What is HIIT training?
Everywhere you look on the internet someone is talking about or recommending HIIT workouts right
now. I generally think fitness trends and fads are BS but this trend is actually legit in my opinion. If you’ve wondered what is HIIT training or if you’re doing it correctly, this post is for you. I’m going to break down what it is, how to do it, and the best ways to incorporate it into your current fitness routine based off my own personal training experience with my clients.
WHAT IS HIIT?
HIIT is an acronym that stands for high intensity interval training.
It is any exercise (including cardio) done for short bursts of time at a high intensity (aiming for about 90% of your personal max effort) followed by short recovery periods.
Benefits of HIIT training:
It burns more calories and more fat in a shorter amount of time than most exercise by quickly getting your heart rate up higher
than moderate intensity exercise.
It has a higher afterburn effect than other workouts meaning you will continue burning calories for a longer period of time after you’ve stopped exercising.
How do I do HIIT?
HIIT intervals should typically start with a longer high intensity work period immediately followed by a shorter recovery period. This recovery period can be active rest or complete rest. Generally these intervals are a 2:1 ratio, often 40 seconds of high intensity work followed by 20 seconds of active recovery. However, you can structure these with whatever time period you want and still see the same benefits. HIIT interval work can be used for any length of time during a workout but generally a good length of time to aim for would be 15-30 minutes. Research shows that adding HIIT work to your workouts 1-2 times a week allows you to see the benefits of it and still have time to recover in between to prevent injury or muscle overuse.
What exercises should I do for a HIIT workout?
As you can see by all the HIIT posts out there, people are literally doing any exercise for HIIT, and that’s ok, but in my opinion some exercises are more suited for this than others.
I recommend doing plyometric (explosive jumping exercises) or cardio exercises for HIIT intervals to get the most bang for your buck and to prevent injury. *
Some examples of exercises you could do: high knees, skater jumps, squat jumps, wall pushups.
Precaution and warnings:
HIIT work is not a great idea for beginner exercisers who have not established a consistent workout routine or base level of fitness yet. If you cannot control your form during the exercises you should make them easier and slow down your pace. As always, you should be careful when doing any type of exercise and stop at the first sign of pain immediately.
I do not recommend doing this type of workout if you are diabetic or have been sedentary for a long period of time.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether this type of exercise is appropriate for you.
***Prior to beginning any exercise program, including the activities described here, individuals should seek medical evaluation and clearance to engage in activity. Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone, and some programs may result in injury. Users should discontinue any participation in any exercise activity that causes pain or discomfort. In such event, medical consultation should be immediately obtained.