As any trainer will tell you that a good fitness routine includes elements of cardio, strength training, and stretching. In order to give your body what it needs, each of your workouts throughout the week should fall into one of these buckets. But with yoga HIIT, you can get all three of them in a single session.
HIIT yoga is exactly what it sounds like: A yoga session and a HIIT class rolled into one. The classes (frequently billed as “yoga sculpt”) are structured with a combination of high-intensity, cardio-based flows that will get your heart pumping and your muscles working, and slow-flow stretches to relieve any tension. You’ll find equal parts burpees and child’s poses, and your body will feel stronger and more limber by the time your workout is over.
“In a yoga sculpt class we focus on warming and toning the body first with a few sun salutations, then we work toward sculpting with HIIT exercises that target each muscle group,” says Emily Schwartz, a yoga instructor who offers virtual yoga sculpt and power yoga classes with OMM Yoga Studio. “Then, we quickly increase the heart rate with a cardio series, followed by more muscle action sculpt exercises and core work for a fully effective and efficient workout.”
The method is similar to the “high/low”-style training you’ll find in many traditional HIIT training classes, which involves alternating between high-intensity intervals and lower-intensity recovery sessions. “When you’re combining both high intensity and low intensity intervals, you are essentially challenging your energy processes in your body,” FitHouse trainer Stefanie Brown previously told Well+Good. “During high intensity, you will feel your heart rate increase which then activates your anaerobic threshold, which is where you body burns what you consume for energy. During lower intensity, you might feel you are able to lower your heart rate and catch your breathe a little easier, which energizes your aerobic processes.”
When you add yoga into the mix, you’re also getting the mind/body benefits that the modality offers on its own. “Yoga sculpt differs from your traditional ‘sculpt’ or ‘HIIT’ class in that we set intentions and move through the body in continuous flow,” says Schwartz. “It encompasses the mind, body, and spiritual connection while also sculpting the muscles.”
Want to try it out for yourself? Follow along with one of the flows below, then settle into Savasana to really give yourself the full treat of the experience.
1. 30-minute yoga cardio
Get ready to move with purpose (and speed) during this 30-minute flow. It’s designed to spike your heart rate, which means you’ll be cycling through traditional poses in double time.
2. 10-minute yoga HIIT
All you need is 10 minutes to get your stretching, strengthening and cardio in for the day. This workout starts with a few quick sun salutations, then will carry you through a speedy flow with a whole lot of core-building planks.
3. Intense yoga cardio burn and sweat
Structured more like a traditional HIIT class, this session will have you working through yoga-inspired, strength-based intervals that will build muscle and get you sweating, for real.
4. 15-minute cardio sculpt full body HIIT
Got 15 minutes to spare? Use ’em to flow through this class, where you’ll find moves like knee drives, lunges, and jump squats mixed with down dogs and forward folds.
5. 30-minute yoga sculpt
Want to amp up your yoga HIIT class? Grab a set of dumbbells to give this 30-minute flow even more muscle-building benefits.
6. 60-minute yoga sculpt
If you’ve got a full hour to dedicate to your yoga HIIT session, Corepower’s sculpt classes are the best thing you can do for your body. The session combines flows with intense cardio intervals, and integrates weight-based strength training through it all.
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