If we’re staying at home on weekends, I love going to the gym Saturday and Friday mornings. They are usually quiet and everything I need is there available. But I finish all my splits by Sunday, and I hate to waste this last day of the week resting. Since I do minimum to no cardio during the week at the moment, I try to use Sundays for it. But treadmills and I – we just don’t get along, thanks to my injured knee, and elliptical cross-trainers tend to become boring. So what did I do today to make it fast-paced and varied? High intensity intervals of course!
HIITs are your best friend when trying to shed fat or squeeze a workout into your tight schedule. They can be as much varied as you like them to be. You can do a full body routine, or a split, or just cardio in a form of plyometrics. They can be with weight or without. In a gym or at home. And the best part – while it lasts only 10 to 15 minutes (but you can go longer), your elevated calorie expenditure doesn’t stop at that, and even hours after the workout you continue to burn more calories.
This workout is a lower body workout with added weights. You will need:
- Two dumbbells
- A light barbell or a bodybar
- Jump rope
- Kettlebell – optional
- Step platform or a bench
For workouts like this I use a studio in the gym, and luckily it’s always empty on Sundays (no classes on Sundays). Today I was kind of disappointed though, because all the barbells were gone, and there was just a bunch of steps along with two 5 kg plates with handles. I had to search the other studio for a barbell. I didn’t find any dumbbells or kettlebells there, so I used only the barbell and 5 kg plates.
My timer was set to 50:10 seconds, exercise to rest. You can modify the ratio according to your fitness level, as well as the exercises can be modified too. But! Although the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen, a truly good workout is the one that was completed. If you feel half way through the exercise that you can’t go on anymore with this move, change it up! Don’t stop and wait for the beep, move! So I am going to give you some options for every exercise to do when tired from the primary move.
Exercise 1 – Rope Jumping.
Jump for the first interval of 50 seconds. You can start slow and then pick up the pace. If you feel tired, slow down a bit. If that doesn’t work anymore, drop the jump rope and continue jumping on your feet without it. Then rest for 10 seconds.
Exercise 2 – Step Ups.
Grab your dumbbells and a step platform. Step up with one leg, holding dumbbells in both hands, bring the other leg on the platform. Step down and step back up with another leg. Keep alternating legs for every rep. Depending on the weight it can be a very challenging exercise or an easy one. With 5 kg it was easy enough for me (I usually use 10), so the emphasis was on the pace and the correct form. If at any time you feel that you can’t go on, drop the weights and continue. It shouldn’t be too hard. Rest 10 seconds.
Exercise 3 – Kettlebell Swings.
You can use a dumbbell for it or a plate with handles like I did. Hold the weight with both hands, your stance twice the shoulder width. Lower into a squat and then stand up, swinging the weight up. Swing it down when lowering back into a squat. There’s no real alteration for this one, but you can do sumo (plié) squats holding the weight or drop the weight at all. Rest 10 seconds.
Exercise 4 – Box Jumps.
Or ‘platform jumps’ to be correct. This one is quite challenging, actually, but I loved it. Stand before the platform on a comfortable distance. Jump onto it and quickly jump off. I wasn’t even making a full landing on the platform, just the forefoot on the edge of platform. Make sure the platform is sturdy and doesn’t slide on the floor. If you’re tired you can go slower. Another way to make it easier is kind of switch jumps. Jump kicking right leg out and land with your right foot on the platform, left – on the floor. Then quickly switch legs in another jump. Continue jumping like this. Even in the fast pace it is easier to do, but it will leave you breathless. Enjoy your 10 seconds of rest.
Exercise 5 – Clean and Press.
Another challenging exercise. But challenge is good. It can be done with dumbbells, but barbell is preferred. Place the barbell before your feet. Squat and place your hands on the bar approx. 1.5 x your shoulder width. Keeping your back straight, pull the barbell from the floor as you extend your knees. At maximum elevation, start pulling the bar up to your shoulders and as you do so, rotate the elbows and snatch the bar across the front of your shoulder, squatting simultaneously. Then stand up straight, shoulder pressing the barbell. Don’t use heavy weights with this move, expecially if you’re not familiar with it. Since it’s a hard compound move, most likely you will tire out after 20-25 seconds. For the rest of the time do front squats, by holding the barbell across your shoulders. Keep a good form and squat with your hamstrings, then drive with your heels. Rest 10 seconds.
Exercise 6 – Abs crunch.
This final in the circuit exercise is here to give you some time to catch up your breath before you start jumping again. Lie on the floor and perform your favourite abs exercise. I used a different one for each circuit. First was a crunch with a 5 kg plate, second was a heel touch and for the third it was a crunch again, without weight. Rest 10 seconds and start over.
Perform 2 or 3 sets and then stretch gently to cool down.