When you go into the gym and you're lifting weights, your heart rate goes up while you lift, but then you take a long period of rest and your heart rate comes back down. When you do high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, your heart rate goes up and stays up because you're getting very little rest.
You've done resistance training before, you've done HIIT before, and you've probably even used bands before, but never like this.
Undersun creator James Grage and fitness model David Morin are here to lead you through one of the toughest HIIT workouts you've never tried. This workout is anaerobic resistance training, but done for long intervals with very short periods of rest, just like HIIT.
"We're taking resistance training and we're making it HIIT training," explains Grage. "So you're getting the best of both worlds."
Why bands, you ask?
Bands offer the unique advantage of being portable, versatile, and dynamic. You can easily transition between exercises to get a killer, full-body workout anytime, anywhere, in a very short amount of time. But aside from their convenience, the dynamic resistance of bands is uniquely excellent at pumping blood into your muscles while you train, making bands the perfect tool for building muscle.
"The free motion of the bands is very different," explains Morin. "You get in, you break a sweat, and you get a good pump. That's what I enjoy most about it."
You'll definitely get a massive pump with this workout, especially with the way the sets are structured. Each exercise is done for 60 seconds with only 30 seconds of rest in between. Since the rest periods are very short, this workout gets intense fast. You'll have just enough time to catch your breath and grab a sip of water. Just don't go too far, because that next exercise will come faster than you think!
Undersun Band HIIT Workout
Circuit: 30 sec. of rest between exercises.
- Band split squat: 1 set of 1 min. (right side)
- Band split squat: 1 set of 1 min. (left side)
- Band biceps curl: 1 set of 1 min.
- Band squat: 1 set of 1 min.
- Band shoulder press: 1 set of 1 min.
- Squat hold with band pull-apart: 1 set of 1 min.
- Band push-up: 1 set of 1 min.
- Archer pull: 1 set of 1 min. (right side)
- Archer pull: 1 set of 1 min. l(eft side)
- Band overhead triceps extension: 1 set of 1 min.
- Crunch: 1 set of 1 min.
Band Split Squat
For this workout, it's ideal if you have a variety of bands to adjust the resistance for each exercise. Start with a medium to heavy band for the split squat. Anchor the band under the arch of your foot where it will be more secure, rather than under the ball of your foot. Your back foot should be behind you in a split-squat stance. Grab low on the band on each side near your ankle to get into your starting position.
Push straight back through your heel as you come up.
"If I wanted to work the quads, I'd come straight up," explains Grage. "But we want to work the hamstrings, so make sure you push back as you come up."
Fire up the hamstrings and glutes for the full 60 seconds on one side, then use your 30-second break to switch sides and repeat on your other leg. You're going to have to dig deep for these. They are going to burn, and you're going to want to quit. Don't quit. Push through for the full 60 seconds.
Band Biceps Curl
Anchor the band under both feet, holding the other end of the band with both hands in an underhand grip and start curling. About 30 seconds in is where most people stop, but you're going to keep rest-pausing through for the full minute. By the end of the set, your arms should be on fire!
"This isn't just HIIT," says Grage. "It's a full-body resistance workout."
Band Front Squat
After resting from the curls, anchor that band under both feet just like you did before, this time bringing the band up with both hands in a front-racked position. Keep your chin up and your butt down as you squat. Having the resistance in front of your body will help you maintain the proper form as you squat.
Band Shoulder Press
Moving into some shoulder work, you'll anchor the band the exact same way under your feet and bring the band to the same front rack starting position. From there, press the band up, moving your head forward slightly under the band almost the same way you would for a barbell shoulder press. Move your head back as you lower the band back down with control. If you want some added resistance during the movement, you can step your feet wider to create more tension on the band.
Squat Hold with Band Pull-Apart
This is a rear delt exercise with a static hold for the lower body.
"It's going to hurt," warns Grage. "Especially since the delts and the quads are already smoked!"
Hold the band with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms in front of you with your palms facing down as you squat down. Hold the squat for the entire 60 seconds as you pull the band out and in, keeping your chest up and butt down the entire time.
For the band push-up, switch to a lighter band if you have one available. As Grage points out, this is not the time to let your ego get the best of you and go heavy —60 seconds of push-ups without bands is tough!
Wrap the band behind your shoulder blades and anchor each end under your hands. If you need to, switch to an even lighter band or just use body weight. Hold the top plank position if you need to rest before the time is up.
It's called an archer pull because you'll hold one end of the band straight out like you would hold a bow, then pull the other end back like drawing back an arrow.
"This is one of my favorite moves," says Grage. "It's a great back exercise, as well as an eccentric triceps exercise."
This is a single-sided exercise, so you'll do the entire 60 seconds on one side, take a quick 30-second break, then switch and perform another 60 seconds on the other side. Since you've already worked all the same muscles on the first side, the second side is really going to burn!
Band Overhead Triceps Extension
This is the final exercise before your cool-down. Anchor one end of the band under both feet, then bring the other end of the band back behind your head. With your elbows close to your head and your hands together, press the band straight up overhead, extending your elbows to engage your triceps. This exercise might look simple, but the dynamic quality of the band creates more resistance than you think.
"You're also working your core on this move, using it to stabilize," explains Grage. "You're working total-body strength."
At this point in the workout, you've done 15 minutes of intense activity, so this last exercise is a chance to bring your heart rate back down gradually while finishing strong with some ab work. You don't need bands for this exercise, just floor space for some good old-fashioned crunches.
Remember to curl your spine into the floor as you crunch. If you don't round the lower back, you're working your hip flexors, not your abs. This is just 1 set of crunches for 1 minute, a nice easy cool-down to round out the workout.
Purchase your own set of Undersun Bands right here at Bodybuilding.com. For more great ways to incorporate bands into your training, check out Getting Started with Bands.