I love to train hard, push my limits and defy the expectations of my age group. So, nothing warms my heart like hearing, “Are you sure you should be doing that at your age?” (A common reaction to watching me perform HIIT, high intensity interval training.)
I laugh and say, “Yes, I absolutely should! This is why I look better than many women in their 20s!”
Here’s the deal, I don’t care how old or young you are, it’s all in your head! I am proof of that! I am a huge advocate of HIIT for myself and my clients, as it provide serious results in less time than traditional approaches and a fun challenge that keeps people motivated.
My partner and I have the best boot camp in Las Vegas equipped with sleds (prowler), tires, hammers, battle ropes, tension ropes, suspension straps, sand balls, kettlebells, etc. The average age range of our female clients is 34 – 58 years old. There is nothing more awesome than watching a 52 year old, RIPPED woman pushing a sled with a 45-pound plate across astro turf then performing a squat-thrust-throw with a sand ball. I love it.
SMARTER NOT HARDER
Numerous studies including ones led by exercise physiologist Martin Gibala, PhD, the chair of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, have found that HIIT workouts can provide the same cardiovascular and muscular benefits in one-half to one-third the time as those long durational endurance workouts, in just two short weeks. Another study from Ontario’s University of Guelph showed that a total of seven hours of HIIT over two weeks raised women’s fat-burning power more than 12 hours of medium-speed sessions.
START YOUR ENGINE
The whole point of HIIT is to go as hard as you can, approximately 85-90% of your maximum heart rate for specified duration, and then slow it down and recover. Then guess what? Yep, hit it hard once again. The interval lengths and numbers of rounds vary with your experience and level of conditioning. However, here is a sample workout you can start with:
Repeat the following 2 – 5 times for a total of 15 – 30 minutes of work, depending on your comfort level and experience.
1 minute – SLED PUSH: UP AND BACK*
1 minute – CRUNCHES
Rest 30 seconds
30 seconds – BATTLE ROPES – Any Variation*
1 minute – V-UPS
Rest 30 seconds
45 seconds BOX JUMPS
1 minute PLANK
Rest 1 Minute
* See below for a description of these exercises.
MY FAVORITE HIIT EXERCISES
1) ON THE PROWL
Sleds, commonly known as prowlers, are an incredible addition to any HIIT training program. It is truly an all over body workout from head to toe. Your arms are lengthened, your core kept tight and your quads, glutes and hammies are pushing (as well as screaming) all at the same time. Not to mention, with one push, you will accelerate your heart rate within 15 seconds. If you are at a gym that does not have a prowler or sled, a good alternative is a hardwood plyo box. Slide those babies across the floor for the same effect. The sled can either be done timed or by length and number of pushes. A good timed rep would be 60 seconds. A good length would be pushing the sled about 30 yards up and back twice.
2) GO TO BATTLE
Battle Ropes are amazing for developing core, back and shoulder strength as well as sculpting, toning and burning fat. Most rope exercises are done with rope slams (two hands at once) or alternating waves, but sidewinders are also brutal. To perform a sidewinder, grab a rope end in each hand, keeping a bit of slack on the rope. Assume an athletic stance and then move the rope side-to-side across your body as fast and explosively as you possibly can. These are typically timed.
BELIEVE TO ACHIEVE
You have got to believe that you can do this at ANY age. Obviously, depending on your fitness level, you may need to start off a bit more basic before you really HIIT IT HARD. However, you CAN work your way up to one of the most effective strength building, fat burning workout approaches, if you set your mind on doing so. Don’t forget to check with your physician if you have any injuries where modifications are necessary, but other than that, remember…AGE IS JUST A NUMBER.