Where People Doing High Intensity Interval Training Are Often Wrong

High-intensity interval training (or HIIT for short) sounds simple enough : do your best for a short period of time , rest, repeat, and reap the benefits. HIIT is certainly great, for the exception , that most people believe HIIT really HIIT not. It all depends on your best efforts.

There are several different types of interval training, which are a more general term to describe periods of intense, close to anaerobic activity, alternating with periods of rest. HIIT is one kind and others include fartlek and tabata (although this is a form of HIIT). But not all interval training is HIIT.

Will Levy , head coach at Melbourne Strength & Conditioning, told me in a short interview about interval training:

Many tend to negate HIIT due to cardiovascular fatigue. The main difference is that HIIT is really focused on developing maximum effort – strength, speed, power – properties, while other, more “intermediate” forms of training are designed to improve the condition of the cardiovascular system.

So, there are two places where people go wrong with HIIT workouts:

  1. They DO NOT RESIST enough: Typically, most people can try “pretty hard” for a while and then relax by slowing down to outdoor activities. This is actually a form of Fartlek teaching, Will says. True HIIT is inconvenient. This requires you to do the most effort on your bike or run, typically 6 to 15 seconds. Will adds that sometimes 3-4 seconds is enough, and 20 seconds will be the upper limit, as it is unlikely that anyone – even a world-class athlete – will be able to maintain true 100% intensity for longer than that.
  2. They don’t actually rest during their rest periods: Will also notes that resting during HIIT is not just slower or easier, but real rest.

You have several different ways to balance work and play. In general, the longer the rest and the shorter the actual period of work, the more appropriate HIIT training is for powerful explosive exercises. For example, you can sprint for 10 seconds and rest for 50 seconds. If you want to get the most out of the present-HIIT workout, make sure that you really are putting all their efforts into these 10 seconds. By the end of that, you won’t feel so good anymore; you may even feel fainting or vomiting, which is one reason you shouldn’t overdo HIIT, especially if you’re just starting out.

However, interval training in general can be very effective, so check out this article for some effective ideas for getting started with interval training .


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