Types of High Intensity Interval Training: HIIT 101

High intensity interval training is one training technique but there are three forms. These include turbulence, Tabata and power intervals. The focus of turbulence training is fat loss and lean mass while Tabata delivers a 4-minute workout and power intervals focus on strength, power and endurance. All are completely customizable but deliver HIIT in their own unique way in addition to offering a structure all their own. Let’s delve deeper into these forms of high intensity interval training.

Turbulence Training

This type of HIIT is all about fat loss. If you have stubborn fat that you just can’t get rid of, say hello to turbulence training! This form of high intensity interval training continuously applies turbulence to the muscles to increase the amount of energy the body uses (which will be in the form of calories and fat). This is done with compound exercises like squats and intervals of body weight exercises like pushups (all of which are metabolic resistance training exercises). These are then followed by cardio paced intervals. For example, you will start by warming up with bodyweight exercises followed by 15-20 minutes of total body strength training done in supersets with a weight that does not allow more than 8 reps. After the strength training portion, you will perform a cardio warm up before moving on to 5-6 one minute intervals of cardio paced training with alternating 60 second recovery intervals. The workout then ends with a cool down and you’re done. With this form of HIIT, it is recommended that you change your routine every 3-4 weeks and gradually increase the weight used during the total body strength training portion of the workout.

Tabata Training

Tabata training sessions last a mere 4 minutes but the work output involved makes up for the lack of duration. This form of HIIT, discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and researchers, uses 30 second circuits (20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest) to improve a person’s physical fitness level, promote fat loss and develop lean muscle mass. Like all forms of high intensity interval training, a variety of exercises can be done in Tabata training including bodyweight, weighted and cardio moves. Exercise selections should be based on your personal fitness goals.

The structure of Tabata is very simple. As stated previously, it involves 30 second circuits. Within the 4 minutes, eight of these circuits are completed. A Tabata session begins with a warm up (not part of the 4 minutes) followed by 20 seconds of the exercise of your choosing, ten seconds of rest and then the process is repeated until all circuits are complete. After the eighth circuit, a cool down is recommended.

Power Intervals

Power intervals are about power, strength and muscle endurance. The sole purpose is to increase the body’s ability to sustain its VO2 max power output. This is done by maintaining a higher power output for an extended period of time during training. Power intervals involve cardiovascular activities like running, cycling, rowing, and explosive moves like jump squats. For the best results, each interval should be composed of 90 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest and total workout duration can be anywhere from 4 to 30 minutes. During those 90 seconds of work you want to go as hard as you can to get your heart rate up. As the heart rate increases, more oxygen is delivered to the body and when that oxygen level remains constant, that is your VO2 max. With regular training that number will increase along with the amount of power you can produce while maintaining this constant level of oxygen.

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