Combining HIIT and weight training is not usually something that comes to mind when people think of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), so you may be surprised to find out just how well they go together.
Done individually, HIIT and weight training are quite demanding. When combining them, your sessions will be even more challenging than doing one alone, so you will need to take precautions to prevent injury occurring.
In this article, we will look at how to combine HIIT and weight training. We will also discuss the benefits doing so will bring and the measure you will need to take to avoid injury and burnout.
*NB This type of workout is strenuous. If you haven’t exercised before, build some strength and fitness before attempting it or any other HIIT workout.
HIIT and Weight Training Overview & Precautions
HIIT and weight training each provide a fast means of developing muscle tone, strength, and endurance. They also burn calories and body fat and provide cardiovascular benefits. HIIT comes with the added advantage of increasing our body’s HGH (Human Growth Hormone) level. This hormone is said to burn body fat, stimulate muscle development and substantially slow down visible signs of aging.
HIIT and weight training can be individually taxing, so it’s important not to overdo it. Your body and muscles need time to recover between sessions when doing either form of exercise. When doing both together, it’s even more vital to be conservative. Adding extra time to your workouts, or additional sessions, won’t bring about faster results.
Do too much, and it’s almost certain you will injure yourself and have to give up exercising until you recover. Aim for a maximum of three combined HIIT and weight training sessions per week.
HIIT and Weight Training Dietary Precautions
When doing either HIIT or weight training, it is important to follow a healthy diet. When doing both simultaneously, it is imperative.
Two macronutrients you must never skimp on when doing HIIT and weight training are protein and carbohydrates. Protein is essential for muscle development, while carbs are needed to restore glycogen (the muscle’s primary energy source), as the latter will be depleted during workouts.
Fiber and fats are also necessary to help keep energy levels up, so be sure to take in enough fruit, veggies, nuts, and whole grains. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
HIIT and Weight Training Workout
How to Start Combining HIIT and Weight Training
Creating a routine that combines HIIT and weight training isn’t difficult. Follow the six easy steps outlined below, and you can quickly be up and underway.
1. Select Your Equipment
With HIIT, you only get a very short rest between exercises, so there will be no time for you to switch from dumbbells to kettlebells or a barbell. Choose which of these you want to work with, and stick with it for the entire session.
2. Use Light Weights
HIIT and weight training workouts involve many reps. To lower the risk of injury, use light weights, especially when starting out. If you’re a woman who hasn’t been exercising for long, start with 2lb or 3lb weights. If you are reasonably fit, you may be able to start with 5lb weights. Males will usually be able to use heavier weights.
The idea is to use a weight that challenges you, but not to the point that you can’t complete your workout, or you have to resort to using poor form to do so. As your strength and fitness improve, you can progress to using heavier weights.
3. Decide Which Muscle Groups to Target
HIIT and weight training can be used to target a single muscle group, for example, your chest or core. It can also be used to target multiple muscle groups, such as the triceps and biceps, or upper back and shoulders. It can also give you a total body workout.
You will, of course, need to do different exercises to target different body areas. The time you spend working out will be shorter if you are targeting just one muscle group, as opposed to working two muscle groups or your entire body.
4. Decide Upon the Length of Your Workout
HIIT workouts typically run anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. It’s preferable to start with short workouts, building up to longer ones over time.
If you only want to target one or two muscle groups, you will get a good workout in 5 minutes. For a total-body workout, plan on spending 20 to 30 minutes exercising. However, with HIIT and weight training being such an effective combination, short workouts can be as efficient as long sessions of many other types of exercise.
5. Choose Your Exercises
When choosing your exercises, select those that target the muscle group or groups you want to strengthen and tone. Working on the basis that each exercise will take around 30 seconds to complete, factor this in when deciding how many exercises to include in your session. If you plan on working out for 5 minutes, you will be able to select ten different exercises at the most.
6. Decide on an Intensity Ratio
The standard intensity ratio for many HIIT workouts, including the type covered in this article, is to alternate between high-intensity weight lifting and rest at a ratio of 2:1. An example is 20 seconds of high-intensity weight lifting, followed by a 10-second rest. This cycle would be repeated for the duration of the workout.
If you are just starting out and you find the 2:1 ratio too strenuous, try a ratio of 1:1 or even 1:2. In other words, 20 seconds working at high intensity, followed by 20 seconds working at low intensity. Or 15 seconds working at high intensity, followed by 30 seconds working at low intensity.
Tying it all Together
After completing the six steps above, you will be ready to do your first HIIT and weight training workout.
Before you begin, set a timer to alert you when it’s time to rest. Next, grab your weights, kettlebell or barbell and go through the exercises one by one, until you complete your workout.
HIIT and Weight Training Summary
By adding HIIT and weight training workouts to your existing exercise regimen, you will be able to enjoy a range of health and fitness benefits including muscle building and strengthening, increased stamina, a reduction of body fat and cardio conditioning. You will also be able to experience the anti-aging properties of HGH.
These benefits and more can be yours, all by doing 1 to 3 workouts per week that are never boring and don’t take long to do.
For more information on HIIT, read What is a HIIT Cardio Workout?