Ripped with HiiT: Lift it Hiit It Legs

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2014

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Lower Body Strength

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I thought this workout was the Legs version of the other heavy-weights, lower-reps strength workouts in Ripped with Hiit, namely Lift it Hiit It Back/biceps/shoulders and LIHI Chest/triceps/shoulders. However, LIHI Legs is really endurance cardio with Hiit bursts and no heavy strength work at all. If you go into it with that mindset - "this is my hiit/circuit cardio workout, not my legs strength workout" - you'll be fine. If you're looking for moderate-to-heavy strength work for lower body, look elsewhere.

Cathe leads four backgrounders - Amanda and Jai up front, Brenda and Al in back - in this 30-minute Hiit workout, with warmup and cooldown/stretch adding another 10 minutes overall to the workout time. The set is the blond-floor gym, and the only equipment used is dumbbells. Music has a beat but most of the time Cathe is off it. Some of this is sloppy editing - during the warmup she should be on the beat (heck, I'M on the beat) but the soundtrack and pictures aren't quite synched so the images and music are just off. Some of it is Cathe's choice too, as during much of the workout she says "ignore the beat".

After a good warmup incorporating some light plyo moves (keep them grounded if you don't want to jump this early), Cathe moves to the heart of the workout, which is Hiit-style circuits. She alternates one set of strength training with a high-intensity cardio move, which is usually but not always high impact. She calls the format "contrast training", in which the cardio move uses the same muscles as the strength move and is designed to exhaust the muscle and stimulate growth. The weights moves will raise your heart rate and the cardio is designed to push you into your anaerobic/Hiit zone. Cathe tells what weights she's using for each strength move. The rep count for the strength move is high, usually 16 or more reps. The cardio move is 16-32 reps.

The moves, pairing one weights move with one plyo/cardio move, are:
Squats followed by squat digs
Plie squats and plie jacks
Static lunge (one leg), split jumps/jumping lunges
Static lunge (other leg), split jumps/leaping lunges
Squats and pop squats
Plie squats and narrow plie "touch down" jacks (touch floor as you land)
Wood-chop side lunges and explosive side lunges
Cross-back lunges and lateral skates
Low pulse lunges and power scissors
Deadlifts and "snow angel" jacks (circle your arms when you jump up)
Wide-stance deadlifts and frog jumps with quarter turns
Walking lunges and scissor-scissor-wide jump-tuck jump

This workout will definitely keep your heart rate up there. I extended some of the pauses between cardio and weights moves and was still able to keep my heart rate high. I question the effectiveness of this workout to "build lean muscle mass" (as Cathe says in the intro and again at one point during the workout). The weights are not heavy enough, the pauses are too short and the rep count is too high to build any muscle. Fat burning, "leaning out", absolutely; muscle building, I really doubt it. For that reason, I'm disappointed in this workout because I was expecting the heavy-weights equivalent of the lower-rep, heavy weight back/bis and chest/tris workouts in Ripped with Hiit, and it's not. It's another Hiit cardio workout with weights added to up the heart rate, like Low Impact Hiit Two.

Instructor Comments:
As always, Cathe is professional. She cues, encourages and engages in very little extra chatter. Her cueing can be a little late (on the move instead of before it).