I know, that you know, that I know that music is the magic in your workout. And if you are going to HIIT it, you need some major motivation. Recently, I talked about getting your groove on, and suggested a few fun songs. Today, I’m going to give you a 20 minute-ish playlist (plus warm-up and cool-down) for a HIIT workout. Whether you like the music or not, I hope it illustrates how you can find songs to intensify your max and rest intervals.
I’m designing this set with an elliptical in mind. I’m sure you understand how to alternate walking/jogging, with sprinting, either outdoors or on a treadmill. An elliptical is actually a great starting modality for interval training: it’s easy to manipulate speed and resistance quickly, it’s gentle on the joints and I’ve never been to a gym that doesn’t have one.
- Dog Days Are Over, Florence + The Machine (4:13). Start with light resistance, and a quicker pace. Listen to the beat to find your rhythm. Trust me, if I can do this, you can too. Gradually increase speed/or resistance as the song builds. You want to warm up your muscles and gradually raise your heart rate from resting to somewhere in the 60 percent range. Don’t fixate on the number on your heart rate monitor, just use it as a gauge. If you feel good, but your heart rate is a little higher, that’s ok, but you should not be out of breath . . . yet. Remember, you should always have control, so if you feel like your legs are flying away from you, slow your pace or slowly add resistance.
There are two ways to manipulate your intensity while doing intervals: speed or resistance. Choose one or the other, based on your comfort level and the pace of the song. Some songs lend themselves to faster paced movement with lighter resistance, and some have a heavier beat that makes you want to stomp down a heavy load. I tend to gravitate toward the latter, but it’s a good idea to use both speeds to vary your workout.
You can try to mimic the rhythm of the song for your maximum and recovery, (usually the music follows intervals of about 30 seconds, give or take), but if that’s not enough for you in either direction, follow your heart rate or your physical cues. Remember, high-intensity means over 85 percent of your max heart rate, and recovery dips no lower than 70 percent (and you’d have to be in pretty awesome shape to get that to happen in 1 minute).
- Dance Floor Anthem (I don’t Want To Be In Love), Good Charlotte (4:04)
- Painkiller, Freestylers Featuring Pendulum (5:31)
- How Far We’ve Come, Matchbox Twenty (3:29)
- Want You Bad, The Offspring (3:22)
- New Future Weapon, Billy Idol (3:56)
This is extremely important, especially after doing high-intensity exercise. Lets just say you don’t want all of that extra blood pooling in your legs. Yuck. So make sure you incorporate a nice cool-down into all of your workouts. I like these two songs because the first one is still a little quicker paced so you can gradually slow your legs. The second is nice and chill to really bring your heart rate down.
- Home, Paul van Dyk featuring Johnny McDaid (3:44) (I love this song. It could technically be used for intervals, but most of it is pretty mellow so I’m suggesting it.)
- Rise, Eddie Vedder (2:36)
Don’t forget to follow-up with some stretches. You could also skip the immediate cool-down and extend your workout by doing some more low/moderate intensity cardio. It all depends on your time-frame, motivation and fitness level.
I hope you enjoy doing this workout as much as I enjoyed putting the playlist together. Music is to my workout what pumpkin butter is to my morning toast; not strictly necessary, but a lot more satisfying than peanut butter alone! Get it?