High Intensity Interval Training
What exactly is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)? This term gets thrown around a lot without much
explanation. I always asked myself what percentage of maximum heart rate (Max HR) is considered to
be high intensity and how hard should I be exercising? Interval training is considered to be high intensity
when you cross over from aerobic to anaerobic training which is called the anaerobic threshold. You have to
be working hard during the work intervals to reach the anaerobic threshold and it occurs around 85% of Max
HR. Therefore, interval training around or above 85% of Max HR is considered to be high intensity.
Moreover, you should not exceed your Max HR during HIIT.
There are 2 ways to perform HIIT
||You can gradually work your way up to or above 85% of Max HR during the work
||If your warm up is intense enough you can perform all the work intervals at or above
85% of Max HR.
A Word of Caution
HIIT is not recommended for individuals with risky health issues or unfit obese people. Only
experienced and suitably fit people should train with high intensity. If you are not conditioned for HIIT I
assure you that you will be lying on the floor in the fetal position by the end of the workout. You greatly
increase your risk of injury if you are unfit so make sure you slowly build up your conditioning before attempting
HIIT. Beginners should perform HIIT with caution and should immediately lower the intensity of the intervals
or quit the training session all together if the intervals become too strenuous.
Exercise Intensity correlated with the
Target Heart Rate Zone:
| Target Zones
|| Percentage of Max HR
|| Exercise Intensity
| Healthy Heart Zone
|| 50% - 60%
|| Very light to light
| Temperate Zone
|| 60% - 70%
|| Light to moderate
| Aerobic Zone
|| 70% - 80%
|| Moderately hard
| Anaerobic Zone
|| 80% - 90%
| Red Line Zone
|| 90% - 100%
|| Very hard
Now that we have covered all the bases, let's give HIIT a try. This HIIT program involves 6 sets of 30
second work intervals followed by 15 second rest intervals. The object of HIIT is to push yourself hard
during the high intensity work intervals and back off during the rest intervals. If you truly exert yourself
HIIT is a challenging workout. Interval training can be performed on a variety of cardio equipment or with
any suitable physical activity. Always warm up before performing intervals and cool down afterwards.
| HIIT Intervals
30s High intensity work interval + 15s Rest interval
|| 4.5 min.
The Tabata Protocol, known as the “World’s greatest fat
burning workout," is a very popular form of HIIT. It's a short but intense 4 minute interval workout split
between 8 sets of 20 second high intensity work intervals followed by 10 second rest intervals. Give these
Tabata intervals a shot for you next interval workout.
| Tabata Intervals
20s High intensity work interval + 10s Rest interval
|| 4 min.