Interval Workouts to Boost Your Metabolism and Strength

Last updated: 09-29-2020

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Interval Workouts to Boost Your Metabolism and Strength

Close up of unrecognizable athletic woman having sports training with kettle bell.
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Less time in the gym doesn't mean you have to sacrifice fitness if you know this secret: interval training . Research shows that interval training — workouts in which you alternate periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods — increases fitness and burns more calories over a short period of time than steady-state cardio (you know: just doing the same thing for your whole workout time).
So how do you get the most out of interval training, and how long should each push and recovery be? One of the many great things about interval training workouts is that there's no single hard-and-fast rule. Different lengths of work and recovery bring different benefits — and they're all good. (There are even HIIT apps .)
These interval training workouts and exercise ideas can help you get started with your own interval training workout routine. Just know this: Interval training is *tough*, so if you're just starting to exercise, spend anywhere from few weeks to a month building your stamina with cardio workouts before adding them to your routine. Once you're ready? Add these interval training workouts or exercises to your gym routine once a week to burn more calories, boost your overall fitness level, and get in and out of the gym faster. That's a win-win-win.
Interval Training Workout #1: Cardio Blaster
This is one of the best interval training workouts you can do to improve fitness. It gets your heart pumping and burns lots of calories in a short amount of time.
How to do it:
Warm up for 15 minutes.
Run, bike, or row for 3 minutes at 90 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate (should feel like 8.5 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 10).
Take 3 minutes active recovery (you're still moving but at an easy pace) and repeat the 3 on/3 off pattern 3 to 4 more times.
Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
Interval Training Workout #2: Sprint Interval Training
Sprinting is great for tightening and toning your legs, glutes, and core. It increases your muscle power, which helps you push harder and makes your non-interval training workouts feel easier so you can challenge yourself and get even closer to reaching your goals.
How to do it:
Warm up for 15 minutes, adding a few 20-second bursts at the end to prepare for the workout.
Run, bike, or row for 30 seconds at a nearly all-out effort.
Take 3 minutes active recovery and repeat the 30-seconds on/3-minutes off pattern 5 or 6 more times.
Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
Interval Training Workout #3: Cardio-Sprint Pyramid
This adds sprint interval training for a fast and fun workout. Here, after each burst of hard work, you'll recover for the same amount of time.
How to do it:
Warm up for 15 minutes, adding a few 20-second bursts at the end to prepare for the workout.
Run, bike, or row: During the work periods, you should have a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 8 to 10, followed by 30 seconds of active recovery.
Build and taper the sprint interval training workout like this: 30 seconds sprint/30 seconds recover, 1 minute sprint/1 minute recover, 2 minutes sprint/2 minutes recover, 4 minutes sprint/4 minutes recover, 2 minutes sprint/2 minutes recover, 1 minute sprint/1 minute recover, 30 seconds sprint/30 seconds recover.
Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
Interval Training Exercises to Add to Your Workouts
Figure 8 Lunge
These alternating lunges zone in on your quads and glutes, giving you serious strength and definition. (But first, make sure you know how to do a lunge correctly before jumping into this interval training move.)
How to do it:
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding the handle of kettlebell in left hand, arms by sides.
Lunge forward with right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees, and pass kettlebell under right thigh to grab the handle with right hand.
Pushing off right heel, return to start position.
Repeat, lunging forward with left leg and passing kettlebell under thigh to left hand.
Continue, alternating sides, for 1 minute.
360-Degree Toe Tap
Trade in trekking along on the treadmill for some soccer drill-inspired cardio that has cardiovascular and circulation benefits, to boot.
How to do it:
Place medicine ball on ground in front of you.
Alternately tap toes of left and right foot on top of ball, moving around it as fast as you can until you've made a complete circle.
Continue for 1 minute (or 30 taps), changing direction with each rotation.
Duck-and-Punch
This interval workout move mixes cardio and muscle-shaping strength work in one. Squeeze your glutes to add resistance to each squat, helping you burn calories with controlled movements.
How to do it:
Stand with feet wide, toes turned out slightly, elbows bent by sides, fists near chin.
Lower into a squat and, keeping fists near chin, hinge forward from hips until torso is near parallel to floor; then fluidly sweep torso to the right as you straighten up (as if ducking a punch).
Return to center squat and repeat, this time ducking to the left.
Continue alternating sides for 45 seconds.
Burpee Box Jump
Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out.
Lower into a deep plié squat with hands clasped in front of chest.
Jump as high as you can, tapping heels together in midair. Land with knees soft in plié squat position.
Repeat for 45 seconds.
Sidewinder
This interval training exercise revs your metabolism, sculpts your shoulders, and works the biceps — with your own body weight.
How to do it:
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, then lower into a squat, placing palms on floor in front of feet.
Kick your legs out to the side, as if you're doing a side burpee.
Return to the center, stand up, and repeat on the other side.
Double Snap Kick
By pulling your abs in tight, you'll work your core, outer thighs, and glutes all at once during this interval training move.
How to do it:
Stand with feet staggered, right foot forward, hands in fists near chin.
Bend left knee, bringing heel toward butt as you turn hips to left so that left hip is stacked above right.
Leaning your torso back slightly to counterbalance, kick out with left leg, straightening knee with toes pointed.
Without lowering leg, bend left knee again (bringing heel toward butt) and do another snap kick, attempting to kick slightly higher than the first kick.
Touch floor briefly with left foot and repeat. Do 10 to 15 double kicks. Switch sides and repeat.
Zigzag
Do three sets of one minute each, aiming to beat your last set every single time. Don't have a jump rope? Use a rolled-up towel or no equipment at all, jump back and forth from a fixed point to get the same results. (Related: The Killer Gym Towel Workout for Your Arms & Abs )
How to do it:


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