Following on from my tip about working out where and when you can last week, I thought I’d share with you my top 10 hybrid HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) moves to get the heart pumping and those calories burning! But they aren’t just great for burning fat; interval training can also increase your VO2max (the amount of oxygen your body can use and an indicator of cardio fitness), reduce your lactate accumulation (so you can train harder, for longer) and increase enzyme activity to reduce fatigue.
All of these exercises can be done without any equipment, but for some of them you can add dumbbells to add extra resistance if you like. I’ll point out an easier and a harder version of each exercise as we go along, so you can adapt them when you want to.
Try all of these 10 moves, slowly first, to get to grips with the technique. If you’re indoors and have a mirror double check you have the correct form. Once you’ve mastered each move individually, you’re ready to speed them up and put them into a circuit. Make sure you’ve got something to keep time; something that’s going to beep at the end of the 30 seconds would be best, or even someone to time you.
For a daily workout choose 5 or 6 exercises to perform; working for 30 seconds, resting for 10 to 20 seconds in between exercises.
Note: The timing is important because the energy systems we want to use most will determine how long our work to rest ratio needs to be. For now we’ll keep it simple and stick to shorter rests because we really want to work our aerobic system in the main to help us burn fat and improve our cardiovascular fitness.
Repeat the circuit 2 or 3 times in total, depending on how much time you have available. Always remember to warm up first and stretch off afterwards to avoid injuries and to keep your body flexible and functional.
For the warm up: To get the heart pumping and the blood flowing jog on the spot or around any space you’ve got. at a slow to moderate pace, for around 2 minutes (don’t over do it with sprints! You need to save all you’ve got for the workout!) and then follow that with some dynamic stretches (10 seconds for each stretch). This kind of stretch is more active than the static stretches you’ll be cooling down with. The point is that we’re keeping our heart rate up, warming up our muscles and lubricating our joints at the same time. Some good examples would be arm circles, high knees, forward lunges with arm reaches or some jumping jacks. Whatever you do as a warm up make sure you do it for around 3-5 minutes in total.
Once you’re all warmed up, you’ve selected your 5 or 6 exercises and know the order you’re going to do them in, just go for it! Enjoy!
1. Drop Squat to Press
This is a classic hybrid, compound move which brings in your whole body. Break the move down into 4 steps before joining them together and making the action smoother.
Start standing straight, holding dumbbells down in front of your body. Jump feet apart and move down into squat (dumbbells lowered towards ground). Jump back to starting position. Raise arms into press above shoulders.
Make it easier: Slow the move down, don’t lower yourself too deep into the squat, instead of jumping your feet during the move, step one foot at a time.
Make it harder: Speed the move up, use heavier dumbbells, or a kettlebell, get lower into the squat.
2. Side Shuffles with Bookend High Knees
The idea with this one is that you are keeping your legs under tension for as long as possible (hence keeping your body in a low squat as you move). The longer your muscles are under tension the more calories you’ll burn. When it comes to the high knees part, the higher the knees and the bouncier your action the better.
Firstly, lower into the squat and side shuffle between two points around 4 meters apart; keeping your body low and chest up. At the end of each shuffle stand straight and perform high knees; pushing your knees up as high as they will go. Bring your arms into the action to get more drive and bounce.
Make it easier: Side shuffle in an upright position, slow the high knees move down by keeping one foot in contact with the ground at all times.
Make it harder: Get lower into the squat as you side shuffle, get the knees higher on the high knees move, introduce your arms into the move by punching forward.
3. Skater Jumps
Imagine you are skating on ice or with roller skates; that’s the action you’re looking for with this move. Jump from one foot to the other, side to side as if skating along, pushing yourself from one foot to the other. Use your arms to swing yourself into position.
Make it easier: Slow it down and touch the ground with your trailing foot behind your body and your hand at the same time.
Make it harder: Get low and jump further!
4. Kneel to Squat to Tuck Jump
This move is great for improving your balance and coordination.
Start in a kneeling position. Rise to squat position one foot at a time without using your hands. Jump from squat position to tuck jump, bringing knees up towards the chest. Land in squat position and lower to kneeling position one knee at a time. Don’t touch the floor with your hands at any point.
Make it easier: Stand from kneeling position using your hands for support and jump on the spot without tucking the knees up to the chest.
Make it harder: Jump up in one move from kneeling position to squat.
5. Renegade Rows with Knee Tucks
This is a challenge for your arms, back, shoulders, core, legs and bum!
Start in a plank position gripping dumbbells. With a tight core and holding you hips steady, pull each arm up in turn, leading with your elbow, whilst the opposite arm stabilises the body. Hold in plank position whilst tucking each knee up towards chest in turn.
Back to the start and repeat.
Make it easier: Perform a kneeling plank to start and stay in this position for the renegade rows. Instead of knee tucks perform donkey kicks, kicking the legs back and up.
Make it harder: Use heavier weights, perform faster, add a push up in between the renegade rows and the knee tucks.
6. Mountain Burpees
This move combines two classic HIIT moves in one. We take the knee tucks from the mountain climbers and the jump up to squat followed by standing jump from the burpee.
Start in plank position and begin mountain climber action. After 4x knee tucks, jump into burpee (leave out the push up); jump into squat then to standing jump.
Make it easier: Place your hands on a step to raise your upper body into a higher starting position. Slow the knee tucks down and instead of jumping with both feet into the burpee, step one foot at a time.
Make it harder: Perform the whole move faster, add a push up in between the knee tucks and the jump up.
7. Diamond Ski Jumps
Imagine you’re skiing…without the skis, poles or the snow. The idea is that your torso is stable throughout the move. Place your hands on your hips.
Keep your feet together, body tall, jump from side to side and front to back. Imagine an invisible diamond on the floor or even better use something to mark out the 4 points. From the centre of the diamond jump left, back to the centre, then right, back to centre, to the front, back to the centre and finally jump back.
Then repeat the sequence.
Make it easier: Make the jumps lower and shorter (have a smaller diamond). Slow the whole move down.
Make it harder: Make the jumps higher and longer (have a bigger diamond- yes please!) Speed the whole move up.
8. Plank Jacks
This advanced plank move relies on a strong core holding your torso in place. Try to avoid too much body movement apart from your legs moving apart and back together again. Contract your abdominal muscles, pull in your belly button and hold your glutes tight.
Start in plank position (on hands), keeping core tight and hips stable, jump legs out to the sides and then back together. Repeat.
Make it easier: Step each foot out to the side one at a time, instead of jumping both feet out simultaneously.
Make it harder: Make your surface unstable, by resting arms on a Bosu balance ball or an exercise ball.
9. Climber Plank with Shoulder Taps
Start in plank position resting on hands, then move from hand plank to plank resting on forearms, then back up again to plank on hands. Keep core tight and hips stable. Now tap your shoulder with hand of opposite arm and repeat this on opposite side. Do this for 4 taps (2 taps on each shoulder). Throughout the whole move ensure the core is tight, hips are locked into position to give your torso stability.
Make it easier: Remove the climber element from the move, stay in hand plank for the duration and instead of shoulder taps, move hands in towards each other one at a time and then back out to the original position.
Make it harder: Make your surface unstable under your feet, by placing them on a Bosu balance ball. Or make the surface higher under your feet, by placing your feet on a step.
10. Toe Taps and Step Ups
This move combines quick pace toe taps with slower pace step ups.
Find a low bench, low wall or use a step or stair. In a bouncing fashion, tap the edge of the step with alternating feet (count 6), change to stepping up onto step and kicking the other trailing leg back, alternate stepping foot (count 6).
Back to toe taps and repeat.
Make it easier: Slow the whole move down, take your time. Use a very low step or none at all.
Make it harder: Use a higher step and perform the toe taps as quickly as you can.
Once you’ve completed your circuit, you should be feeling pretty tired, very sweaty and maybe even a bit like you want to kill me! Now’s the time to stretch off and contemplate your revenge….
If you have any comments or questions let me know in the box below. Please like and share too.