Whether you’re a fan of HIIT or new to the style of training, it’s always great to have options. Essentially, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) involves intervals of work and rest. Pushing as hard as you can in the working intervals and recovering during rest periods. But whilst this does seem a quite limited way of training, there are plenty of ways to switch things up. So, here, we’re going to intro you to a few different ways to keep your HIIT workouts feeling fresh!
Tabata is all about the interval size. Coined by Dr Izumi Tabata, this form of training involves working for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. The traditional Tabata workout only repeated this 8 times, totalling 4 minutes. This original structure saw great improvements in the aerobic and anaerobic levels of test groups. However, you can use the 20-10 ratio to create a 10-20 minute Tabata workout that will put your fitness to the test.
The easiest way to do this is to download a timer app onto your phone and set the intervals. Choose 10 exercises, repeating each exercise for two sets of work each time. This will total 10 minutes. If you’re feeling like you’ve got more in the tank, double or even triple the workout.
Here’s an example of how 4 exercises could work:
- Jump squats
- Jump squats
EMOM stands for every minute, on the minute. This means completing a set number of reps of an exercise (or exercises) within a minute before starting again. The faster the reps, the more rest time you have. The key here is to pick a combo of exercises and set reps that is doable within a minute but will challenge you towards the end.
Stick to a set time limit e.g. 10, 15 or 20 minutes. You can switch up your EMOM combos throughout the time limit. For example for a 15-minute EMOM, the first 5 minutes could be 10 air squats and 10 reverse lunges, the second could be 5 press-ups and 10 mountain climbers and the final 5 minutes could be 10 burpees and 10 star jumps.
AMRAP AKA as many reps as possible is a pretty savage but super-adaptable workout. This is more of a fast and loose form of HIIT. It’s super simple - just choose a set of exercises and reps, a time limit and look to complete as many rounds as possible. An AMRAP is a much more intuitive way of doing HIIT - taking rests when you need it. This can also be a great way to see improvements - doing the same set of reps and exercises every week for 6 weeks and counting how many rounds you get through.
This is a classic trope of a lot of popular boutique gyms. But, it's super easy to set up yourself.
Essentially you want to set a timer of intervals. Generally, your rest period should be around half the time of your work period e.g. 30 seconds work, 15 seconds rest. You can then set up your ‘stations’ with equipment (if you have it) or just noting different exercises. Kettlebells, light dumbbells, bands and skipping ropes are great for this - but remember not too heavy as you’re going for speed.
Give yourself a longer rest period between each round of exercises and go for it! Who needs to pay the big bucks, when you can smash out a circuit at home?
Finally, we have pyramids. Like their name, you’ll be working up to a peak in the middle of your workout and then decreasing back to your set number. Either stick with the same rest and work periods or use the half method we detailed above. Pick 3-8 exercises and perform up the pyramid before decreasing back down.
For example, say your 3 exercises are burpees, plank jacks and walking lunges:
Set 1: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest for all 3 exercises
Set 2: 30 seconds work, 15 seconds rest for all 3 exercises
Set 3: 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest for all 3 exercises
Set 4: 30 seconds work, 15 seconds rest for all 3 exercises
Set 5: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest for all 3 exercises.
We wouldn’t recommend taking your work time any higher than 45 seconds, as you’ll lose intensity. But you can most definitely add more exercises or switch up the intervals and increases to suit your level of fitness. If you want to progress each time, you can even add a new exercise each week.
We hope this has given you some new ideas on how to spice up your HIIT workouts or a new way to try the style of training out. If you’re working with an injury or medical condition be sure to consult a professional before embarking on any HIIT workouts as it can be very intense on the body. Happy HIITing!