Explosive HIIT workout | What is HIIT Running workout

Jason Williams

HIIT training – what is it and why is there so much talk about them? At its core, such training is a way to lose weight and get fit in the shortest possible time. Despite the mysterious name, this is just a technique that allows you not to spend precious time and at the same time become the owner of a sturdy and toned body. From the article you will learn what are the features, nuances and rules of the HIIT training.

What is a HIIT running workout?

HIIT (HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training) is a method that involves the alternation of short intensive training phases and less difficult, recovery periods of physical activity.

To understand the essence of HIIT running workout, just remember how marathoners and sprinters look. The first are hardy, but they are not an example to follow in the “design” plan. The bodies of the second are not designed for long distances, but reflect the goals of most visitors to gyms of the stronger sex.

The essence of the training

An HIIT example is a combination of 15 second sprints with a 45 second slow walk (or even rest) for 10-15 minutes. In high-intensity periods, in contrast to the light phases, the body is nourished by energy from carbohydrates, and not from fats. The HIIT strategy is used in two main options – cardio (aerobic) and power (anaerobic).

Conventional cardio training takes place in a mode of moderate intensity, in which the heart rate (HR) is 60-70% of the maximum. Such classes can last from 30-40 minutes or longer. Aerobic training burns fat directly during training.

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HIIT High Intensity Interval Training is based on different principles. The minimum heart rate in the severe phase is 80% of the limit. The upper limit is 95%. The magnitude of the loads is determined both by sensations and by calculations. Depending on the heart rate and type of exercise, intensive phases can last from 5 seconds to a couple of minutes. After highly active sessions follow recovery periods, the duration of which can be equal to or greater (in rare cases, for experienced athletes even shorter).

In the recovery period, physical work takes place in the mode of 40-60% of the maximum heart rate. The duration of the HIIT training is from 4 minutes to an hour. Most often, such a training takes 15-30 minutes. Even very busy people can engage in this format, quite rightly counting on a noticeable result.

The main difference between HIIT training and aerobic exercise is the type of calorie consumption. Low-intensity cardio workouts allow you to burn fat directly in the classroom. With HIIT, most of the calories consumed after exercise. Moreover, to obtain a similar result requires significantly less time.

Scientific background

HIIT training – what is it scientifically? HIIT triggers the effect of intense oxygen uptake, requiring active fat burning. And this happens mostly in the recovery period. The effect is called EPOC.

Short classes do not require energy overruns, but post-workout processes lead to the burning of additional calories. The body begins to use glycogen stores differently. Metabolism is changing at a fundamental level.

Many fans of physical activity are accustomed to believing that the most effective way to get rid of fat accumulation is low-intensity aerobic training. But numerous studies convince the advantage of HIIT.


  • Canadians demonstrated a convincing advantage of HIIT over aerobic training back in 1994. One group of “experimental” trained for 20 weeks in a classic cardiostyle. The second 15 weeks practiced HIIT. As a result, during the classes, the aerobic group consumed 15,000 more calories than HIIT athletes. But the total fat loss was greater in the second group.
  • In the early 2000s, Australians selected 2 groups of women. The first group trained in an intensity mode of 60% of maximum heart rate for 40 minutes. The second alternated 8-second sprints with 12 seconds of rest for 20 minutes. Despite half the time spent, women in the high-intensity regime lost 6 times more fat.

Interval training HIIT triggers metabolic changes in the body, which is reflected in the mechanism of fat oxidation. The latter are burned much faster. In addition, high-intensity training increases testosterone production (there are a number of studies on this topic). Hence the external difference between marathon runners and sprinters – testosterone positively affects the increase and preservation of muscle mass (the second is especially important when losing weight in a calorie deficit).

HIIT on an exercise bike

Basic principles of training

The basis of HIIT is a combination of periods of high and moderate physical activity. One training session in this mode on average consists of 5-20 cycles. Both the duration of the cycles and their number are individual. Training parameters are tied to the goals and degree of preparation of the athlete.

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Occupation is necessarily preceded by a warm-up that prepares the body for hard work. The final stage is a hitch, removing the body from a state of stress. The intense phase can last as long as the recovery phase, or less. Only well-trained athletes can practice the “light phase shorter than heavy” scheme.

Those starting in HIIT are not recommended to linger in an intense session for longer than 15 seconds. At the same time, at the start, recovery should be given 2-5 times more time. The difference depends on exercise and fitness. As the physical potential grows, the duration of the powerful phases increases, and the time difference between the types of sessions decreases.

The minimum working intensity is 80% of the maximum heart rate. The average recovery is 40-60%. Subjectively, the phases can be assessed as difficult / very difficult and easy enough to get rid of severe shortness of breath. But relying on feelings is optional.

There are 2 basic formulas for calculating the intensity of loads. When calculating, they are guided by the maximum heart rate, which in the general case can be calculated as follows:

  • Maximum heart rate (MCHS) = 220 – the age of the trainee

More precise formulas are as follows:

  • For men: MCHS = 208 – 0.7 x age
  • For women: MCHS = 206 – 0.88 x age

Knowing the maximum heart rate, you can easily calculate the required degree of load.

Intensity calculation example:

  • Given: a woman of 30 years, the intensive phase – 85% of the maximum, recovery – 50%.
  • The heart rate of a heavy session is (206- (0.88 * 30)) * 0.85 = 153.
  • Light heart rate – (206- (0.88 * 30)) * 0.5 = 90.

HIIT workouts are divided into 2 formats – power and cardio. A few recommendations for both modes.

Running in the style of HIIT

Power HIIT

Interval-style strength training helps get rid of fat and tighten muscles. This option is most suitable for girls with little experience in weight loss training.

Experienced athletes with decent muscle mass on drying are recommended to combine classic strength training and HIIT-cardio.

Such training will not lead to the desired result in only one case – with a diet that is far from adequate. Indeed, despite the increased calorie consumption throughout the day after the HIIT training, with a large daily surplus of calories, you will not be able to lose weight.

To bring the form in order, 2-3 lessons per week for 15-20 minutes are enough. Training can be carried out with any convenient weights. Girls can not worry – the severity will not cause the “male” muscles. Many experts recommend practicing in a basic style – performing powerful multi-joint exercises. The “base” should be combined with a circular format – doing a set of exercises in a circle.

The basic rules of strength training in the style of HIIT:

  • start with a comfortable scale (for example, with an empty neck), gradually increasing the load;
  • the intensity is increased by hanging pancakes and reducing the rest time between cycles;
  • there is no need to rest between exercises; between circles recover 1-3 minutes;
  • you need to train at a fast pace, but not to the detriment of technology, at first you should master the scheme of each exercise well, preferably under the supervision of an instructor;
  • the number of exercises in the circle – 5-7, the number of repetitions – 5-8;
  • the number of circles in one lesson – 2-4;
  • The recommended training duration is 15 minutes.

The program itself can look like this (you can execute it both in the gym and at home – you only need dumbbells):

ExerciseRepetitionsA photo
Dumbbell Squats5-8
Standing Dumbbell Press5-8

Romanian traction with dumbbells5-8
Push-ups from the floor (possible from the knees)5-8
Dumbbell Lunges5-8

Dumbbell Waist5-8

Aerobic HIIT

There are an infinite number of aerobic HIIT training programs. Choose one or more cardio exercises and alternate the load. You can train at home, in the gym, in the pool, on the street – anywhere. Running, swimming, jumping, jumping rope, lunges, cycling – the choice is huge.

An example is the use of a treadmill. The scheme is simple – run for 15 seconds at a level of 80% of the maximum heart rate, and then recover for 60 seconds in the mode of slow jogging or walking. Before the “run” do a warm-up, warm up the muscles and ligaments. Beginners will have 8-10 laps, that is, 10-12 minutes.

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After passing the given cycles – a three-minute hitch. The entire training session at the start takes no more than 12-15 minutes. Gradually increase the load by increasing the number of circles and reducing the time of recovery phases. A more detailed program for 6 weeks will be presented below.

People who do not have excellent physical fitness should not practice HIIT more than three times a week. A greater number of intensive interval training will lead to overtraining. Symptoms hinting that it is time to reduce the number of classes, or even completely abandon the HIIT for a while:

  • constant fatigue;
  • increased pulse on rest days;
  • persistent muscle pain.

In addition to training and recovery, nutrition plays a huge role, which a whole section is devoted to on our website. This is a separate issue, but one of the main aspects of losing weight is a daily calorie deficit and a competent combination of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Do not completely abandon the latter – so you don’t have enough strength to train, recovery will slow down, and losing weight will be less effective. Use approximately the following combination of macronutrients: 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of weight, 0.8-1 grams of fat and 1.5-2 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Rest after training

Benefits and contraindications

The advantages of HIIT are many. Among them:

  • quick result;
  • increased stamina, strength and speed;
  • prolonged metabolic effect;
  • improvement of the cardiovascular system;
  • loss of appetite problems;
  • time saving.

HIIT workouts are not for the lazy. Having taken the path of HIIT, you can forget about sluggish training. But isn’t the result worth it? The described advantages of the format lead to another plus – psychological comfort. Training in and of itself contributes to the production of hormones of happiness, but a more stable psychological effect is more important. Having received in a few months a beautiful and strong body, it is impossible to stay at the same level of complexion.  Physical results enhance self-confidence.

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HIIT disadvantages:

  1. 1 Contraindicated in those who suffer from diseases of the cardiovascular system. Contraindication is conditional, since interval training improves heart function. To understand whether it is possible to engage in this mode, you need to consult a doctor – all individually.
  2. 2 Not suitable for absolute beginners: minimal training should be – this also applies to the body’s ability to resist high loads, and technical skills, without which it is not far from injuries.

If you find yourself among those who are contraindicated in high-intensity training, do not despair. In our sections with steroids in crossfit, complexes and crossfit exercises, you will choose a program for yourself with a suitable load.

Fat burning program

HIIT fat burning training programs are highly variable. An example is one of them, designed for 6 weeks. The program consists of three two-week phases. The duration of the periods is conditional – if you need more time to master the stage, that’s okay. The reverse is also true.

As an exercise, choose any – riding a stationary bike, running, jumping rope, etc. You can make up a complex of several motion options. More important is the alternation of types of sessions and a gradual increase in the load from phase to phase:

PhaseWeeksHigh intensity sessionRecovery sessionThe number of cyclesTotal time
11-215 seconds60 seconds1012.5 minutes
23-430 seconds60 seconds1015 minutes
35-630 seconds30 secondsfifteen15 minutes

Do not forget about the classic strength training for the successful preservation of muscle mass on cutting.

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