Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Workout Wednesday - Crazy 8's HIIT Workout

Lately I've been breaking my weight lifting down to short splits - maybe even only working one muscle group a day. This allows me time to get it done during lunch and also to really focus on that particular muscle group.

My cardio has typically been very much steady state aerobic with running and cycling. Since my weight workouts have been short, I thought it might be fun to add in some good old anaerobic or metabolic circuit training - often thought of as HIIT (high intensity interval training).

HIIT workouts are bouts of high intensity work followed by short rests. The benefit is that they can be "fun," they're short, and they offer a longer EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which is translated into continued calorie burn.

During EPOC, oxygen is used to restore the body back to its resting state, replenish fuel stores, oxidize lactic acid and fuel the body's increased metabolism. During this period, there is an elevated consumption of fuel. Free fatty acids are released into the blood stream as a result of exercise breaking down fat stores and converting to free fatty acids. During EPOC, the free fatty acids are used as fuel.

While you might burn more calories during an aerobic workout, the EPOC declines quickly. Whereas you might have a lower calorie burn during an anaerobic workout, the EPOC lasts longer and you continue to burn calories for a longer period after the workout has ended. Therefore, you can achieve similar results with shorter workouts.

HIIT workouts are also great for building endurance. As a runner, I'm all about endurance as well as speed. And I think HIIT workouts can be a fantastic accompaniment to any running training you're doing.

Tuesday, after my shoulder workout, I decided to do a few rounds of a HIIT workout, however, I didn't have my phone with me to use as a timer. Hence my Crazy 8's Workout was born. No timer needed, and if you don't have a kettlebell, you can do tuck jumps or pushups for an equipment-free workout.


Always warm up with a 10 minute brisk walk and/or dynamic moves. Dynamic moves can include butt kicks, high knees, jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, arm swings, and/or alternating lunges.

For this workout, do each exercise for 8 reps* moving quickly to the next exercise. Once you complete all 8 exercises, rest 40-60 seconds and repeat as many times as you like.

* For lateral moves, high knee jogs, scissor lunges, 1 right and 1 left = 1 rep.

Video Examples:

Squat jumps
Kettlebell swings
Burpees with pushups
Lateral speed skaters (no band necessary)
High knee jog
Scissor lunges
Lateral ski hops
Plie jacks


Do you ever incorporate short HIIT workouts after a weight training session?