HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training. A training protocol that alternates between short periods of intense or explosive anaerobic training with short recovery periods up to the point of exhaustion, which thereby depends on the anaerobic energy-releasing system almost to the maximum. It’s a great cross training alternative as variation to running. HIIT boosts your fitness, strength, running style, and running economy.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training
So HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and is used in both cardio and strength training. As runners, we use HIIT mostly as strength training. A HIIT training program typically consists of classic training exercises that you already know like squats, abdominal bends, plank, arm bends, deadlifts, etc. But also some relative new exciting and highly effective exercises as shown here:
So, to make it simple about HIIT – it’s just about really going for it!
The HIIT principle
Strength training within the HIIT principle ranges from simple explosive exercises to exercises with coordination or heavy weights.
It has been proven that HIIT is one of the fastest ways to burn fat without compromising your muscle mass. The short intervals with high-intensity training increase your heart rate and boost your post-calorie burn for many hours after your workout.
You can train much more efficiently and explosively with HIIT than you can with a longer-lasting training at lower intensity, and it gives a stronger and more solid physique. HIIT can be trained by both beginners and professional athletes as it is about taking as many repetitions as you can within relatively short time intervals. That’s why you get more out of HIIT?
Short training sessions of 12–30 minutes with high intensity give in most cases better results in weight loss, fitness and functional strength than training for 1–2 hours with low intensity. Since you only can provide your maximum training effort within a short time interval, then the intensity will drop drastically and you will not get as much out of the training.
An example could be that a person can do 12 squats at the same pace within an interval of 20 seconds. If the person continued for 60 seconds, the pace would decrease. When you take a break between the intervals, you allow the body to continue at the same high pace again after the break.
Anyone can train HIIT
This means that you spend less time on the training, but achieve a much better quality as you can provide your maximum in the time you train. Anyone can train HIIT and get the same effective results.
So, when you train HIIT, it’s about taking as many repetitions as you can in a short period of time. If a strong and healthy man and an untrained woman have to do the same exercise within the same time interval, they both get an improved muscle mass and endurance, even if the man takes more repetitions than the woman does.
They both train with high intensity and therefore get the most out of their training. You could say that the better shape you are in, the higher the intensity should be in the training, and if you are untrained, you should not go up to an equally high intensity before it gives results.
How often should you train HIIT?
If you are a complete beginner and untrained, twice a week will be enough to improve your strength, fitness and endurance. When you notice an improvement, you can increase the number of workouts to 3 times a week, which will improve your progress quite a bit.
If you are already in good shape, it’s recommended that you add HIIT to your current training or replace it with part of your training, and you will be able to notice a great improvement in your performance. If you only want to train HIIT and completely replace it with your current training, you can probably train 5 times a week to get in even better shape. Types of HIIT intervals could look like these:
20/10 = 20 seconds of training and 10 seconds break.
20 seconds is a very short interval, which is well suited for explosive and conditioning exercises. It can be different variations of burpees, squat jumps and general exercises, which are simple and with a jumping element.
50/10 = 50 seconds of training and 10 seconds break (our primary interval)
A 50-second interval is a fine intermediate interval, which is good for exercises that require coordination or for exercises with heavy weights. It is enough time for you to get well into the exercise, or for you to get up to your maximum number of repetitions when you train with heavy weights. It can be exercised like Bear crawl or squat + press.
90/30 = 90 seconds training and 30 seconds break.
90 seconds is the longest within the definition of “short time interval”. It therefore also requires a longer break so that the body has time to get its heart rate down again before the next exercise begins.
Here, a multi-combination exercise is well suited, as few can hold the same intensity in an explosive exercise for 90 seconds. For example, it can be a combination of tricep dips and squats, so you alternate between taking 6 tricep dips and 6 squats as many times as you can within the range.
Make as many laps as you can or a maximum of 30 minutes.
Always remember that it is more important to perform the exercise correctly than to take multiple repetitions of an exercise with poor form. Quality before quantity.
Benefits with HIIT
Your post-calorie burn is up and running for up to 48 hours after a HIIT session. The higher the intensity you have trained with, the higher your afterburn.
Improvement by HIIT:
HIT will increase your fitness and your insulin sensitivity the higher your insulin sensitivity, the less fat you store on your stomach, and if you are looking to build muscle and lose fat, HIT is the most time efficient method.
And then the good thing about HIT is that it can be relatively easily adapted to a busy everyday life because it is over so quickly. Another advantage is that the method can be varied in countless ways. And just variation means that neither body nor mind gets bored:
- You build muscle strength while burning fat.
- All training levels can train HIIT.
- Your calorie burn is up and running for up to 48 hours after HIIT.
- You improve your strength, fitness, endurance, and speed.
- It is more manageable to start with for beginners.
- Gives strong and firm muscles.
Provides more energy. Your fitness will be significantly better than if you trained for a long time at low intensity.
There are many different ways to put together a HIIT training program.
You can easily put together your own training program
The following is an exercise program that you can get started on quickly. Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, relax for 15 seconds, and move on to the next. On an intensity scale from 1-10, lie on a solid 9s. Repeat the whole program 2 times or more:
- Butt Kicks: Stand with your feet slightly spread. Then kick your right heel up to your buttocks and down again, then repeat with your left foot, etc.
- Jump Squats: Stand with your legs slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and hips down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and jump as high up in the air as you can.
Burpees: Stand with feet spread shoulder-width apart. Lie down quickly in a plank position and hold your body up with your abdominal muscles. Make an arm bend. Then jump up on your feet again and make a mini-bouncer.
- Mountain Climbers: Start in a plank position with arms outstretched. Then lift your left knee up to your tummy, then your right, etc.
- Lunges: Stand up straight. Step forward with your left leg and go down on your knees until your left thigh is parallel to the ground. Push yourself up again, then repeat with the right leg.
- Arm bends: You probably know it well – just do as many arm bends as possible.
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