The Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)


High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has been in the spotlight for several years, growing in popularity as people look for ways to train more effectively. Indeed, where once the dominant thought about “the best workouts” was “the longer the better”, many personal trainers and sports conditioning specialists now agree that intensity is key when it comes to training. Maximizing the benefits of exercise is where HIIT workouts shine. .

This is not to say that if you are a distance runner, endurance athlete, or fan of long duration, moderate intensity cardio, you should give up your bread and butter cardio workouts altogether, but incorporate HIIT workouts. in your exercise routine can add many benefits and improve your fitness and athletic performance. HIIT workouts may even become your new favorites because they can be fun and challenging. Ready to start HIIT training? Read on for the basics of HIIT workouts, the benefits of HIIT workouts, and how to get started with HIIT.

What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of training that alternates short periods of vigorous exercise with less intense recovery periods. By engaging in these difficult and easy cycles, HIIT workouts allow you to work harder during intense periods and keep your heart rate elevated throughout the workout, even while you are resting. HIIT workouts typically last between 15 and 45 minutes, but there are even HIIT styles, such as Tabata, which are only four minutes long.

Benefits of HIIT workouts

Sprint for HIIT.

HIIT workouts certainly aren’t a walk in the park, but your hard work will reward you with many benefits, including the following:

HIIT workouts burn a lot of calories

If you are looking to burn fat and lose weight, the metabolic benefits of HIIT workouts should appeal to you. HIIT workouts are effective, allowing you to burn a lot of calories in a short period of time. The main reason HIIT workouts are effective in terms of calories burned is that the intensity level, which is reflected in a rapid heart rate, is so high. Additionally, most HIIT exercises are full body movements that involve all major muscle groups, increasing metabolic demand. Finally, the calorie burn doesn’t stop as soon as you wipe yourself off during your post-workout stretch. Bursts of hard work are very demanding on the body, so your metabolism stays up for hours to rebuild and recover, helping you burn more calories even while at rest. This “afterburning, known as excess oxygen uptake after exercise, can help you burn body fat and lose more weight.

HIIT workouts are effective

A lot of us are so busy these days, and with all the responsibilities competing for our time, energy, and attention, training sometimes gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list or thrown out completely. HIIT workouts are great when you are short on time because you can perform an effective full body workout in just 20-30 minutes. Studies indicate that you will achieve the same cardiovascular and strength gains from HIIT workouts in a third to half the time as it would take with traditional continuous training.

HIIT workouts can improve markers of health

HIIT workouts can improve markers of health. For example, research has shown that even three 20-minute HIIT workouts in the absence of other training modalities can improve blood sugar regulation and reduce resting blood pressure and heart rate.

HIIT workouts can add fun and variety to your routine

One of the best ways to prevent burnout and overuse injuries is to keep your workouts varied and constantly changing. Although challenging, HIIT workouts can be really fun and playful, with each intense interval feeling like a chance to push your body and play your workout. Because you’re only focusing on one tough fight at a time and desperately counting the seconds until you get some rest, the entire workout usually flies away and feels really engaging. If you don’t like traditional resistance training, HIIT can also be a more exciting application to increase your strength.

What exercises work well for HIIT?

Man doing demarcation exercise.

Theoretically, you can do HIIT with any exercise or modality, as it is less What you do and more on How? ‘Or’ What you do it. That said, the exercises that work well for HIIT workouts are full-body exercises that can be strung together with minimal equipment changes, as rest periods are usually brief. While far from an exhaustive list, here are a few examples:

  • Running / sprinting
  • Spinning / cycling
  • Rowing
  • To go upstairs
  • Star jumps
  • mountaineers
  • Skipping squats
  • Burpees
  • pull-ups
  • Push ups
  • Lunges or squats
  • The medicine ball slams
  • Combat ropes
  • Jumping rope
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Box jumps
  • High knees
  • The bear crawls
  • Tuck jumps
  • Side zippers

Precautions with HIIT workouts

After discovering the fun and engaging nature of HIIT workouts and seeing noticeable changes in their body composition and fitness, many people quickly fall in love with HIIT workouts and want to do them every day. However, due to the intense nature of this style of training, it is important to give your body adequate rest between HIIT workouts. In general, to avoid overtraining and the risk of injury, it is not recommended that you do more than 3 to 4 HIIT workouts per week at most, especially if you do not vary the exercise modality. It’s also essential to remember that while speed and intensity are essential to reaping the benefits of HIIT workouts, intensity should never come at the expense of fitness. For this reason, it’s best to choose exercises that you can do well without sacrificing your form and without putting your body at risk for injury.

How to get started with HIIT workouts

Man doing HIIT push-ups.

Once you have chosen an exercise modality or a handful of different exercises, you are ready to begin your HIIT workout. Decide on the length of each burst and recovery period. For example, your work intervals and rest intervals can be 30 seconds each, and you will only have to alternate between pushing as hard as you can for the 30 seconds, then recovering for the next 30 seconds, over and over again. until the desired total time is reached. elapsed. Note that most HIIT workouts last 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your fitness level and time constraints.

The fitter you are, the longer the intense efforts can be compared to the rest intervals; However, it’s important to keep the intense intervals short enough that you can work out with maximum effort and reap the full metabolic and fitness benefits of HIIT. You should be working at 80-95% of your maximum heart rate during your high intensity fights. In general, limit your strenuous exercise intervals to 45 seconds.

Here are some examples of HIIT exercises:


  • 20-minute HIIT workout: 5-minute warm-up; 10 x 30 seconds difficult, 30 seconds easy; 5 minutes of recovery.
  • 30-minute HIIT workout: 5-minute warm-up; 15 x 30 seconds difficult, 30 seconds easy; 5 minutes of recovery.

Intermediate athletes:

  • 20-minute HIIT workout: 5-minute warm-up; 14 x 30 seconds difficult, 15 seconds easy; 5 minutes of recovery.
  • 30-minute HIIT workout: 5-minute warm-up; 16 x 45 seconds difficult, 30 seconds easy; 5 minutes of recovery.

Advanced athletes:

  • 30-minute HIIT workout: 5-minute warm-up; 20 x 45 seconds difficult, 15 seconds easy; 5 minutes of recovery.

Are you looking for a stimulating workout for the whole body using only your body weight? Check out this bodyweight circuit workout that you can easily adapt to a HIIT workout.

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