As the world moves towards a more sedentary lifestyle, there is a greater need than ever to hit the gym or do some Yoga and keep oneself updated with current workout trends. One of the biggest trends seen in recent years is the High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Almost everybody brags about doing HIIT day in and day out, and celebrities like David Beckham and the Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, swear by it. But it all looks complex, doesn’t it? We’ve got you covered.
RISHHABH TELANG, Master Trainer at CULT, which is the fitness vertical of the health and wellness startup, Curefit, has defined HIIT in layman terms, and shared his top three routines in detail.
What is HIIT?
HIIT stands for ‘High Intensity Interval Training’, and as the name suggests, it means exercising in a high intensity environment with planned intervals to condition metabolic pathways, that result in increased stamina and lean muscle mass. This is a way of working out in which you go all out, hit 100% intensity for a short period of time, followed by rest for a certain amount of time. The intervals can be planned in a workout: rest ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 or 1:3, depending on how long you want the session to be. This means, if you are working out for 1 minute, you rest for 1 minute when the planned ratio is 1:1, and so on.
It keeps your heart rate high and burns more fat in less time. As the nature of this workout is high intensity, the workout is quick, time-bound, and helps in building good amount of muscle mass. Working out in this pattern increases the need for oxygen in the body during recovery and that’s how it burns calories upto 36 hours after the workout. The post-exercise burn is called Excess post oxygen consumption; it makes sure that you turn into a fat burning machine.
HIIT exercises are usually short, highly effective, and more efficient than the steady state exercises. Due to the high intensity level, you need to make sure that you give enough time for recovery, otherwise the next workout won’t be as powerful.
Top 3 Most Effective HIIT Routines
HIIT can be done in multiple formats, body weight training, cardiovascular, weight-lifting, swimming, cycling, sprinting, etc. These are some of the best and most effective HIIT routines from different exercise formats:
HIIT Workout 1:
Intervals = 20 seconds workout –
10 seconds rest – 4 rounds
Equipment = Barbell, Pull-Up Bar, Bumper Plates, Kettlebells
Stimulus = Strength + Cardio, Push And Pull Movements
Overhead squats – 20 seconds
Rest – 10 seconds
Strict Pull-Ups – 20 seconds
Push Press – 20 seconds
Rest – 10 seconds
Kettlebell swing – 20 seconds
*2 rounds repeated over 4 times
The idea is to work at a moderate intensity load, at which you will be able to perform unbroken repetitions for 20 seconds each, and sustain that for eight rounds in total while you go all out for those 20 seconds of work. The workout includes powerful movements which work pretty much your entire body. Technique remains the key, and that’s why it is important to understand the bio mechanics before loading more weight. You will notice your heart rate to be at an all-time high, and the planned workout interval of 2:1 will shoot your metabolism up.
It only looks like a four-minute round and a 16-minute workout. However, if done at full intensity, you will have a good enough workout in those 16 minutes, which will give you all the benefits you are trying to achieve through the fitness routine.
HIIT Workout 2:
Intervals = 30 seconds workout,
30 seconds rest – 6 rounds
Equipment = Battle Rope, Bodyweight,
Stimulus = Fat Burn
alternate waves : 30 seconds
Rest : 30 seconds
Box Jump : 30 seconds
Rest : 30 seconds
Burpees : 30 seconds
Rest : 30 seconds
In just the first few seconds of this workout, you will find your heart pumping and muscles burning, but the idea is to sustain through the rounds. The 30 seconds rest after every workout will help you catch your breath and get your heart rate low. Make sure you use this time well to recover and get ready for the next movement. Ensure that you push with the same level of intensity throughout the workout. It’s a short workout, so the good news is that you don’t have to bear with this punishment for too long, and get better results.
The workout is intense, will engage your entire body, and test your muscle endurance. As a result, you will notice your stamina and work capacity going up over time.
The movements might look more like cardio movements. However, after a few rounds, you will end up feeling the pump in your muscles, and the workout, along with building your cardiovascular endurance, will focus on building lean muscle mass as well.
HIIT Workout 3:
Intervals = 40 seconds workout,
80 seconds rest – 10 rounds
Equipment = Bodyweight
Stimulus = Anaerobic Capacity,
Sprint : 40 seconds
Leisure walk : 80 seconds
Sprint climbers : 40 seconds
Leisure walk : 80 seconds
This one is a killer, only two workouts that will get your heart rate to the highest, and that’s why there is a rest interval of double the workout time to help you recover and normalise the heart rate. The idea is to go as fast as possible for these 40 seconds and don’t go easy. Sprint is one of the best ways to build stamina, improve heart health through strengthening fast twitch muscle fibers and lowering blood pressure.
Sprint training brings your heart rate to near maximum and over time, it increases your max heart rate, allowing you to workout with enough efficiency. It also builds your cardio-vascular fitness and the important part is that the training is short and quick.
While interval training ensures better metabolism, sprint training makes sure that you build lean muscle mass, just like any other form of exercise. Sprinting makes sure that you engage all your muscles to generate the force, and that means more muscle-building in less time.
The Benefits Of HIIT
Fat loss and muscle gain: Unlike other fat loss exercises, HIIT ensures that you don’t lose muscle along with long fat. In fact, it helps you to build muscle because of the anaerobic nature of the format.
Builds heart health: For most people, it is difficult to sustain high level of heart rate for a prolonged period of time. Because HIIT has planned intervals, it helps them to recover and keeps giving good work to the heart, thereby improving the heart function.
More fitness in less time: HIIT is very effective, especially when you have limited time on hand for exercise. All you need is about 30 minutes time to
get a very effective workout in the HIIT environment.
It helps to burn more calories in less time, helping
you achieve world class fitness even if you are
short on time.
Builds stamina: While achieving all other fitness objectives, HIIT also helps to build cardiovascular capacity through effective conditioning of metabolic pathways that help to sustain higher levels of oxygen in the body during intense physical activities.
How often should one opt for HIIT
As HIIT is done in a very high intensity fashion, it is advisable to do this for two days in a week. The rest of the days can be a combination of body weight training and weight lifting, focusing on muscle hypertrophy and strength. The workout week should ideally have five working days and two rest days to give enough down time to the muscles and joints, so that they can recover and get ready for the next set of powerful workout.
HIIT will remain the top workout trend of 2018
Some of the most common reasons for people dropping out of fitness routines or gym memberships are (1) not finding enough time (2) frequent travel, and (3) not getting results. HIIT is a potential solution for each of these.
The workouts are short burst and quick, deliver faster results and can be done anywhere, anytime. When people start to see results, they are more likely to stick to the exercise routine. In this day, when people are always short on time, HIIT delivers the right kind of fitness suited for this busy generation.