High Intensity Interval Training has become increasing popular in todays health and fitness industry with more and more trainers utilising the training style to help their clients achieve quick results. But what is High Intensity training and why is there such a buzz surrounding it?

There has been a bit of a buzz around High Intensity interval training (HIIT) particularly after a compelling BBC program from Dr Michael Mosley (he of 5 and 2 diet fame):   Details

According to that irrefutable reference source Wikipedia “High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIT), is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4–30 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burn.

A version of HIIT was based on a 1996 study by Professor Izumi Tabata, initially involving Olympic speedskaters. The study used 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (8 cycles).

A good example of a Tabata workout has been published by Blake Worrall-Thompson at www.wellbeingbyblake.com

His workout consists of EIGHT efforts of 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds recovery. Complete ALL 8 rounds of the SAME exercises before moving on to the next one. My math suggests each exercise will take about 4 minutes making a total workout time of 24 minutes.  It might be worth setting up the smart phone to beep on 20 then 10 second intervals and if you work out like me you might extend the break between sets by a minute to make it a half hour workout. For a downloadable app for a smartphone click here.

1. Barrier Burpees:  Set up a small barrier to do jump over burpees. Begin on one side do a burpee, but instead of jumping straight up, jump over the barrier sideways, then repeat on the other side.

2. Bench Dips:  Grip the edge of the bench. Keep your feet together and legs straight. Lower your body straight down slowly and press back up powerfully. Keep your elbows pointing back and back upright

3. Deep Pulse Squats:  Start with your feet hip width apart and arms stretched out in front of you, perform your squat by pushing you butt back as if you were going to sit down and hold the squat for a few seconds before returning to standing and repeat.

4. Push ups:  Start in a face-down prone position on the floor, keep your feet together and your weight should be on your chest. Placing your hands palm face down on the floor, approximately shoulder width apart and elbows pointing towards your toes. Raise yourself using your arms and then lower your torso to the ground until your elbows form a 90 degree angle. Keep your elbows close to your body for more resistance

5. Jumping lunges:  Start in a squat, jump up and land in the bottom of a lunge position. Jump up again and land back in your squat position. Jump again and land in a lunge position (with legs opposite to the last lunge). Jump back to your squat and start again.

6. Side Plank:  Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Drop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully as if you were about to be punched in the gut. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders.

The self-managed spin class:  An alternative HIIT session can be undertaken on the spin bikes at Zoom Fitness.  Once you have warmed up reduce the resistance to “easy” and when ready to start turn the resistance dial three full turns (clockwise), stand up and pedal like Cadel for 30 second (or a minute if you’re up to it). 

After the hard pedal turn the resistance level back three turns and sit down for a recovery minute.  One minute “easy” 30 seconds “hard” is a good start which may develop to one minute easy and one hard.  The options are limitless – you may even consider reducing the recovery period to 30 seconds but that sounds slightly crazy.

For more information or suggestions on HIIT why not talk to one of our Zoom Fitness Personal Trainers?