You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the results you want, whether it is weight loss, increasing strength, building endurance or improving cardiovascular fitness. HIIT (high intensity interval training) and Circuit Weight Training are both a fantastic ‘bang’ for your buck, if time is money!
Science has shown us that HIIT can provide benefits that other forms of exercise can’t. For starters, it has been shown to increase growth hormone, which has numerous health and anti-aging benefits.
HIIT also burns more fat and calories in a shorter period of time than slower forms of exercise, boosts metabolism, and is great for strengthening the heart!
Circuit Training also provides cardiovascular benefits, and helps you gain muscle mass and strength by doing efficient, short workouts. If your only goal is building muscle mass (hypertrophy) and/or strength, you’ll still need to follow traditional weight training protocols- but you can still incorporate high intensity interval training or lightweight cardio circuits as a replacement for those long sessions on the treadmill.
Here are a couple of sample workout routines that can be changed up, and used as a regular part of your workout schedule.
The Death Circuit
This circuit is compliments of Darryl Rose, one of Pure Leaside's Personal Trainers who loves to push his clients to their max using powerful workouts like this one.
- Pick any 4 compound exercises to perform in succession. (In example below we use a formula LOWER UPER LOWER UPPER to provide a “rest” to one muscle group while the other is working; thus using time effectively and increasing the sweat factor!)
- Perform one circuit as a warmup with approx 50% of working weight
- Rest from 30s to 60 between each exercise, and 2 min after circuit sec depending on your needs,
- Repeat circuit 4-5 times
*Note: Reps can range from 8-15, depends on your body type and what your goals are. Some people’s bodies respond to higher reps, and some to lower. You can play with your sets and reps to find what your body likes best.
5-10-15 HIIT Circuit
This quick full body circuit-style high intensity workout will increase endurance, and improve your cardiovascular fitness, and you will sweat like crazy! Add an appropriate warm-up and cool down, and you should be done in 20-30 minutes. You’ll need an Interval Timer app (listed below).
- Set yourself up on the floor where you have space to move, and access either to a TRX cable for your reverse rows, or at a squat rack where you can set the bar at a lower position to perform your inverted rows.
- Set your timer for 4-10 circuits at 1 minute each. Start at 4, work up to 10.
- Start your HIIT timer. Perform the following set as quickly as possible.
- REST for time left from your minute. Repeat as many times as you are able, up to 10.
- 5 Inverted Rows
- 10 Pushups
- 15 Bodyweight Squats
You can change this up once you get used to the circuit by increasing no. of sets, adding weight, or changing up the exercises (Use ratio of 5 x Back: 10 Chest: 15 x legs/glutes).
HIIT Training Apps
Of course you can do HIIT training on a stationary bike, elliptical, rower or any piece of equipment where you feel comfortable. A Tabata/Interval timer app will help you do these effectively. Two highly rated apps are Tabata Pro (Apple or Android) or Gymboss (Apple or Android versions). You can play music and still hear the timers go off if you need that extra boost of adrenaline from high energy tunes!