Get fitter faster with a quick HIIT workout that incorporates strength training intervals into your fitness routine

By Caitlin Carlson
Updated: December 01, 2014
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You've heard that high intensity interval training (HIIT) can get you seriously great, seriously fast results in the gym. It revs up your heart rate (read: torches fat and calories) in way less time than traditional cardio. But when you think of HIIT, you likely think of sprinting as fast as you can and then jogging or walking to recover. (Don't miss this HIIT 8-Minute Total-Body Workout!) What you may not know: Strength exercises can also be used as part of a super efficient HIIT routine.

A recent study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that subjects who did cycling intervals reaped similar results to those who did calisthenics (body weight moves like burpees) intervals. "Calisthenics involve a whole-body functional movement pattern, which likely activates a greater percentage of muscle when compared to a stationary cycling bout of exercise," says study author Nicholas Gist, Ph.D. Talk about multi-tasking! Plus, as Gist notes, calisthenics intervals are a great way to mix up your fitness routine. You'll ward off motivation-crushing boredom-and ensure you keep progressing rather than hitting a plateau.

Steal the workout from the study: Warm up on a stationary bike for five minutes (at any pace) followed by performing 10 squats, 10 pushups, and five burpees (check out Three Ways to Ramp Up Your Burpees) . Then, begin the interval component: Do as many burpees as you can in 30 seconds. Recover actively for four minutes by stepping in place. Repeat 4 to 7 times. (Yup, four minutes seems long, but Gist points out that recovering for longer helps you put more effort into the work intervals.) Study participants did this routine three days per week.

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