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Your HIIT routine could be doing double duty to elevate your fitness gains, and it takes only a patch of grass, sand, or pavement to upgrade from those spintervals, says trainer Jacqueline Kasen from Anatomy at 1220 fitness club in Miami Beach. (In the mood for sprints? Try this fat-burning track workout.)
"By using cones in a HIIT workout, you're focusing on fat loss as well as agility training and motor skills," Kasen says. These drills require you to move in all three planes of motion—forward/backward, laterally, and rotationally—recruiting multiple muscles, cranking your heart rate, and engaging your brain. Not only does this equal a high-calorie burn, but it will also fine-tune your body mechanics and control so you move quickly with strength and precision. (Also try this 4-minute Tabata to boost your agility and power.)
Kasen's exclusive routine here packs all those benefits between just five plastic cones. Although it requires some fancy footwork, the key is to get breathless by the end of each drill. A good rule of thumb: If you don't need the entire minute between rounds to recover, you're not pushing hard enough. Do these drills once or twice a week, and you'll quickly appreciate just how much you've raised your game in your other workouts too.
You'll need: A timer, an open strip of space about 25 to 30 feet in length, and five cones. (No cones? Swap in everyday items like sneakers.)
How it works: Do the dynamic warm-up. (It should take about 10 minutes.) Then do each of the agility drills, alternating 30 seconds of work and 1 minute of rest for the number of sets indicated.
Total time: 30 minutes
- Five walking inchworms (Hinge at hips to place palms on ground; walk out to plank. With straight legs, walk feet to hands and stand.)
- 10 toe touches on each side
- 20 butt kicks, alternating sides
- 10 hamstring reaches on each side (From standing, extend left leg forward with heel on ground; fold forward to reach right hand to lightly pull left toes. Switch sides; repeat.)
- 10 leg swings on each side
Place two cones on ground about 1 foot apart and stand directly between them. Quickly step right foot over and outside of right cone, then left foot over and outside of left cone. Immediately step right foot back to start, followed by left foot. Continue for 30 seconds. Rest for 1 minute. That's 1 round. Do 4 rounds, alternating leading foot each round.
Scale down: Rather than hopping over cones, use them as guides to hop feet in and out.
Place five cones on ground in an X position about 1 1/2 feet apart. Each wedge of the X is one box. Facing away from center cone, start by standing on right leg in box at top of X. Hop diagonally back to right, into the next box. Next, hop to bottom box, then left box, then back to top box. Continue clockwise for 15 seconds, then reverse and go counterclockwise for 15 seconds. Rest for 1 minute. Repeat on left leg. That's 1 round. Do 3 rounds.
Scale down: Hop with both feet.
Place five cones on ground in a zig- zag line about 3 feet apart from one another. Stand behind first cone, diagonally to its left, with zigzag line of cones extending before you. Push off left foot (swinging arms behind you) and bound forward and to the right. Land on right foot next to first cone. Push off right foot to bound forward and to the left, landing on left foot next to second cone. Continue this pattern. At the end, turn around and repeat in opposite direction. Continue for 30 seconds. Rest for 1 minute. That's 1 round. Do 2 rounds.
Scale up: After landing on one foot, do not touch other foot to ground before bounding in opposite direction.
Forward and Back Shuffle
Leave cones in same position as in previous exercise. Face parallel to cones, standing to the left of the leftmost cone. Shuffle forward and around to the right of first cone, then back- ward and around second cone, then forward and around to third cone. Continue in this weaving pattern. At end of cones, reverse shuffle move ment back to start. Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 1 minute. That's 1 round. Do 4 rounds.
Scale Up: Do a burpee when you reach the end of the line.