Work Your Core With This HIIT Workout

One of the most common questions we receive as trainers is this: “How do I get a flatter stomach?” Nutritionally speaking, eating a well-balanced diet can help to eliminate body fat and naturally give you a flatter stomach. However, in the gym, no exercise will give you a miracle six-pack, but there are certainly movements to begin the process.

In order to reach your goals in the new year, it’s important to take a deeper look into the fundamentals of fat loss. There are so many fads and frauds in the fitness industry, so understanding the science of body fat loss is extremely beneficial to your successes. If you are seeking a core-focused exercise regimen to reach your goals in 2020, you should definitely implement HIIT.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a style of training that alternates between quick sessions of high-intensity exercise followed by lower-intensity periods of recovery. While this type of training has been around for many years, we now have access to research that shows HIIT is beneficial for one’s core. One study in particular found that patients who practiced HIIT lost more body fat, gained more lean muscle mass, and trimmed more inches off their waists.

Some of the reasons that HIIT is an excellent addition to one’s exercise programming are:

  1. HIIT movements can be high impact or low impact, so it’s accessible to all levels of fitness.
  2. HIIT can be implemented into any type of workout (running, cycling, strength training, bodyweight movements, and even, yoga).
  3. HIIT workouts are relatively short compared to other workouts, so it can be completed even in a time crunch or for busy professionals.
  4. HIIT can help to beat exercise boredom (you can also follow these pointers to fight exercise boredom).

Instead of focusing on movements like crunches for hours on end to strengthen your core, here is a workout that is HIIT-inspired that will surpass the effects of any sit-ups:

HIIT Workout Directions

You’ll begin the workout with a two to three minute dynamic warm-up. Then you’ll move directly into the HIIT circuit. Perform each exercise below for a total of 35 seconds, then take a 15 second rest. While you’re working, you’ll want to push yourself as hard as you can. You will go through the entire circuit two times. If you’re a beginner to the movements, focus on your form and technique and do not rush the movement. If you’ve been completing HIIT workouts for a while, feel free to go through the circuit three times. Once the circuit is completed, take two to three minutes to cool down and stretch.

Overview:

Warm-Up: 2-3 minutes
HIIT Circuit (two times through): Approximately 15 minutes
Cool Down: 2-3 minutes
Total Workout: Approximately 20 minutes

Dynamic Warm-Up:

30 seconds of High Knees

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift up your left knee to your chest.
  • Switch to lift your right knee to your chest. Continue the movement, alternating legs and moving at a sprinting or running pace.

30 seconds of Inchworms

  • Starting in a standing position. Walk your hands out, extending your body into a push-up/high plank position.
  • Then, walk your feet in towards your hands as your hips lift up towards the ceiling. Once the feet have come in as far as they can, the hands will begin to walk out once again, back into the push-up/high plank position.

30 seconds of Leg Swings

  • Hold on to a wall or fixed surface (or do this move without support for an added stability challenge). Swing one leg back and forth as if you’re kicking a soccer ball. Switch legs halfway through.

30 seconds of Jumping Jacks

  • Begin by standing with your legs straight and your arms to your sides.
  • Jump up and spread your feet beyond hip-width apart while bringing your arms above your head, nearly touching.
  • Jump again, lowering your arms and bringing your legs together. Return to your starting position.

hiit

HIIT Circuit:

35 seconds of work, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Go through the circuit twice.

Squat Jumps

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively.
  • When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start in a plank position with arms and legs long. Keep your abs pulled in and your body straight. Squeeze your glutes and pull your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Pull your right knee into your chest. As the knee draws to the chest, pull your abs in even tighter to be sure your body doesn’t sag or come out of its plank position.
  • Quickly switch and pull the left knee in. At the same time you push your right leg back, pull your left knee into the chest using the same form.
  • Continue to switch knees. Pull the knees in right, left, right, left—always switching simultaneously so that you are using a “running” motion.

Shuffles

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hinge/bend forward at the hips, knees bent, looking forward, chest lifted, and neutral spine. Hold your hands in loose fists in front of your chest.
  • Move right using small quick shuffle steps and then repeat the movement moving left. Continue back and forth.

Plank Jacks

  • Place yourself into a forearm plank position. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders.
  • Extend your legs behind you and tuck your tailbone slightly so that your pelvis is perpendicular to the floor. Squeeze your glutes and brace your core. Your body should be in a straight line, your back flat. Focus your eyes on the floor.
  • Keeping your body in a straight line, slightly bend at the knees and hop both feet out to the sides as if doing a jumping jack.
  • Land on your toes, allowing your knees to bend slightly again, and then hop your legs back to the starting position.

Squat Hold with Punches

  • Make fists and place your arms bent in front of you at about chin level. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and engage the abs.
  • Lower your body into a squat position and hold it.
  • Then throw quick forward punches alternating between the left and right arm.

Reverse Lunge with Front Kick

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step back with your left foot coming into a deep lunge bending both knees to 90 degrees.
  • Press the right heel into the ground as you push off with your left foot, kicking your left leg out in front of the body.
  • With control, return to the lunge position. Switch legs halfway through.

Once you’ve completed the circuit two times, it’s important to take two to three minutes to focus on a cooldown and allow the heart rate to recover.

HIIT workouts are advantageous to your exercise regimen two to three times per week. Beyond the HIIT sessions, it is also important to focus on a healthy diet and include strength training twice a week into your program as well. The movements listed above are a great start, but you should change them up from time to time.

You could also incorporate jump rope, battle rope slams, broad jumps, bear crawls, and v-ups (among many others!). Grab a few friends or some of your family members and tackle these quick and extremely effective workouts from the comfort of your own home. Before you know it, you’ll be reaping the benefits by burning fat and building a stronger core.

About the Author

Rebekah Miller

Rebekah Miller is a writer for QuickQuote.com and MS of Kinesiology. She is a personal trainer; certifications: CSCS, NASM- CPT, RYT-200, and Precision Nutrition. She also founded and runs a strength and conditioning facility in Florida.

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