I have written about HIIT before but it is something that I really do prescribe to instead of just another workout alternative. The idea to me of getting a good workout is to workout hard for a short period of time and really work the muscles.
Lately I have been trying to concentrate even more on compound, or basic, exercises like bench press, squats, military press and rows.
Why do HIIT workouts?
The way that you do one of these workouts is to string all of your exercises together and do it as one long set with very little time between exercises. You do this one long set and then take a rest and then do it all over again.
This is the exact method that Tom has talked about in Burn the Fat and is the way to have a quick but very effective and very intense workout.
I used to hate spending an hour training everyday and now I train my body in only 30-40 minutes instead. Nice time saving and I feel like I really worked hard after I am done.
Compound exercises are a very important part of high intensity interval training. The real advantage of doing the compound exercises is that you get to work your body as intended.
For your rowing you know that it is working mainly your back and biceps proton-pump inhibitors but the shoulders and forearms get a workout too and when are you going to really work your forearms?
Zen to Fitness has a great workout that has details on 10 exercises that you would do in a circuit style routine and it is definitely a great read so check it out but remember that this is advanced and would be really tough to do so do not worry about this kind of intensity just yet if you have not done it before.
Prepping for HIIT workouts
One thing that I never mentioned before is the prep for a big circuit training like this. I always think of this as three sets of 6 or 8 exercises so each set is 10 or 12 minutes long and very difficult.
I always make sure that I work really hard for each of my exercises and take a quick gulp of water and quickly (5 seconds or so) refocus for the next exercise. This is really a difficult thing to do but the mental game of lifting as Arnold Schwartzenegger has taught us is 99% of your lifting anyway.
Having a water bottle for your workout is important not only for the water but for something else to focus on between the exercises.
Mentally it is a really good idea to stop one exercise and then be able to start the next exercise mentally fresh even when your body is tired and you are breathing hard.
If you do not refocus quickly between exercises then you will not be able to get good sets out later in the circuit at all.