What is HIIT?

What is HIIT?

HIIT has been around for some time and is the go to workout for many gym goers, but what is it and why should you be doing it?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and it's exactly what you can imagine it is.  Short bursts of high intensity intervals followed by short breaks or slower recovery periods.  The exercises are generally cardio but it can be anything from sprinting to burpees to kettlebell swings. 

Whatever movement you decide to do the main focus is to keep the intensity high during the work periods.  A typical workout protocol is to use a work to rest ratio of 2:1. For example 40s of high intensity work and 20s recovery time x 5-10 rounds.

Why is it so effective?

  • It's time efficient - A HIIT session should last a maximum of 30min.  If you can handle any longer than that you might not be working hard enough.  You can get an amazing full body workout in just 20mins.

Multiple studies have shown that a 20min HIIT training session burns calories similar to that of a longer continuous exercise session of 50min.

  • It can be done with little to no equipment.  Body weight HIIT workouts are effective and can be extremely hard.  One of my favourite types of HIIT is hill sprints.  No kit needed there, just pure grit and determination.

  • A HIIT workout can be less boring for many people than standard cardio workouts as a typical HIIT routine will consist of multiple moves that constantly change.  That means you only need to focus for short bursts at a time and then you get a rest. 

HIIT is a versatile training style and you can use multiple variations on exercises, work time and recovery time to keep it ever changing and challenging.

  • It has been shown that HIIT training leads to greater EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) - Essentially once you finish exercising your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate than normal.

  • HIIT increases cardiorespiratory health in a shorter period of time than continuous forms of exercises.  This means your VO2 max (a standard measurement of cardiovascular fitness) increases, which is a measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use. This will increase your endurance, even without doing a session longer than 20min.

Sample HIIT routine - 

Remember to always perform a thorough warm up before your HIIT workout. 

40seconds work 20seconds rest

  1. Squat jumps
  2. Press ups
  3. Jumping jacks
  4. Mountain climbers
  5. High knees
    x 4 rounds

Don't forget a cool down!


Give this a workout a go. Let us know how you get on! Share this with someone who you know would benefit from reading this. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.