HIIT or SIT workout ideas

Whether your into Crossfit, the gym or simply new to high intensity exercise, here’s some workout ideas that gets the heart pumping and the arms dropping off for any age!


Over the past few years i have slowly dropped my size in an effort keep a balance between being built, fit and no too heavy for my age. I now do alot of SIT workouts (25-30min) instead of heavier weight programs that might have taken me close to an hour in the past.

The SIT concept

The idea is to complete a fast paced workout with multiple forms of exercise within a short period of time, utilizing very short rest periods between exercises. Some of these exercises may superset with others too. While you need to do these workouts at your own pace, you do need to be firm on yourself to get results. I always start with the intention of no more than 15 seconds between each set or in a super-set of any exercise. Then about 30 seconds – 1 min on route to the next exercise. Whatever the exercise of choice, you should be breathing hard inside the first few minutes. Ideally make your routine about 25-30 mins long if you can. Start with 15 min and work up over a few weeks if need be. If you are doing more complex exercises or weights, consult a PT or experienced person that can help make sure your form is good.

The routines that i prefer, combine basic light weights with basic floor exercises using your own body weight. None of these are complex. I keep these workouts varied and fast so i am far from bored let alone conscious of time. These exercises can be done in the home too using things like cans of tomatoes or water filled containers. You do not need alot of weight to get the heart rate up when do things at a pace and in a repeating fashion. Even the stairs are great to use within these workouts.

Ladies with bike

HIIT is essentially the same as SIT. However, not only is SIT easier to say and spell with words, but the operative word is “Speed”… Interval Training. In my camp, it’s all about keeping the pace on. I want to be in and out of that gym in 30 mins max. I like to roughly split routines into upper, lower and mid section workouts – rather than a ton of all-sorts in one workout. This way i give body parts a rest. I am not too particular on this because it’s good to mix up the body parts regardless. But hey, it’s how i like to dish it up for me. See how you go and alter yours to suit your strength for different parts of your body. If you’re keen to try it for fun and variation (which is what this is all about) then here is a routine below. This is just one of the upper workouts i do focusing on shoulders and arms a little more than other body parts. You should get the idea from this if it’s not familiar to you:

  • Bike interval sprints – 10 mins starting @ 70 rpm sprinting 5 times to 100 rpm
  • Clean & Jerk super-setting with Hammer Curls – 4 sets of 15 with 15 sec rests
  • Burpees & Star jumps – 4 sets of 10 fully to the floor with 15 sec rests
  • Press Ups2-3 sets of 20 full press-ups to finish with 30 sec rests

Further notes on the exercises:

  • Bike interval sprinting – 10 minutes

On a Lifecycle (they do vary) i use level 9 – this is hard enough that i am using about 70% of my effort to bike for 10 mins without sprints. My wife uses level 6. Don’t go easy on yourself with the level, it has to be hard enough that you feel it within a minute. I stay at 70 rpm and sprint to 100 rpm after every 90 seconds. On the last sprint, i take the sprint as hard as i can for the last 10 seconds and for me this ends up at about 130-140 rpm. I hurt when i get off and my heart rate is very high and i am breathing real hard. I need at least 30 seconds to recover enough to stand up right when do this. I have been at this a while so give yourself a few weeks before you go too hard with this.

  • Clean & Jerk – superset with Dumbbell Hammer Curls

With the clean & jerk I use the preset easy curl bars from the rack for speed. I make sure i do the dead-lift/squat but no jump to the jerk, just press it up. If you start to fail like i do on the last set, pause in position for 5 sec and then go again. Do this till you finish it. I go up in weight for the last 2 sets: 20 kg x 2 sets, 25 kg x 1 set and 30 kg x 1 set

The hammer curls combined with the clean & jerk are a killer on the arms when doing 15 sec rest periods. Towards the end i am swinging a little on the last set. I use 12.5 kg right through all sets but you could start lower and go higher at the end, whatever suits you personally. So long as your puffing your butt off and not straining your joints.

  • Burpees with Star Jumps

Everyone hates burpees but i love them. This is one exercise i don’t superset with another normally. We used too do these with lunge jumps but the lungs didn’t cope unless we had longer rest periods. We do a star jump at the top and give ourselves a 15 sec rest in-between each set. They are one of the best combination fat burning and body forming exercises i can think of. There are a few variations. We mostly do them all the way to the floor because we end lots of routines with these – so if you’re tired you can “roll up” from the floor instead of press your weight up and this uses more core body movement than chest. If you do the press versions, you need to be fit to do all the sets – often if your top half is tired, you tend to dip your lower back and this can cause strain. No matter what version you do (avoid any strain), you should be dying at the end of set 2 and wondering how the next 2 sets of 10 are possible!

  • Press-ups

These full press-ups are tough at the end. Try a few to see how you feel at this point. We like to finish on these in a little competition to see if anyone fails in a set and then go again to push the boundary. I say 2-3 sets because on one day, 3 sets is quite do-able and on another, one set hurts like hell and you fail on the next set half way through. If your not strong enough or new to this, do versions on the knees.

The routine doesn’t look alot but once you hop off that bike having giving it a good nudge you are well into depleting your glycogen stores. The supersets start easy and end very very hard and you get much slower than you intend. It probably looks easy if your watching but the lack of rest and speed stacks up fast. I had a 25 year old who is moderately in shape and fit do this with me often and he regularly ended up in the bathroom after. Pushing yourself isn’t easy and so alot of people need others around them for motivation. I am not one of those – i train hard on my own. However, if you’re someone who needs the camaraderie, there is sure to be a Crossfit group nearby – they follow good diets too within their fitness teachings.

Enjoy yourself!



About deanco

I run several businesses with my wife, who i love dearly. We commute around Australia and New Zealand for work. I enjoy design, wine, cooking, fitness, electronics.. and adore our 15 year old beagle.
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