We've all heard of the benefits of high-intensity interval training, right? From fat loss to fitness improvements, HIIT seems to be here to stay!
However, if you are like me, you have some injuries that can make those high intensity workouts a little dangerous. Here is my solution to my knee problems: an indoor bike!
This allows me to complete these HIIT workouts with little pain and still reap the benefits. Have you completed a spinning class before?
This is very similar to HIITs. If you haven't heard of the benefits of this style of exercise, you might be wondering whether or not it's a good fit for you.
Don't worry, I'll go over the benefits and show you exactly how to set up a workout for yourself!
What Is A HIIT Workout?
Here is the basic definition: high-intensity activity performed for intervals of high intensity and low intensity, which alternate back and forth. The high intensity interval tends to be shorter than the low intensity interval. This allows for recovery between those high intensity bursts, which is beneficial for your fitness and body composition.
Physical Fitness Benefits
The main benefit is the efficiency of these workouts. Instead of doing steady state cardio workouts for 30-40 minutes per day, you can do these interval workouts for 10-20 minutes a few times a week and get the same benefits!
You can work on multiple fitness skills as well! You don't have to limit yourself to a bike for these workouts. You can work on muscular endurance, plyometric, etc. The main benefit is the aerobic endurance improvement, regardless of what exercise you choose to complete.
Fat Loss Benefits
The calorie burning potential of these workouts is very high, even with the lower training volume, as you can see from this comparison! Steady state cardio is left in the dust when the two are compared for the same duration. This huge calorie burn is what can help you lose more fat than traditional cardio.
Also, cardio workouts that last too long can raise Cortisol and lower Testosterone, which creates a catabolic environment, as seen in this study. A catabolic environment leads to muscle tissue being stripped away for energy. Since these workouts are short and sweet, your Cortisol release is minimized, leading to more muscle retention when looking to lose fat. This is a great benefit for those who want to keep their muscle tissue while leaning out!
What You Need For These Workouts:
- A Bike – recumbent, stationary, spin, etc. Any of them are suitable
- Proper Shoes – you need a good grip on the pedals for the high intervals
- Water or Sports Drink – these intervals will make you thirsty!
Before You Begin:
Make sure you have a plan of attack when doing these workouts. Don't go into a session without knowing your level of aerobic fitness. Aiming too high will limit the effectiveness of these workouts.
I recommend a few minutes of dynamic stretching of your leg muscles. This will help warm up your muscles and joints for the high intensity work they are about to conquer!
HIIT Workout Routine – A Step By Step Guide
Plan Your Interval Workout
Before starting, you need to plan out your workout. Here is a simple table to design your workout:
- Duration – Between 10-20 minutes
- High Intervals – Between 15-60 seconds
- Low Intervals – Between 30-60 seconds
If you are a beginner, make sure to choose a lower duration, shorter high intervals, and longer low intervals. This is the best way to get acclimated to this style of training. As you progress, you can make things harder progressively.
Adjust Your Bike
Nothing is worse than starting a workout, only to realize your bike isn't fitted for you! Make sure the seat is a comfortable distance from the pedals and ensure you can safely pedal from the seat. Check the handles and make sure to find a comfortable grip as well.
The more comfortable your set up feels, the better the intervals will go. Believe me, there will be enough pain in your legs during the high intervals! You don't want discomfort anywhere else!
Never start a workout without a warm up. I already recommended the dynamic stretching before jumping on the bike.
Once you have completed that, jump on the bike and perform 5-10 minutes of low intensity cycling.
The best recommendation is to get your heart rate up to 55-65% of your Max Heart Rate to ensure your body is ready to go.
Start With A High Interval
The workout always starts with a high interval. On the high intervals, you are to go all out and expend as much energy as you can.
Think of this as a sprint. You want to go as fast as possible against as much resistance as you can handle with high speed.
Recover With A Low Interval
The low interval is your recovery time. All that you need to do is keep the pedals moving and work on breathing to lower your heart rate.
The lower your heart rate can get during this interval, the better.
This is the time to get a drink, switch the song playing, etc.
Repeat Intervals For Duration
The high-low pattern continues for the entire workout.
Don't worry if the high intervals start to get slower over the workout.
This is a normal thing, due to the fatigue accrued.
Just do your best to catch your breath and recover on each low interval.
Never end a workout without a cool down! It's just as important as a warm up.
The easiest thing to do is to repeat the warm up in reverse.
Do the low intensity cycling for 5-10 minutes and then stretch afterwards.
This is a great way to end a session!
- Try Out Spinning Classes – they provide a motivational environment to crush your interval training workouts!
- To Make Workouts Progressive - only increase/decrease one factor of the workout at a time to avoid over-exertion. For example, only increase the duration of the workout instead of increasing the duration of the workout and the high intervals. You can follow this pattern: increase workout duration, increase high intervals duration, decrease low intervals duration, repeat.
- Try Different Types Of Indoor Cycling – don't limit yourself to one piece of equipment. If you have lingering knee problems like me, you can limit overuse by switching equipment every once in a while. Try all of these out: spin bike, recumbent, and stationary.
Now you know how you can crush your next workout to improve your cardiovascular fitness and boost fat loss efficiently. I hope you enjoyed the guide and learned something new!
Do you enjoy interval training? Did you try out the workout suggestions from this guide? Let me know with a comment and don't forget to share this guide with your friends and family. After all, everybody can benefit from some cycling intervals!