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What is Micro HIIT and How You Can Benefit From It

Micro HIIT is essentially a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout where you push yourself harder than you normally would over the course of less repetitions.

It’s all about exercising in even shorter, sharper bursts which push your body into the higher heart rate zones quicker than you would do in a normal HIIT workout.

The benefits of Micro HIIT workouts have recently been promoted in a study by The American College of Sports Medicine Journal which found that seven minutes of intense HIIT exercise is enough to get the fitness benefits.

These shorter, more intense workouts are appealing to many, as it’s much easier to work at max-effort for a shorter time and the benefits remain largely the same, helping to boost your metabolism not just while you are working through the intervals, but for a period of time post workout. In addition, a recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found that bouts of Micro HIIT can slow down cellular aging.

Who can benefit? 

Micro HIIT or mini bursts of intensive exercise can be beneficial for a large number of people, especially for those who do not have a lot of time to spend exercising.

One of the beauties of Micro HIIT is that you can switch up your training methods by partaking in shorter burst of exercise which can be done throughout the day I.e. first thing in the morning, on your lunch break, or even when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, or lunch/dinner to cook.

Micro HIIT is also incredibly beneficial for those looking to reduce body fat, or who are worried about the fat stored around their middle, which could indicate higher insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the levels of glucose in the blood, which could result in weight gain when the cells absorb too much glucose, converting it into fat. According to research in the journal Frontiers, Micro HIIT training programmes can have positive effects on those at risk of type 2 diabetes.

The healthy stress your body undergoes during HIIT or Micro HIIT sessions triggers autophagy, which put simply is the process your body goes through to clean out damaged cells and regenerate newer, healthier cells to help the body achieve optimum health, as well as being anti-ageing. The autophagy process has also been linked to the reduction of neurodegenerative diseases and the treatment of cancer.

The Micro HIIT workout below is a small example taken from the newly launched Freeletics 15-minute Training Journey which offers six weeks of 15-minute bodyweight only workouts which can be done anytime, anywhere and with no equipment.

1. Dynamic Warm Up

10x squats 

To do a squat, position your feet shoulder width apart, drop your hips below knee height, in a low down, deep squat position, then fully extend your knees and hips. One full squat is completed once your knees and hips are extended and you are in an upright position. Repeat this motion.

10x windmill

To start a windmill exercise put your arms by your sides and rotate your shoulders backwards. Lift your arms out to shoulder height and repeat the same motion with your arms following the rotation of your shoulders, behind your head.

20x bicycle crunches

Start by lying flat on your back, lift your knees up so that they are at a 90-degree angle and lift your shoulders off the ground slightly, while your hands are touching your ears. Proceed by touching your elbow to the opposite knee while your other leg is fully extended but not touching the ground.

10x side lunges 

Raise your arms in front of you at shoulder height. Position feet wider than shoulder width, extend your hips and knees so that you are upright. Then begin to lower your hips and glutes so that they remain above the knee on one side, while the other leg is extended out. Repeat on each side.

2. Drill

Negative Push Ups 

Get into the regular push up position, lying flat on the ground with your hands either side of you. Fully extend your arms, lifting your body off the ground. Begin to lower yourself back down until your chest and knees are touching the floor. Using your arms, lift your chest off the ground, with your knees still touching the floor, then lift your knees off the ground.

3. Interval – 3 rounds of the below exercises 

10x knee push ups

Get into the regular push up position, lying flat on the ground with your hands either side of you. Fully extend your arms, lifting your chest off the ground, while your knees remain on the floor.

10x burpees

Begin in a standing position. Move into a squat position with your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back into a plank position, while keeping your arms extended, making sure that your knees, hips and shoulders are aligned. Quickly return to a standing position and jump upwards with your hands on your head.

15x shoulder bridge leg raises (left)

Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees raised. Lift your hips of the ground and extend your right leg while our left foot is on the ground. Rotate your hips so that your right ankle is above your hip, then slowly lower your right leg so that your knees are together.

15x shoulder bridge leg raises (right)

Repeat previous exercise with your right leg.

30s rest

4. Active Cooldown 

20s should stretch (left)

In an upright position extend your left arm across your body, using your right arm to support, pull it closer into your chest. Hold position for set amount of time.

20s shoulder stretch (right)

In an upright position extend your right arm across your body, using your left arm to support, pull it closer into your chest. Hold position for set amount of time.

30s deep squat hold

With your feet shoulder with apart, lower your hip to below your knees, making sure that your heels are on the ground. Hold for indicated time.

30s butterfly hold 

Sit on the ground with your back and shoulders straight, put your feet together, tucking your heels towards your body and position your knees outwards

30s toe reach

Stand upright with your feet together. Then slowly bend from your hips, lowering your back and shoulders, making sure that your knees stay fully extended, reach for your toes with your hands. Hold for indicated time.

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