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Want to Make HIIT Even More Effective? Add Weights, a Trainer Says – Here’s How to Do It

Whether your goal is to lose weight or build muscle (or both), you can’t go wrong with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and weightlifting. Doing a mixture of both of them throughout your week of workouts is actually the best way to maximize fat burn. Want to get even more efficient? Combine them in the same workout — do HIIT with weights. Is it possible? Yep — and POPSUGAR talked to Bach personal trainer Ashley Kelly, NASM, to find out how.

Doing HIIT with weights is “very beneficial,” Ashley said, “because you build cardiovascular endurance and muscular endurance at the same time.” It’s also a great way to build lean muscle, which is extra beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight; the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn even when you’re not working out.

Basically, although most people think of HIIT as cardio-based, you can do it with almost any kind of activity, and adding weights just makes it that much more effective if your goal is to lose weight and gain muscle. The key, Ashley told POPSUGAR, is to “elevate your heart rate to a higher rate than it would be if you were just performing a set of weights by itself.” That can be as simple as jumping rope or doing mountain climbers for 30 seconds after a dumbbell set. Try this HIIT-with-weights workout for the perfect combination of lifting and heart-pumping HIIT moves.

How Often Should I Do HIIT With Weights?

If you’re a true beginner, Ashley recommended consulting a trainer to assess your fitness level before you jump right into HIIT-ing with weights. Once you’re comfortable and knowledgeable about HIIT, Ashley said, you should aim to do it about four times a week along with one day of active recovery, such as swimming or yoga, and one total rest day.

She also recommended concentrating on specific muscle groups each day to keep your workouts focused and effective. You could do an upper-body workout on the first day, for example, then focus on your lower body the next day. That gives your arms time to rest and recover before you hit them again on day three.

HIIT-with-weights workouts are challenging, so it’s OK to start off with a classic bodyweight HIIT workout and work your way up to more resistance. (This 20-minute circuit workout is a great place to start.) Once you build some strength, adding weights will make your HIIT that much more effective for burning fat and building muscle.

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