High intensity Interval Training


High intensity interval training or HIIT is an increasingly popular style of training. In contrary to steady-state-cardio such as running at the same speed for a given amount of time, HIIT is dynamic, has intervals (hence the name) and is very intense. The benefits of this training style are described and you can find guidelines on how to incorporate this into your workout plans.

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High intensity Interval Training

One of the most popular cardio workouts is probably High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). As the name implies it is an intense workout and not suitable for beginners. Before you attempt a HIIT routine you should be more advanced and consult a medical specialist.


High intensity interval training is a short routine that is often coined as a big fat burner. It is said that these workouts burn more fat compared to regular cardiovascular routines. Now as you might know if you read my other articles, fat loss is determined by a negative energy balance. In other words: you need to eat less than your body burns.

So if HIIT really burns more fat is pretty difficult to say. I do think it is much more effective when it comes to weight loss than regular cardio. For someone who is looking for a nice and lean body, HIIT is the way to go. Another great aspect of this workout style is the fact that it takes less time than regular cardio.

How does it work?

Basically high intensity interval training consists of short bursts of activity, followed by a resting phase. We are talking about very short bursts of activity, such as sprinting as fast as you can for 10 seconds and a 20 á 30 seconds rest. The "rest" you take is active, so you do the same activity, but in a low intensity (such as walking after sprinting).

The ratio of rest and activity varies. Some routines use twice as much rest as activity, others let you be active for two or three times as long as you can rest. It all depends on what your goals are and what sort of activity you use (e.g. swimming, cycling, running, rope skipping).

HIIT Routines

In the section "Workouts" you will find more HIIT routines. A great example of HIIT is the Tabata Workout. Tabata is a HIIT variation you can do with weight lifting or body weight exercises. Front squats are a great example of exercises that can be used in Tabata.

What this routine does is it will let you perform front squats (or a different exercise) for 20 seconds. After that you put down the weight and take 10 seconds of rest. As soon as those are over you go to the exercise again and perform it for 20 seconds. Repeat this for a total of 4 minutes. This comes down to 8 rounds of activity and 8 rounds of rest.


  • You need to have a good basic endurance level. If you are a beginner, do not use this workout style!
  • HIIT is intense and you cannot do it every day. 1 or 2 HIIT routines a week is more than enough.
  • Never perform the routine 2 days in a row.
  • If combined with weight lifting / body weight training, make sure to take enough rest days each week.
  • Workouts should only last 10 á 20 minutes. There are variations which are shorter than that (e.g. Tabata).

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