High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a lot like ripping off a Band-Aid: It takes some courage and may burn a little, but it's over before you know it and you walk away feeling satisfied and triumphant.
How is it possible to get an effective workout in mere minutes? By alternating between intense exercise intervals and short rest periods during HIIT, you spike your heart rate, get your muscles firing and actually burn calories faster than you would during steady-state cardio.
Even better, the right routine and an energetic trainer can make an already quick workout fly by even faster, and that's definitely the case when it comes to this 12-minute high-intensity circuit with Luke Milton, certified personal trainer and founder of Training Mate, a HIIT studio and online training program all about collaboration, positivity and encouragement.
"Get those party shoes on, guys, because it's going to be fun," Milton says. (Just be sure to party in jump-friendly footwear, as there are several plyometric exercises — think split lunges, burpees and pop squats — in your future.)
All you'll need for Milton's HIIT circuit is a mat and several feet of free space, making this the ideal at-home workout. So grab some water, get warmed up and press play.
Always prep your body for high-intensity work. Try foam rolling to increase blood flow to your muscles and a few rounds of dynamic exercises like cat-cow, glute bridge and clamshell. These will help prime your muscles.
For this workout, you'll be doing two rounds of six exercises for 45 seconds each. Between each high-intensity exercise, you'll rest for about 10 to 15 seconds.
To really reap the benefits of HIIT, you're going to have to push yourself. Stay as active as possible throughout the duration of the workout, moving between reps as quickly as you can, in order to shed calories and build strength simultaneously.
But also don't forget to listen to your body: Follow Milton's modifications as needed and hit pause to rest if you need to until you're ready to continue.
While many of the plyo movements in this routine are lower-body based, your upper body and core will love the spiderman push-ups and plank up-downs. Just make sure to keep your form on point.
Move 1: Split Lunge
Start with a standard lunge, stepping forward with your right or left leg. Jump into the air and quickly scissor your legs to land in a lunge on the opposite side, keeping your front knee directly over your ankle. As quickly as possible, rebound, jump back into the air and switch legs again, landing back in a lunge. Continue alternating legs.
Turn this into an alternating reverse lunge if you start to get too fatigued, Milton says.
Move 2: Spiderman Push-Up
Begin in a high plank position, hands directly under your shoulders. Lower into a push-up as you draw your right knee up to your right elbow. Press into your palms, straighten your elbows and bring your foot back to the starting position. For the next push-up, bring your left knee to your left elbow. Alternate knees with each rep.
Move 3: Burpee
From standing, drop down into a push-up, letting your midsection touch the ground. Hop your feet up to your palms and return to standing. Using your body's momentum, jump up into the air. As you land from your jump, drop right into the next push-up.
Move 4: Pop Squat
Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Sit your hips and glutes back and down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Press into your heels and jump up, landing with your feet together. Jump back into the air and land right into your next squat.
Make this move even harder by adding a pulse at the bottom of your squat, rising halfway up and dropping back down.
Move 5: Plank Up-Down
Start in a forearm plank. Place your right palm on the floor, followed by the left, pressing your body up into a high plank. Then, reverse the motion and come right back down into your forearm plank. Alternate between the two as quickly as possible. Drop to your knees if you need to modify, Milton says.
Move 6: High Knees
Begin running in place, bringing your knees up toward your chest as high as possible, alternating legs quickly. Swing your arms at your sides, using the momentum to help drive your knees higher. Scale it back to catch your breath by jogging in place, but return to high knees as quickly as possible.
Run through a few cool-down stretches after you finish. Even just three minutes of stretching post-workout can help reduce your risk of injury and ease any exercise-induced soreness, according to the American Council on Exercise.
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