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The HIIT Workout That Maximizes Your Afterburn

By now you know that doing a HIIT workout earns you a big calorie burn that lingers post workout as your body revs its repair processes. But with infinite ways to approach a HIIT routine, the challenge is to find a surefire recipe for stretching out that bonus afterburn.

At the boutique studio chain Orangetheory Fitness, the winning formula that has created devotees in 40 states involves alternating between cranking up your cardio over a seven-minute block of time and doing a sculpting circuit. (For more interval training fun, try this tabata HIIT workout that also cycles between treadmill and strength moves.)

"You need to work out at a level that keeps your heart rate at 84 to 91 percent of your max for a cumulative 12 to 20 minutes," explains Orangetheory founder Ellen Latham, an exercise scientist who calibrated her classes to do exactly that. (Latham dubbed that heart rate sweet spot the orange zone, for the color coding on the digital screens in front of the class that indicate whether exercisers have hit it; class-goers are given a heart rate monitor that's synced to the screen.) Orangetheory classes are 60 minutes of musical chairs featuring treadmills and rowing machines for cardio blocks and free weights and TRX suspension training systems for strength blocks. The result: "The average woman will burn 500 to 800 calories during class and up to an additional 20 percent in the following 24 to 36 hours," Latham says.

Pace Chart

Base pace: Moderate effort; 4 to 5.5 mph.
Push pace: Challenging but doable; 1 to 3 mph faster than base pace.
All out: Everything you've got; go about 2 mph faster than base pace.

Treadmill Block:
0-2 minutes: run at push pace.
2-3 minutes: run at base pace.
3-5 minutes: run at push pace.
5-6 minutes: run at base pace.
6-7 minutes: go all out.

How it works: Warm up at your base pace (see Pace Chart, above) on the treadmill for five minutes. Then start with the treadmill block. Recover for 90 seconds. Next, do the strength moves in the floor block. Repeat the treadmill and floor blocks two more times, increasing your incline or pace and decreasing your reps each time as indicated. Do this routine for six weeks or more, two or three days a week. Try it with a set of 8- to 15-pound dumbbells and heart rate monitor.

Total Time: up to 15 minutes

You will need: Free weights

1. Thruster

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart holding a weight in each hand slightly above shoulders with palms facing in and elbows bent straight down. Keeping weights fixed, squat to start.

B.

Stand, powerfully pushing weights overhead. Immediately return to start. That's 1 rep. Do 12 reps. Do 10 reps for round two and 8 reps for round three.

2. Plank Low Row

A.

Start on floor in plank with arms straight and a weight in each hand. Keeping hips square, pull left weight to ribs. Return to start. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 rep. Do 12 reps. Do 10 reps for round two and 8 reps for round three.

3. Running Man

A.

Start on floor in plank with arms straight and a weight in each hand. Keeping body in a straight line, pull right knee between arms. Immediately switch sides; repeat. That's 1 rep. Do 12 reps. Do 10 reps for round two and 8 reps for round three.

4. Reverse-Lunge Curl

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart holding a weight in each hand with arms by sides to start. Step right leg far back, bending both legs 90 degrees.

B.

Return to start, then rotate palms up and curl weights to shoulders. Return to start. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 rep. Do 12 reps. Do 10 reps for round two and 8 reps for round three.

5. Triceps Kickback

A.

Stand with feet hip- width apart, holding a weight in each hand with arms by sides; hinge forward slightly at hips. Bend elbows behind you to pull weights to chest with palms facing each other to start. Keeping elbows fixed, extend arms up and back behind you. Return to start. That's 1 rep. Do 10 reps. Do 10 reps for round two and 8 reps for round three.

6. Burpee

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides. Crouch, plant palms on floor, then jump feet back to plank position.

B.

Lower chest and thighs to floor, then push up to plank.

7. V-Up

A.

Lie faceup on floor with arms extended overhead, palms facing up to start. Curl torso up as you raise extended left leg, reaching arms to meet toes above hips. Slowly lower to start. That's 1 rep. Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Do 10 reps for round two and 8 reps for round three.

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