HIIT training is one of the workout methodologies that has grown the most recently. It arouses the most interest among athletes of different sports modalities. HIIT training is a trend in many gyms and are increasingly present in more training routines.
What is HIIT training?
HIIT or “High-Intensity Interval Training” is a training methodology characterized by performing short sessions at high intensity. The method is based on alternating short and intense periods with others of recovery or medium-low intensity. Usually HIIT workout exceeds 20 minutes in duration, although the entire session can be significantly longer than the warm-up and subsequent exercises.
HIIT training is in vogue, and its excellent time-performance ratio is a great incentive to attract new followers. The HIIT training routines have earned a reputation for being tremendously challenging and effective for losing weight and burning calories, and improving our physical condition. A training routine in the same session works power, strength, explosiveness, and cardio through aerobic and anaerobic rhythms.
Advantages and Disadvantages of HIIT training
Now that we know what this HIIT consists of, we have to assess and analyze the method.
- What are the benefits of HIIT training?
- Is it as good as they say? and above all,
- what improvements does it bring compared to traditional methods?
The benefits of HIIT and other common doubts will be fully exposed throughout this crucial section.
Advantages of HIIT training:
The benefits of HIIT training are practically innumerable. The list of good points, as you can see, is very long, and for this reason, more and more physical trainers include sessions of this type in their personalized workouts.
Minimum time and maximum performance: If the HIIT methodology stands out for something, it’s an excellent time-performance ratio. In less than an hour of training, significant improvements in the athlete’s physical condition can be achieved. Few training routines are as effective in such a short amount of time. For this reason, HIIT training is one of the priorities of those who have little time to train. A methodology that allows you to get the most out of every minute you invest in your training.
Lose weight HIIT workout
HIIT training allows you to make the most of every minute of training
Speeds up metabolism: Another prominent aspect of HIIT is the metabolic alteration it causes during and after exercise. A complete type of session that increases the caloric expenditure of our body and helps burn fat. In a line of action similar to strength or weight training, it is estimated that the body can increase its caloric intake by up to 15% during the 48 hours after training. Scientifically this is primarily attributed to the EPOC effect (post-exercise oxygen consumption.)
Weight and fat loss: The myth that high intensity does not help you lose weight is completely dismantled in the case of HIIT. Scientifically it is proven that the combination of aerobic and anaerobic intervals is one of the most effective practices for those athletes who want to lose weight or eliminate body fat. HIIT allows the body to be given stimuli at different intensities. Your body is forced to react and adapt itself to muscularly and energetically to different situations. HIIT is a clear example that “in variety is taste.”
The myth that high intensity does not help you lose weight is completely dismantled in the case of HIIT.
Increase in VO2 Max: Despite the shortness of the sessions, it has been shown that HIIT training affects our VO2 Max volume. The increase is significant for those who consider themselves passive or semi-sedentary, while in athletes with a greater physical condition, the improvement is less. In its day, we already value the importance of the V02 Max in certain sports.
Increase in muscle mass: For long-distance sports such as cycling, athletics, or triathlon, HIIT is used in the preseason as one more training alternative. A cross-training option allows the athlete to work other muscle groups in the background during the competitive period. Some physical trainers maintain the HIIT sessions also during the season but adapted to the primary sport. In most cases, HIIT sessions with weights and gym equipment lead to an increase in muscle mass.
Improves our health: We could not forget the benefits it has on our health. Like other sports, HIIT has an essential impact on our body and our cardiovascular health. The practice of sports combined with healthy, active lifestyle habits and a varied diet is the key to manage our day to day with energy. Flee from sedentary patterns, activate your body, and increase your daily NEAT enough to generate a caloric deficit that allows you to reach the desired weight. At the health level, HIIT also helps regulate our insulin levels and our mitochondrial density.
Disadvantages of HIIT training:
The list of drawbacks is much shorter. Despite everything, it is convenient to keep in mind some aspects that may have an impact not only on your sports performance but also on your health.
As we have mentioned, HIIT training requires high-intensity levels, so you will have to endure suffering if you want to notice the benefits of this methodology. With HIIT, you are going to subject the body to significant stress. Being psychologically psyched will be essential to bear the loads and comply with the exercises. Act sincerely, and don’t fool yourself. Not every day is good for HIIT training. If you don’t have enough energy or not motivated, better do another session.
Risk of injury
To face HIIT exercises safely, you require to have a minimum level of physical condition. Always you must prepare to perform HIIT sessions. Otherwise, it can lead to injury, dizziness, or fainting. The athlete’s body must have timely physical, muscular, and cardiovascular adaptation to perform these types of demanding exercises. Despite everything, even the most prepared athletes are recommended to warm up beforehand and not overuse these activities. Injuries to ligaments, tendons, and other joints are quite common in these athlete profiles.
Given the great time-performance ratio offered by the HIIT system, it is very tempting to believe that 3-4 HIIT sessions a week are going to put us to the limit. If you think this, then you better think again. These types of sessions, despite being very short, require a certain recovery time. Your body requires a recovery time for a few hours. For this reason, rest and recovery sessions are essential to avoid falling into the dreaded overtraining and to continue progressing in our goals.
It does not replace long-distance training
Although in certain aspects, HIIT improves the athlete’s resistance in sports where the physical background is as crucial as cycling, triathlon, or athletics, this methodology should never replace long runs or long runs. Fund-resistance days. The body has to be used to the muscular impact and the physical demands of running or pedaling for hours. The miracle for this has not yet been found.
HIIT routines and exercises
The theory is excellent, but you want to start burning calories, so you could not miss the typical section of HIIT routines. Then we leave with different HIIT exercises to work at home or in the gym. Various alternatives and examples of activity so that you can begin to familiarize yourself with this high-intensity training. What follows is very basic and general, so if you are looking to deepen and individualize your training plan, you must contact a personal trainer.
An example of an elementary HIIT training for beginners could be 2 × 2. A very simple routine that combines 2 minutes at high intensity with 2 minutes of recovery at a medium intensity. You can perform this type of HIIT exercise on a bicycle, an elliptical, or a treadmill with increased resistance and decreased resistance. You can increase or decrease the exercise’s intervals depending on the user’s interests and physical condition. Not everyone can handle the same workload or need the same recovery time.
A somewhat more dynamic HIIT routine on a treadmill could be next. A job with the famous 30/30 series:
HIIT treadmill workout. Exercises
In the field of cycling, indoor cycling, or spinning, HIIT training presents some variants. The intensity of them will depend on the physical condition of the cyclist. In case of training with a potentiometer, it will be vitally important to have previously carried out an FTP test that determines your power zones. If you still train by pulsation, we leave you here several reasons to move on to the fascinating world of watts.
HIIT training for cyclism
The HIIT methodology also reaches the world of cycling.
It is important to note that all the previous exercises must be accompanied by an excellent warm-up phase beforehand. It cannot be said that they are very illustrative examples and that the variations in the intensities and the duration of the intervals are innumerable.
You can combine this type of aerobic work with weight exercises, functional activity, or other exercises. Squats, burpees, push-ups, sit-ups, isometrics, or planks are exercises that can give a lot of options. Alternate them to create new and dynamic workout routines.
We leave you with a video from our YouTube channel where you can see a routine of 8 exercises with 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of recovery. All are good ideas for you to dare to create your session.
If you prefer visual content and HIIT routines on YouTube, we leave you with a video in which you can follow a 15-minute express HIIT routine. A great cardio workout for those who want to lose weight at home.
If you’ve made it this far, you may already find yourself putting on your shoes on the way to the gym. As you have seen, HIIT training has many benefits, but it is important to contextualize and understand that it is not a panacea. So, try not to abuse this type of training and physically and mentally burn after 2 months. Don’t expect to work a miracle with 3-4 one-hour HIIT sessions a week. Improvements take time and patience, so perseverance and a healthy diet will be your best travel companions.
After the warning and the act of prudence, we can say loud and clear that HIIT is an excellent approach for those who have little time to train. About time invested and performance obtained, few training sessions are so effective.
To all this, we must add the effectiveness of HIIT to lose weight and eliminate body fat. With this practice’s advent, the myth that it is impossible to lose weight at a high intensity is completely disproved.
What is clear, as shown in the post, is that the methodology is one of the most complete and effective today. A methodology that also stands out for its ability to adapt to different user profiles. Although a minimum physical condition is required to face this type, routines and activities can be adapted to various sports and conditions.