There’s always something new trending within the world of health and fitness. ‘One size fits all’ doesn’t normally fit the fitness community: what might work well for so and so, may not be anywhere near as effective for someone else. However, High Intensity Training (HIIT) has become increasingly popular over recent years and now it looks like it’s going across the board. There’s no escape – so what exactly is it, and what is the best way to do it?

High Intensity training, commonly referred to as HIIT, is a training method that involves bursts of high energy exercises followed by short recovery periods, ideally for a total of 20 minutes. Yes, you heard that right! This type of training is highly effective when it comes to getting your heart rate high, upscaling your metabolism, and burning lots of fat in short order.

Lee Matthews, Fitness First’s fitness and marketing director says, “HIIT training and compound lifting are two exercise disciplines which have really grown in popularity over the years and, whilst always popular with men, compound lifting has now seen an increase in uptake with women.”

That’s why London’s largest health club, Fitness First, has introduced a new HIIT and weights class, known as SHRED. This isn’t just for the muscle meatheads, nor is it going to give you abs like Jessica Ennis after one session. But it might well improve not only your strength but also your confidence with lifting too.

SHRED stands for Speed, High-intensity, Resistance, Endurance and Dynamic. The 40-minute class is based around five disciplines of athletic performance to ensure that calorie burn, bone strength and muscular flexibility are all at the forefront of the workout.

When I tried it, the class was comprised of the following phases:

A warm-up using the bar as a way to prepare the muscles whilst learning the precise skills needed to succeed in compound lifts. I really enjoyed this because not only are you adapting your mind to think about the different muscle groups being activated, but you also gain the skills of different lift techniques in your compound movements.

Lift and HIIT: this is the main period of exercise and includes five blocks made up of five different compound lifts and five HIIT exercises. Class members perform a one minute lift, followed by a 30 second HIIT exercise and then a repetition of the lift for one minute.

Compound lifts can include: front squats with the weighted bar, bench press, single leg deadlift, standing over the head shoulder press, and as for the HIIT exercise expect many tuck jumps, staggered jumping jacks and step ups.

Finisher: wouldn’t be a proper HIIT class without it, right? For this section of the class, members will partner up for a finisher exercise. I took part in the front squat challenge with a weight on the bar teamed up with a wall sit, and, boy, did I feel the burn!

Cool and stretch: the cool down will include bar stretches where you utilise an empty bar to assist with the stretches, and work on releasing the larger muscle groups

Lee Mathews explained that “compound lifts are resistance based movements which engage large muscle groups and joint movements at a time. By using large muscle groups to create a movement, you maximise the efficiency of the workout and will achieve better results.”

It doesn’t matter how much background you have in lifting, this class will give you the key techniques to master compound lifts which you can then incorporate into your own workouts.

SHRED was launched  on 16 January 2017. It is available at Fitness First clubs nationwide. Find out here where your nearest club is.