Sunday, April 17, 2011

High Intensity Interval Training for Fighters

Last week I posted an article about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). You can check it out here.

I got a few emails from readers who wanted some specific examples of HIIT routines geared towards fighters.

I'd be more than happy to oblige.

3 Workouts That'll Whip Your Ass!

Now I know everyone doesn't have access to a whole bunch of varied equipment so, I'll try to keep these routines simple. That way no matter what kind of equipment you have you'll be able to do at least one of these routines.

HIIT the Heavy Bag - For this routine you'll at least need some form of freestanding or hanging heavy bag

We're going to utilize a 1:1 work:rest ratio for this HIIT workout. That means we're going to be doing an all out work interval for one whole minute followed by a rest interval of one minute.

For the work interval we're going to hit the heavybag. Since you're only going to be hitting for a minute I want you to work hard the entire minute. Don't give the bag any rest. At no point during the work interval should you not be hitting the bag. You should feel exhausted by the end of the interval.

During the rest interval you're going to do some form of active rest. You can do jumping jacks, run in place, or skip rope (my favorite). No matter what you do you should keep moving but keep the intensity low.

So, the routine will look like this:

  • 5 min. Warm-up (if you're throwing this in at the end of a normal workout you can skip this as you'll already be "warmed up")
  • 5-10, 1 minute rounds of intense heavybag work. 1 minute of active rest between each round.
  • 5-10 minute cool-down and stretching.

HIIT Burpees - If you don't already know what a Burpee is read this before trying HIIT Burpees.

For HIIT Burpees we're going to do a slightly different work rest ratio. This time we're still going to be doing a work set for one minute but we won't be resting for more than thirty seconds.

During your work intervals you need to try and squeeze as many Burpees as you can into that one minute. Your work interval is not the time to half-ass anything - GET TO WORK!
  • 5 minute Warm-up
  • 5-10, 1 minute intervals of Burpees with 30 seconds of rest between each interval
  • 5-10 minute cool-down and stretching.
HIIT for the Gym Rat - You'll need access to some form of traditional cardio equipment for this one. The treadmill, elliptical, bike, or rower all work great.

The one thing about doing HIIT on a traditional piece of cardio equipment in a gym is that people tend to give you funny looks. So, be prepared. You're gonna freak out the soccer moms and the assholes talking on their cell phones during their workouts. You've been warned.

To keep the awkward stares and hushed comments to a minimum we'll make this workout the easiest of the three.

Our work to rest ratio will look like this: 30 seconds of all out work followed by one minute of rest. Since you're work interval is only 30 seconds but you're getting a whole minute of rest this should be much easier than the other two workouts. But this isn't an excuse for not going all out during your work interval. You should be pushing yourself as hard as possible for those thirty seconds. During your rest interval take it easy and do some slow and steady walking, rowing, cycling, or whatever the hell it is you do on an elliptical. :)

Also since you're on a traditional piece of cardio equipment you have the option to increase the total amount of work your doing by increasing your incline or resistance level. So during your work interval you'll be increasing your incline or resistance level by 3-10 units above your resting level as well as moving at a much faster pace - fun times.

For example if your resting resistance level on an elliptical was 10, then during your work interval you would increase that level to somewhere around 13-20 depending on your current fitness level and how hard you want to work.
  • 5 minute warm-up
  • 5-10, 30 second work intervals (moving at a faster pace AND at a higher incline or resistance level) followed by 1 minute active rest between each interval.
  • 5 minute cool-down (slow pace at the resting incline or resistance level)
  • Stretching
Conclusion -

You can choose to use only one of these routines or (if you have access to the equipment) you can do them all.

HIIT workouts are great as stand alone routines. But they work equally well at the end of a lifting day or martial arts training day. It's up to you how you want to incorporate them into your current program.

One more point I would like to add. For years I only did my HIIT training using either a simple stopwatch, my cell phone timer, or I just counted seconds in my head.

Recently I decided to break down and buy a Gym Boss Timer. I'm actually really glad I did.

The Gym Boss allow me to set up an entire routine without having to spend rest or work intervals counting in my head (which is a pain in the ass) or having to go reset my stopwatch or cell phone after each interval. The Gym Boss allows me to totally focus on my workouts.

And I honestly feel like my training has improved since using it.

Plus, it's only $20 and it has so many other uses: Tabatas, Heavybag sessions, Shadowboxing sessions, putting a timer on your sister-in-laws boring stories, ect...

If you get one you're gonna love it.

Train Hard,

Josh Skinner

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