Centr Team

You've got to try this low-impact HIIT workout

Centr Team

Looking for the best low-impact HIIT workout of your life? Centr Unlimited is the bodyweight workout program that delivers the goods – so you can burn, tone and build your fittest body ever.

This 6-week program will get you moving with a unique mix of training styles, including HIIT and HILIT. We’ve already given you the lowdown on Centr Unlimited, but what exactly are HIIT and HILIT and what will they do for you? Let’s break it down , then get you moving with low-impact exercises at home.

What is low-impact HIIT?

You’ve probably heard of HIIT – it stands for high-intensity interval training.

HIIT breaks up your workout into working phases and resting phases. During the work phase, you perform the prescribed exercise at your maximum intensity, usually for a period of 20-60 seconds. During the rest phase, you catch your breath and rest your muscles. In bodyweight training, this might look like performing burpees for 40 seconds, then resting or shaking it out for 20 seconds, before moving onto the next exercise.

Low-impact HIIT takes out the jumping around and minimizes the impact on your joints and body (not to mention your downstairs neighbors). High-impact exercises such as jumping jacks, burpees and squat jumps are modified to be low-impact, or subbed out for other exercises.

Chris Hemsworth’s trainer Luke Zocchi and Alexz Parvi during a Centr Unlimited HIIT workout.

Who’s ready for some heart-pumping, fat-burning HIIT?

Who should try low-impact HIIT?

Centr's Queen of low-impact exercise, Alexz Parvi, says low-impact HIIT is perfect for "anyone who wants to take the bounce out of their training."

“I can tell you from experience that these workouts are small-apartment friendly," Alexz says. "No jumping means no thudding on the floor and no angry downstairs neighbors."

"Honestly, the benefits of low-impact HIIT are endless, but the biggest one for me is that anyone at any age and of any fitness level or ability can do it. I am super passionate about using modifications, so whether you have sore joints, are totally new to fitness, or you’re just not quite ready to do certain moves, anyone can do my workouts.”

What are some common HIIT exercises?

HIIT training can include any type of exercise – cardio, strength, plyometric, using bodyweight or weights. It’s just about going as hard as you can in the working phase.

The benefits of high-intensity interval training

By really pushing yourself during HIIT training, you’re maximizing fat burn, improving your cardio and muscle endurance and developing work capacity. The other big benefit of high-intensity training is that workouts don’t have to be long to get results – Centr Unlimited workouts run for 30 minutes.

What are low-impact, high-intensity workouts?

Is there such a thing as a low-impact HIIT workout? Yes, there is, and it’s known as high-intensity low-impact training – which is abbreviated to HILIT. Heads up: just because it’s low-impact doesn’t mean it’s easy! HILIT gets you working at your highest intensity with full-body movements across work and rest phases, but reduces the load and force of these movements to have a lower impact on your joints.

Alexz Parvi demonstrates the low-impact version of a squat jump during a Centr Unlimited workout.

Want to bring the heat without the impact? Centr Unlimited features low-impact modifications for every exercise.

Who should try HILIT?

Not only is HILIT for anybody of any fitness level, it makes effective high-intensity exercise more accessible for those who may have problem joints (e.g. knees, wrists), a bad back, are recovering from injury, or need to minimize the risk of injury. It’s also a good entry point to fitness for those carrying excess weight or who is new to exercise.

What are some common HILIT exercises?

Where HIIT can involve jumping or plyometric movements such as burpees, with HILIT you never have both feet off the ground. Bodyweight HILIT moves include mountain climbers, planks, walking lunges and some modifications – e.g. instead of jumping your legs back and forward in a burpee, you step out the movement.

The benefits of low-impact, high-intensity training

You still get the heart-pumping, fat-burning, cardio-boosting benefits of HIIT exercise, just without the stress on your joints.

HILIT is also great if you live in an apartment or anywhere with downstairs neighbors – no more complaints about your early morning workout.

Is HIIT better than HILIT?

Short answer: no! Both HIIT and HILIT can push your muscles and your heart to YOUR maximum work rate to build strength and endurance and burn calories. And while there can be a lot of crossover between the two, the main difference is the removal of plyometric (or explosive) movements in HILIT.

The inclusion of plyometric exercises in HIIT can improve strength, power, and speed by rapidly lengthening and shortening muscles in a jumping motion. This can have big benefits for athletes in sports such as sprinting, basketball, and football.

The downside of plyometric exercises is the risk of injury – not just for those with existing conditions, but also for beginners who may not have the correct form or a base level of muscle strength.

By removing rapid force and stress on joints, HILIT minimizes this risk of injury and may allow you to be more consistent with your workouts, with no time out required for treatment or recovery.

With Centr Unlimited, your trainers Luke Zocchi and Alexz Parvi give you the best of both worlds – mixing HIIT and HILIT movements into highly effective bodyweight workouts that are packed with variety, and offering low-impact modifications in every session.

Let’s jump into a low-impact full-body workout right now to show you just how good the results can be.

Your Centr Unlimited low-impact high-intensity workout

Make sure you warm up first. This is an Intermediate-level workout. Beginners should rest completely during the breaks, and use modifications where needed. Where there is a low-impact option, we’ll give you tips for the modified version of the exercise.

Want more detailed form tips on those exercises? Read on below to learn more.

How to do a low-impact burpee + squat
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, bring your hands down to the ground then step both feet back until your body is in a plank position. Step your feet back in toward your hands to stand up, then sit back and down into a squat – aiming to get your quads parallel to the floor. This is one rep. Move as quickly as you can, keeping your core engaged.

How to do bear crawls
Start on all fours, then lift your knees so they're hovering an inch off the mat. Now move one hand and the opposite foot forward an equal distance while staying low to the ground, followed by the next hand and opposite foot – crawling to the top of your workout mat, before reversing the movement to return to where you started. Keep your core tight and take it at your pace.

How to do low-impact crisscrosses
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, and your arms reaching out to form a T-shape. Now step your right foot back behind your left leg, crossing your arms in the air in front of your chest as you step back. There should be a slight bend in your front knee as you step back. Return to your starting position, then step your left foot back – continuing to switch right and left with a steady rhythm.

How to do low-impact mountain climbers
Start on all fours, with your hands on the mat in line with your shoulders, then lift your knees so they're hovering an inch off the mat. Keep your core switched on as you step each foot back, one at a time. Each leg should be fully extended when your toes touch the floor behind you. Step as quickly as you can manage without losing good form.

How to do a low-impact lateral run
The aim of a lateral run is to run sideways from one end of your workout mat to the other. To reduce the impact, march with high knees to the right of your mat, then the left, throwing out punches at the same time.

How to do plank shoulder taps
Start in a high plank position, hands on the mat underneath your shoulders and propped on the tips of your toes. Engage your core, then lift one hand up to tap the opposite shoulder. Lower it back to the floor, then lift the other hand up to tap your other shoulder. Repeat, keeping your core tight and hips as straight and steady as you can.

How to do the 1-2 hook combo
Take an orthodox boxing stance – left foot forward, right foot back – with a slight bend in your knees. Bring your fists up to guard position, around chin height. Now we’re going to throw out a combination of 4 punches. Keeping your eyes on a target straight ahead, throw a straight punch out with your left then your right fist, followed by a left hook that swings across your body, then finish with a straight punch from your right fist. It’s all about finding your rhythm and rotating through the core with each punch. If it helps, sound out each punch as you go: “punch, punch, hook, punch!”

How to do low-impact navy seal burpees
This modification combines low-impact burpees and mountain climbers. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, bring your hands down to the ground then step both feet back until your body is in a plank position. Now drive one knee toward your elbow, then the other, before you step back toward your hands and return to standing. That’s one rep.

How to do low-impact predator jacks
Stand tall with feet together, and arms extended in front of your chest. Instead of jumping your legs out, you’re going to step each foot out and drop into a wide squat – extending your arms out to the side as you do so. As you rise up out of the squat, step your feet back together and bring your hands back together in front of your chest.

How to do heel touches
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor and arms lying straight at each side. Engage your core and lift your shoulders off the mat – keeping your head neutral. Now you’re going to reach one hand at a time down to tap your heel, rotating through your core. Control the movement and keep your shoulders off the mat.

Well done, you smashed it! Now you know that a low-impact workout can have you sweating just as hard, we’ve got more options for you to try. Get moving with a low-impact HIIT cardio, core or Pilates session.

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