Amazing Race Training: HIIT Workout

If there was one thing I learned from our time on The Amazing Race, it was how to get out of my comfort zone. If you watched the show, you know this included all sorts of challenges for us like climbing over steep mountains, bungee jumping, and eating bug infested cheese. 

But, really, stepping out of my comfort zone started long before the show began filming. 

My favorite way to exercise is a nice, long walk outside. For me, walking is a great way to get my body moving and also allow my mind to reset. But I knew I would need more than walking to get in the shape I needed to be in for The Amazing Race

We’ve been documenting our workout series on how we got in shape by building strengthrunning, and doing functional training moves. Today we are sharing the last style of workouts we did: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This type of training definitely pushes me past my comfort zone of a long walk. By combining both cardio and strength, these workouts really check off all the boxes and helped get us in great shape for all of those race challenges. 

Here’s Taylor Pope, DPT, FDNP, Owner of  Chain Effect to share this workout with you! 

The Workout

HIIT workouts have become very popular in recent years, in part due to the ability to combine resistance training with the sweat usually achieved by traditional cardio exercises. While there is some research showing that excessive frequency (5+ workouts a week) of HIIT training can lead to a build up of inflammatory stress byproducts due to the intensity of this style, HIIT training remains an excellent addition to a workout arsenal. 

Like last week, we created a brief video series outlining proper form for each movement and some pointers to help you be safe while maximizing the goals of each exercise. 

For this workout, we’ve chosen to use a rowing machine and a manual treadmill to allow us to really dig into our cardiovascular system. If you don’t have access to these machines, find a small area to run sprints back and forth or mix in mountain climber exercises to achieve a similar effect. 

When you are performing HIIT training, the goal is to move:

  1. Safely
  2. Quickly

Moving safely might be obvious, but moving quickly might be a little foreign to those who have been lifting weights with the goal of building absolute strength. To move quickly, we want to choose loads that are roughly around 50-60% of our maximum ability (or our 1 repetition max). 

Next, we want to emphasize speed on the concentric portion of the lift. For most movements, this is the “coming up” portion of the exercise. For instance, the loading (eccentric) portion of a squat is the sitting down portion while the coming back up to standing is the concentric portion. 

We always want to maintain control while loading, so moving a little bit slower on the way down to find a safe stopping point is emphasized. Once we hit this point, try to move quickly or even explode back up to the top. Training in this style helps to make you feel springy, quick, and light in your body. If you are just learning these movements for the first time, forget about moving quickly until you have gained some proficiency. 

We often use a free app called “interval timer” on our phones to keep track of work vs rest times. For your first time, don’t be afraid to decrease the work and increase the rest from what we have listed. While I like to typically aim for a 2:1 ratio of work vs rest, 1:1 is also fine. For this workout, we are going to use 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest. 

Like we described in part 2 of this series, using a heart rate monitor is ideal to get an idea of your thresholds and rate of recovery. 

Set A: 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off. 

  1. Kettlebell Swings or Deadlifts
  2. Alternating Weighted Step Ups 
  3. Treadmill Running
  4. Push Ups
  5. Plank Hold (working rest) 

Repeat 3x without stopping if advanced. If a beginner, take breaks after each set.

Set B: 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off

  1. Landmine Clean and Push Press, or Kettlebell/Dumbbell Clean and Push Press
  2. Racked Retro Slides (either alternating legs per set or switching legs midway) 
  3. Ball Slams
  4. Sled Pull Push
  5. Rowing Machine or Mountain Climbers

Repeat 3x without stopping if advanced. If a beginner, take breaks after each set.