The key element of HIIT that makes it different from other forms of interval training is that the high intensity intervals involve maximum effort, not simply a higher heart rate.
Each athletic endeavor has specific movements performed with a certain intensity over the time frame of the activity. All metabolic processes in the body require energy liberated by the breakdown of high energy phosphate bonds. Phosphagen– ATP and creatine phosphate (CP) which is stored in the muscle tissue as ATP~CP. Glycolysis– ATP that results when sugar, specifically glucose, is broken down into lactic acid. Oxidative phosphorylation– ATP generated from the more complete combustion of glucose in the presence of oxygen.
The first two processes are accomplished without oxygen (anaerobic metabolism), while the third is called aerobic. Doing the same analysis, a marathon race requires much lower power output (less than 1 mole per minute), but due to its duration, an immense total energy requirement (over 150 moles of ATP). The time each system is being used is not mutually exclusive, that is, all systems begin at the start of work and may be in use for a greater period of time depending on the economy and efficiency of effort. The end product of glycolysis is lactic acid, and every athlete can attest to the work-limiting burn of its accumulation.
The importance of warm-up can be understood when you realize that oxidation kicks-in around two minutes. Oxidative capacity (the ability to use oxygen) can be considered infinite–limited only by food supply and fatigue.
Activities that require short bursts of maximum muscle effort mainly rely on phosphagen stored in the muscles: weight lifting, short sprints, shot put, football line play, etc. Activities that require bursts of effort for less than two minutes, including those within the framework of longer duration rely on anaerobic glycolysis: shift in a hockey game, hills in a long run, cross country skiing or bicycling, 400 to 800 meter run, shorter events in speed skating, volley in tennis match, etc.
Aerobic metabolism provides the energy necessary to replenish the spent anaerobic stores, as well as for most activities over four minutes in effort.
By increasing the intensity of effort with a corresponding decrease in interval length, and allowing near maximal recovery between efforts, the energy source becomes more anaerobic.
By keeping the recovery period short, lactic acid levels remain high in the exercising muscles. Continuous hard training requires maximum aerobic power, and can dip into anaerobic energy sources. Unfortunately due to the high intensity level when these are added to a program there is an increased chance for injury and burn-out. Gradually increase the volume (duration and number of repetitions) and intensity of hard work, keeping in mind that performance is only improved through consistent training.
A hill session could be substituted for Tuesday’s short interval workout in the 2nd week. A 10K race should probably have longer easy runs (~45 minutes) and longer AT runs (30-45 minutes).
Looking for a way to add variety to your exercise plan while taking your fitness to the next level? How does it work?Most endurance workouts, such as walking, running, or stair-climbing—are performed at a moderate intensity, or an exertion level of 5-6 on a scale of 0-10.
High-intensity interval training is done at a submaximal level; around 80-95% of maximal aerobic capacity. Is HIIT safe?High-intensity exercise of any type brings with it a higher risk of musculoskeletal injury and cardiac events. How can I get started with HIIT?Choose an aerobic exercise—like stationary bicycling.
For best results, work with a certified fitness professional to create a personalized HIIT training plan. Fit Facts are free for ACE Certified Professionals, but permission must be granted to reproduce or distribute the content.
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You train your anaerobic system with brief, all-out efforts, like when you have to push to make it up a hill, sprint the last few hundred yards of a distance race, or run and hide from your spouse after saying the wrong thing.
There are many different approaches to HIIT, each involving different numbers of high and low intensity intervals, different levels of intensity during the low intensity intervals, different lengths of time for each interval, and different numbers of training sessions per week.
Performance is determined by the efficiency or precision of the movement as provided by the appropriate muscle groups, the strength of those muscles and their endurance. The metabolic profile of each activity is determined by the total amount of energy required, and the rate that energy is demanded by the muscles. Because each energy process must be trained in a specific way, with knowledge of the energy systems involved, it is possible to design your program to best develop the processes required.
This forces the aerobic system to work harder and become more efficient in breaking down lactic acid.
It’s wiser to rest or decrease workout intensity than risk a nagging injury that prevents training completely. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a cardiorespiratory training technique that alternates brief speed and recovery intervals to increase the overall intensity of your workout. High-intensity intervals are done at an exertion level of 7 or higher, and are typically sustained for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, although they can be as short as 8-10 seconds or as long as 5 minutes; the higher the intensity, the shorter the speed interval. Sprint interval training (SIT) is a type of high-intensity interval training that pushes beyond this level to 100% or more of maximal aerobic capacity, or an exertion level of 10.
By including HIIT in your exercise plan, you can realize remarkable results in a short amount of time, which is good news for busy people. But along with healthy subjects, HIIT has been studied as a training method for people with heart disease and congestive heart failure.
Keep in mind that the most common mistake made with interval training is making the recovery intervals too short.
This high-intensity training method is best used periodically for up to 6 weeks or so to enhance regular training rather than as a year-round fitness strategy. HIIT requires a big, sweaty effort, but if you stick with it, chances are you’ll be rewarded with impressive results.
Our ACE Fit Facts contain valuable information on a wide range of subjects, from nutrition to exercising outdoors, strength training, exercising with diabetes, weight management, workplace wellness and more. If you want to use HIIT to improve performance for a particular sport or activity, you’ll need to tailor your training program to the specific needs and demands of your activity. To maximize the benefits of any training program, it must be designed to develop the specific physiologic parameters by the intended sports skill or activity.
Ultimately this becomes the limitation of aerobic fitness– how hard you can work before you need to use too much anaerobic energy.
HIIT is used by athletes and everyday exercise enthusiasts to reach performance goals and enhance fitness and well-being. Under clinical supervision, subjects were able to tolerate high-intensity intervals without negative effects. Experiment with shorter and longer speed and recovery intervals to find what works best for you.
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Most importantly, they experienced bigger improvements in cardiovascular function compared to those undergoing continuous moderate-intensity training.
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