High-Intensity Interval Training is a workout regiment that combines short blasts of hard exercise, followed by a gap of rest or soft exercise. In this regiment, the intensity of the workout keeps fluctuating between high and low.
During the high periods, one is expected to use the entire bulk of his power and energy. Then, the routine switches to the low period, during which one can reserve his energy. The process is repeated again and again until exhaustion.
This ensures that a high-intensity level is preserved throughout the routine.
Let us take a look at four of the best HIIT routines popular today.
The four by four routine
This routine comes highly recommended by the Norwegian university of science. We can use this technique in any form of exercise, be it running, push-ups, squatting or lifts. It starts with a warm-up of about ten minutes, followed by the first interval of an intense four-minute workout. During this interval, the heart rate may go up to 85-95 per cent, making you too breathless to speak. This is followed by three minutes of low intensity, during which you might be able to talk but definitely not sing or shout. The heart rate during the low-intensity period is generally around 60 per cent. Then, a five minute cool down period, following up to another warm-up. This is repeated for three rounds to complete the routine.
- 10-minute warm-up, gradually increasing intensity
- 3-4 minutes of highest intensity at 85-95 %
- 3 minutes of low intensity at 60 %
- 5 minute cool down period of average intensity
The Tabata protocol
The Tabata protocol, created by Izumi Tabata, focuses mostly on the use of your leg muscles. This speed based regiment is best applied on stationary bikes, rowing machines or any workout equipment that allows you to increase the level of resistance.
We can start the protocol by warming up for 2 minutes at an average pace. Then, increase the level of resistance and pedal for 20 seconds at 100 per cent intensity. During this period, we should use the full force of our legs to implement the highest speed.
After this, pedal at a slow pace and ease into a gradual decline of speed. Repeat the process one more time, 20 seconds of high speed, followed by 10 seconds at a declining rate. Finally, decrease the resistance level to 0 and pedal slow for 2 minutes to end.
The Tabata routine lasts 8 minutes per workout and is designed to be performed at three-day intervals.
- 2 minutes of warm-up gradually increasing pace
- 100 % speed at the highest possible resistance for 20 seconds
- 60 % speed for 10 seconds of recovery
- repeat the interval
- Slow pacing for 2 minutes to end
Sprint Interval HIIT routine
Even though this is the most basic form of HIIT workout, it is arguably one of the most effective. The objective of this routine is to increase your endurance level slowly but surely. To achieve this routine, we need to use a treadmill.
To start, we perform a warm-up of about 1 minute, during which we run at a moderate pace. This is followed by 35 seconds of hard sprints at 100 per cent force. Then, we follow a period of ease for around 25 seconds, using a relaxed amount of energy. The cycle is repeated for ten rounds to complete the routine.
- 1 minute warm-up at an average speed
- 35 seconds of high intensity
- 25 seconds of relaxed intensity
- Repeat the cycle 10 times
Strength training HIIT
This HIIT routine and some LIIT workouts are specifically designed to boost your muscle power and includes a combination of lifts, punches and sprints.
We will require some light dumbbells and a treadmill for this routine.
To start, we hold a dumbbell in each hand and bring our arms upwards, keeping our elbows bent. We perform a series of punches for as many rounds as possible in 45 seconds with our palms facing down.
Then, we catch a 15-second break and take deep breathes.
We then hop on the treadmill and sprint at 100 per cent capacity for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second break.
Next is a series of single-leg lunges while holding a dumbbell in each hand. We do this for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest.
Finally, we do a series of squats holding a dumbbell in each hand. While at the peak of the rising action, we press the two dumbbells together over our head, locking our arms at full stretch. We do this for 45 seconds and take a 1-minute rest afterwards.
The entire cycle is repeated four times to complete the routine.
- Hold a light dumbbell in each hand and perform punches for 45 seconds
- 15 seconds of rest
- 45 seconds of sprinting on a treadmill at 100 per cent energy
- 15 seconds of rest
- Single leg lunges for 45 seconds while holding dumbbells
- 15 seconds of rest
- Alternate squats for 45 seconds while holding dumbbells
- 1 minute of rest
- repeat the cycle 4 times