Heat Up the Pool with HIIT & Salsa

Thursday, September 19 2019

Crank up some Latin music and power your way through 20-minutes of high intensity interval training using the Australian protocol (00:08/00:12) and then dance your way into 20-minutes of steady-state recovery with some spicy choreography.   HIIT & Salsa Splash with Mimi Rodriguez Adami features an optimal blend of intermittent and continuous training for high quality fat burning. 

The high intensity interval training (HIIT) protocol used in this workout is based on the Australian method of 8 seconds of work followed by 12 seconds of rest.  There are four 5-minute HIIT segments, each with 15 work/recovery cycles.  This is some SERIOUS HIIT training.  Instructors may want to start out with just one or two HIIT segments and a longer continuous training segment.  The steady-state aerobics used after the HIIT features Latin-inspired choreography broken up into four songs with an emphasis on merengue, salsa, cumbia and mambo. 


The warm-up in this workout serves the purpose of rehearsing the choreography used in the 12-second recovery segments.  The choreography used in the recovery segments can then be used in the steady-state aerobic portion, which is how Mimi usually does this workout.  However, in this video I asked Mimi to do her Salsa Splash choreography.   Mimi was one of the original developers of the Aqua Zumba Fitness program and I wanted to showcase her passion for Latin dance. 

HIIT Template
20-minutes total time
Four HIIT segments – each 5-minutes
Each HIIT segment includes 15 cycles of 8 seconds work and 12 seconds rest (Three cycles = 1 minute)

Australian Protocol
Tabata is the most widely recognized HIIT protocol, but there are many HIIT protocols to choose from. Instructors may want to heed Mimi’s advice and explore various protocols, which can easily be done via a Google search.  “I love experimenting with the various protocols and since I work with the same clientele every day, I make sure I vary the routines so they never get the same kind of workout more than once every 2-3 weeks,” says Mimi.  As detailed in an online article in March 2013, Australian scientists at the time claimed to have discovered the exercise technique that burns the maximum amount of fat with the least amount of work.  The research was performed with exercise bikes and participants had to pedal with hard sprints for 8-seconds, followed by 12 seconds of slow pedaling.  The researchers claim that the subjects lost as much weight with this single hour of exercise per week as they would have with five to seven hours of jogging.  Watch Mimi explain more about the Australian HIIT Protocol.

Interested in those Catecholamines?   Read more about Exercise Related Hormones

Designing Work & Recovery Cycles
Exercise selection for 8-seconds of work and 12-seconds of recovery can be tricky. “keep everything as simple as you can for these short time periods and never sacrifice posture or range of motion in your choice of movements,” advise Mimi  However, Mimi encourages creativity when it comes to designing cycles for different outcomes.  “Vary the body parts and directions of the movements as much as you can.”  

Keeping track of 15 cycles of 00:08/00:12 per each 5-minute segment can be rather daunting.  Mimi wears a specialized watch in the pool or on deck that allows her to keep track of timed interval cycles.  Interval apps such as Yes Go Pro or Interval Timer can also be used.   If it were Mark’s Australian HIIT class, he would consider adjusting the ratio to 00:08/00:15 and use 32-count music for timing.  Music with a bpm of 128-135 averages around 15 seconds for a 32-count phrase and 8 seconds for 16 counts (a half phrase) of music.  

All music used in this video, including the 4 songs used in Salsa Splash are from the Muscle Mixes Music library for VIDEO-APPROVED music.  At this time, this playlist is not available for purchase.  Any questions regarding the availability of this music need to be directed to Muscle Mixes Music

Salsa Splash
Life can’t just be all about hard work and rest.  There has to be time to dance and play.   Mimi dances her way out of the 20-minutes of HIIT into some of her vintage Salsa Splash choreography.  This segment includes four songs, each around 4:30, for a total of 18 minutes of traditional Latin dance.  Knowing her background and her preference for keeping the movements as authentic as possible, I allowed Mimi to pick out the 4 songs from the Muscle Mixes library of video approved music.  The music is everything to Mimi and she encourages instructors to master the music before applying the movement.  “Listen to the music many, many times until you recognize the bridge, chorus and verse, let it seep into your feet, legs, hips and shoulder,” says Mimi.  Instructors with some experience in Latin dance will be able to identify a dance with each tune, such as merengue, reggaeton, salsaton, samba and cumbia, and Mimi advises getting in the water and adapting the moves to the resistance and depth of the water. “Stay big in the movements and use the arms to help with the traveling moves,” she advises. 

An American-born European living in Italy since 1975, Mimi Rodriguez Adami has been active in training fitness professionals in land and water fitness for over 35 years. She has several degrees and certifications in fitness and life coaching and loves spreading energy and joy through movement and music.  Fitmotivation extends a big THANK YOU to Mimi for traveling to Florida for filming and sharing her robust passion and decades of experience.  Stay tuned!  Mimi filmed four videos and the other three will be posting in the next 6 weeks.

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Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.