HIIT training has exploded onto the fitness scene in recent years, with new HIIT classes popping up left, right and centre. So, what does HIIT stand for and what is HIIT training? Read on to discover what HIIT training is, what the main benefits of HIIT training are and what HIIT exercises you can incorporate into your exercise routine.
What is HIIT Training?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This means short, sharp bursts of close to maximum effort (from 10 seconds to 3 minutes) in an exercise followed by a short rest period. These fast and slow intervals are repeated throughout the workout. Exercise intensity can be measured with a scale of perceived exertion from 1 (low) to 10 (highest intensity you can tolerate). In order to feel the greatest benefits of HIIT training, exercises should be performed at an 8 or higher. The exercises should also last for around 30 seconds or less with longer recovery intervals or until you’re breathing is under control. For example, a typical HIIT workout could be 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest, repeated 10 times.
What are the Benefits of HIIT training?
Time and Calorie Effective
HIIT is great if you have a hectic schedule leaving you with limited time to work out. Due to the intense nature of this style of training, HIIT workouts tend to be shorter in length (around 7 to 20 minutes) compared to typical exercise sessions. Studies have shown that just 15 minutes of high intensity interval training burns more calories than jogging on a treadmill for an hour.
Helps to Build Endurance
High intensity training adapts the cellular structure of muscles which enable you to increase your endurance. This is because HIIT produces significant amounts of metabolic waste, including lactic acid. Undertaking intense exercise followed by slower intervals of work, allows the lactic acid to build up in the muscles and then quickly recover during the rest periods. As a result, HIIT trains your body to tolerate and quickly recover from periods of high intensity exercise thereby increasing your overall endurance.
HIIT workouts place a high demand on our muscles, which means that more oxygen is needed in those muscles to help them move to meet the demands of the exercise. This excess oxygen helps increase your rate of metabolism; which helps to burn more calories at a faster rate.
No Equipment Needed
HIIT focuses on raising your heart rate quickly rather than toning muscle. Whilst other types of cardio training often require machines, HIIT training is incredibly versatile as it best used through bodyweight exercises. This means HIIT is extremely cost effective. All you need to perform a HIIT workout is a small, open space and a timer. HIIT training utilises your bodyweight so any exercise that gets your heart rate up quickly such as high knees or jumping jacks can be implemented into a HIIT workout.
Continue to Burn Calories after Your Workout
When undertaking high intensity workouts your body’s repair cycle goes into hyper drive. So after a HIIT workout, your body taps into your fat stores for the energy required to restore itself back to its normal state. In other words, your body continues to burn even more calories after you finish working out to repair itself.
Good for Heart Health
During normal training it can be hard to push yourself into an anaerobic state where you are really out of breath and feel your heart pounding. HIIT makes it easier to push yourself to that level because of the rest interval that comes as soon as you reach that heart pounding point. This helps to keep a healthy heart and helps keeps your blood flowing throughout your whole body.
Easy to Incorporate into any Fitness Regime
As HIIT training only requires a short amount of time, it can be added onto the end of any other resistance workout as a ‘finisher’. This means that if you are wanting to do cardio, you don’t have to spend half an hour on the treadmill or cross trainer.
HIIT workouts can be seen as an easy way to challenge yourself. This is often why they are used by beginners as a quick way to see results. The nature of HIIT requires that you constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone therefore you can never get bored!
Simple HIIT Exercises
- Star Jumps
- Slam Balls
- High Knees
- Battle Ropes
- Press Ups
- Jumping Squats
- Jumping Lunges
- Mountain Climbers
Now you understand a bit more about HIIT, you can join in the craze and take advantage of the benefits it has to offer. Or if you would like some guided practice before trying HIIT training on your own, come and try one of our HIIT classes under the watchful eye of our experienced personal trainers.