Don’t want to head to the gym? High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to sweat when the gyms are busy, classes are full and you just want a quick and dirty sweat session. Combining bursts of high intensity exercise with short rests or slow and steady movement is an efficient way to train, and can be done almost anywhere, no fancy gyms required.
Vancouver-based personal trainer Kelsey Collins says, “You'll improve your cardio health, get those endorphins flowing, and boost your metabolism while you're at it. A workout like this is great for you who don't have interest in slogging away on a treadmill for hours at the gym (boring!). Keep it short and sweet with HIIT.”
Here’s Kelsey’s HIIT workout you can do anywhere. Repeat each exercise 20 times.
This is a great cardio exercise that simultaneously gets the heart rate up and improves agility.
- Place a medicine ball at the feet.
- Rest one foot on top of the medicine ball with the other foot on the ground.
- Alternate foot positions, keeping the weight over the hips and not the ball.
Need to slow it down? Modify by marching the feet instead of jumping. Ready to take it up a notch? Challenge yourself by increasing your speed or taking the toe taps around the ball. Be sure to alternate directions.
This compound exercise targets several muscle groups, giving you more bang for your buck. The shoulder stabilizer muscles and triceps are working to keep the upper body secure, while the core muscles work to keep the hips square.
- Place the hands on top of the medicine ball, keeping the shoulders stacked over wrists with legs extended out behind.
- Drive one knee to the chest, engaging the core to maintain good plank form.
- Alternate knee drives.
Need to slow it down? Decrease the tempo of your knee drives. If you have any wrist issues, you can skip the med ball and place the hands on the ground instead. Ready to take it up a notch? Simply increase the tempo of the movement, or try driving the knee to opposite elbow for an added twist.
Burpees are one of those exercises we all love to hate, so it's fun to try different variations to keep things interesting. This full body movement will get the heartrate up, as well as work the chest, shoulders, triceps, legs, and core. By raising the arms up at the top of the movement, you’re also are working to improve thoracic and shoulder mobility, a great way to improve posture for those who spend most of the day working at a desk.
- Begin in the same starting position as the mountain climbers, hands on the medicine ball, shoulders stacked over wrists and legs extended out behind.
- Jump both feet forward, planting the feet on the ground to either side of the ball in a wide sumo stance.
- While staying in a low squat hold, lift the upper body swinging straight arms overhead back in line or behind the ears. Maintain a flat back and engaged core.
- Lower the arms down, plant the hands back on the ball and jump the feet back into the starting position. Repeat.
Tip: If you’re feeling any pressure in the knees or an immediate intense quad burn, this could mean that you are rolling to the balls of your feet in that sumo squat. Ensure that your full foot is on the ground, directing the weight through your heels!
Need to slow it down? Step those feet back and forth one at a time instead of jumping them. Again, if you have any wrist issues, you can opt to skip the med ball and place your hands on the ground instead.
Russian twists are a core exercise that target the rectus abdominus and obliques. Rotational exercises are important to include in any exercise routine, as our daily movements are rarely linear. Protect the spine by learning to engage your core while twisting and turning through the work day.
- Sit with the medicine ball in the hands, knees bent and heels resting on the ground.
- Lean back until the abdominals engage, maintaining a flat back.
- Rotate the torso bringing the ball to the left side of the body, then over to the right. Repeat.
Tip: Ensure that the rotation is coming from your rib cage, opposed to just taking your arms side to side.
Need to slow it down? Leave the med ball out! Ready to kick it up a notch? Try floating your heels off the ground.
This spicy move will get that heart pumping and engage your glutes and leg muscles. Jumping movements are a great wat to wake up sleepy glutes, just be sure to land softly to protect the knees.
- Start by standing tall, with feet together.
- Jump the legs wide, dropping into a sumo squat. Ensure that the knees are not collapsing inwards by pushing them outwards as they drop low.
- Jump up doing a 180 degree turn in the air and land softly into a sumo squat facing the opposite direction.
- Jump feet back together, standing tall as the feet tap the ground, and right back into a sumo squat. Repeat by jumping 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
Need to slow it down? If your body isn't quite ready for jump squats, modify by replacing this movement with a basic bodyweight sumo squat.
This push-up variation is a great way to strengthen the core and upper body, mainly triceps, shoulders, and chest. By adding the down dog and prowler component, this movement also helps to improve flexibility and mobility.
- Push back into a downward dog position.
- Bend at the knee, lowering the hips closer to the ground while maintaining straight arms.
- Shift the weight forward into high plank.
- Complete a narrow pushup by lowering the body to the ground with elbows in tight to the sides until chest comes close to the ground and then push back up.
- Push back into downward dog and repeat.
Tip: Exhale as you push up to help engage the core.
Need to slow it down? Drop to your knees for the pushup portion of the movement if you are unable to do pushups from your toes.
Kelsey Collins teaches at Vancouver’s Tight Club Athletics and the Four Seasons Hotel. Follow along for fitness inspiration on her Instagram.