The weather here in Vancouver this May has been amazing. It’s made me want to train outside more, rather than in my dark basement gym. So instead of doing my typical HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout going back and forth between stationary biking and burpees, I decided to take it outside.
For this particular workout, all you need is a hill. I happen to live right next to a park situated on a hill, surrounded by natural forest. The forest cover offers the perfect amount of shade to keep things cooler too. To use the hill for my workout, I simply run uphill during my high intervals and walk downhill during my low intervals. Hill running is really intense, working out all the muscles in your legs. I still use my typical timing for my workout, 4 minutes warm-up, 8 cycles of 90 second low intervals and 30 second high intervals, followed by a 2-minute cool-down. (more…)
I’ve recently started exploring H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training) as a way of doing my cardio workouts. I had heard about their benefits and that because the workouts are shorter and more intense, you can get your cardio in more efficiently. Sometimes I just don’t have time to go for a 45-minute run, so it was worth a try.
The Benefits of H.I.I.T.
There are a number of reported benefits to high intensity interval training over conventional cardio, making it a favoured style of workout nowadays. The two main ones are as follows:
- Better for Weight Loss. While longer, less intense cardio sessions may burn more calories, a number of studies have demonstrated that H.I.I.T. burns more fat. One particular study performed by the University of Western Ontario, found that after 6 weeks of training, 3 workouts per week, subjects doing 4-6 30-second sprints with 4-6 minutes rest between lost more fat than those who did than 60 minutes of incline treadmill walking. While the reasons have not been fully explored, scientists have pinpointed a few factors, including increased resting metabolic rate for upwards of 24 hours after exercise, improved insulin sensitivity in the muscles, higher levels of fat oxidation in the muscles, and post-exercise appetite suppression, to name a few.
- Superior Muscle Preservation. It is generally believed that cardio can have a negative impact on strength gains by reducing your caloric surplus too much, and by causing you to overtrain. That being said, the shorter your cardio sessions are the less they impair strength and hypertrophy. As a result, H.I.I.T. allows you to maximize your strength gains, preserve your muscles, while still getting the benefits of the exercise. (more…)
A week or so ago I tweaked my knee a bit. It wasn’t too serious, but enough that I replaced my running workouts with stationary biking workouts to help my knee recover. Obviously my knee doesn’t need the extra shock of running while healing, but cycling also has the added benefit of increasing the blood flow to the knee, helping to speed up recovery times, or so I was told by a doctor. As a result, I biked every day last week.
Stationary biking can be kind of boring on its own, so I’ve added different elements to it to help make it more interesting. (more…)
It’s important to have a wide variety of cardio warm-up options to develop different body movements, but also to keep things interesting for your students. Our traditional warm-up choices have always been skipping, stair climbing, running, and even the occasional game of freeze tag. Recently, I introduced a new game, dojo hockey, as a choice for warming up. It was something that I once did in a Taekwondo class a while back. I remembered it and thought it would be a nice change. It is now our most requested option for warm-up. (more…)
When you start skipping as a cardio workout, at first even a few short minutes can seem hard to do. But then as you become more coordinated and your fitness improves, you can go for longer without feeling as much strain. After a while longer, you start finding it difficult to get your heart rate up enough to work your cardio. When you reach this stage, the answer is to start doing double-skips.
Double-skipping is done by jumping once, but rotating your skipping rope around your body twice before your feet touch the ground. If you can keep your legs straight and pike your body, you can get a bit of an ab workout while doing it. Here’s a video of me doing double-skips:
It takes a bit of practice, but once you get the technique and timing down, you’ll notice that it greatly intensifies your skipping workout. So if you ever feel like you need to increase your heart rate more while you’re skipping, you can throw in a few double-skips. Even after 3-4 you can start to feel your heart working faster.
Myself, I like to do 30 seconds straight of double-skipping at the end of each 5-min round of skipping. I find it’s a great way of working my overload capacity, which can be pretty important for competition fighting, whether it’s boxing or MMA.