Learn how to use high intensity interval training to get faster results in your workouts.
High Intensity Interval Training Defined
Interval Training (also known as HIIT) uses short bursts of intense exertion followed by short periods of rest during an exercise session. There are several studies out there showing exactly how long each exertion and rest period should be. This article will highlight the Little Method and the Tabata Method.
I tend to use a 30 second exertion period and a 5 second rest period (Tabata Method) but you may play around with different rest periods and see what works best for you. It is important to exercise at full capacity during the exertion period. This means that you are literally giving it 100%. Then during the rest period you are allowing your body to recover before you jump back into the exercise.
Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training
There are several benefits to HIIT. The list only begins with the following:
- Shorter workouts need to achieve the same results
- Cardio-vascular strength
- Muscular strength
How to Create Your Own High Intensity Interval Training Plan
This really depends on your goals. If you are using High Intensity Interval Training to improve your athletic ability for a sport, then you may want to focus on more cardio vascular exercises. If you are utilizing HIIT to shred body fat and develop a strong physique, than you will want to focus on body weight exercises and exercises that incorporate light weights.
For the latter, choose a body part to workout. There are many different types of body weight exercises to choose from. Pick 5-8 difficult ones to perform during your interval training workout. You can couple them together or do one exercise as many times as your set calls for then move on to the next.
High Intensity Interval Training Methods
In 2009, there was a study that showed the benefits of using a split of 60 seconds exercise, 75 seconds rest repeated for 8-12 full rotations. This method is very demanding but could be tailored for the general public. Remember to perform a 3-5 minutes warmup and 3-5 minute cool down before beginning any exercise routine.
The Tabata Method uses a split interval of 20 seconds of really intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated for 8 cycles. In the study, athletes that used this exercise method 4 times per week made similar gains to athletes working out 5 times per week.
High Intensity Interval Training Equipment
The only piece of equipment that you will need is an interval timer. There are several interval timers online.
If you don’t want to use an online interval timer, I highly recommend GymBoss (www.GymBoss.com). They make a great one, that is inexpensive and clips onto your shorts.
High Intensity Interval Training Workouts
Sexy Beast Workout
TRX High Intensity Interval Training
High Intensity Interval Training Resources:
HIIT For Women
Thanks for your reply. I have another question. I have read on your page as well as most sites that HIIT bodyweight workouts should be limited to 4/week. There is a link above to a site which recommends 6 sessions per week. Isn’t this just too much and likely to lead to overtraining?
Thanks so much for your share!
Hi Dr. S,
Yes, 6 times is too much. Definitely limit it to 4X max. Though I would recommend doing more cross training and incorporate other exercise styles such as Yoga, Pilates, etc. Though depending on your goals.
Thanks for the comment!
Great info. Thanks. A few questions:
Is it better to do HIIT with different exercises vs doing the same exercise for eight sets?
What about an interval of 30s on 90 s off x 8 sets?
I presume either way, you should only exercise 3-4 days/week? Anything on off days?
Hi Dr. S,
Thanks. Doing the same exercise during a single session will help you focus on intensity which is the purpose of HIIT. You can experiment with different interval times depending on your goals. If you are going for weight loss you can shoot for less interval time (30 seconds), if you are working more on strength, than do a 60 second interval time.