HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This form of exercise alternates short periods of high intensity, anaerobic exercise with periods of recovery that are performed at lower intensity. HIIT is also referred to as High Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Sprint Interval Training. It is interval training at a more enhanced level. HIIT is categorized as a cardiovascular exercise.
This training has been proven to increase fat burn, glucose metabolism and improve the condition and the capacity of the athlete. In other words, this exercise increases the metabolism rate of the athlete, allowing him to burn more fat than usual even after the workout, through a phenomenon known as EPOC, or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.
HIIT workouts tend to be quite brief, ranging from 9 to 20 minutes. They are usually structured as follows:
· Warm Up for around 2 minutes
· Six to nine repetitions exercise at high intensity, interrupted by frequent, short rest periods of lower intensity.
· Cool Down for around 2 minutes
How does it Work – In Brief?
Depending on the goal of the exercise, workouts are usually limited to not more than a half hour, or 30 minutes. However, even though the workout does not last as long as a traditional workout, it is much more effective. The high intensity intervals are short but very intense, pushing the individual out of his comfort zone. They are required to push the individual to the very limit of his endurance for a short period of time, in order to use as much energy as possible.
This creates an "oxygen debt" in the body, as the body needs more oxygen than is available. This, in turn, modifies the working of the body systems. After the workout, as the entire body and its systems strive to return to a normal, pre-workout condition, the amount of oxygen used is phenomenal. The "oxygen debt" created requires the body to consume much more oxygen than normal. As a result, the metabolic rate of the body also increases, resulting in fat burn even after the workout.
This kind of exercise also increases the anaerobic and aerobic endurance, or stamina, of the athlete.
What Exercises Work with HIIT?
The exercises that work with this type of training are usually cardio exercises. However, the athlete may choose almost any form of exercise that can be done in intervals. The commonly preferred kinds of exercises include sprinting and cycling. Other exercises that work include weight lifting.