HIIT- What Is It and What Are The Benefits?

November 5, 2018

HIIT seems to be ever-trending in the world of fitness, but what is it?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by a short period of rest. Workouts are generally kept short to minimise your time spent in the gym, but can last anywhere between 4 and 40 minutes.

A good place to begin intervals is at a 1:2 ratio; a 30 second sprint for example, followed by 60 seconds of walking or jogging, however this can be modified and adjusted weekly to push your limits and keep your heart rate working at a solid 85-95%, and ensure your heart rate does not return to its full resting state in rest periods.

One of the most popular HIIT workouts, Tabata, consists of eight rounds of 20 seconds of work, with 10 second rest periods in between, which totals just 4 minutes per exercise. An example of a full Tabata workout might look like:

1: Sprints (4 minutes)

2: Push ups (4 minutes)

3: Squats (4 minutes)

4: Rows (4 minutes)

Which means your daily workout totals just 16 minutes.

HIIT really does sound too good to be true- a shorter time spent in the gym, burning more calories EVEN after your workout has concluded (thanks Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption)? Here are some more reported benefits:

  • Improved cardiovascular strength
  • Muscle gain
  • Improved oxygen consumption
  • Reduce heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar
  • No equipment (or pricey gym membership) is necessary

And finally, depending on your point of view, the final benefit of High Intensity Interval Training is it never gets any easier! If you feel your workout isn’t challenging enough, you can push harder, reduce rest time, increase rounds or try a new workout! 

Like the sound of high intensity interval training? Here’s some workouts to try:

1: 30 seconds exercise / 30 seconds rest

  • Jump rope
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Static push-up

2: 45 seconds exercise / 30 seconds rest

  • Sprint
  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees
  • Plank

3: 60 seconds exercise / 30 seconds rest

  • Row
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Side plank (both sides)
  • Tricep dips

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