8 Killer HIIT Workouts You Can Do in Under 15 Minutes
Summer is just around the corner. For those of us that want to look good in our bathing suits, that means shedding those unwanted pounds that have been hanging onto our waists for the past 9 weeks; the sad result of that entire pumpkin pie you ate on Christmas.
Our diets are now in check, but to help us reach our goals we realize we must do THAT one thing… one thing we have avoided for weeks (and by weeks I mean 8 months). I’m talking about the only thing we hate more than staff meetings, more than eating vegetables, and more than doing laundry every 3 weeks. That’s right I’m talking about CARDIO.
Now cardio has always held a negative connotation. For years, bodybuilders would rather do more important things like play Trivia Crack or flex in the mirror.
Cardio does not have to be time intensive. If it takes longer than 15 minutes you’re either:
- Doing it wrong, or
- Enjoying cardio (which we know is NOT true for 99.9% of the population)
We see it all the time. People at the gym constantly doing “cardio”, which for them means riding the elliptical at speed 2 for an hour while watching the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. The truth of the matter is that not only is this form of cardio more or less a waste of time, it also is far less effective than HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
I won’t get into the science behind HIIT cardio. Just know that it burns fat, not muscle. HIIT is effective for up to 24 hours after completion, increases your metabolism and, most importantly, takes less time. HIIT cardio (more or less) involves increasing your heart rate to an optimal level, letting it decrease, then increasing it once again. Keep in mind that most any form of cardio can be altered into a “HIIT” variation.
8 “Fifteen Minute” HIIT Workouts
The following are just some of the potential methods of doing HIIT cardio in 15 minutes or less. For each of the following I would recommend starting HIIT twice a week for 15 minutes and increasing either the time or frequency depending upon current weight loss. Also, for your convenience and enjoyment I have included a song that represents each individual exercise.
“I ran” – A Flock of Seagulls (Sprints for 10 rounds)
Go to some type of flat surface (or a hill if you are really intense) and sprint as fast as you can from designated starting spot point A (lets say 100 meters for instance) to ending spot point B approximately 10-15 seconds. Then turn around and walk at a normal pace back to your starting position.
By this point your heart rate should drop back down to nearly it’s starting level. Repeat this a total of 10 times.
“Jump” – Kris Kross (Jump Rope 10 sets of 100)
If you do not own a jump rope you can head over to Amazon and purchase one for under $10.
Go to a designated spot outside (preferably away from oncoming traffic) and begin jumping at a steady but quick pace for a set of 100 repetitions. By this point your heart rate should reach an optimal level.
Take a break for 30 to 60 seconds depending on overall fatigue. Once you feel your heart rate has decreased ALMOST back to its original pace, repeat again for 10 total sets.
“Stairway to Heaven”- Led Zeppelin (Stairmaster 15 minutes)
Set the stairmaster to a moderate pace level of 5 or so starting and stay at this pace for a minute. Next, increase the resistance to level 10. Stay at the increased level for a minute before decreasing back to level 5 again for one minute.
Try to gradually increase the level each time. Once again try to focus on increasing your heart rate, letting it descend, then increasing it once again.
Note the resistance levels listed here may be altered depending upon machine and individual endurance.
“You Spin Me Round” – Dead or Alive (if you were born before 1985), or Flo-Rida (born post 1985) (Indoor Cycling 15 minutes)
Begin with a moderate pace on the cycle of 4. After one minute increase the intensity to level 10. While riding on the higher intensity level keep your ass off the seat and try to be going as fast as you can.
After a minute has passed sit back on the seat and lower resistance back to a normal cycling pace. Rinse and repeat this process until 15 minutes time has elapsed.
“Push It” – Salt N Pepa (Prowler Sprints 5 times)
Now the prowler sprints are a bit more advanced than the other exercises we have discussed. Begin by placing the prowler on a flat surface with no weights and push the prowler approximately 20 meters at full speed (once again the distance is not as important as the fact that you are increasing your heart rate). Turn the prowler around and push it back towards the starting position.
Push it 20 meters 5 times total then take a 60 second rest. If you’re up to the challenge do another set of 5 x 20 meter prowler sprints. As you progress, begin adding appropriate weights to the prowler.
“Rope” – Foo Fighters (Battle Ropes 5 sets)
The battle ropes are a more recent addition that have begun popping up in several commercial gyms all across the nation. They are essentially a long thick rope wrapped around some stationary pole or object holding it in place.
Begin by grabbing both ends of the rope with your knees bent at just above a 90 degree angle. Complete waves, slams, throws, spirals, and whatever else you can imagine etc (if you don’t know what those are Google it or just freestyle it). Once again the exact movement pattern of the ropes is not important here so focus more on increasing your heart rate.
Do this for 30 second increments with one minute breaks in between for a total of 5 sets.
“You can do it (put your ass into it)” – Ice Cube (Kettleball swings 5 sets)
Grab a kettleball of moderate weight 20-50 pounds depending on individual strength (or dumbbell if your gym doesn’t have kettleballs). Simply bend your knees slightly and swing the kettleball upwards to shoulder level while squeezing your glutes at the top of the swing.
Do this for 5 sets all out intensity for 30 second increments. Include one minute of rest in between sets. Not only will you get cardio, you’ll also have glute soreness and gains for weeks if you do this regularly.
“Rocky Theme Song” – nobody cares about the artist (Boxing 5 rounds)
Lace up those gloves or go bare knuckle all out punching the bag for 30-45 seconds. Take approximately one minute of rest in between rounds.
This one is simple and self-explanatory, just be sure to drink a dozen raw eggs beforehand (just kidding you might get salmonella).
Notes on HIIT Cardio
These are just some examples of ways you can incorporate HIIT cardio into your normal workout regimen. What’s great about any of these exercises is they all take 15 minutes or less. This means you can do them in the morning right before heading to work or after your normal weight training routine (just not before unless you want to lose your gains).
Remember what’s important about any of these individual HIIT exercises. You are focusing on increasing your heart rate, decreasing it, and then repeating the process. Any of these are surefire techniques to help you drop the fat and aide in your weight loss journey.
Remember any form of cardio alone is not a sole method of losing weight and/or dropping body fat. In order to achieve truly great results, your diet must be kept in check and your weight training programming must maintain a high frequency and intensity to retain your muscle mass.
See you at the beach!
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