Practical implementations of HIIT

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Date: Spring 2017
From: AMAA Journal(Vol. 30, Issue 1)
Publisher: American Running & Fitness Association
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,927 words
Lexile Measure: 1330L

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High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has gained popularity in recent years. It is mostly employed in endurance exercise routines as a quick way to get an abbreviated yet full work out. However, the concept of HIIT may stimulate many questions among practitioners of this training and curious athletes who have not used this intensive exercise method. Many ask, "Is it as effective as traditional continuous training?" Others want to know "How do I design a HIIT workout for my age?" or "How do I design a HUT workout for my sport (e.g., marathon, cycling, or swimming)?" The first question was discussed in a recent AMAA Journal article (1). In that article, the simple answer was "yes" to it being effective, but I also provided an in-depth response. For example, some studies show greater improvements for HIIT compared to traditional continuous training. In this article, I will build on the question of effectiveness by offering guidelines for both age adjusted efforts and sport specific workouts. I will also provide more examples of designing age based HIIT workouts using three ages (i.e., 20,40, and 60 years). These additional examples will guide you in designing a HIIT workout for your exact age. Finally, to answer the question regarding sport specific HIIT training, I provide example HIIT workouts for marathon, cycling, and swimming. For each example, I include total time for the HIIT workout, time and heart rate for the "high-intensity" and "easy effort" bouts, and total intervals. The sport specific designs can easily be modified to your liking.

If you are you sharing this type of workout with a patient or client, of course, you will want to be sure that the individual can perform such activity without incurring risk of injury or something even more serious. As you know, such risk can increase with age, return to conditioning after a long layoff, and when an individual is just starting an exercise program.

Age Based HIIT Workout

The total time (excluding warm-up and cool-down) for a HHT workout is normally 4 to 20 minutes, making HIIT appealing to those having limited time to exercise. However, HIIT workouts include high-intensity bouts, which may not appeal to some individuals. Most HIIT programs recommend the high-intensity bout to be at least 90% of one's maximum aerobic capacity or 95% of one's maximum heart rate (HRmax). HRmax is typically used and determined using the well-known Haskell and Fox equation (2). The equation is: HRmax = 220 - age. For example, die predicted HRmax for a 20-year-old would be 200 (220 - 20 = 200), for a 40-year-old 180 (220-40) and for a 60-year-old 160 (220-60). Once you know the person's HRmax, then you can readily calculate 95% of that person's HRmax. Therefore, it's recommended the 20,40, and 60-year-old aim for a heart rate of 190 bpm, 171 bpm, and 152 bpm, respectively during the high-intensity bout of HIIT.


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Gale Document Number: GALE|A500608210