Do you know what I love about HIIT? I mean apart from how bloody effective it is…
I love how easily it can be adapted.
Yes, the fundamentals remain the same, you work really, really, really hard for a short period of time, and then rest for a bit. But you can change how the work-to-rest ratio happens.
Because let’s face it, 30 secs of bodyweight squats, 10 seconds of rest will get boring, very quickly.
And a boring workout is a workout you won’t do.
So, how can you change things up? How can you make it more interesting? So that your HIIT workouts remain fun and you carry on seeing improvements in your fitness, your physique, whatever your fitness goals are.
I’m going to tell you all about EMOM vs HIIT vs Tabata vs AMRAP vs YGIG....
As I’ve mentioned, the fundamentals of HIIT have to stay the
same...you have to give maximum effort during the work periods, and
then you’ll get little rest periods.
That maximum effort has to be there though, so your work periods have to remain short.
And by short I mean 45 seconds at the most.
I don’t think it’s possible to work all out for longer than 45 seconds. Ideally you’ll be working for around 30 seconds. But 45 seconds at the most.
So, how do you change your HIIT workout? EMOM vs HIIT vs AMRAP vs Tabata vs YGIG. Hold on to your hats, we're about to enter the world of HIIT acronyms.
Before we get to changing it up, let’s recap what a classic HIIT
session would look like.
20-45 seconds of work followed by 10-30 seconds of rest.
Work and rest, work and rest for whatever time you have available.
That’s what a classic HIIT workout would look like.
Key points for you to remember, the longer you have to work the longer your rest should be, and you have to work as hard as you can for as long as you can.
What is a classic HIIT workout good for?
It’s great for that all out slog. For pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. For thinking ‘OMG I can’t do that’ but it turns out, you can. You did. Yay you.
Classic HIIT is a great way to get a simple workout.
You just pick a few exercises, some working upper body, some working lower body and a few cardio type of exercise, and you’ve got a full-body workout that will take less than 30 minutes.
Classic HIIT is great. But, if you do it too often, you will get bored. And you’re body will get used to it.
So, as promised, here’s how you change it up…
What the heck is EMOM? I hear you shout.
It stands for Every Minute On the Minute.
And it means you complete the specified workout routine, or designated number of reps, at the top of every minute.
So, say the workout was 10 kettlebell swings. A simple workout.
On the first minute you do 10 kettlebell swings. You then rest for the remainder of the minute. At the top of the next minute you do another 10 kettlebell swings.
Rinse and repeat. For the allotted time.
I love EMOM training, especially when I prescribing it for my clients, because the harder you work the more rest you have.
It’s a great incentive to knuckle down and get it done. If you flap about for too long you’ll end up with no rest.
EMOM is great at making sure you’re giving it your all, because
you want that rest, right.
But it’s also good for making HIIT into strength training workouts.
I know I’ve said that HIIT isn’t strength training, but EMOM can be a bit more strength focused.
Using heavier weights and a rep scheme that’s more suited to building muscular strength, that’s 1-5 reps. You will still be working at maximum effort, just in a slightly different way. You’re not going to be left puffed out as you would normally, but you will be feeling the burn in your muscles.
Please make sure you can do every exercise in the workout with good form. The heavy and high intensity nature of EMOM could increase your risk of injury. So correct form is essential.
AMRAP, or as many rounds as possible, is a workout protocol that’s
usually reserved for CrossFit. But, I think it’s a really great way
to change up a HIIT workout. And it’s great for testing your
current fitness level.
You complete as many rounds as you can of a given workout, within a set amount of time.
It’s not a standard HIIT with prescribed work-to-rest ratios, you decided when and how much rest you need.
And that’s why it’s great for testing fitness levels.
As you get fitter you’ll need less rest time. So, when you do the same workout a few weeks after the first, you should be able to do more rounds.
Just a note...If you don’t see an improvement, don’t beat yourself up.
I know you will. I do as well. But there are so many reasons you might not get more rounds in.
Bad day. Bad week. Kids playing up. Lack of sleep. Nutrition not been great. Illness. You’re tired. You’ve over trained. Hormones. Argument with hubby. Tough time at work.
There are so many factors that affect our well-being. It could be anything.
My advice...give yourself a break.
Have a week off training.
Make sure you’re eating what you should be eating. Get out any frustration you might be holding, to your hubby, your kids, your boss.
And try again in a week.
I know I’ve said it up there, but because this has been a common
section on this page, and I’m a bit anally retentive, I’m going
to say it again.
AMRAP is really great for testing your fitness levels. For seeing how much you’re improving.
I find it a great incentive to keep going, especially when other goals, like fat loss, might be plateauing.
Tabata is another form of interval training.
It was designed by Dr. Izumi Tabata after he, and his team, discovered that training at a high intensity level for just four minutes and 20 seconds, four days a week improved aerobic and anaerobic fitness far more than training at a moderate intensity level for an hour, six days of the week.
With this in mind he designed a workout protocol that is very specific.
If you’re doing Tabata workouts you’ll be doing a specified exercise for eight rounds of 20 seconds work 10 seconds rest.
So, if you see squats Tabata, you know what it means.
Surprise surprise, Tabata is great for anyone who hasn’t got a
lot of time.
If you’ve got a crazy busy schedule, but you want to do something, do a quick tabata workout.
If you can only spare 5 minutes during your lunch break, then pick an exercise that is full body and quite hard on the cardio system, burpees, mountain climbers, jump squats, jump rope.
Eight rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. A really effective way to get a workout in.
If you have got a bit more time then string 4-5 exercises together. Upper body, lower body and cardio. For example, burpees, squats, push ups, mountain climbers. Another great workout that covers your entire body in just 20 minutes.
This is the last form of HIIT I’m
going to talk about, but it is another favourite of mine.
Ok, who am I kidding...I love them all. Apart from classic HIIT. Strangely it’s one I can take or leave. But I digress.
You go, I go, is a lovely way of getting people working together. That’s my view as a trainer.
As someone who attends HIIT classes, it’s a great way to meet different people. People who enjoy the same kind of things you do.
The idea is really simple, your partner goes, then they rest while you go. Then they go again as you rest, and it’s repeated.
It’s quite simple but it gives a great sense of camaraderie. And as you start getting a bit tired, you get that encouraging heckle from your partner… ‘come on Beth, you can do it’.
A word of warning, pick someone who has similar fitness levels.
Honestly. This is really important.
If you’ve teamed up with someone super fit and you’re not, you’re not going to get any rest and you WILL spend the entire workout plotting their death. That’s if you’ve got the energy to use your imagination.
If you’re working out at home, and you haven’t got a friend to workout with, you can adapt You Go I Go to I Go I Go.
Just time how long it takes you to complete whatever the workout is, and that’s how much rest you have.
Or, if you’re doing a distance based training session, sprints for example, sprint the required distance, walk back and go again.
The walk back is your active rest, so take in as much oxygen as possible.
Meeting new people, if you’re going to a HIIT class.
Or, distance based workouts if you’re at home working out on your own.
So that’s all of the different types
of interval training I could think of.
There might be others.
Just remember, you don’t have to choose one. Why would you?
As long as you’re maxing your effort during the work periods and getting decent rest in between, you’re doing a HIIT workout. And you’ll get the benefits of doing a HIIT workout.
All of these examples do just one thing, give you a way to keep it interesting. Stop your workouts becoming tedious and boring. And who wouldn’t want that.
Mix it up. Get creative.
And if you want to know how to put EMOM vs HIIT vs AMRAP vs Tabata vs You Go I Go into a plan that will have you hitting your fitness goals, then pop your e-mail address below and get my ultimate eight week HIIT workout plan.
I’d be more than happy to help.