HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a form of cardiovascular activity in which exercise is performed at high level of intensity for a set period of time and alternated with a low intensity periods of exercise. This type of training has become a very popular method to train as it burns more fat, builds more strength, and improves endurance at a faster rate than traditional cardiovascular exercise.

HIIT training is a very effective form of exercise because it increases both your anaerobic endurance and your aerobic endurance. This causes the body to be able to burn more fat than it has ever been able to do in the past with traditional forms of low intensity, low impact exercise.

The HIIT training principle can be applied to a magnitude of exercises. Pneof the most common types of cardiovascular exercise to train with HIIT is running.

Here are two sample HIIT workouts:

  1. Thirty seconds walking followed by a thirty-second full-out sprint. This cycle should be repeated four to eight times.
  2. Ten seconds walking followed by a twenty-second full-out sprint. This cycle should also be repeated four to eight times.

High Intensity Interval Training sessions are measured by tracking your heart rate. The low intensity exercise as in our example walking, should be performed at sixty to seventy-five percent of your Maximum Heart Rate. The high intensity part of the exercise in our example the sprinting should be performed at ninety to ninety-five percent Maximum Heart Rate.

How to Calculate your Maximum Heart Rate for HIIT

  • Start with your age and subtract it from 200 this equals MHR
  • Multiply MHR by .6 to .75 to establish zone for low intensity activity
  • Multiply MHR by .9 to .95 to establish zone for high intensity activity

Here is an example of thirty year old

  • 30 - 200= 170
  • 170 x .6 = 102 and 170 x .75 = 128 this means low intensity activity should be performed at a heart rate of 102 to 128
  • 170 x .9 = 153 and 170 x .95 = 162 this means high intensity activity should be performed at heart rate of 153 to 162

From the above it is very obvious that to train properly with High Intensity Interval Training you will need a heart rate monitor.

As you can see HIIT is a very different type of cardiovascular exercise then most people are used to. For this reason it is very important to start slow when beginning a HIIT training program and always use proper form during exercise. Many preventable injuries are seen with people using this type of training that could have been prevented with proper exercise form and with proper warm up and also cool down.

What HIIT is Not

HIIT is not for people that have not been active for a long period of time. If you are not in at least above average physical condition then you should not be using HIIT training. It is meant like Insanity or P90X to be used by people who have are in decent shape that want to get in peak physical condition.