HIIT training is a highly adaptable exercise format suitable for everyone, from beginners to seasoned athletes. Plus, it’s easier to fit into your schedule than travelling to the gym because you can do it from the comfort of your own home. It is a beneficial form of exercise that helps lose weight and improves overall health. However, people should complete a HIIT workout at least four times per week to get meaningful improvements.
While high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has grown in popularity in recent years, it is far from a novel idea. Over a century ago, Finnish runner Hannes Kolehmainen spiced up his Olympic preparation with interval workouts, and hard-working Hannes got a reward for his efforts with gold medals in the 5,000m, 10,000m, and cross-country competitions.
Since people now use the term “HIIT” to cover a broad spectrum of training methods, it’s not always apparent what it is beyond the essentials of work, rest, and repetition. Although that definition is not incorrect, it falls well short of conveying the complete picture of what a HIIT workout includes. Discover all you need to know about incorporating HIIT into your daily workout routine and how it may help you regardless of your overall objectives.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, consisting of vigorous workouts with little rest in a short time. It doesn’t take much effort to put it into action, and you do not need additional equipment or weight. Instead, you can perform HIIT with your body weight and perhaps some furniture to execute some of the workouts.
HIIT workout raises and maintains your heart rate, allowing you to burn more fat in less time. However, a high-intensity workout increases the body’s requirement for oxygen during exertion while also creating an oxygen deficit. As a result, it forces your body to require extra oxygen for recuperation. The afterburn effect, also known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), is why vigorous exercise burns more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state exercises.
A HIIT workout will typically last 10–30 minutes. However, a study shows that despite its brief duration, the workout can provide health advantages comparable to twice as much moderate-intensity exercise.
You can undertake activities like sprinting, cycling, jumping rope, and other bodyweight workouts in your HIIT regime. For example, a HIIT exercise on a stationary bike may include 30 seconds of pedalling as quickly as possible, with high resistance, followed by several minutes of moderate to easy cycling with low resistance. It is one “round” of HIIT, and you should typically perform 3–6 rounds in a single session.
The HealthifyMe Note
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an exercise form that includes performing various rigorous activities in a short time with a tiny break in between. Since the nature of the exercise is vigorous, it helps burn more fat than regular exercises. Also, HIIT workouts do not require too many pieces of equipment, and you can perform them at home. Collectively, these are the reasons for its growing popularity.
Not only can HIIT give the benefits of longer-duration exercise in a much shorter length of time, but it may also bring some other distinct health benefits. Some benefits of HIIT training are:
Burn More Calories in a Short Amount of Time
HIIT allows you to burn calories rapidly. It is primarily due to the intensity.
The research compared the calories burnt during 30 minutes of HIIT, weight training, running, and biking. The researchers discovered that HIIT burns 25–30% more calories than the other types of exercise. During the study, the HIIT routine included 20 seconds of maximum activity followed by 40 seconds of recovery. It indicates that the participants only exercised one-third of the time that the runners and bike groups did. The results show that HIIT allows you to burn the same number of calories while spending less time exercising.
Help Lose Fat
Several studies have found that HIIT aids fat loss. For example, a study involved 13 experiments and 424 people who were overweight or obese. Both HIIT and regular moderate-intensity exercise reduced body fat and waist measurement.
Additional studies have shown that HIIT can decrease body fat despite the relatively shorter time commitment.
Higher Metabolic Rates After HIIT Exercise
You may experience a significant loss in calories after finishing a HIIT session. It is due to HIIT’s positive role in improving metabolism. One study has shown that HIIT can continue improving your metabolic rate for hours after training. As a result, it helps burn calories even after a workout session.
According to one study, HIIT boosts your metabolism after exercise more than jogging or weight training. In addition, the same research discovered that HIIT might shift the body’s metabolism away from consuming carbohydrates and toward using fat for energy.
Improve Oxygen Consumption
Your muscles’ capacity to utilise oxygen is your oxygen consumption. Fitness experts typically prefer using endurance exercises to increase oxygen consumption. That is because it consists of extensive bouts of steady-state jogging or cycling. But it appears that HIIT might provide the same advantages in less time.
One research indicated that participants who did 20-minute HIIT workouts four days a week for five weeks increased their oxygen intake by 9%. It was nearly comparable to the improvement in oxygen consumption shown in the study’s other group, which cycled for 40 minutes per day, four days per week.
Gain Muscle Using HIIT
In some people, HIIT may help them gain muscle mass. Nevertheless, muscle mass gains are concentrated predominantly in the muscles utilised the most, which are frequently those in the trunk and legs.
According to a study, improvements in muscle mass are also more common among less active people. Weight training is the gold standard of exercise for increasing muscle development. However, high-intensity intervals may promote some muscle growth.
Reduce Blood Pressure
A body of research suggests that HIIT can lower heart rate and blood pressure in those who are overweight or obese, groups where high blood pressure is widespread.
In one research of individuals with high blood pressure, eight weeks of HIIT on a stationary cycle reduced blood pressure as much as a typical, prolonged endurance training session. In addition, the endurance training group trained four days per week for 30 minutes per day, while the HIIT group only exercised three times per week for 20 minutes per day.
Some studies say HIIT may lower blood pressure more than the commonly suggested moderate-intensity exercise. However, according to a study, high-intensity exercise does not appear to modify blood pressure in those with “normal” BMI and blood pressure.
Reduces Blood Sugar
HIIT regimens that last shorter than 12 weeks can reduce blood sugar levels. According to a research review, HIIT lowers blood sugar and improves insulin resistance better than regular, continuous exercise. In addition, evidence-based research suggests that high-intensity exercise may benefit people at risk of type 2 diabetes.
Several studies, notably in persons with type 2 diabetes, have shown that HIIT can improve blood sugar levels.
Consider the following tips before starting HIIT:
- Choose a low-intensity modality that you are acquainted with. For example, if you haven’t jogged in a while, don’t go all-out on running.
- Begin with a few sessions twice a week. HIIT exercise is quite taxing, especially when using higher impact modalities.
- Work sessions should not exceed 30 seconds. Work intervals of more than 30 seconds will be challenging to maintain at the requisite intensity to qualify as HIIT.
- Allow for enough relaxation time. Only by taking rest times that are equivalent to or longer than your work periods will you be able to sustain the appropriate intensity for HIIT.
- If you have joint pain, start with a low-impact activity like cycling or swimming.
The HealthifyMe Note
Although every workout offers benefits, not everyone can benefit from them. The key is to do your exercises right. It allows you to get better results and reduces the risk of injuries. Therefore, it is always better to exercise under the guidance of a fitness coach. Their expertise and experience guide you through the process and ensure you do not injure yourself. However, even if you are a beginner, do not suddenly rush into an exercise session. You should take adequate measures to be safe.
HIIT Workout Routines
Kettlebell HIIT Workout For Fat Loss
A Louisiana University research comparing kettlebell swings, cleans, and deadlifts to a more typical sprint training regimen discovered that maximal heart rate was only marginally higher in the sprints. Still, calorie expenditure was more significant with the kettlebells.
- Swing alternately (30sec): Similar to the typical swing, but with arms alternating at the peak of the lift.
- Jerk and clean (15sec left arm, 15sec right arm): Press the kettlebell above your head to finish each 15-second training block.
- Squat goblet (30sec): Keep your back straight and the kettlebell close to your chest.
- Rest for 30 seconds at the completion, then repeat three to five times more.
Tabata is amongst the most common types of HIIT.
- Beginner level exercises: squats, crunches, high knees, lunges.
- Advanced level exercises: dynamic squats, burpees with push-ups, spiderman plank, Bulgarian squats with jumps.
- The training consists of eight rounds of 20-seconds workouts followed by ten intervals until you hit four minutes. Then you progress to the next exercise.
Cardio HIIT focuses on increasing your heart rate, so see a doctor before beginning this exercise to see whether you have any cardiac problems. If you get cleared by your doctor, you are good to go.
Beginner Level Cardio
It’s more about the intensity of the activity. With that in mind, if you’re new to cardio HIIT, consult the table below to see what your heart rate should be as per your age.
- 30-40: 95 – 114 beats per minute (bpm)
- 40 – 50: 90 – 108 bpm
- 50 – 60: 85 – 102 bpm
- 60 and up: 80 – 96 bpm
Advanced Level Cardio
You may track your progress with HIIT by checking your resting heart rate. In addition, you may monitor your heart rate just after you wake up.
Follow the below table to know what heart rate you should have for maximum performance.
- 30 – 40: 171 – 190 bpm
- 40 – 50: 153 – 170 bpm
- 50 – 60: 162 – 180 bpm
- 60 and up: 144 – 160 bpm
Full Body HIIT
A full-body HIIT session is ideal for everybody, regardless of fitness level. In addition, this interval session is more efficient than a prolonged cardio session.
- Beginner-level exercises: push-ups, sidekicks, bear crawls.
- Advanced level exercises: mountain climbers, curtsy lunges, handstand push-ups, plank with hip dips.
Workout HIIT for Runners
Runners that include HIIT in their training can enhance their endurance and stamina on race day. Enhance your explosiveness by using squats, mountain climbers, and/or springs in your workouts.
If you are a beginner to HIIT, keeping your HIIT days distinct from your running days for the first few weeks is best.
- Beginner level: You can do Tabata with mountain climbers for this level. Eight rounds of mountain climbers of 20 seconds each, with a 10-second pause between rounds.
- Advanced level: At this level, do squats with Tabata. Eight rounds of 20 seconds squats, followed by 10 seconds of rest between rounds.
HIIT Workout for Lunch Break
These fat loss exercises below will get you lean in your lunch break.
Workout Plan: (2-min Exercise)
- Jump Lunge: On each rep, leap off the floor and switch legs in the air. Take a ten-second break.
- High Knees: Run on the spot with your knees as high as possible. Maintain a high level of effort throughout, then rest for 10 seconds.
- Jump Squats: Get into a squat before exploding off the floor as quietly as possible. Take a 30-second break before beginning the following round.
- Do all three exercises to complete one round, and repeat them four to eight times.
Do-It-Anywhere HIIT Workout
The do-it-anywhere workout would be most useful when combined with some weighted strength exercises. However, when time is limited, this is a great effective workout you can do anywhere.
This workout consists of:
- Sit-ups (50 times)
- Jump squats (40 times)
- Push-ups (30 times)
- Split Jumps (20 times)
- Tricep Dips (10 times)
- Burpees (for 30 sec)
- Laying on your back, bend your knees and feet on the floor.
- Stiffen your core and lift your head and back off the ground using your abs until you sit straight with your back perpendicular to the floor.
- Bringing your abs in afterwards, slowly return to the starting position. Repeat.
40 Jump Squats
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees and sit back into a quarter squat, putting them in line with your feet.
- Do a little leap and return to your squat stance. Repeat.
- Start in a plank posture, with your hands just under your shoulders and your legs about hip-width apart.
- Bend your elbows and get your body down until it almost reaches the ground. At the same time, keep your elbows tucked at your sides and your body in a straight line (or as far down as you can).
- Return to the starting position. Repeat.
20 Split Jumps
- Begin with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Do a tiny leap upward when sliding your right leg forward and your left leg backwards.
- Landing in a lunge with your right knee bent squarely over your toes and your left knee bent directly in line with your hip.
- Jump while reversing your legs. Repeat.
10 Tricep Dips
- Get on all fours and face the ceiling.
- Hands-on, the ground beneath your shoulders, knees, bent 90 degrees over your toes.
- Straighten your back and fingers so your spine is parallel to the floor.
- While keeping your elbows tucked in, bend them to get your buttocks as near to the ground as possible.
- Push yourself back up. Repeat.
30 Sec Sprawl
- Begin by standing.
- Set your hands on the floor and spring backwards until you completely stretch your legs, resulting in a push-up position.
- Quickly return your legs to your hands.
- Immediately get up and leap with your hands outstretched to the ceiling.
- Once you land after the jump, repeat instantly.
High-intensity interval training is a highly effective exercise format that may help you burn more calories than other exercise forms. Some calories burnt during high-intensity interval training come from a faster metabolism that lasts hours after exercise. HIIT provides many similar health advantages to other forms of exercise while taking up less time. These advantages include reduced body fat, heart rate, and blood pressure. HIIT may also aid with blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. As a result, you can consider HIIT exercises if you’re low on time or continue to travel.