Having read many articles and rubbed shoulders with fitness advisers the below list of 7 exercises seems to be the consensus of what is the best exercise to get fit.
- Interval training
- Abdominal Crunches
- Bent-over Row
From my bio kinetics days at uni, rugby training and even into my triathlon training I have always been advised and advised friends and colleagues that if you want to speed up your fitness, do intervals or nowadays HIIT training, if you want to get your body stronger and only had time to compete 1 exercise it’s the dead lift.
The best way to get in shape fast
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym every week if you want your fitness goals met. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all healthy adults get at least 150 minutes (30 minute workouts five days per week) or 3, 75min workouts a week. This can be broken down further into a few HIIT, high intensity interval training, 25 minute sessions if you’re looking for a smaller commitment, but make sure it’s done consistently!
HIIT training advantages
Interval or HIIT, both very similar in the sense that there is a period that we are “on” and putting in an effort and a period where we are “off” where we could either be at rest or have reduced the effort for a short period.
HIIT, high intensity interval training, for the last few years has become the most popular form of vigorous fat burning sweat inducing training that when done can leave you breathless and heart threatening to pop out your chest and in my case often results in a flat on my back recovery pose that leaves a smile on my face for the rest of the day. High Intensity Interval training is the best bang for your buck when it comes to a high calorie burn in a short period, that leaves your body burning calories well after the session has finished during recovery.
The great thing about a HIIT session is that it can be applied to all types of workouts. You can do HIIT while running, cycling, walking or completing weights and this is just a few examples. The key though is to ensure your HIIT session is spiking your heart rate and recovering in short intervals.
Low intensity exercise benefits
Don’t HIIT everything every day, HIIT has it’s place and certainly helps us get fit fast but done everyday does lead the body to fatigue, and with fatigue comes injury. It is important to balance your movement through the week get some cardio, strength, and HIIT throughout your week and as we get older, this is me talking to myself, make sure you include mobility movements to help your joints as this only improves all the other sessions you plan in the week.
Some people who have absolutely nailed consistency, or rather don’t have a house full of kids or grand kids and kids activities, follow the muscle group approach. This is where people have broken down sessions on certain days for example, Mondays – Chest and triceps, Tuesdays Back and biceps and Wednesdays Legs etc this approach for the consistent is okay, but when starting back on the fitness journey or for a busy adult in normal day life it poses a threat to missing a muscle group if an event happens to pop up in our planned session time.
Opt rather for HIIT three days a week, perhaps two longer steady cardio workouts and fill the gap with complete body sessions that target the whole body at low intensity…remember I said dead lift if you only had time for one exercise, well this is where I’d place it! A dead lift can be broken down into so many variations that your entire lower body core, back and arms have had a complete workout with one exercise.
Putting it all together
When putting together your workout plans for a week, try for at least 5 days of movement. Its perfectly normal If you need to work your way up to that. remember to test the waters first if you new to exercise, start with whatever you can and work on increasing up to 30 minutes a day.
Variety is key, keep your body guessing Cross fit is great for this as is HIIT, keeping your body guessing will get you fitter faster. Break workouts up into cardio, strength and HIIT. As above, I suggest two days of cardio, two days of full body strength and one day of HIIT, my one cardio session I’d choose to interval train which is giving your second HIIT. For your cardio you could do the elliptical, cycling, treadmill, an outdoor run or even a rowing machine. For strength training, you can use band, weights, bodyweight or other equipment like kettlebells.
When creating your HIIT workout try, combine cardio with strength exercises. Ramp up your heart rate followed by periods of recovery. Burpees are awful but are sensational additions to a HIIT, squats, jump squats and pushups are all great exercises that can get that heart rate going.
Here is a relatively easy one to get started:
High knees – 15 sec
rest 15 sec
Rollover crunches – 15 sec
rest 15 sec
Jumping lunges – 15 sec
rest 15 sec
Pushups – 15 sec
rest 15 sec
Plank – 15 sec
repeat 4- 5 times
Give us your best HIIT workouts
As always, not signing off with a summary but I’d like to hear from you all on what you think are the 7 best exercises to get fit, lets see how many of us agree or disagree with the Harvard teams choice of 7.
Finish off your best exercise with a good HIIT session for our readers