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Hiit for the Holidays

Fitness Feature

Photography by Taryn Emerick

The holidays are a notoriously hard time to stay on top of your workout schedule. But remember, you don’t need a full hour to make a positive effect on your body. Personal trainer and yoga instructor Tamara Weiss recommends adding in a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session whenever you have a few spare minutes. She designed two four-minute mixed interval combinations to choose from or try all four together.

1. Brazilian Lunge

Start in an athletic stance. Lunge backward with the right foot, keeping the right leg straight and the left knee directly over the left foot. The fingertips can lightly touch the ground for support if needed. Lift the back foot and return to the standing position. Repeat on the other foot. Add a knee lift or hop for an advanced variation.

2. Quarter-turn Squat

From an athletic stance, lower down into a squatting position. Driving through the heels, jump up and turn to land facing to your right. Jump back to center then repeat to the left. Continue the sequence for the allotted time.

3. Wood Chop

Start in an athletic stance with your feet slightly wider than hip width and your hands in a prayer position (or holding a weight) in front of the right shoulder. Lower into a squat position while bringing the hands down to the left knee. Drive through the heels and return to your starting position.

4. Dolphin Push-up

Start in a forearm plank position with the shoulders directly over the elbows. Walk your feet as close to your elbows as possible. Keeping the core engaged the whole time, walk the feet back to the starting plank position.

Tamara’s Top HIIT Tips

Warm up to prevent injury.
Walk for 3 to 10 minutes or hop on a stationary bike. Another option is to practice the exercises at a slower pace to rehearse proper form.

Get cleared for vigorous movement.
Before performing high-intensity cardiovascular activity, please check in with your doctor. Modify any movements to accommodate physical limitations.

Perform at maximum force, power, strength and speed.
The point is to go all-out for a short amount of time. Once you’ve perfected form, go as hard as you can.

Perform HIIT in moderation.
Because the intensity is high, don’t perform these workouts too often. In general, incorporating two to three non-consecutive days of HIIT workouts into your routine will allow enough recovery time, while delivering excellent results.

Take time to cool down.
Perform the same activity you chose for your warm-up at the end of the session, or try a few simple stretches. This will help your body recover from the quick movements.


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