What Is HIIT?

What exactly is HIIT?  I’ve heard of Tabata too, sounds similar, what gives?  

 

 

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  This type of training isn’t NEW, but it has gained a lot of mainstream popularity in the past 7-8 years.  In a nutshell, HIIT is, as the name indicates, an exercise strategy that alternates short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than ever before. This type of workout session generally last from 4-30 minutes total. These short, intense workouts have been shown to improve cardiovascular endurance, improved athletic capacity and improved glucose metabolism.

 

Within HIIT style of training, there are a few specific methods such as Peter Coe regimen, Tabata regimen, Gibala regimen and Timmons regimen.  All were developed for the same basic principle, but to clear up confusion, here is what they are all about:

 

Peter Coe regimen:

Peter Coe was a coach during the 1970s and administered interval training while coaching his son Sebastian Coe.  His method often included sessions repeating cycles of a 200m sprint with 30 seconds rest between.  This training was inspired by a German professor Woldemar Gerschler and a Swedish physiologist Per-Olof Astrand.

 

Tabata regimen:

Tabata is probably the most recognized name in HIIT training. Izumi Tabata developed this method based off a study conducted in 1996, that initially involved Olympic speedskaters. This method is a bit more specific and involves 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds recovery, repeated for 4 minutes (8 times through).  Originally, athletes would only train 4 days per week, plus another day of steady state training and obtainied gains similar to those who trained solely steady state 5 days a week (at 70% VO2 Max).  At the conclusion of the study, the steady state group increased their VO2 Max, but the Tabata group had started at a lower average and made more overall gains and was the only group in increase their anaerobic capacity.

 


 

Gibala regimen:

In 2009 Martin Gibala and his team at McMasters University conduct a study on students involving a 3 minute warm-up followed by 60 sec of intense exercise followed by 75 sec of rest repeated for 8-12 cycles.  This method was repeated 3 days a week and obtained similar results to those who did steady state training 5 days a week.

 

Timmons regimen:

Timmons, a professor of systems biology at the University of Loughborough, is also a proponent of short burst exercise.  In the system he administers on an exercise bike, subjects complete 3 cycles of 2 minutes easy pedaling followed by 20 second burst at maximal effort.  This program was completed 3 days a week for 3 minutes of exercise each day.

 

As you can see, there are many variations on HIIT.  I would argue that no one is better than another. There is one common thread in that each one is best when performed at least 3 days a week.  That’s right, it takes doing the work consistently and pushing yourself to the absolute limit.  Just like with any training regime, to see results, you have to do the work.


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Here is a sample HIIT workout you can do at home:

 

Perform each exercise for 50 seconds, resting 10 seconds before moving on to the next.

 

Complete 2 rounds, taking 3 min rest between rounds

1. Jump lunges

2. Squats

3. Tricep dips

4. Burpees

5. Russian twists

6. Plank-ups

7. High knees

8. Side plank knee to elbow touch left side

9. Side plank knee to elbow touch right side

10. Dips

11. Bicycle crunches

12. Plank jacks

 

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Make sure to check out our available HIIT classes at www.GGofWV.com