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HIIT Your Morning Hard with These 15 Quick Exercises You Can Do at Home
There’s nothing like starting your day on a strong note. Whether you’re working from home or ready to start a new routine, getting your heart rate up is a surefire way to ensure that your mind and body is strong enough to tackle whatever life throws your way.
Self-care comes in many forms. For many of our team members and partners, that special morning routine involves a hot, tasty drink, a nourishing breakfast, and a few quick — but effective — HIIT exercises before jumping on conference calls or diving into spreadsheets.
Many athletes begin their days with HIIT activities. HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of cardio exercise. Generally, these workouts are brief but powerful. In most cases, athletes perform an intensive workout in a short, swift burst, rest, and then repeat. The entire activity takes around 20 minutes, though your version will depend on your athletic skills and comfort levels.
Why Does Everybody Love HIIT So Much, Anyway?
The popularity of high-intensity interval training has soared in recent years. Those who haven’t tried it often feel baffled. They wonder, “What makes this workout better or more effective than other cardio workouts?”
As it turns out, there are a few reasons why HIIT has risen to the top of athletic trends:
- It’s Easily Personalized
The great thing about high-intensity interval training? It’s fully customizable. Since HIIT activities come in such a wide range, it’s easy to choose and combine various routines in order to give your daily routine variety. Every morning, you can perform a different set of HIIT activities. The variety is great for accountability, too — you’ve come up with a fun routine for the morning, so why skip it?
- You Can Work Out at Home
These days, we’re spending a lot more time in our homes. Many HIIT workouts don’t require any equipment, while others use the type of gym gear that athletes already have at home.
- It’s Great For Your Health
One of the best parts of HIIT is that it’s great for you. High-intensity interval training can boost your cardiovascular system, burn fat, and even improve your cognitive function. Pretty impressive for something that can be done in under a half-hour.
What HIIT Exercises Can I Try Now?
Ready to try your own HIIT routine? Here are some of our favorites to help get you started.
- Hand Release Push-Ups
To perform this activity, begin in a standard push-up pose. Carefully lower your body to your mat, and lift your hands away. Put your hands back on the mat. As you exhale, press your body back upwards.
Tip: If you are struggling here — they mean it when they say “high intensity” — you can perform this pose from your knees as well.
- Speed Skaters
Begin in a standing position, with your feet planted hip-width apart, with your core engaged. With your right leg crossed behind you, jump toward your right, landing on your left foot. Your arms will swing while this happens — your left should go across the front of your body while the right will swing behind it. When you land, switch sides and repeat.
- Butt Kickers
This workout will definitely kick your butt!
Begin in a standing position. Pace your feet hip-distance apart, with your hands stacked atop each other at the small of your back. Briskly jog in place, bringing your heels as close to your bottom as possible.
- Kettlebell Swings
This workout requires a kettlebell, which many of our athletes keep at home.
To perform a kettlebell swing, stand on a mat with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the weight in both your hands. Place your knees at a 90-degree angle, lean forward, and bring the kettlebell down between your legs. Push your hips forward and swing the kettlebell upwards to the height of your shoulders. Return to your starting pose with bent knees and the weight between your legs.
- Reverse Lunge
Begin in a standing position with your core engaged, your feets shoulder-width apart, and your hands planted on your hips. With your right foot, lunge backward, so both knees are at a 90-degree angle. Your back should be straight the entire time. Use your right foot to push yourself back up into your starting position before switching sides and repeating.
- Floor Burpees
Burpees are HIIT royalty. To perform this one, begin standing — your legs can be pretty far apart here. Bend your knees, squat to the floor, and place your hands on your mat.
Jump your legs back into a plank pose — when done correctly, your body will be in a straight line. Engage your core and slowly lower your body down to the mat.
Using your palms and toes, press yourself back up into a plank. Bring your feet back toward your hands and “explode” upwards, with your hands reaching for the ceiling. You should land back in your starting pose.
- Plyo Push-Ups
Begin in a typical push-up pose. Lower your body toward the mat. Push yourself up off the floor, and then lift your hands away off the mat, before returning to a traditional push-up position. You can also perform this push-up from the knees for a less intensive routine.
- Russian Twists
This core-strengthening routine is simple yet effective. To perform a Russian twist, begin by sitting on your mat. Keep your hands at your chest and your heels to the mat. Engage your core and twist your body from side to side. That’s all there is to it!
- Reverse Crunches
To begin this pose, lay on your back. Keep your legs straight and put your hands to your sides. Raise your legs until they are vertical, sticking straight up. Then, lift your hips off the ground by raising your feet skywards. Lower your hips back to your mat, bring your legs down and near to starting pose, but keeping them slightly elevated. Repeat.
- Pop Squats
Begin in a standing position. Keep your feet together and your hands at your chest. Then, jump your feet into a wide stance and lower yourself into a squat. Keep your glutes engaged and bend both knees — you want your thighs to be parallel to your mat. Hit the floor with your right hand.
Jump back into your starting pose, with your feet together. Hop twice in place, and then jump and drop back into your wide squat pose. This time, smack the floor with your left hand.
- Fire Hydrants
Begin this routine by climbing onto all fours on your mat. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and your head facing down; your back should be straight. Keep your knees bent.
Use one of your hip abductors to raise one of your legs to its side, keeping it bent. When it is parallel to your mat, you can return to your starting pose. Then, repeat with the other leg.
- Decline Push-Ups
This exercise requires a workout bench.
To begin, get into a pose where your feet are resting on your bench, while your hands are on a mat. Your back should be perfectly straight. Bring your body down in order to bring your elbows to a 90-degree angle — ideally, your humerus will be parallel to the mat. Repeat.
- Forearm Plank
This pose begins on the floor. Place your forearms on your mat. You want your elbows to be right beneath your shoulders, with your arms parallel to one another. Stretch your legs behind you, so that they are about hip-width apart.
Engage your core, as well as your quads and bum. Tuck your tailbone and hold the pose.
- Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a classic — you probably performed them back in your school gym class. Here’s a refresher:
Begin with your feet planted on the floor, and then jump them together. As you do that, clap your hands high above your head. Return to a neutral pose, and then repeat.
To perform this pose, begin by laying on your back on a mat. Bring your arms straight over your head. Bring your legs into your chest and bring your back up and off the floor. Grab hold of your legs, and use your glutes to balance yourself. Come back to your beginning pose, and repeat.
Some Frequently Asked Questions About High-Intensity Interval Training
As with any trending exercise, workout, or fitness concept, there are quite a few questions floating around. Athletes want to be sure that they tackle these exercises in the proper way. We’re here to answer those most pressing queries.
Is It Better to Eat Before or After HIIT?
A HIIT workout requires an enormous amount of strength and energy. To properly execute the exercises we’ve outlined, it’s essential to keep your body nourished and able to maintain the appropriate amount of energy. We don’t recommend that you engage in HIIT on an empty stomach — a high-carb snack will give you the energy you need. However, it’s better to give your body a bit of time before working out — ideally, 3-4 hours is best.
We know that can be tough in the mornings. So if you plan to start your day with a HIIT routine, a smoothie or banana might be a good solution. They’re not too heavy, but they will give you the stamina you need.
Once your workout has finished, eat something! As with any workout, your body needs to recover after your HIIT session. Most athletes chow down on a protein-packed meal or shake after their workout to help their muscles heal. We recommend eating something within an hour of finishing your HIIT workout.
Can Beginners Try HIIT?
They sure can! One of the best things about HIIT is that athletes of varying experience and skills can customize a workout to their liking. HIIT is incredibly expansive; the fifteen exercises we listed above are only a fraction of the possibilities. So, it’s easy for beginners to find routines that aren’t too difficult or overwhelming, especially towards the beginning. As time goes on, they can add more intensive exercises to their routines. And remember, your local gym will have a crew of dedicated coaches, who will be ready to help bring you from beginner to pro.
Building your cardiovascular strength and overall fitness has never been easier with Jack City Fitness. Our team is passionate, knowledgeable about HIIT, and here to support you as you reach your fitness goals. Our sparkling-clean gym is open 24/7 to our partners, and we offer a wide range of classes and training options. For those staying at home, we also have a custom coaching option, which allows you to work out with our coaches remotely, no matter where you are.