Looking for an exercise routine that is low intensity and low impact?
LIIT could be the answer…
What is LIIT?
Low Intensity Interval Training or LIIT is a variation on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). As its name suggests, it is less intense and also slower than HIIT, being performed over a longer period of time with lower risk of injury.
Think: Jog (LIIT) vs Sprint (HIIT) during the “Intensity” period of Interval Training; Walk (LIIT) vs Jog (HIIT) during the recovery period.
HIIT requires a short period of maximum physical effort to raise your heart rate exponentially. This is then followed by a low intensity recovery period before another activity of high intensity. It is a great workout to squeeze in at a local gym before work, during a lunch break or as you head off home as it can be completed within 10 – 15 minutes.
LIIT consists of medium length bouts of moderate intensity followed by shorter periods of recovery. It combines elements of HIIT with traditional endurance training such as walking and running. For LIIT to be as effective as HIIT, it needs to be performed consistently over a period of 30 to 45 minutes.
So let’s have a look at some exercises which lend themselves well to Low Intensity Interval Training, can be performed at home and which might tempt you to give LIIT a go.
As with any new exercise routine, if you have any underlying health conditions, do check out against your medical practitioner first that you are safe to do so.
Be sure too to carry out 5 minutes’ worth of warm-up at the outset to reduce any risk of injury: simply walking on the spot or stepping out alternately to each side will get the blood flowing sufficiently to embark on any of the exercises below.
LIIT Low Intensity Interval Training Exercises
1. Body Blast/Squat to Punch
Place feet slightly wider than shoulders, arms down by sides. Lower body into a squat with chest straight, hips back and knees bent forwards.
Rise to standing position punching one fist forward and back to starting position. Repeat alternating right and left arms. Perform 5 – 10 reps per set (1 rep = 1 squat down and up with 1 punch forward; 1 set = 1 rep on either side) increasing to 10 – 20 reps per set as fitness levels improve.
2. Rising Lunge
Step forward with left leg, lowering into lunge position with right leg behind. Arms bent at sides, hands clenched. Extend legs up onto balls of feet, raising arms above and opening clenched hands to the ceiling.
Drop down to start position and repeat 10 – 20 times. Movements should be quick and explosive but feet should not leave the floor. Repeat for opposite side.
3. Reverse Lunge Front Kick
Place feet at shoulder width, arms bent, hands clasped close to chest.
Kick right leg out in front then swing right leg backwards lowering the body into a reverse lunge in the process.
Return to start position and repeat 10 – 15 times. Repeat for left leg.
4. Standing Oblique Crunch
Place feet shoulder-width apart, link hands behind head, elbows out to the side.
Bend body to the right, simultaneously lowering right elbow and raising right knee to touch. Return to start position and repeat for the opposite side.
Perform 10 – 15 times for each side.
5. Side Step Touch
Place feet together. Step leg out to the side whilst swinging right hand and arm across body towards left foot, twisting at the waist and raising left arm behind you.
Step back to the centre and return to start position. Repeat for opposite side of the body. 1 step to one side = 1 rep. 1 set = 1 rep on each side. Perform 10 – 15 sets, increasing speed and intensity as fitness levels allow.
6. Slow burpee
From a standing position, bend knees and place hands on the floor in front of you.
Step right leg behind you. Step left leg back to join it so you are now in a press-up position. Step right foot back to hands, followed by left leg. Rise to standing position. Repeat 10 – 20 times, alternating starting legs.
7. Assisted Sit-Ups
Lay on a mat with arms at sides, a slight bend in the knees.
Slowly rise to sitting position, pressing hands into mat for extra support if needed. Lower body gently back down to the floor and repeat for 60 seconds.
To make core muscles work harder, cross arms over chest. Breathe out as you rise to sitting position, keeping chin lifted off your chest to ensure airways stay open.
For each highlighted “Rest” period, walk on the spot for 1 – 2 minutes until heart rate returns to normal. Be sure to stretch out chest, back, shoulders, arms and legs, holding each stretch for 30 seconds whilst concentrating on breathing.
Getting Started with LIIT
We hope the above has given you some insight and a “taster” into how you can perform Low Intensity Interval Training within the comfort of your own home. We’d suggest you select 5 in the first instance and that you perform over 30 – 45 minutes per session 3 times per week.
Some of our other blogs highlight exercises that lend themselves perfectly for LIIT, such as balance pad exercises, physiotherapy home exercise list, tai chi for beginners, and coordination exercises.
The key to success is consistency so there is no rush to add to your workout: just extend or add as you feel comfortable. If you can maintain and build on this routine, we feel your body may reap benefits such as reduced blood pressure, fat loss, improved cardio-vascular fitness and improved muscle mass. At the end of the day, what matters is enjoying what you are doing and getting enough exercise each week to keep your overall health in good shape. The choice ultimately is down to you. Enjoy.