HIIT (high intensity interval training), or HIIT training, is a very intense cardio workout. With exercise sessions that are around 15-20 minutes long, you get more benefits than if you were doing slower jogging for twice that amount of time.
Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!
I’ll do a brief overview of what HIIT is and give a bit too much academic info on why it’s so good. Then summarize with a sample program and typical exercises for HIIT workouts.
The trade-off is that HIIT is extremely intense. For that shorter amount of time you must be sweating and straining and giving it your all. It’s about 15-20 minutes, but even more difficult than jogging for 40 minutes. I didn’t say it was easier, did I?
Studies by Jeffrey W. King in his thesis have shown that HIIT training increases your resting heart rate over the 24 hours following your workout, though this was only for overweight pre-menopausal women - making it a useful but not perfect study. But, you’re actually burning calories while sleeping and watching TV, which I think is pretty cool!
(Warning: More academic info!)
Additionally, a study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport showed that significant improvements in performance with HIIT training in moderately trained male runners running 3,000 meters.
The control group did 4 60-minute running sessions per week, while the experimental group showing the improvements did a routine of 2 HIIT sessions and 2 60-minute running sessions per weeks.
(End of interesting and complex academic info)
Most HIIT sessions have a warm-up period (3-5 minutes), twice as much intense exercise time as low intensity exercise time for the intervals (ex: 20 seconds of sprinting to 10 seconds rest), and a cool-down period (3-5 minutes). That’s the basic structure of the program.
Since the idea is to make the intervals intense, this can sometimes be hard on the body. You need to be careful to use correct technique and watch out for bad muscle pain.
Pushing through fatigue is great, but if you start to feel bad pain don’t go for just one more jump/squat/pushup. I’ve done it, it’s stupid, just don’t.
Here are some sample high intensity interval training routines. These were designed according to the Tabata Protocol, an interval training routine that Dr. Izumi Tabata found extremely effective in producing aerobic gains.
He recommended workouts 4 minutes long with eight intervals. This is a short but really draining workout. Trust me, you will feel righteously drained, tired, worn out, and dead-out beat if you’re doing this correctly. It works!
An example would be the basic Tabata running HIIT routine I was doing a few months ago. I jogged a half-mile to warm up, then did 20 second sets of springing interspersed with 10 second sets of jogging to help me regain my breath.
Then, at the end, I walked over to my treasured water-bottle and drank some delicious cold water while panting...
I started with 8 intervals (4 minutes) of HIIT, and then another half-mile of cool-down and then stretching. I eventually worked up to 8 minutes of HIIT, which is over the Tabata routine length, but much more draining.
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
HIIT Training Info
1. King, Jeffrey W. "A Comparison of the Effects of Interval Training vs. Continuous Training on Weight Loss and Body Composition in Obese Pre-Menopausal Women." Thesis, East Tennessee State University. http://etd-submit.etsu.edu/etd/theses/available/etd-0412101-214442/unrestricted/king0417.pdf (Accessed February 21, 2010)
2. Esfarjani, Fahimeh and Paul B. Laursen. "Manipulating high-intensity interval training: Effects on VO2 max, the lactate threshold and 3000m running performance in moderately trained males." Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, February 2007. http://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440%2806%2900114-9/abstract (Accessed February 21, 2010)
3. Dos Remedios, Robert. 2007. Men's Health Power Training: Build Bigger, Stronger Muscles Through Performance Based Conditioning. Emmaus, Pa: Rodale.
"About 2 weeks ago I read all the ab strengthening stuff on your site because I decided I wanted to be strong, instead of having a lot of belly fat. So I started eating healthier, running, exercising, you name it - everything your site said to do to help. Now I am noticing a real difference! Thank you for making this. :D xD" ~ Julia
[This calorie calculator is] the most useful tool on the web that I can find… Also, I compared the calories calculated by your calculator to the calories calculated by the treadmill at my gym, and they're within a couple calories of each other, so yours is as accurate as we're going to get. REALLY AWESOME TOOL. I love it and depend on it. Thank you sooooo much for making this available." ~ Galit Sharon Marcus
Thank you very much, I was too lean before 2 years (55 Kgs), after the gym now I'm 72kgs, all the muscles have developed... when someone hand shakes with me it can be squeezed easily, they're making fun of me! ~ Tamil Arasan