I am a HUGE fan of Amy Dixon‘s HIIT workouts and HIIT workouts in general, so I snapped this one up as soon as I saw it. Before I go any further, I want to mention how I plan to review this workout. Since it is the 3rd in her Breathless Body series, I want to compare it to the first two before this review posts. So I did it for the first time this morning, but I plan to do BB 1 & BB 2, then do BB 3 again. Then I will finish this review, giving my thoughts on how it compares to the first two.
On to the review…
HIIT it Big! is very similar to Amy’s earlier BB workouts, but also different. Those differences are neither good nor bad. In fact, after the first time doing the workout, I was undecided on how I felt about it, so I am glad I did it again before posting this. After the second time through, I decided that I did like it; however, it is not as intense as the first two Breathless Body workouts. Don’t misunderstand–it is an intense workout, but even if you follow the most advanced version of the moves, I don’t think it is as challenging or intense as the first two workouts.
First, the basics. The workout is made up of HIIT drills. There are 8 of them and each drill is repeated 4 times. Amy refers to them as tabata HIITs, but they are not. These drills are done for 40 seconds with a 20 second recovery (a tabata drill is done for 20 seconds with a 10 second recovery). So you are going all out for 4 minutes. Then you get a longer recovery as she shows you the next drill by level. There are two other exercisers. A female (Whitney) who does the easiest version of the drill and a man (Jason) who does the most advanced. Amy does the version somewhere in the middle. Once you finish all 8 drills you do a “Finisher.” Amy had one of these in BB 2: The Edge and it is tough. You do all of the drills, one right after the other with no breaks/recoveries in between. However rather than doing them for 40 seconds, each is done for 30 seconds, so you get 4 solid minutes of all out intensity. But that is not the end! The workout ends with a Core Blast–4 core moves, each done for a solid minute. Then you get your stretch.
This is a tough workout, which it should be. You cannot call something a HIIT then make it easy. It is also deceptive. In the beginning I thought maybe it was easy. But by the middle of the workout, I was really pushing through. I like how she added the core work onto the end. To me, it was an active recovery. She is cooling you down by making you continue to work hard–just not at HIIT level. So when the core work was done, no actual “cool down” was needed. You can go straight into the stretch.
However, I wasn’t crazy with some of the HIIT exercises. I guess she was trying to use different exercises than she did in her last two Breathless Body workouts, but I feel like she tried too hard on some of them. For what these workouts are, you have to keep it somewhat simple–you are moving fast and pushing hard. But some of these drill combos were a bit complicated and awkward. They did exhaust me, don’t get me wrong, but they were awkward to do. BTW–not all of them, just some of them. I will note in the breakdown which ones I felt were awkward. Another thing I wasn’t crazy about was the “easy” crew member–Whitney. I have no problem with Amy giving us easier levels of an exercise but Whitney seemed to be putting little actual effort into the moves! I’m not sure she even broke a sweat! Amy and Jason were really pushing it hard, but Whitney seemed to mistake the idea of an easier level with actually taking it easy, which isn’t the point of a HIIT workout, regardless of your fitness level. In fact, at one point even Amy says “this is Breathless, not mildly winded” (which I LOVE BTW)–but apparently Whitney didn’t get the memo.
HIIT it Big! is 60 minutes long; 1:30 minute intro, 4 minute warm up, 43 minutes HIITs, 8 minutes core, and 3 minute stretch.
1. Lunge pops. Level 1 alternating lunges; Level 2 lunged forward, hopped 2 times then returned to standing; Level 3 three hopped 3 times in lunge position then switch/jump lunged to the other leg to hop 3 times.
2. Knee slam (somewhat awkward). Level 1 3 knee lifts then punch down to side; Level 2 3 knee lifts with a hop and wood chop to the side; Level 3 3 knee lifts with a hop but rather than wood chop or punch, touch the ground to the side (so go down into a lunge, fingertips touching the floor).
3. Plank tuck jack. Everyone is in plank position. Level 1 two knee ins (each knee once, just alternate), step out to side (each foot once, just alternate), then pull each arm back to rib cage once; Level 2 squat thrust, planks jack and raise each hand once; Level 3 squat thrust, plank jack with push up and raise each hand once.
4. Squat bound pistol (very awkward). Level 1 long jump forward, heel drives forward (while still in squat position) touching the ground, then shuffle back; Level 2 long jump forward landing on one foot, heel drives forward still touching the ground, shuffle back; Level 3 long jump forward, landing one foot and put heel forward–heel not touching the ground (so a balance move), then shuffle back.
5. Mogul burpee. Level 1 a sort of tap lunge side-to-side (while standing); Level 2 burpees but jump legs out to the side-center-side rather than straight behind you; Level 3 same as level 2 but you jump at the top of the move.
6. Boxer Split. Level 1 two knee lifts and 4 hook punches (alternate sides); Level 2 one knee lift, one kick and 4 hook punches (alternate sides); Level 3 two kicks and 4 hook punches (alternate sides).
7. Chugs. Level 1 jump forward and back; Level 2 jump forward and back swinging arms up over head and back with each jump (and jump bigger/faster); Level 3 same as Level 2 except you just jump much bigger, but not necessarily faster.
8. Scorpion fly (very awkward). Level 1 non-strenuous skater (stepping side-to-side tapping one foot behind the other); Level 2 skaters (strenuous ones) except at each lateral jump you touch the floor with outside fingertips and bring inside arm over face–so core work; Level 3 get into lunge and swing arm side-to-side 3 times, finger tips touching the floor each time, then jump lunge to other leg and do it again.
Now you do the finisher. Each of the 8 exercises, done one right after the other for 30 second each with no recoveries.
Core Blast is 4 core moves each done for a minute. Just like in the HIIT workout, you get a bit of break between each exercise as Amy shows the different levels. And you only do each exercise once.
1. Core roll. Level 1 roll like a ball; Level 2 roll back and at the top of the roll do a modified V-sit (feet off ground and hands under knees); Level 3 roll back and at the top do a full V-sit with legs straight and hands straight.
2. Leg drop crunch. Level 1 do a crunch with legs off the ground but bent and touch one heel to ground with each crunch; Level 2 with legs extended to the ceiling, scissor each leg and do a crunch at the top of the move; Level 3 is same as Level 2 except you raise and lower both legs at the same time.
3. Hover sprinter. Level 1 bird dog; Level 2 hover sprint (get on all 4s then raise knees keeping toes on ground) and alternate raising one leg/heel. Level 3 do a bird dog but in hover sprint position.
4. Superman power ups (superman variations). Lay on stomach for all of the levels. Level 1 raise upper body, then do a cobra; Level 2 raise upper body then do a push up; Level 3 raise both upper and lower body then do a push up.