What is HICT?
HICT stands for high intensity circuit training and involves the combination of both cardiovascular and resistance training exercises.
While it sounds similar to HITT (high intensity interval training
), there’s one big difference. HITT uses extreme intensity followed by periods of rest, while HICT is more continuous. In fact, HICT also stands for high intensity continuous training in some circles.
Instead of rest periods, HICT alternates between cardio and resistance training exercises, or upper and lower body exercises to break things up.
This keeps you constantly on the move, helping to burn off a lot of kilojoules and stoke up your metabolic rate.
What are the benefits of HICT?
Similar to traditional circuit training, H.I.C.T is a fast and effective workout with multiple benefits, including stamina, strength and weight control.
One major advantage of HICT workouts is that they are time efficient. A lack of time
is often quoted as a significant barrier to exercise, and that’s why HICT is so appealing. It’s much easier to schedule a short workout into your day than an hour or exercise.
HICT combines both cardio and resistance training in the same short workout, and even within the same exercise.
Think of jump squats as the perfect exercise to include in a HICT workout. Jump squats strengthen your thighs, calves and buttocks, while elevating your heart rate at the same time. You’ll also burn lots of kilojoules while you do it (and afterwards).
Get the latest in wellbeing news
Sign up to the fortnightly wellbeing update and get the latest articles, recipes and more delivered straight to your inbox!
How to add HICT to your exercise routine
- Start out slow – If you are new to HICT workouts, ease yourself into it. Don’t push yourself too hard too early. It’s normal to feel a little sore after your first handful of workouts, but stop immediately if you feel pain or discomfort while you’re actually training
- Aim for 2 days each week – Because HICT workouts are fairly intense, you should not do them every day. Aim for 2-3 HICT workouts each week, and do not perform them on consecutive days
- Include compound exercises – Exercises described as “compound” use multiple muscle groups, and involve movement through more than one joint. For example, push ups involve movement through the shoulder, elbow and wrist, and work your chest, shoulders, triceps and core. The more muscles you use to perform a movement, the more kilojoules you’ll burn off
- Use your body weight – By using bodyweight exercises as part of your HICT workout, you eliminate the need for expensive fitness equipment or gym membership. This allows you to perform a circuit virtually anywhere, any time
- Aim to progress over time – Any gains in strength and stamina are developed through consistent training, and the principle of progressive overload. Keep a record of your repetitions, or the total amount of time it takes to complete a circuit, giving you a measure to improve upon for the future
Your sample HICT workout
After a 5 minute cardio warm up, perform each exercise 30 times, with virtually no rest in between each of the 5 exercises
You can repeat the circuit 2 – 3 times depending on your schedule and fitness. See the variations below to adjust the difficulty level.
Cool down and stretch to finish.
- 1. Burpees (without push ups)
Variations – Eliminate the usual jump if you are a beginner
- 2. Cycle kicks
Variations – The higher you lift and twist your shoulders, the harder this exercise becomes
- 3. Push ups
Variations – Perform knee push ups if you struggle with normal push ups
- 4. Jump squats
Variations – Adjust the height of your squats to adjust the difficulty. Don’t jump at all if you have knee problems
- 5. Alternating supermans
Variations – Hold a light dumbbell in each hand if you find this easy