With the increasing popularity and visibility of high-intensity, interval training, many Mia Brazilia customers have expressed to me a willingness and desire to jump aboard this proven, fitness technique to improve their overall endurance and strength. While many of these Mia Brazilia customers sign up for group sessions at fast-growing, fitness franchises like OrangeTheory, Red Effect, and F45 that cater to interval training enthusiasts, other customers are curious about individual-based strategies and techniques that can be adopted at-home or on-the-road that simulate and mimic high-intensity, interval training. The following five, do-it-yourself, interval training stations will provide an optimal burn that will elevate and enhance your cardio endurance and strength in a relatively short period of time:
1.) Push Ups
- This time-honored, compound exercise is a commonly-used interval training technique that begins in a prone position and engages multiple muscle groups while exerting cardio stress on the heart. Simply raise and lower your body using your arms, being sure to keep your back straight (no arching) while engaging your pectoral muscles, triceps, anterior deltoids, and core abdominal muscles. While the most common form of push up entails the back and legs remaining straight and off the floor, there are several alternative forms of push ups as well. These alternatives include the “diamond push up,” (when you bring the thumbs and index finger of each hand together), the “clap push up” (at the peak of the push up, push yourself off the ground and quickly clap midair), and the “Spiderman Push Up” (as you raise your body, raise one of your knees toward the elbow on the same side, switching knees with each repetition).
2.) Running Stairs
- Anyone who has seen a boxing workout knows how important stair running is to sculpting a champion boxer. This plyometric exercise strengthens your cardiac lungs, heart, and muscles and activates your fast-twitch muscle fibers. Almost any home, neighborhood park, or hotel has a set of stairs that can be employed for this beneficial, interval training strategy. Stairs require the runner to work against gravity and engage secondary, muscle stabilizers that are often neglected in traditional running or weight training. This is because stairs require you to balance and activate only one leg briefly, as the other leg is attempting to move to the next step. Strengthening these long-neglected muscle stabilizer groups will dramatically lower your risk of injury or physical discomfort and improve posture. The typical, high-gradient stair also accelerates your heart rate significantly, further elevating your maximal oxygen output potential (or VO2 max). After a few weeks of running stairs, your body will be able to utilize oxygen more efficiently and convert it to energy more quickly. This desired effect will allow you to run even harder and for longer durations of time.
- The burpee has been a legendary staple of strength training and aerobic enthusiasts for nearly a century. The reason for its enduring popularity? Well……it works!!! Also called the “squat thrust,” the burped can be performed in four steps. Begin in the standing position and then proceed into a squat position with your hands on the ground. Next, kick your feet back into a plank position, while keeping your arms fully extended. Then, in one comprehensive movement, immediately return your feet into the original squat position. Finally, stand up from the squat position and you have achieved your first burpee. When burpees were first invented in the 1930’s, the “up phase” of the exercise used to deploy the feet landing between the hands while still grounded. However, this technique has been omitted recently due to the unnecessary pressure that it placed on the back. Now, it is much more common to land your feet on the OUTSIDE of the hands. Elite-level athletes can opt for several variations of the burpee including the “box jump burpee” (the athlete jumps onto an available box, rather than straight up or down), “burpee push up” (the athlete performs one push-up after arriving at the extended plank position), and “double burpee” (the athlete performs two push-ups after assuming the plank position, negating the drive from landing after the jump and making the next jump even more taxing).
4.) Jumping Rope
- While jumping rope conjures up memories of your childhood, most people don’t realize how truly beneficial it can be to elevate your cardio endurance as an adult. This calorie-burning exercise staple strengthens the heart while also strengthening both your upper and lower body muscle groups. While you are putting direct stress on the knees, ankles, and hips, jumping rope is still far more preferable and low-impact on the body than jogging. Rope-jumping intervals of 50-200 repetitions are advisable to create a high-intensity workout. Wear appropriate shoes, find a suitable jumping surface, and remember to stay high on your toes and utilize your body’s natural shock absorbers while jumping.
5.) Shuttle Sprint
- The shuttle sprint is a popular, interval training technique that will develop your body’s acceleration, power, endurance, and anaerobic disposition. The set-up for the shuttle sprint is quite simple: place any item that can serve as a marker at 10 yard, 20 yard, and 30 yard intervals. Sprint to the 10 yard mark first, touching the floor and running back to the original, starting line. Next, sprint to the 20 yard marker, touching the floor and then return to the starting line. Lastly, sprint to the 30 yard marker, touch the floor, and proceed back to the starting line. This is one repetition. For each shuttle sprint interval station, perform 3-5 repetitions at a time. This agility and speed drill is a favorite of athletes of stop-and-go sports like soccer, hockey, and football. The change of direction demands of the shuttle sprint enhances fast-twitch muscle fiber performance while the cardio demands of the challenging exercise dramatically improve maximal oxygen output potential.
High-intensity, interval training is a popular, exercise training technique that has a proven track record of improving cardiac endurance and strength. For good reason, an increasing number of my Mia Brazilia customers are embracing the high-intensity interval training phenomenon to enhance their figure and improve their overall health. While joining an interval training group session at a neighboring OrangeTheory or F45 is a wonderful idea, you can also create your own, personalized, individual interval training strategy at home or on the road by incorporating push ups, stair running, burpees, jumping rope, and shuttle sprints to optimize your cardio and strength training fitness regimen. Regardless of the path you choose, remember to…….LET IT BURN!