High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is an exercise technique designed for people to give maximal effort for short intervals, followed by short recovery intervals. The objective of HIIT is to obtain the same, or better results than long duration, moderate intensity training. Depending on the training intensity, the work performed could last from several seconds to a few minutes, followed by a rest period up to a several minutes. To keep things simple, the harder you work, the less time you need to perform the work.
Public health guidelines recommend 30-60 min of moderate-intense exercise 4-5 days a week. Sadly, most Americans don’t reach the minimum amount of exercise recommended. The number one reason, regardless of age, ethnicity, sex, or health status, is ‘lack of time’. HIIT gives people a way to have a great workout in less time, so that time can no longer be the excuse not to exercise. Performing HIIT has many benefits: increased cardiovascular endurance, increased fat loss, boosts metabolism, no equipment necessary, good for heart health, and most importantly it’s time efficient.
Here are a few examples of HIIT workouts: Running or biking for short intervals at maximum work output followed by a short rest. A more specific example would be doing an all-out sprint for 30 seconds followed by 1-2 min rest period performed 4-6 times. Your time performing the work will be between 2-3 minutes and your total workout time, including rest, will be anywhere between 6-15 min. Another example that incorporates body weight exercises is 3 rounds of 60 sit-ups, 50 jump squats, 40 pushups, 30 jumping lunges, 20 bench dips, and 10 burpees with a 30 second rest between sets, and 4 min rest after each round. These rounds should be performed at an all-out effort for time, and each workout try to beat your previous time. You can always scale the number of reps to fit your athletic needs. HIIT should only be performed 2-3 times per week.
Due to the high intensity of this form of training it may not be for everyone. People with heart conditions, chronic injuries, or other diseases/disabilities should take caution before performing any HIIT workouts. Consult with a physician before starting a HIIT program if you have any of these issues. If you have the ‘all clear’ on the previous, please note that all PACC trainers have the knowledge and experience to help you build a program to meet your short-term and/or long-term needs.