If you are involved in some sort of training in the gym you must have heard of the term ‘HIIT‘, most commonly used to refer to a type of cardio. You may hear people saying that they will be performing 10 minutes of ‘HIIT’ on the stepper or treadmill for example. If you have never heard of it not to worry, I will try my best to explain it as simply and to the point as possible.
What is hiit?
So what exactly is HIIT? Firstly, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Basically it refers to:
- Alternating periods of high intensity cardio with periods of low intensity cardio.
- The periods are quite short, anything from 30 seconds up to 2 minutes each.
- It can also apply to any other exercises or groups of exercises, not just ‘cardio’ machines specifically.
- By doing this you are able to burn more calories in a shorter time period as it is very intense.
Note the second last point, you can apply the concept to anything, not just running or sprinting or cycling for example. The easiest way to demonstrate it is through the means of examples. So first, the most common example.
One of the best HIIT routines most commonly used:
- Sprint (basically go all out) for 30 seconds (high intensity period).
- Jog/walk for 1 minute (low intensity period).
- Repeat for 10 minutes.
Everything is adjustable. So you can change the times to suit you depending on your level. You can even do it using distances, say walking 3 light pole distances on the road, and then sprinting between 2 of them. You could also do it on a bike and increase the resistance for the high intensity period.
‘Non cardio’ hiit routine:
- Perform 5 reps of deadlifts, 5 reps of bench press, 5 reps of squats one after the other.
- Rest for 30 seconds and repeat.
- Do this for +-10 minutes.
Again it is all adjustable, you can adjust the reps and weights and exercises to suit yourself. You can monitor progress by seeing how many rounds you complete in the allotted time. You could also do something similar using bodyweight exercises such as pull ups, dips, push ups and squats.
Ultimately it’s just performing an exercise (group of exercises) at a very high intensity for a short period of time, followed by resting or doing the same exercise at a low intensity for a short period.
It can get much more scientific than that, but this is a good place to start and an easy way to start creating your own fun and intense workouts.