HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): All You Need To Know Before Starting

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HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

Acronym for High-Intensity Interval TrainingHIIT. it is a training method that is part of Interval Training, workouts that alternate short periods with high intensity of work with periods of active recovery in which exercises are performed bland.
The main feature of HIIT is its duration: a training session can last from 4 to 20 minutes and consists of a warm-up period followed by 6 to 10 repetitions of high-intensity exercises, interspersed with moments of recovery (the original protocol foresaw a ratio of 2: 1 between intense work and recovery). Finally, the cool down, which normally must be as long as heating.
The number of repetitions, their duration and recovery time are all variables that are modified, as well as by the various protocols used, also depending on the degree of training chosen.

By undermining all the certainties on which the training practices and common beliefs are based, the mistrust that still surrounds this methodology seems to be natural, which many consider only an advertising and deceptive tool to guarantee results in a very short time. On the other hand, there are numerous studies that demonstrate the true effectiveness of the HIIT,
Among the first studies stands out that of Dr. Izumi Tabata of the National Institute of Fitness and Sport in Tokyo that at the end of the 90s proposed a protocol of 20 seconds of very intense training alternating with 10 seconds of recovery repeated for 8 times for a total of just 4 minutes. Then there is a work of 2006 conducted by Prof. Matin Gibala of the Kinesiology Department of McMaster University in Canada, where it was shown that 2.5 hours of HIIT is equivalent to 10.5 hours of resistance work by evaluating the production of biochemical muscle changes and the results obtained in the improvement of aerobic performance.

Other studies show that HIIT training is able to increase the resting metabolic rate for the next 24 hours, thanks to what is defined by the concept of EPOC ( Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption ), the result of a series of processes biochemicals (including ATP resynthesis, creatine phosphate resynthesis, glucose and glycogen resynthesis from lactic acid, lactic acid oxidation in pyruvic acid, thermoregulation processes, etc.), whose functionality must be guaranteed by the correct supply of oxygen at the end of the service (thus increasing post-workout oxygen consumption).

Therefore, HIIT training increases the time needed by the body to recover its physiological balance, therefore, despite the relative brevity of the session, the caloric consumption derived from this effect is higher than that of a classic resistance session.
The HIIT then causes some metabolic adaptations – including improved insulin action – that allow the use of fats as fuel to produce the energy needed to cope with the effort, thus associating a proven slimming action with improved performance.
Moreover, thanks to its methodology that combines moments of anaerobic activity (in intensity peaks) to aerobic recoveries, limits the loss of muscle often associated with classical resistance work.

What makes the HIIT really “special” compared to the other Interval Training, besides the temporal factor, is that the high intensity interval must be considered as the maximum effort that can be made (this is also called Interval Training Sprint), and you do not simply work at a heart rate a little higher than the previous ones. From this, it follows that the maximum effort can hardly last more than 60 seconds and that the exercises to be performed to reach these frequencies must involve the largest possible muscle groups.
The effort that well represents the one required in the intensity peaks is that of the centimeter or the cyclist’s sprint; it is, therefore, impossible, if not changing the meaning of the training itself, an interval greater than 30-60 seconds. Just as it is unthinkable to reach such intensity peaks with free-body exercises such as biceps alternating with dumbbells, adductors and buttocks, push-ups, squats, etc., which can, however, be used in times of active recovery.

Therefore, it is not possible to plan a daily appointment with HIIT, but it is necessary to plan a recovery day because the body needs at least 24 hours to regain its balance and then be able to express itself to the maximum of its possibilities.

It is important for the irrepressible impact, especially if you are fasting sports, to gradually approach the HIIT. We recommend an 8-week introductory program.
Once the natural prejudices have been won, the HIIT will also appreciate its extreme simplicity: no special tools are required for its development and can be practiced anywhere.
Jump, run, swim, ride, everything is fine as long as you can perform the exercise as quickly as possible (without, of course, neglecting the correctness of the athletic gesture).
Because of the importance of the effort, before undertaking HIIT it is advisable to undergo a thorough medical examination with an echocardiogram under stress in order to exclude particular cardiac pathologies.

30 SECONDS HIIT TRAINING WORKOUTS

In the HIIT protocols , given their brevity, it is essential to meticulously observe both the times and the intensity of the efforts, to ensure that the training produces the desired effects. It may be thought that the longer and more intense the period of maximum intensity of effort, the better the results will be. Instead, several studies show that this hypothesis is not correct. The best results in terms of VO2 consumption, in fact, have 30-second intervals with an effort equal to 90% of the maximum heart rate alternating with 30 seconds of recovery at 50% for a total time of 20-30 minutes.
This protocol allows you to spend more time in a very hard job while maintaining relatively low levels of lactate thanks to the work of active recovery that prevents the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles.

A practical example of what is expressed above can be done with the race. Imagine programming a HIIT protocol where for 15 minutes alternate 30 seconds of sprint (16 km / h) to 30 seconds of recovery with a light stroke (7 km / h). The hourly average will be 11/12 kilometers per hour. This workout is very different – although the average is identical – compared to 15 minutes spent maintaining the constant speed of 11/12 km / h: you will have the same amount of work with a lower perception of the muscular effort. In addition, the sprints corresponds to an increase in oxygen debt 90% higher than a “normal” workout, this translates into a greater post-workout caloric expenditure that lasts 24/48 hours used by the body to “repay” “The oxygen debt contracted during training.
In general, the sprint intervals may vary from 20 (Tabata protocol) to 60 seconds, beyond that time, it would be difficult to complete this work remaining in the parameters defined by HIIT protocols.

The best approach to start training with the HIIT protocol is the administration of short intervals (30 seconds) at an intensity of 90% of the maximum heart rate followed by an active recovery between 30 and 90. A workout of this type will allow carry out the pre-established work: differently, a longer stimulus or a higher percentage of effort would mean interrupting or modifying the training. Depending on the degree of individual preparation, the second recovery will be established.

Here are three training proposals to start with the HIIT protocol.
Before training, it is essential to undergo a medical-sporting visit, as the commitment to which you will be subjected is decidedly significant. Intensity aside, it is still good practice to train knowing that there are no health problems.

BEGINNER 30:90 
HIIT can be less tiring than expected. Above all, for example, if you program recovery intervals three times higher than those of the work done: in particular, 30 seconds of work will follow 90 seconds of recovery, all repeated for 8 times. The intensity that must be reached during the sprint is 90% of the maximum heart rate.
The versatility of the HIIT is amazing, because, once the protocol is set, the choice of ways of execution is left free: running, cycling, swimming, jumping rope, are all excellent options. If you have the opportunity to train outdoors, the race allows you to more easily control the effort required and is, for this reason, preferable to the bike and swimming. If you train indoors instead, you could take a mixed path between a bland jump rope or a little ‘bike (for recovery) and the squat with jump for 30 seconds of work in the sprint (90% of the heart rate maximum in this way is ensured).
The training program would, therefore, be as follows:
– 5 minutes of warm-up on an exercise bike slowly bringing the heart rate to 75%;
– 30 seconds of squat with jump (they are more or less 20- 24 jumps in total) with the heart rate at 90% (The squat is nothing more than a bending on the legs spread to the width of the shoulders. weight from the tips of the feet and perform the bending thinking of wanting to sit on a chair.The knees, once folded, must remain in line with the feet without going over their toes and without falling either internally or externally with respect to the foot itself. buttocks should not fall below the knees.After reaching the position, it will be sufficient to exploit the bending to give the thrust to jump in. Return to position with the knees bent and repeat the jumps for 30 seconds);
– 90 seconds of exercise bike bringing the heart rate to 50%. Repeat the interlaced work 8 times;
– 5 minutes of cooling on an exercise bike.
It is good not to be deceived by the first performances: after having played the first and second intervals it will seem that the routine is not very tiring … but the third interval will be enough to change your mind!
Schedule 3 workouts per week (not on consecutive days). INTERMEDIATE 30:60 For those who are more trained or for those who, after starting with 30: 90, wanted to move to the next step, there is 30:60, or 30 seconds of sprint to 90% of the maximum heart rate alternating with 60 seconds of recovery at 50%.

As for the previous training you can choose how to reach the established frequencies.
The previous workout would be transformed as follows:
– 5 minutes of warm-up on an exercise bike slowly bringing the heart rate to 75%;
– 30 seconds of squat with jump (they are more or less 20-24 jumps in total) with the heart rate at 90%;
– 60 seconds of exercise bike bringing the heart rate to 50%. Repeat the interlaced work 10 times;
– 5 minutes of cooling on an exercise bike.
Schedule 3 workouts per week (not on consecutive days).

30:30 ADVANCED 
For the most trained, or for those arriving from the intermediate training, you arrive at 30:30: 30 seconds of work at 90% of the maximum heart rate followed by only 30 seconds of recovery. Needless to point out that the commitment required is really high.
The proposed training, in the light of this interval, would be transformed as follows:
– 5 minutes of warm-up on an exercise bike slowly bringing the heart rate to 75%;
– 30 seconds of squat with jump (they are more or less 20- 24 jumps in total) with the heart rate at 90%;
– 30 seconds of exercise bike bringing the heart rate to 50%. Repeat the interlaced work 12 times;
– 5 minutes of cooling on an exercise bike.
Schedule 3 workouts per week (not on consecutive days).

To move from one training stage to the next, it is advisable to be able to correctly execute an entire workout and, once reached this goal, pause a few weeks adding a few repetitions before moving on to the next level.

60 SECONDS HIIT TRAINING WORKOUTS

After becoming familiar with HIIT training and having completed the 30-second course , you can increase the intensity of the effort by going to the protocol that involves alternating 60 seconds to a recovery that varies depending on the level of preparation. Also in this case, in the minute of intense work, one must try to give the best of himself, exhausting the energy accumulated in the muscles: this will increase the metabolism (and therefore the caloric expenditure) for 24/48 hours.
Given the effort required and its duration, it is essential to undergo a medical-sporting visit beforehand to ensure that there are no impediments to the practice of the activity.

BEGINNERS 60: 120
To understand what it is, whatever the degree of preparation, it is good to face a session in which the training period is interspersed with a recovery equal to twice the time: 60 seconds of work performed at maximum intensity, will, therefore, have to follow 120 seconds of recovery.
This workout can be graphically represented as follows:

The HIIT protocol can be adapted to any aerobic workout, in particular it is perfect for running; in the latter case, a program could be as follows:
– 5 minutes of warm-up with a mild stroke that brings the heart rate to 65%;
– 5 minutes in which the heart rate is increased to 75%;
– 2 minutes in which the fc is brought to 80%;
– 1 minute of sprint
Repeat 7 times;
– 2 minutes of recovery
– 5 minutes of final cooling;
– Stretching;

You can also use the HIIT protocol to train at home, with equal fatigue and simple exercises to be performed in the body. Here are some ideas:

– 5 minutes walk on site as heating (65% fc);

– 5 minutes simulating the jump with the rope bringing the heart rate to 75%;

– 2 minutes increasing the height of the jump to bring the heart rate to 80%:

– 60 seconds of alternating leaps jumped (starting from the upright position, back straight, chest out, contracted abs, legs spread wide pelvis, with the tips of the feet forward, bring forward the right foot. forward and the knee should make a right angle with the heel and the toe, without returning to a standing position to change the leg with a jump).

– 120 seconds of recovery;
– Repeat 7 times;
– 5 minutes of cool down by marking again on the spot;
– Final stretching.

Initially the 120 seconds of recovery can be done by marching on the spot, then, as the training proceeds, you can introduce some exercises.

For example, having 6 recoveries of 2 minutes (120 seconds) each available, you can enter 3 sets of exercises for the upper body and 3 sets for the abdominals.
For the upper part one of the best exercises are the folds on the arms (prone, with the feet at the same width of the pelvis.) Palms of the hands resting on the ground, the same width of the shoulders.The body protrudes behind, resting the knees on the ground. the arms are in line with the shoulders and the fingers are facing forward.Take the back flat and the abdominal contracts in. Inhale, bend the arms, bring them to 90 ° with the forearms.Keep the position for a few seconds and then, exhaling , return to the starting position by stretching the arms).

While, to train the abdominals, you can provide 3 sets of crunches (supine, legs bent, feet on the ground, hands behind the nape, contracting the abdominals shrug from the ground and then return to the starting position).

INTERMEDIATE 60:90

When you will be able to perform the first level with ease, you can proceed with the second level which involves peak workloads of 60 seconds alternating with 90 seconds of recovery. Here is the related chart: Also in this case, for those who want to train with an outdoor activity ( race / bicycle ), the reference card could be the following:

– 5 minutes of warm-up with a mild stroke that brings the heart rate to 65%;
– 5 minutes in which the heart rate is increased to 75%;
– 2 minutes in which the fc is brought to 80%;
– 60 seconds of sprint
Repeat 8 times;
– 90 seconds of recovery
5 minutes of final cooling;
Stretching.

The proposal of indoor training instead would turn into the following program:
– 5 minutes walk on the spot as a heating (65% fc)
– 5 minutes simulating the jump with the rope bringing the heart rate to 75%
– 2 minutes increasing the height of the jump to bring your heart rate up to 80%
– 60 seconds of alternating leaps with blown
Repeat for 8 times;
– 90 seconds of recovery.
– 5 minutes of cool down by marking again on the spot;
– Final stretching.

Also in this case, it is advisable to start to recover with a simple gear in place and then insert free-body exercises. It is also important to pay attention to the times that must be respected with precision.

ADVANCED 60:60

Finally we will reach a 1: 1 interval, that is 60 seconds of intense work and 60 seconds of recovery.
Here is the graph:

The effort required to complete this protocol is remarkable.
The previously presented outdoor training card would turn into the following:
– 5 minutes of warm-up with a mild run that brings the heart rate to 65%;
– 5 minutes in which the heart rate is increased to 75%;
– 2 minutes in which the fc is brought to 80%;
– 60 seconds of sprint
Repeat for 10 times;
– 60 seconds of recovery
– 5 minutes of final cool down;
– Stretching.

Consequently, the indoor one:
– 5 minutes walk on site as heating (65% fc);
– 5 minutes simulating the jump with the rope bringing the heart rate to 75%;
– 2 minutes increasing the height of the jump to bring the heart rate up to 80%;
– 60 seconds of alternating leaps with blown
Repeat for 8 times;
– 60 seconds of recovery
– 5 minutes of cool down by marking again on the spot;
– Final stretching.

Also in this case, it is advisable to start to recover with a simple gear in place and then insert free-body exercises.

An additional idea, considering the intensity of the work and in case of excessive fatigue, could be to insert a 120 second recovery in the middle of the repetitions. Later, with training, it could be gradually reduced until the full implementation of the protocol is reached.

 

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