Efficient Workouts at Home: The Benefits of HIIT and Cross-Training
Fitness trends are always a hot topic: people want to know what’s the latest home workout, app, or training program that will help them get in shape while enjoying exercise. Right now, the leading trends in the world of fitness can be divided into two primary groups: holistic and functional.
Holistic fitness involves yoga, Pilates, and stretching. These types of exercises not only develop strength but can also tackle good posture, balance, breathing, and relaxation.
Functional fitness activities revolve around workouts that require only moderate amounts of time – between 30 and 45 minutes – and are done, for the most part, with your bodyweight alone, or using small-scale equipment, such as barbells, kettlebells, TRX or dumbbells. These types of exercises are great workouts to do at home since they require little to no equipment.
To further discuss functional exercise, I invited two of our international Fitness Advisory Board members – Salvatore Nocerino from Italy and Anca Bucur from Romania – to speak about some of their favorite types of exercises: interval training and cross-training.
Benefits of Interval Training and HIIT Workouts
Interval training consists of alternating periods of high- and low-intensity activities with periods of rest mixed in. The beauty of it is that it can be done in so many ways: using weights, fitness accessories, or just your own body.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a very popular style of interval training, where the work phase is performed at almost maximum capacity. The typical timing for this is 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, alternating for a total of 4 minutes. You complete 8 rounds for an intense workout.
Here are the top reasons why HIIT workouts are so effective:
- HIIT workouts can help you lose fat and build muscle, and you can do them at the convenience of your home.
- They improve your cardiovascular health as well as your muscular strength.
- You can vary the work time (interval) and the rest timing to effectively train in an anaerobic (focused on strength) or aerobic (focused on cardio) manner.
- You burn more calories in a shorter period of time, making it a great time-saver while still an effective workout.
- It increases your metabolism by stimulating the production of the human growth hormone, responsible for increased caloric burn.
If you want to get started on interval training, check out this HIIT core routine of mine:
Anca Bucur is licensed in Physical Education and Sports, with a specialty in Gymnastics. A six-time Fitness World Champion, she currently works as a group fitness instructor, motivational speaker, fitness model, and brand ambassador.
Benefits of Cross-Training
Cross-training is an exercise regimen that uses several modes of training to develop a specific component of fitness. It stimulates the entire body by establishing training routines of medium-high intensity that, interspersed with rest periods, trigger a series of metabolic responses that result in fat burning during the post-workout period.
It can be used to complete the workouts of those who play sports intensely, as it improves athletic performance while helping to prevent injuries. It is also ideal for those who don’t play sports regularly, but simply wish to get in shape.
Here are some reasons why cross-training is effective:
- It improves proprioception: the sense of self-movement and body position.
- It increases the efficiency of the entire body, with regard to both performance and wellbeing.
- It activates muscles in a complete, natural way through activities that are easy to carry out and to learn, being based on patterns of movement which come naturally.
- Mixing and matching exercises – a variety of cardio, strength, and stretching – helps improve power and efficiency.
If you want to get started on cross-training, consider high-synergy exercises. These effective and efficient exercises bring into play a number of different kinetic chains, utilizing a variety of muscle groups. The burpee is a great example of this.
Burpees are one of the most complete exercises I can recommend. It is made up of a series of other exercises that are of critical importance: squats, push-ups, crunches, and jumping.
Pay careful attention to the biomechanics of basic exercises to make sure they lead to higher levels of performance and conditioning.