The popularity of high intensity interval training is on the rise. High intensity interval training sessions are commonly called HIIT workouts. This type of training involves repeated bouts of high intensity effort followed by varied recovery times.
It can be performed in all aerobic exercise modes, including indoor cycling, running, aqua training, elliptical cross-training and in many group exercise classes as well as on resistance exercise activities. Obviously aerobic and resistance activities can be mixed or alternated according to different exercise schemes.
The intense work periods may range from 5 seconds (for resistance exercises) to 8 minutes long (for aerobic activities), and be performed at 80% to 95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate, the maximum number of times your heart will beat in a minute. For strength training activities loads can be either very close to the maximum that can be lifted only once (1RM) or at a lower percentage of this value, and in this case the number of repetitions would be increased, aiming to achieve your limits in terms of number of rep to be performed, also known as volume.
The workout consists of alternating work and recovery periods, totaling 20 to 60 minutes.
An alternative method of doing a High Intensity program is that of substituting the recovery phase with an alternative exercise, thus creating an extreme intense workout, usually lasting much less than the traditional sessions.
Why is HIIT so Popular?
There are two main reasons that makes HIIT workouts so popular:
- They tend to be shorter that the traditional workouts.
- They burn more calories than traditional workouts, especially after the workout. The post-exercise period is called “EPOC”, which stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is generally about a 2-hour period after an exercise bout where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels, and thus using more energy.
Even at home you can execute extremely effective High Intensity workout. An extremely versatile piece of equipment like the Technogym Power Personal that offers an excellent exercise platform to plan your High Intensity Workout.
A very simple but extremely effective HIIT, that combines basic strength exercises with body weight exercises follows:
- Squat: use a load corresponding to 50% of your 1 RM (link all’articolo) and execute 20 reps
- Push ups: 20 reps
- Lunge : execute 10 each side
- Pull ups: executed the highest number of reps you can perform until exhaustion
- Abdominal: 20 reps
Those exercises should be completed without any rest when moving from one exercise to another. After the completion of all the above, rest for three minutes and repeat all the exercises. As you progress with your training level you can include additional round.
HIIT and safety issues
What are the safety concerns with HIIT Training? People who have been living rather sedentary lifestyles or have experienced prolonged periods of physical inactivity are at risk and must approach this method of training with caution. Establishing appropriate exercise form and muscle strength are important before engaging in regular HIIT to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury.
Regardless of age, gender and fitness level, one of the key aspects to safe participation of HIIT training is for all people to modify the intensity of the exercise to a preferred challenging level. Safety in participation should always be primary priority, and you should focus on finding your own optimal training intensities
HIIT workouts are more exhaustive then steady state endurance workouts. Therefore, a longer recovery period is often needed. Perhaps start with one HIIT training workout a week, with your other workouts following a stead state structure. As you feel ready for more challenge, add an additional HIIT workout, making it two a week, and so on. Ensure that you spread the HIIT workouts throughout the week.