By: Rick Logan, Certified Personal Trainer, NASM
High Intensity Interval Training – Repeated bouts of high intensity effort followed by varied recovery times
The following examples can be adapted to match your fitness level which is what makes HIIT a fantastic option. All of the following examples require rest time in order to truly be HIIT. Some formats do not designate the amount of rest time and must be taken when needed.
AMRAP – As many rounds as possible. Generally sets a time cap
Ex. 5 burpees, 10 rows, 15 squats. AMRAP in 5 min. Working as hard as you can for 5 minutes taking rest only when you need it.
EMOTM – Every minute on the minute. Sets a tough but obtainable goal for an exercise or exercises that can be done every minute. Any remaining time in the minute is used as rest.
Ex. 5 burpees, 10 rows, 15 squats. EMOTM for 10 minutes, the goal is to complete a round within a minute before time is up, as well as lasting all 10 minutes!
REPS – (21/15/9) – Picking rep ranges for exercises and completing at your pace while pushing yourself.
Ex. Push ups, rows, lunges. I would complete 21 reps of each of these 3, then 15 reps, then 9.
TIME INTERVALS – Picking a time frame to work as hard as you can with designated rest.
Ex. (40/20) Working for 40 seconds as hard as you can with 20 seconds rest before you complete again. Generally you use several exercises (3-5) and set a number of rounds you would like to complete. For an advanced option you can also set a rep goal for each exercise within that time frame.
ROUNDS – Picking an exercise or serious of exercises and completing a designated amount of rounds.
Ex. 200 m row, 20 box jumps, 10 swings for 5 rounds
TABATA – strict time base format, 20 seconds of any exercise followed by 10 seconds rest, this last for 4 minutes (8 work rounds, 8 rest rounds)
Ex. Mountain climbers, 20 on/10 off for 8 rounds. You could also choose more than one exercise and alternate as well as doing more than 4 minutes.
Benefits of HIIT Training:
HIIT tends to burn more calories than traditional workouts because you continue to burn calories after the workout. This is called EPOC, or Excessive Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. This is a period after a workout that your body continues to burn calories to restore your body to normal levels. Because of the intense and taxing nature of HIIT this calorie burn can be anywhere from 6-15% more calories than what you burned during the workout.
Using the EPOC principle means workout duration doesn’t have to be as long in order to achieve the same results as other workout mediums, making it extremely effieient.
According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training. This means training for endurance such as distance running can be helped not just with long durations of exercise, but more so from HIIT.
HIIT Mixed With Your Workout:
Because HIIT can be utilized using virtually any type of medium it is fairly easy to incorporate into your existing routine
Spin, Rowing, Treadmills, Body weight, Jump rope, Arc Trainers, Stair Steppers, Running, and many more can be used to create a HIIT routine
For those who enjoy building muscle or doing isolation training HIIT can be incorporated in a low impact high cardio format to burn calories without overtraining certain muscle groups you have recently worked on
For more information refer to the ACSM guide on HIIT Training!