The breathing technique that provides maximum recovery in between HIIT circuits


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When you’re short on time, there’s nothing like a sweaty High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sesh to get your heart rate and energy levels up. And the benefits of regular HIIT cardio sessions speak for themselves. Since these super-short, yet intense, workouts pack major fitness benefits like improved endurance and strength, they’ve earned a well-deserved spot in your weekly workout rotation. And to top it all off, studies have shown that on-off burpee-filled fitness is basically a form of biohacking since just a 20-minute workout can improve memory function.

Since we know that you can get too much of a good thing when it comes to HIIT (you should do it no more than 30 minutes, FYI) then how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of your (super-short) recovery windows in between circuits? Learn to breathe the right way, or at least in a way that will let you keep going full-out for the next circuit.

You know how you seem to keep breathing harder, even after you’ve stopped your HIIT session? According to an article posted in Quora, “Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is to restore glycogen, creatine, and myoglobin in the muscles. Therefore, the breathing has to be deep and bring in more oxygen in the blood,” writes Shaym Das.

A lot of us tend to breathe shallowly, from our chests. But the key to recovering properly is activating a deep breathing response, which you can train yourself to do. “The best way is to squeeze the lungs as much as possible using your muscles during exhale and expand your lungs as much as possible during inhale. I teach this technique. It’s like a piston in a pump. The simplest way is to use abdominal breathing: expand the belly during inhale and squeeze the belly in exhale,” explains Das.

And since there’s never been a better time incorporate some HIIT into your fitness routine, now you can keep going at it even harder. Just don’t forget to practice this technique before your workout, since well, after that fourth round of burpees you may not be thinking about how to breathe as much as just needing to catch your breath.

Here’s why you probably don’t want to do HIIT workouts more than 2 days in a row. And try Jenna Dewan’s 20-minute HIIT series you can do in your hotel room.

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