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Testing UTrain: Plyo-HIIT

How good are U of T’s online workouts, really?
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For this week’s Testing UTrain, I decided to try out the “Plyo-HIIT” on Wednesdays at noon. There were no descriptions on the UTrain website, and I had never tried a plyometric workout before, so I was intrigued.

Warm up

Plyometrics are fast and explosive exercises like jumping and skipping. Through these quick movements, your muscles undergo a cycle of rapid contractions that offer unique benefits. Supposedly, plyometric workouts improve agility, speed, and acceleration, so when they are combined with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) — which focuses on quick bursts of cardio-based exercises — you get a short but effective workout.

This all sounded good — maybe a little intimidating — but I was excited!

The workout

One of the benefits of UTrain is that the workouts are hosted online by UTM, Hart House, and U of T Sport & Recreation, so it lets students try classes they may not have had the chance to otherwise.

Plyo-HITT was hosted by UTM — our instructor for the session was a UTM student — so as a UTSG student, the program was new to me!

While the instructor waited for more students to join, they led us through the warm up, but I was surprised to see that only seven people attended the Zoom compared to the double-digits that the cardio dance party was bringing in. I suspect that was due to the more intimidating class title.

The instructor explained the structure of the class would be HIIT-style rounds with a full-body circuit, followed by a core circuit that would increase in difficulty each round. Each exercise in the circuit would be performed for 20 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest. I was nervous about the difficulty of the class, so I was relieved to find out we had equal active and rest times.

The simple full-body circuit included squats, reverse lunges, pushups, and modified burpees. As the rounds got more difficult, these evolved into jump squats, runners jumps, plyometric pushups, and burpees.

I appreciated that we eased into the more difficult moves and enjoyed the cardio burst, but the plyometric pushups were impossible for me! Impressively, the instructor was able to complete the 20 seconds and continue on to the pushups. I did one modified plyometric pushup — a pushup where you jump from your hands into a pushup — and then laid on the floor.

The core circuit was a bit easier with planks, v-sits, and leg lifts that increased in time with each round.

Cool down

The whole workout, including the 10 minutes of stretching, was about 45 minutes long.

I wasn’t as exhausted as I expected, but I did feel like I got in a quick workout and definitely felt some muscle soreness the next day. As a newcomer to plyometric workouts, the one thing I would have asked for would be a little bit more explanation concerning what we were doing and the proper techniques for each move.

If you’re looking for something new to spice up your workout routine, see you at Plyo-HIIT next