When In Doubt, HIIT It Out

We’ll start with my “poor me” tale. Starting in March, we had distance learning and baseball season was cancelled. Silver lining, my body was rested and my Saturday bike/run workouts were way ahead of where they were last year. Then a hamstring issue stopped my running. Oh well, I could put in more work on the bike. I poorly installed a new bike seat which then led to achilles tendonitis. Out goes the bike and in comes the rowing machine. After a few weeks, that broke down. Great, now how do I work my cardio fitness? Well, I rediscovered an old friend, my boxing heavy bag.

My long lost friend

My heavy bag had been pushed to the wayside except for a few workouts during the triathlon off season (September through November). With my achilles still not better and the rowing machine out of commission, I dug into my workout programming bag of tricks and designed a 10-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) circuit built around my heavy bag. The circuit started with a three and a half minute round on the heavy bag (specifics to come). Take 30 seconds rest to transition to the calisthenics area. Then one minute each AMRAPs (as many reps as possible) of switch lunges, push ups, squats with a dumbbell, rows, and planks. The round finishes with a one minute rest before doing it again. Five circuits has me dripping in sweat and grabbing my knees.

Now on to my old friend. The routine I use is a typical Tabata set for a round. I box hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. The whole round takes me three to three and a half minutes. I have done a stand-alone boxing routine where I take a minute push-up “break” in between each of the four or five rounds. The circuit I am doing now is great because my shoulders get a break while I do the calisthenics portion.

Proper equipment is a must. I use wrist wraps and gloves because they give my knuckles some cushion. The wraps are also essential so my wrists don’t get wrenched the wrong way.

Even though I have let it sit idle, I really do love the boxing workouts. (Tip: don’t hang it from a basement rafter or it will shake an entire 1928-built house. Hang it in the garage.). You get great benefits from boxing workouts. I really feel it in my core and shoulders. It does work the legs, but I am trying to minimize the impact on my achilles to help it heal. Using this tool that was once cast aside, I have been able to find the cardio that I was missing. Plus, sometimes it is kind of fun to whale away on the heavy bag…speaking from experience.

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