Fitness & Training, Cardiovascular fitness

HIIT: Tips and exercises for a good start to training

With very short cardio sessions performed at  high intensity, HIIT training allows you to achieve amazing results while fitting into the tightest of schedules. To get off to a good start, here are a few tips to help you start with 2 complete sessions, with a treadmill or without fitness equipment.

6 tips to start HIIT training smoothly

Combining HIIT And Incline Training With A iFit Workout

HIIT training consists of a series of exercises that alternate maximum intensity activities with short periods of recovery. This cardio training is carried out in short sessions, often under 30 minutes: enough to appeal to even the busiest athletes. To begin HIIT training, here are some good habits to adopt:

  1. Starting gradually is your best chance to keep motivated: HIIT is an excellent activity to let off steam, but it is better not to overdo it at the beginning. By adapting the exercises and rhythm to your level, you will create a proper training plan with realistic goals that can be achieved over time.
  2. Before you challenge yourself, pay special attention to the warm-up: let your heart adapt to the effort and let your muscles warm up gently to get the most out of your workouts and recover better.
  3. Build hydration into your program: you’ll sweat and, I promise, you’ll love it!
  4. Plan a rest period before and after your workout: your body will be under heavy strain, and that’s what makes this method so effective.
  5. Increase the frequency of training as you begin to explore HIIT: if you’re a beginner, start with one session a week, then two, then three…
  6. Make HIIT a real training routine by scheduling your sessions at fixed times: in the morning after breakfast, in the evening 2 hours after snack time…

To find out all about HIIT, read our article dedicated to this trendy cardio workout.

Your HIIT sessions to try at home

How HIIT Can Improve Your Fitness Performance

More motivated than ever to get started, are you looking for exercise ideas to train at home? Here are 2 examples of beginners HIIT training sessions, one without equipment, the other on the treadmill of your choice.

Your first workout to get started with HIIT

For this first session of HIIT, you will only need a gym mat. Exercises will be performed using body weight only. To warm up, jog on the spot for 40 seconds, then recover by walking and rotating your wrists to continue to increase your heart rate while working your joints. Next, try the 4 exercises that will make up your moderate speed HIIT workout. Take this opportunity to get your bearings and take care of your posture before starting the intense workout.

Afterwards, perform a series of each exercise for 40 seconds at a steady, regular pace, followed by 20 seconds of active recovery. For an 8-minute session, 2 cycles of 4 exercises are sufficient. Here are 4 exercise ideas to work the entire body:

  • Push-ups: knees on the ground or outstretched legs, depending on your level and your motivation.
  • Front lunges: look ahead, move your right foot forward and then bend down until your left knee is on the ground. Your right knee should be at a 90° angle. Then make the same movement on the other side.
  • Crunches: lying on your back, raise your feet to form 2 90° angles, at pelvis and knee level. Maintain this position and, with your hands behind your head, contract your abdominal muscles to touch your knees with your elbows.
  • Jumping jacks: start standing with feet together and arms at your sides. Jump by raising your arms sideways to above your head while spreading your legs. When your arms are in the air, land, always with your legs apart. Jump again and tighten your feet while lowering your arms. When you finish the movement, you will be back in the initial position.

Once the concept has been introduced, don’t hesitate to find other movement ideas to create new sessions. As HIIT training is above all fun, why not spice up the sessions by using a dice to choose the exercises at random? Assign 2 exercises for each body part to the numbers on the dice and roll. Whatever you do, remember to do some stretching without straining to finish the session.

Your first HIIT session on the treadmill. 

The principle of HIIT training can be adapted to all types of sports activities. Practising on a treadmill will allow you to vary your training sessions. First, spend 5 minutes warming up with a few squats, then a faster and faster walk on your treadmill, to finish with a few strides at moderate speed. Your first cycle of HIIT on the treadmill can now begin:

  • Run for two minutes at five miles an hour.
  • For 3 cycles of 4 minutes, alternate 30 seconds of running at 16 km/h with 30 seconds at 6 km/h.
  • Between each cycle, repeat a series of 2 minutes at 9 km/h.
  • Finish smoothly with a 2-minute session at a slower speed, such as 6 km/h.

The speed should be adjusted according to your physical condition and your abilities. Once you are comfortable, you can also add a little extra kick by tilting your treadmill by 3% or 4% if it offers this feature. The idea is to achieve the perception of a difficult effort at an intensity level that suits you, while being able to monitor yourself to help you achieve a good performance for the duration of the session. 

Some high-end fitness machines include HIIT sessions that are already scheduled. You can set the ideal heart rate for you on the machine based on your body data and activity monitoring to create a personalized program for you. All you have to do is find the right time of day to set up your new HIIT training routine!

Check out our Fitness & Training page for more advice.