HIIT or High-intensity interval training, also called high-intensity intermittent exercise or sprint interval training, is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue.
In simple terms, HIIT can be thought of as performing an exercise all out for a short period of time followed by performing the exercise at a very low intensity level for a slightly longer period of time, and repeating this cycle.
HIIT has many benefits and enables you to pack a lot of work into a short amount of time, which makes it very appealing. The catch is, that it does require a high amount of effort and drive to get through it and to push yourself. There are many ways to add HIIT exercises to you workouts and also ways to make your whole workout a HIIT style workout.
Some simple ways to add HIIT exercises to your workouts could be:
Jog for a minute and then sprint all out for 30 seconds. That is one cycle. Repeat this cycle 5 times or do it for time and repeat the cycles for 10 minutes for example.
Similar to sprints, you can choose to cycle on a low intensity and for the 30 seconds of higher intensity work, be sure to cycle as fast as you can. You could also choose to rather than try to cycle as fast as you can, you can up the cycle resistance but keep the same speed to also work on some muscle strength.
For a perhaps more fun time, try punching HIIT style. Punch slowly and more form focused for a minute and then pick it up and punch faster for 30 seconds on a punching bag. Remember though, to learn proper punching form first to avoid injury, and to get proper gloves for you. Punch Equipment’s range of boxing gloves has a variety to choose from for example.
There are many different battle rope exercises to try, using the ropes perform the exercise similar to how the sprints above are structured. Go all out for 30 seconds followed by a rest or low intensity of the exercises for 1 minute.
Incorporating HIIT into workouts
The above are specific exercises that you can add onto your existing workout, choosing one (for example sprints) and at the end or start of your regular workout doing it for a total of 10 minutes could be a sufficient mount of time. You can always build onto this or add to the intensity of each cycle.
Something to keep in mind is that these exercises can be quite intense so make sure you are resting and recovering adequately and do them sparingly.
If your workouts are more centered around weight training and you want to try incorporate HIIT principles into your workout, or you just want to increase the intensity of your workouts a few things you can do are:
- Reduce rest periods between sets.
- Incorporate supersets. Usually people superset antagonist muscles, but don’t be limited to only this. You can create a circuit style workout using a variety of exercises. For instance, a combination of the Bench press, jump squats, punches and bicep curls could be used to target a whole range of muscles while focusing on intensity and speed.
- Alternate heavy and light weights on the same exercise, or use drop sets.
HIIT is a great way to train but it is intense on the body, so remember to ensure that you are sleeping and resting enough, as well as eating the proper foods and right amounts to facilitate growth and recovery. Ensuring this will help you perform at your optimal intensity.