensity intervals reduced blood pressure in young people more than steady-state exercise.
6. HIIT improves Aerobic and Anaerobic Fitness
Aerobic fitness is the ability to keep exercising at moderate intensity for a long time while anaerobic fitness is the ability to keep exercising at a high level of intensity for a short time.
HIIT combines high-intensity bursts with lower-intensity activity or rest periods that help you recover. This type of exercise is ideal because it helps build muscle mass, significantly boosting metabolism.
7. Burn Fat Quick
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an excellent way to burn fat in a short amount of time, especially belly fat. One study of obese teenage women found that HIIT helped reduce body fat, especially around the stomach, more than traditional aerobic exercise.
Research also shows that HIIT workouts can increase the amount of fat burned during exercise by as much as 25%. This is due to the “afterburn” effect, which causes your body to continue burning calories even after exercising.
High-Intensity Interval Training Circuits for Bodybuilding
A circuit is a series of HIIT exercises performed consecutively with minimal rest periods in between. It allows you to get the most out of your workout in the least amount of time. A typical HIIT circuit might involve performing exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and squats for 40 seconds each before resting for 20 seconds and repeating the entire process.
If you are a bodybuilder or a strength athlete, you can also incorporate weights such as resistance bands, sandbags, dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells. Sometimes weight training workouts might become challenging for you; therefore, incorporating HIIT circuits into your weight training workout routine may help you break through that plateau.
It is best to add HIIT circuits on your off days or at the end of each session during your chest and arms’ regular workout days. They work well in combination with weight training workout routines allowing you to train muscles without interfering with your weightlifting schedule.
HIIT workout has a variety of exercises you can use in the training circuit. Depending on your fitness goal and level, you can choose to work out with HIIT bodyweight exercises, added weight, or both. There are also strength training HIIT workout exercises.
Before beginning training, you should know that HIIT consists of a warm-up period, followed by high-intensity exercise separated by medium intensity exercise for recovery, and ending with a period of cool down.
The following workouts are primary high-intensity interval circuits that you can use as a guide for creating your HIIT program. Do the specified amount of repetitions for each exercise at the indicated intensity level. Remember to warm up before beginning your workout and stretch afterward.
Circuit 1: HIIT Bodyweight Workout Exercises
Mode Duration Rest Sets
Burpees 40sec 20 sec 3
Planks 40 sec 20 sec 3
Mountain Climbers 40 sec 20 sec 3
Jumping Jacks 40 sec 20 sec 5
Bodyweight squats 40 sec 20 sec 5
Push-ups 40 sec 20 sec 3
Circuit 2: Bodyweight Workout Moves
Start with 2 or 3 minutes of warming up, then do each set at a maximum effort, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat the whole circuit 3 times.
|Bench skips||30 sec||30sec||15 reps|
|Butt kicks||45 sec||30 sec||15 reps|
|Step-ups||30 sec||30sec||10 reps|
|Reverse Pull-ups||30 sec||30sec||10 reps|
|Jump lunges||40 sec||30 sec||10 reps|
|High Knees||30 sec||30 sec||15 reps|
Circuit 3: HIIT Exercises with Weight
|Goblet squats||40sec||30 sec||10 reps|
|Close-Grip Chest Press||30 sec||30sec||15 reps|
|Squat Hold||45 sec||30 sec||15 reps|
|Romanian Deadlift||45 sec||30 sec||15 reps|
|Kettlebell Swing||45 sec||30sec||15 reps|
|Cooldown Stretch||45 sec||15 sec||15 reps|
Circuit 4: HIIT Exercises with Weight
Before starting, make sure you have been doing weight training for at least a year and are familiar with the exercises. This type of training is not advisable for beginners. Also, be sure to warm up and cool down before and after each circuit.
|Close-Grip Chest Press with Crunch||45 sec||20 sec||1|
|Dumbbell Over-the-Shoulder Chops||30 sec||30sec||1|
|Overhead Press||30 sec||30sec||1|
|Wide-Grip Pull-Up||39 sec||30sec||1|
|Skull crusher||30 sec||30sec||1|
|Plunk pulls||30 sec||3 sec||1|
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are the most asked questions by people including bodybuilders, athletes, and weightlifters.
How long should a HIIT workout last?
Your HIIT workouts should generally last no longer than 30 minutes. Why? Because you want to be sure you’re exerting maximum effort into every interval, and letting the intensity drop for too long may cause you to lose steam.
HIIT workouts require you to go at maximum capacity during each interval; hence you must take adequate rest between sessions. The amount of rest you need between each session depends on your goals and fitness level, but generally, beginners will need slightly more time than advanced athletes.
How Can You Balance HIIT and Weight Training?
If you have more time in your schedule, consider doing HIIT and weight training in a single workout. For instance, you can do HIIT exercises like push-ups between cardio bursts or jog while waiting for your rest period after sprints or use dumbbells during your jumping jacks. Alternately, try combining HIIT and weights at the end of a long workout.
If you don’t have time for multiple activities per week, focus on balancing HIIT workouts and steady-state cardio. Do a longer HIIT workout one day, then a weight training session the next day.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight or want a little extra boost this summer, HIIT is a great way to go! Based on this information, you should tailor your HIIT routine to your fitness level.
Start slow, build up your work capacity, and then worry about pacing yourself after your body has developed more endurance and strength. Also, keep in mind that you may notice changes in your fitness level over time – it’s normal for that to happen. Just remember to pace yourself no matter what level you’re at, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, more enjoyable summer.