For decades it was thought that spending hours at the gym with a daily run mixed in was the only way you could lose some weight. And to be honest, I think this idea is why so many people failed.
However, in recent years, there has been a significant shift towards much shorter exercise routines that are far more intense.
High-Intensity Interval Training is essentially the solution for anyone that doesn’t have a lot of time but still wants to stay healthy and shed some unwanted flabby stuff.
But before you just jump in and pick some random exercises from YouTube, let me explain the basics of an upper body HIIT bodyweight workout and show you a routine that has worked really well for my clients.
What is HIIT?
As already mentioned, HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. But what does that actually mean?
The easiest way that I have found to explain this is to imagine doing an exercise move or routine at maximum intensity for a short burst of time. For example, you would do some plank reaches for 30 to 60 seconds, followed by 10 to 20 seconds to allow your heart rate to slow down again.
You’ll know you’re doing it right when you simply cannot continue with the workout for longer than the time set, and you count down the seconds to get a short rest.
By cycling through different exercises, you trigger metabolic processes that maximize calorie and fat burning. And the good news is that you can do it all from your home.
What You’ll Need For This Workout
The simple answer is that you’ll need very little. The majority of the exercises will rely on things you’ll have at home and your own body weight.
Just make sure you have the following before you get started:
Upper Body Blasting HIIT Workout: Breakdown
Start off with a 5-minute warm-up session. If you have a treadmill, elliptical, or home exercise bike, then those are ideal. But don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune on new equipment.
You can achieve the same by jogging on the spot, doing jumping jacks or some low-intensity squats. Basically, just get your heart pumping.
Set The Interval Timer
You will be going through 8 sets of 40 seconds, followed by a short 10-second rest. If it’s your first time exercising in a while, then you can increase the rest time to 20 seconds. The important thing is that you aim to workout as hard as possible for the 40 seconds.
Go Through 1 Set
There are 9 exercises listed below with instructional videos. I suggest working out the move before you get started and then follow them for exactly 40 seconds. When your timer beeps, then take the 10-second rest but keep moving on the spot.
Repeat 2 More Sets
After you complete the first set, take a 1-minute break and walk around or on the spot. Don’t sit down as it can stiffen up your muscles. If you’re just starting out and you’re struggling after 2 sets, then wait a few days before you do a 3rd set.
Avoid Long Breaks
You might be tempted to take a longer break in between sets, and even to lay or sit down. Try and avoid this temptation, and get back into the next set as soon as possible. It will improve your form, and the results will be better as well.
If you’re very unfit and just starting out, then it can quickly happen that you’re very out of breath after every 40 seconds are up. If your heart rate hasn’t come down in 10 seconds, then increase the rest time to 20 or 30 seconds.
Just make sure you keep a note of this and then gradually lower it over the coming days and weeks. You can also reduce the exercise time a little if you’re really struggling.
A lot of people tend to skip a proper cool down period. But with some simple walking on the spot and stretching exercises, you can significantly reduce muscle soreness and speed up your recovery time.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the exercises you’ll be doing.
Make sure you read through these instructions before your first attempt. As outlined above, you’ll be using your timer to go through each one of these for 40 seconds, followed by a short 10-second rest.
With 9 exercises that will work out as about 8 minutes of very high-intensity training.
Start out in the plank position on your elbows. It’s vital that your body is completely straight and that you engage your core muscles.
Then, alternate between lifting and stretching out your arms. Throughout the exercise, your body has to remain perfectly straight.
All you need for this is a table. Simply lay down under the table with your head and shoulders out over the edge of the table.
That way, your hands can reach for the corner of the table straight up. Then, pull your body up and down. Remember, it’s all about intensity, so don’t go too slow.
This is a tough one, and it will likely take some time to build up enough strength to do it. You start off in a downward dog yoga position.
Then you go through a push up move down and end up in an upward dog position. It’s quality over quantity here, so make sure you get the technique right first.
This exercise will engage your core, back, and shoulder muscles, and you start off on your yoga mat by laying down on your stomach.
Lift up your head and look straight ahead. Then, lift up your left arm and right leg and hold for a few seconds.
Alternate with the right arm and left leg for the full 40 seconds.
For this exercise, you start in a standing position and put your hands flat on the ground as close to your feet as possible. Your legs have to remain straight, so this will take some flexibility.
Then, walk your hands out in front of you until you arrive in a push-up position.
Once you get there, start walking back again until you’re in a standing position again.
Pike Shoulder Press
The starting point for this one is similar to the Hindu push-ups, where you’re in a downward dog position.
From here, you’ll simply flex your elbows out to lower your head towards the ground.
Then push up again for maximum impact on your shoulder muscles.
This is an easy move, but if you build up some speed, then you will feel the burn very quickly.
Start in the plank position and then lift yourself up onto your hands to a push-up position.
Then go back to plank and keep this going for 40 seconds.
Sit down on your yoga mat with your knees bent and hands on the ground a few inches behind your backside.
Stretch out your elbows to lift your body off the ground and then stretch out one leg straight in the air. Then lower your body down again feeling the triceps engaging.
Start off in a kneeling position with your knees below your hips and hands below your shoulder.
Lift your left arm straight ahead of you and then stretch out your right leg at the same height as your body.
Then alternate to the opposite arm and leg feeling your core muscles fully engaged.
Upper body HIIT exercises are one of my personal favorites, and they are what I get my clients to start with to get to their weight loss goals. Even if you only have the time for one set, by doing it right, you’ll burn through calories in no time.
Once you’ve tried these out a couple of times, make sure you post a quick comment on our Facebook page. It helps us better understand how you get on and possibly add some extra tips.