HIIT is a becoming a bigger workout fad every single day. Although this style of working out may be new to many, it is not new to the science and athletic community.
HIIT challenges a very basic assumption: the more time spent doing something means yielding greater results.
People believe that to get into the best shape possible, they have to put in the most time possible. This mindset usually leads to a specific kind of gym behavior characterized by long stretches on a treadmill mixed with other exercises resulting in over an hour spent at the gym. What’s more, spending this much time does not always yield excellent results.
Jogging and steady state exercise are part of a common thought process where more time must be spent at the gym if an individual wants to see any kind of progress and improvement. Truly a mindless cycle that can feel never ending.
But it turns out this method isn’t the only way to achieve high levels of fitness. Science has been able to prove to us that there is another option to get into the best shape that we possibly can. And, it turns out, needs only a fraction of the time.
Does it still increase your endurance? Yes.
Does it still help you lose weight? Yes.
Does it take as long as an hour on the treadmill? No.
In multiple health fields there have been studies on the effects of intense intermittent exercise on the body. The science is clear and the results ring true over many studies, some of which are in this article.
All of these experiments had a group that performed the special HIIT workout routine and a group that performed a normal, steady exercise routine. You’ll notice that the experiments vary in time intervals but they all came out with similar results.
Probably the most famous HIIT scientist known, Dr. Izumi Tabata created a HIIT workout while working with the Japanese Speed Skating Team. Commonly, people refer to his style of high intensity interval training as a Tabata. A Tabata Workout is a short, but incredibly intense workout. The entire workout lasts 4 minutes. It requires you to push beyond your limits for 20 seconds intense exercise and then go into a slower state of exercise for 10 seconds. You repeat that sequence 8 times. The original tests were done on a special bike, cycle ergometer, but you can perform these workouts on your own stationary bike using varying levels of resistance. Another way to perform a Tabata workout is sprint for 20 seconds and walk for 10 seconds. Although it may be tough for you to work up to 170% of your VO2 Max, which is your body’s ability to use oxygen, and what was required of the subjects in the original tests, you can still push yourself to your max. You should feel winded after this quick HIIT workout.
Although Peter Coe wasn’t a scientist (he was actually an engineer) he was still a pioneering mind for HIIT. After he wasn’t satisfied with his son’s soccer training, he decided to take on the role of trainer himself. The former engineer believed that training slow made you a slow runner. He put into practice his sprint training to maintain speed while building up the endurance needed to play an entire soccer match. He went on to train 2 olympic athletes using this method. To perform this HIIT workout, you need to run 200 meters, or roughly the same distance as 2 football fields, then rest 30 seconds before performing another sprint. Build yourself up to 10 sprints and see how you feel.
Canadian Professor Martin Gabala created his own technique, also called “The Little Method”. This HIIT workout calls for a 3 minute warm up then 60 seconds of intense exercise followed by 75 seconds of rest repeated 8-12 times. The original tests were done on a stationary bike and seem to work best while using one. Gabala also made an easier version for people as well. You perform the same 3 minute warm up but in his easier version you do 60 seconds of fairly intense exercise followed by 60 seconds of rest. You do that for a total of 12 reps.
At Loughborough University, Jamie Timmons performed his own HIIT workout experiments. His high intensity interval training used 2 minutes of gentle exercise, followed by 20 seconds of maximum effort. The original tests were performed on a stationary bike, much like the others, but you could do this while running as well. Try light jogging or fast walking for 2 minutes followed by 20 seconds of an all out sprint.You do this for a total of 21 minutes resulting in only 3 minutes of intense work.
All four of these HIIT workouts are different but they all had similar outcomes. Tested by scientists all over the world, high intensity interval training has added benefits to aerobic fitness, fat burning capabilities, and maintaining strength.
If you’re looking to get in excellent shape and not have to trade all of your time away then try these science tested workouts.