To get the most training benefits in the least amount of time, there are few types of exercise better than high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. "Typically, HIIT is alternating bouts of going all-out with periods of rest to recover", explains Nike Master Trainer Patrick Frost. What you'll get for those brief, max efforts: the ability to push harder, longer. There's also a sweet after-burn effect (bringing your heart and breath rate back down takes work, after all), and it can help you burn an additional six to 15 percent of the calories you burned during your workout for up to 24 hours after you're done.
To become a stronger, faster, more performance-based athlete, Frost recommends adding one or two HIIT sessions to your weekly training routine. Make sure to spread them out by about 48 hours to give your muscles time to repair and recover.
Below are three of Frost's favourite ways to programme HIIT workouts. (Love what you see? You can find more high-intensity interval training on the Nike Training Club App.)
1. Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM)
At the top of each minute for a pre-determined total workout time, you'll go all out on a specific amount of reps of a particular movement (or movements). Then you'll rest for the remaining time in each minute.
To programme your own EMOM workout, Frost suggests picking a lower-body movement, upper-body movement, core exercise and an intense total-body exercise (for example: squats, press-ups, sit-ups and burpees). Decide the length of your workout (could be 20 minutes) and reps you'll do of each move. You can do different reps for each (say, 15, 12, ten, eight) or keep the reps the same for each movement (perhaps ten). Repeat the sequence until your buzzer times. Here's that example workout:
20-Minute Total Body Strengthener
... and so on until minute 20: eight burpees
2. As Many Rounds as Possible (AMRAP)
For an AMRAP, you'll pick a few exercises to create a circuit, and you'll repeat that circuit for as many rounds as you can in a set amount of time—without resting (unless you absolutely need to). Again, you can choose the movements, number of reps for each and total workout time. Here's a go-to from Frost:
12-Minute Bodyweight Burn-Out
This protocol calls for 20 seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest, repeated for a total of four minutes (quick maths on that: eight sets of 20 on, ten off). You can do this with any moves — press-ups, kettlebell swings, skipping and so on. If you're a beginner, aim for one Tabata workout. Otherwise, you can pile on two or three. Either way, the key to maximising results is giving absolutely everything during those 20 seconds of work and trying to bring your heart rate down in the quick bouts of rest.
To develop a rock-solid core, Frost likes to do a Tabata of scissor kicks, followed by a Tabata of mountain climbers, then a Tabata of high knees (that's 12 total minutes of killer ab work). Here's how it goes:
Tabata Abs Trifecta