As many of my closest friends are preparing for their winter holidays – some to sun & sand destinations and others to the mountains with ski thermals in tow – I felt inspired to compile a workout comprising of five winter-inspired HIIT exercises. As well as being fun and seasonal, the result is a timelessly convenient and effective circuit you can use to boost your fitness for the slopes or shed some excess winter weight before the beach.
How it works
The premise of this workout is to work to your maximum effort during the intervals, and to use your recovery to mentally and physically prepare for the next exercise in the circuit. Depending on your fitness level, I suggest completing each exercise for between 30 and 45 seconds, then resting for 30 to 15 seconds to make up a full minute. Whichever time you decide on, try to stick to it and avoid the temptation to reduce your intervals as you become tired.
Use this workout for a quick HIIT session on its own, or fit into your existing workout. Complete it between one and three times for five to 15 minutes of work.
Start in a neutral standing position with your knees slightly bent and your hips tucked. Bend at the hips and take your butt back towards the back right corner of the room as you drop into a squat. Now explode up and twist your body to the right to land back into a squat with your butt towards the back left corner of the room. Feel free to bring those ski poles up for extra momentum as you jump.
Time to hit the ice rink. Visualise yourself in full body lycra (add in a few more finely sculpted muscles, which will of course come from making this workout a regular feature in your routine) and use your right foot to push off towards the left. Land softly on your left foot and turn your left arm back and up to the ceiling in a nice clean line. You can touch the floor with your right hand for extra support. Repeat to the right, trying to clear more distance with every rep. Listen out for competitors on your heels, and remember efficiency is key.
180 snowboard jumps
Back to the slopes, but this time you’re headed right for the snow park. The jumps are going to come quick and fast, so assume a squat position with your arms out at your sides and keep your eyes fixed over your right hand. Push off the floor to explode up and turn your body to face the other direction, this time turning to look over your left hand. Never take your eyes off the prize.
Let’s work a little Animal Flow into the mix and make like a snow crab. Take a full bridge posture with your arms fully extended and your hands facing forward. Squeeze your glutes and contract your abs to hold this position, now shuffle to your right in three movements and pause for a tricep dip before shuffling back in the other direction. This will build a taut core as well as animal agility.
Pick axe at the ready? Good. Get into a plank position with your arms fully extended and everything from your head to your heels forming a single, solid line. Simultaneously reach your left hand out in front of you and plant your right foot as near to your right hand as possible. Just as the climber uses opposite sides of the body for balance, you’re building stability through your core and testing your coordination. Pause for a second in this reach position before returning to your neutral plank and repeating on the other side.
Good luck, and remember to personalise your workout by choosing the intensity and duration that challenges you. Read my blog about effective HIIT training to get the most from your workout. And don’t forget to share your results with me in the comments below, or on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.