We all know that HIIT training works, right? We’ve all seen the studies and heard the comparisons between sprint interval training and steady paced cardio. Examples such as, “you never see a skinny sprinter” go hand in hand with various types of HIIT training trying to rubbish the effects of losing body fat by a long, arduous fasted steady paced session on the treadmill or bike in the early hours of the morning.
Do I agree? Well, yes and no. The main arguments to both theories are all valid IMHO, and the best gains I’ve made in the gym came from opening my mind to every method (if backed by good research and results), its benefits as well as its possible negatives. Basically, I try not to be a Zealot – an overzealous radical who only practises/preaches one protocol over another and banishing everyone that disagrees with me or my opinions to the gym scrapheap.
This goes for every type of strength, conditioning and aesthetic/bodybuilding methods. But, it seems to be overly so in the gym fraternity, that your either HIIT or LISS. Well, I’m here to tell you that both can have room in your regime…diversity and keeping your body guessing is the best way to maximise your gains!
Saying this though, and the main point of this article, is to provide some guidance, to ensure you’re working HIIT in the correct way…and you may be surprised to hear, what you are doing now, may not be considered REAL HIIT training…
Some standard protocols I heard range from:
– 90 second steady – 30 second sprint
– 12 seconds steady – 8 second sprint
– 60 second steady – 30 second sprint
All of the above will work for you to some degree. But, I could go on for a while giving examples of the above as PTs will advise various ratios dependant on your fitness levels and response. However, REAL HIIT is all down to your heart rate at a semi rested state in comparison with your maximum all out heart rate at the highest point of a continuous all out sprint.
To keep things simple, try to follow these guidelines to maximise your HIIT gain potential. And you know what that is? Create a state in your body to produce/release as much growth hormone as possible and to kick start your metabolism…in other words, get BIG and LEAN…
First off, what we need to do after your weights session (let use a static bike as an example), is get on the static bike and read what your semi rested heart rate is, let say for example, its 120 BPM…once you feel suitably warmed up (say two minutes), initiate your sprint. And here’s the tough part, we don’t want you to just cycle faster than the steady pace, say 75-80% of your max output, we need you to get up off of your backside, increase the resistance on the bike and put absolutely EVERYTHING (100%) into that sprint for between 15 & 30 seconds. What comes after this is another rest period, and what we need to do here is get your heart rate as close to that rested state as quickly as possible so you can complete another sprint. This may take 1 minute, this may take 2, 2 1/2 or even 3 minutes, but to maximise this exercise and the growth hormone response/release, this is what’s required. You then repeat this for 6-10 sprints dependent on the time you have and your fitness levels…once complete, do try to give yourself at least 5 minutes to cool down.
This is a tried and tested method as I have done god knows how many different types/variations of HIIT over the years (and researched this heavily) and I found this method (backed with research and science) to be the best way to maximise results…