Tag Archives: high intensity

Hate to run? You can still hit these high intensity interval workouts.

i dont run

Get more for less. I like that a whole lot. How about you? If that’s the case, try high intensity interval workouts, aka HIIT. They’ll give you a ton of bang for your buck. You’ll not only torch fat, you’ll make your heart and lungs stronger, improve your cardiovascular health, and even help yourself build and retain muscle. So read on with me if you want some workouts that’ll get you all that good stuff.

And why no running?

Because you don’t need it. If you like to run, rock on with that. But I don’t very often these days. Not because I hate it. I actually miss the zen-like vibe I got while doing long runs. But I hate how my hip feels every time I get sucked back into trying.

Yet even if you aren’t able to pound the pavement or jogging just isn’t your jam, you’re in luck: because there are about eleventy billion ways to get HIIT into your life, so choose what lets you work hard and have fun. But I’ve got some workouts to get you started.

What to know first.
HIIT is nothing complicated – you’ll just alternate periods of insanely hard work and easier work, or sometimes even complete rest. Take those easy intervals seriously– they refuel your energy stores so you can pour every bit of energy you have in you into your work. And then reap those delicious perks of HIIT conditioning.

So let’s do dis.

3-2-1 intervals work well on just about any piece of machinery. And the idea is easy to remember. I love that on days when I workout at 5 am and am still too sleepy to come up with a crazy, creative workout.

It just looks like this: do 30 seconds of “easy” work, 20 seconds of “moderately hard” work, and then 10 seconds of all out effort. You’ll do 5 rounds. Then rest a few minutes, and repeat. That’s it.

Try this on a bike, stair master, or rower. Just use resistance, speed, or a combination of both to get the job done.

Row Your Boat


photo credit: Richard Greenspan


Have an ergometer? Then try this workout. Of course you could use the same idea for miles on a bike or treadmill, but chasing meters on the erg is fast, fun, and a full body blast. Try this descending ladder set:


Repeat once more if you’re up for it, or use it as a fast finisher after a strength workout.

Ride Like an Egyptian
Back in the day, I banked a ton of miles on my bike. When doing interval work, it helped my mental focus to play around with my intervals, especially during the winter when I was stuck on a trainer or spin bike. This set uses equal amounts of work and rest. If you’re a cyclist needing more saddle time, you can also sandwich this with some easy warm up and cool down miles.

This ride is a pyramid set: meaning you’ll work up in your timed intervals and then back down.


The Hills Are Alive

Use a treadmill to crank up your heart rate without jogging. Just do a steep mountain hike and take advantage of the incline setting. Here’s a leg killer to take to the gym. Feel free to change speeds or incline levels. They’re just a starting place. The steep climbs will be your high intensity segments – so choose an incline that makes your heart rate skyrocket. And then crank it down for an easy walk as you catch your breath.  


Mighty Metcons

photo credit: Tom Britt

photo credit: Tom Britt

Metabolic conditioning workouts use full body, “big” movements that crank up your heart rate quickly and use large muscle groups to build your work capacity, torch fat, and groove the same patterns you’ll use in your strength workouts. What’s not to love? They don’t always use timed intervals, but they can. Here are two to try. One uses active recovery moves peppered with high intensity metabolic moves. The other uses timed intervals.

Black Widow
Try this badass set. It uses only 2 exercises and takes only 10 minutes.

Instructions:  set an interval timer for 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. Cycle between the following moves 4 times. Rest 2 minutes, then repeat once more.

The circuit:

Goblet squat to reverse lunge (alternate legs for time)
Spider pushups (alternating legs)

Bonus – Baller
Have a med ball? You’re set. Don’t go too heavy in your weight. You want to be explosive during your work.

Instructions: each med ball move requires focused, intense work. Complete your reps as quickly as you can. Your “recovery” isn’t total rest – it just lets your heart rate come back down so you’ll be ready to work hard again.

Complete 2-4 rounds, taking rest only when absolutely necessary and preferably at the bottom of a round. Rest 2 minutes between each round.

The circuit:
Med ball pushups x 12 (6 per side)
20 med ball glute bridges
Med ball rotational slams x 12/side
20 med ball glute bridges
Med ball squat thrusters x 12
20 med ball glute bridges
Med ball SHELCs x 12

There you have it. 5+ ways to fuel your fitness, fat loss, and fun at the gym. Have your own favorite HIIT workout? Head over to my Facebook community page and share that up, yo. We’d love to hear about it!