Shake up your go-to HIIT workout with this energizing circuit and you'll not only burn tons of calories but also take your firming—and fitness—up a level. Because your muscles get worked every which way as you go low, jump high, run fast, lift weights, and change directions—all in the same session—you reap incredible sculpting and afterburn benefits, say Kirk Dewaele and Brandon Cullen, the cofounders of MADabolic Inc., a studio in Charlotte, North Carolina, known for its HIIT workouts that emphasize variety. Their fresh approach rolls primal movements (squatting, jumping, crawling), power, strength, cardio, and rotation into every class.
Incorporating strength in your HIIT workout like this torches calories on the spot and improves your muscle function enormously by stimulating muscle growth and development. New research in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that the technique helped exercisers subsequently lift more weight (up to 39 percent heavier) and do more reps (nearly triple the weighted squats), while those who stuck with standard cardio intervals didn't experience any such gains. (Check out these other healthy HIIT benefits too. )
Each interval in this MADabolic routine (a 30-minute taste of the class) is meant to bring you to the point where your muscles feel as if they're just about out of juice. Working at this intensity is worth it—for the spike in your metabolism that continues postworkout and for the boost it gives your exercise capacity, Dewaele explains. "That means you'll be able to sustain an increased pace or intensity for longer," he says. Over time, that will translate to your getting stronger and faster and leaner.
How it works: Start with the warm-up: do jumping jacks for 1 minute, air squats for 1 minute, push-ups for 1 minute. Repeat. Then complete the five moves in order four times through. You'll do each move for 45 seconds, then rest for 45 seconds before moving on. Switch sides on subsequent rounds as needed. Do this routine twice a week on alternate days. Dewaele recommends starting with a 10 to 15-lb dumbbell.
Total Time: up to 15 minutes
1. Broad Jump
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides. Shift hips back, dip torso forward slightly, and swing arms behind you. Forcefully swing arms forward, jumping both legs forward as far as you can. Land softly with knees bent and weight in heels. Immediately repeat as quickly as you can for 45 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds.
Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, holding ends of weight horizontally with both hands, arms extended downward. Squat, rotating torso toward left, bringing weight outside left knee to start. Then stand, pivoting on left foot, rotating torso to right and powerfully driving weight above right shoulder. Return to start. Repeat as quickly as you can for 45 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds.
3. Goblet Squat
Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart and toes turned slightly out, holding weight vertically at one end with both hands in an underhand grip at chest with elbows bent down to start. Squat (until hip crease drops below knees), keeping chest upright. Return to start. Repeat as quickly as you can for 45 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds.
4. Single-Arm Push Press
Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, holding weight in right hand, resting hand on right shoulder with palm facing inward and elbow bent in front of you, left arm by side to start. Keeping chest upright, bend knees slightly, then stand and explosively drive weight overhead. Return to start. Repeat as quickly as you can for 45 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds.