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Summer’s almost here. Long days, hot nights, trips to the beach and plenty of fun in the sun with your friends and family. With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about putting your best foot forward, and what better way to do that than with a HIIT workout that will ensure you’re feeling your best for those outdoor days coming up.
HIIT workouts have many benefits. According to Daphne Mantzanidis, personal trainer and an exercise science student at Deakin University, HIIT workouts ‘take a shorter amount of time to complete, combine strength and cardio, minimises muscle wastage and aids fat loss, and continues to burn energy (calories) after the workout finishes due to the excess post exercise oxygen consumption effect. Also, these workouts increase muscle mitochondria density, which is the energy power house of the cell which means that more energy is available to working muscles.’
Daphne has put together a HIIT workout with the goal of getting your heart rate pumping, and that energy burnt. A good way to measure your approximate heart rate is to minus your age from 220 beats per minute. The aim of HIIT is to be working at 90% or above of your maximal heart rate during the working set.
*This workout should be completed in sets with 30-60 seconds rest between each exercise… So, put your workout clothes on, tie up your laces tight, and let’s get started!
Skier lunges are a plyometric exercise, which means that your muscles exert maximum force in short bursts, with the goal of increasing your muscular power. Skater lunges train the explosive muscle fibres in your lower body, and will definitely get your heart rate up and running.
Form: Daphne says to ensure that your front knee does not cross over your toe, maintain an even weight distribution between both legs. The movement of your back leg should be on a 45-degree plane when you step behind, and not straight back or to the side.
Another plyometric exercise for your lower body explosive type fibres. Daphne deliberately starts the HIIT workout with these two exercises because the muscles in the lower half of your body are much larger, which means you’re expending more energy at the start of the workout, resulting in getting that all-important heart rate up and running.
Form: Your knees should stay behind your toes, with your weight sitting into your heels when you enter the squat position, similar to sitting on a chair you need to sit back through the hip joint. Getting to parallel as you squat is your goal, Daphne says that any lower than that and you run the risk of injury at a beginner level with not much benefit.
Mountain climbers are a core based exercise that is a variation of the popular plank. Its goal is to predominantly engage your core and upper body, and it involves dynamic styles of movements to once again increase your heart rate.
Form: Daphne says to ensure that your shoulder position is in-line with your elbows and wrists, and that the horizontal plane from your shoulders to toes should be in a straight line (Your hips shouldn’t be dropping or coming up to high In order to stay nice and neutral through your spine).
Burpees are an explosive total body movement that requires an engaged core, motor coordination and spatial awareness in order to execute. Burpees use the three main components of your body, engaging your upper body, core, and lower body. Daphne says that due to this simultaneous recruiting of muscle groups high energy expenditure is needed resulting in an even higher heart rate.
Form: Daphne says that this is the trickiest exercise of the workout. You need to watch your impact when you drop down during the burpee, and lower yourself with control. The entire movement should be in straight up and down, with as little side to side movement as possible.
Our first predominantly upper body focused exercise, and one of the most convenient ones within the workout, as you can do it anywhere with a slight ledge. This is great for your triceps as well as deltoids and chest as well. Daphne points out that if the exercise is too easy for you, you can easily change the intensity by straightening or bending your legs. Straightening them gives you less of a mechanical advantage as your arms are taking the full weight of your body, while bending your knees makes the exercise a little easier by taking some of the weight off your arms.
Form: Daphne says to make sure you’re not straining yourself through your front deltoids by lowering yourself too far. The key to this exercise is to move with control and watch out for sharp pains in the shoulders as the shoulder joint is very unstable and prone to injury.
We finish with a core dominant exercise. Daphne claims that this is a great exercise because it engages a number of our core muscles through contralateral (left to right) movement. The goal here is to use the exercise as a movement of intensity, rather than a regular crunch, once again to get your heart rate pumping. If you want to make the exercise more difficult for yourself, then keep your feet a few centimetres above the ground at all times. Like the dips you’ve just performed, this gives you less of a mechanical advantage as your core is taking on the full weight of your legs.
Form: Really watch your neck position, and make sure you’re not pulling through the movement with your head you want to draw yourself into the centre position through your core.
Need some new workout threads that help you look your best, keep you cool while you’re sweating, and help those in need? Check out Cotton On and Deakin University’s active wear range. Proceeds go to The Unite Project, which helps at-risk and homeless youth.
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