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Quick Workouts for Big Benefits

By: Chris Volgraf, CSCS

Princeton Longevity has long been championing the time saving, calorie burning and muscle building benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT) that is getting much attention in the media. These quick and intense workouts place your body in a state of oxygen debt, which keeps your metabolic rate high and burns calories even hours after your work out is complete. Another huge advantage is these quick workouts is they get everyone from the busiest executive to the busy stay-at-home mom motivated to exercise.

Following the lead of more famous forms of high intensity interval training (HIIT), like Tabata Training, this 6 minute workout is a series of 12 bodyweight exercises performed for 20 seconds at a 85-90% max intensity, with up to 10 second rest periods in between to keep your heart rate elevated. The end result is an efficient workout that challenges most of the major muscle groups of the body and provides a nice mix of cardio, resistance training and core exercise.

A good way to get motivated and to take your workout on the road or to the office is to download a HIIT app on your iphone or droid phone. These apps provide a customizable interval timer that beeps when your high intensity exercise and rest intervals are complete.  Inexpensive and in some cases free, these apps can make your workout easier by allowing you to focus on the exercise and your intensity rather than watching a clock the entire time. Since a vast majority of our patients have very limited time to focus on their exercise, we commonly recommend HIIT with both cardio and resistance training exercises to get the best benefits possible in less than 10 min. Two of the top HIIT Timer apps on Android and iTunes are “A HIIT Interval Timer” for Android phones and the “Interval Timer—Seconds by Runloop.  Both have 4+ ratings online and offer an inexpensive/free way to improve your exercise experience.

As always, if you have not been exercising regularly and you want to start, it is in your best interest to have a physical like the comprehensive exam offered at the Princeton Longevity Center and receive physician’s clearance, an evaluation and guidance from an exercise physiologist and a nutritional plan from one of our dieticians.

Below is PLC’s full body HIIT program. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds with up to 10 seconds rest before starting the next. You can also repeat the circuit 2-3 sets for a longer (but still short) workout.

6 Minute PLC HIIT Workout


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