HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training is currently making waves in the media as the go to training regime for increasing and maintaining bulk and muscle tone in short, sharp bursts of intensive training activity. It is a popular way to lose weight while building strength and stamina. While serious athletes have long known the benefits of HIIT, it is now a frequently used option for all fitness fans.
But what is HIIT and what can it do for you and your physique?
Think of the differences in the body types between marathon runners and sprinters and you'll get the general idea. A marathon runner's body is slim, sleek and light - the perfect design for endurance and long distances. However, a sprinter's body is a powerhouse of muscle - the perfect design for short, sharp bursts of speed and strength.
There are three basic forms of HIIT that can be incorporated into one's fitness regime.
Power Intervals are usually 90 seconds work:60 seconds rest ratios. They are used for activities such as walking, rowing, swimming and running. One should aim to use 100% effort during the work sets and 50% effort during rest. Examples of Power Interval workouts include, 10 sets of rowing power intervals, two sets of jump squat power intervals, and five sets of running power intervals.
Turbulence Training consists of eight reps of weight training and one to two minutes of high intensity cardio for a maximum of 45 minutes. Types of Turbulence Training workouts include, sets of eight bench presses and 90 seconds of sprints, sets of eight deadlifts and 60 seconds of burpees, and sets of eight back squats and two minutes jump rope.
The Tabata Method has a 30 seconds sets:20 seconds work ratio, alternated with 10 seconds rest. Unlike rest sets in most HIIT workouts where one lowers the pace and intensity during rest, in Tabata one rests completely for 10 second intervals. These can include, 16 sets of planks and sit ups, eight sets of jump squats and eight sets of push ups, or eight sets of burpees x 50 seconds.
The Benefits of HIIT
HIIT is known to burn more calories both during and after workouts than traditional continuous aerobic training. It increases one's metabolism, and is known to suppress the appetite. While quick, but not necessarily easy, it can be done pretty much anywhere without the need for gym equipment, should the want or need arise.
HIIT is extremely efficient and has a high pay-off factor in terms of time and results. If done properly, one can expect to get all of the benefits of a rigorous gym session in a fraction of the time; with the pace of life these days that can only be a good thing.