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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Low Impact, High Intensity

Grab any fitness publication off the shelf today and you’ll most likely find articles that suggest incorporating high intensity interval training (HIIT) to blast fat and torch calories. Alternating periods of high activity with low-moderate activity have proven to be a top pick when it comes to a challenging yet effective workout and easy to complete in short amounts of time.

However, high intensity intervals also has a tendency to mean high impact, and for beginning exercisers, individuals with joint concerns or people with injuries, high impact may not be your friend. The good news is you can still get the benefits of HIIT with out the impact by making just a few modifications to common high impact movements.

Many moves used in HIIT workouts incorporate a jump or plyometric element to get your heart pumping. Generally speaking, to turn a high impact exercise into a low impact one try removing the jump (or leap or bound) to get a similar but gentler effect. Take a look at how I modified five common high impact moves to remain high intensity but low impact.

While these moves may be low impact that doesn’t mean you can still execute these moves with intensity, speed, and power. Remember that high intensity will look different for everyone. On a scale of 1-10, one being sitting in a chair and 10 being an all out physical exertion, try to reach a 7-8 during your periods of high intensity and a 3-4 during low intensity.

If you’re new to HIIT workouts try working at a high level of intensity for 20 seconds followed by one to two minutes of low intensity/recovery. As your progress, try shortening your duration of low activity or lengthen your duration of high activity slightly. Remember, your periods of high intense should require large amounts of effort to complete. The goal is to work hard during that short period of time, not necessarily longer.

Using the low impact moves in the video above try this low impact, high intensity workout a try.

After a proper five minute warm up period, perform each move as stated and follow with a five minute cool down. The total workout should take 15-20 minutes.

20 seconds walk out burpee

1-2 minutes march in place

20 seconds backward lunge

1-2 minutes march in place

20 seconds squat with reach

1-2 minutes march in place

20 seconds high knee march

1-2 minutes march in place

20 seconds skaters

1-2 minutes march in place

Remember if you find this beginner version not challenging enough try shortening the rest periods between movements. 

Your turn:  Do you have a favorite low impact exercise that gets your heart rate up?

1 comment:

  1. These are great low impact options. Typically my low impact, high intensity workouts are spinning, I love that I can really kick my butt without putting a lot of stress of my legs.