Class, practice, work, repeat…5 days a week. While all of us should be conditioning off the field, we’re probably not. When the pads come off then it’s on to the next part of the day and conditioning is easily forgotten. Insert social life and Game of Thrones.
But agility, speed and strength don’t need to come from logging countless hours at the gym. In fact it’s the opposite. It’s the efficient athlete that not only excels in the 4th quarter but avoids injury.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) provides the same (if not better) results than just basic cardio; and you only need 20 minutes to get it done.
Despite the short duration, HIIT is a great way to elevate your game. On the field, you’ll see an increase in endurance and power as HIIT increases your body’s oxygen efficiency and builds muscle glycogen (endurance). Off the field, it’ll be like that late night trip to Taco Bell never happened. Did we mention you only need 20 minutes, that’s like 2 COD games…
HIIT is a series of 20-30 second bursts of explosive movements or activity followed by a 2-3 minute period of rest or limited activity.
Here are a few HIIT exercises to include:
1. Cardio – nothing is worse than being stuck on a treadmill for 45 minutes. Next time you step on the treadmill go in with one objective only – to mix it up. Each 30-60 seconds should be varied at a 7.0-9.0 MPH. Start out at a slower sprint and work your way up to your max intensity. Then finish off later sets at the slower end of the range. Always remember to give yourself at least 5 minutes to cool-down at a slow and steady pace. Really want to mix it up? Vary the incline with each burst. Higher inclines will increase the intensity, so make sure to mix and match your speed and incline to what you can handle.
2. Plyometric – a Connectlax favorite. If you can’t stand the thought of a treadmill then plyo is the way to go. Think burpees, mountain climbers, speed skaters, lunge jumps and box jumps. Best part is, with the exception of the box jump no equipment is necessary; so no excuse not to get that workout in.
3. Strength – slightly different version of HIIT. In this case, compound movements (think squats or bench presses) are performed at a heavier weight, with minimal rest in between sets. Instead, a plyometric exercise is thrown in-between to complement the compound exercise. It’s like circuit training but on steroids. The intensity output is based on the explosiveness of your moves and the weights. It’s critical to remember that speed should never trump form when lifting. The ability to get through a circuit quickly will depend on how much rest you take in-between sets and how quickly the plyo moves are performed.
Swag is earned between games.