Pushing Past Your Limits: HIIT 101

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a training technique that uses short, maximum intensity bouts of exercise to build muscle, burn fat and increase endurance. It is essentially an all in one training method that just about anyone can benefit from as long as they are willing to put in the work and are in good health. Rather than completing exercises at a moderate intensity, HIIT involves maximum effort sets done within a short time frame with alternating rest periods (often 30 seconds or less). Although a structured training technique, it allows a lot of variety for consistent progression.

HIIT is certainly an intense way to train (every session is sure to wipe you out in the best way possible) but the benefits are worth it. A major benefit of high intensity interval training are the results. Once you get started, you will literally feel the difference and see it soon enough. Since this technique consistently pushes you past your limit, results are achieved much faster in the form of gains, strength, fat loss and level of endurance meaning a more powerful body. In addition to faster results, HIIT saves time. Rather than spending an hour or more working out, you can maximize results with a quick 15 to 45-minute training session. Another huge plus of this training technique is variety. It is perfect for those that tend to get bored with their routine since it is fast paced with endless possibilities. High intensity interval training makes it easy to weight train and do cardiovascular exercise in a single session. You can perform sets of squats, deadlifts, curls and/or rows with burpees, planks and sit ups for a full body workout minus the time.

To give you a better idea of what HIIT is, consider this; instead of performing your usual long duration cardiovascular routine or doing 10 sets of lifts with 1 to 1 ½ minute rests in between, you will do 90 seconds of intense training, whether it is in the form of lifting or high intensity exercises like jump squats or sprinting, followed by 30 seconds of rest and repeated with the moves of your choosing until completion.

The advantages of doing HIIT are endless but there are cons as well. A major one is an increased risk of injury. Fortunately, this risk decreases considerably if you are generally fit and maintain proper form while performing each exercise. Lastly and obviously, high intensity interval training is strenuous. You do have to push yourself during these sessions but that is how progress is made after all!

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