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Your Ultimate Guide to HIIT Workout

To cardio or not to cardio?

That is the age-old mystery roaming around the water cooler at your commercial gym. Unless you’re someone who loves running on a treadmill for hours or joins marathons for fun, you might have difficulty seeing cardio workouts that don’t take a day to complete.

While the popularity of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) might have reached new tops in the past few years, it’s far from an original thought.

Finnish runner Hannes Kolehmainen levelled up his training for the Olympics with interval sessions. And he was rewarded for his efforts in the form of a gold medal during the cross-country, 5,000m, 10,000m events.

These days the term HIIT is used to represent a relatively broad range of training programs. Hence, it’s not always clear what is beyond the basics of work, rest, and repeat.

While there’s nothing wrong with the description, it’s not close to giving the full picture of what a HIIT session is.

Thankfully, that doesn’t imply you have to pound out hours of steady-state work to get your fat-burning sweat on.

Why? Because of HIIT, better known as high-intensity interval training.

Yes, it’s the trendiest catchphrase in the boutique fitness space, and these days, it’s overused far too often. But when done correctly, HIIT is your saving cardio grace.

A good HIIT workout can give you many benefits than regular cardio. This includes burning body fat, increasing your heart rate, pushing you to sweat, and improving lung capacity within a short period.

This makes HIIT especially useful for those of us who can’t spend all day in the gym.

Below, you’ll find all the information you need on how to include HIIT into your regular workout schedule. You’ll also learn how it can benefit you no matter what your goals are.

Here’s a table of contents to help you navigate easily throughout this whole article:

  • What is HIIT?
  • The Key to HIIT
  • The Benefits of HIIT Workouts
  • Types of HIIT Workouts
  • 10 HIIT Workouts To Try
  • 3-Week HIIT Workout Plan
  • The “Afterburn” Effect
  • When to avoid High-Intensity Workout Training?

First Things First: What is HIIT?

HIIT workout is a combination of short bursts of intense exercise and rest or a lower-intensity activity. At fitness studios and online, these workouts often combine aerobic and resistance training.

Most of the interval workouts researchers have studied focuses on aerobic exercises. This means interval training is based on a more specific routine than what’s emerging in most gyms, videos, and magazines.

And the researchers’ interpretation matters. That’s because when talking about benefits, we need to be particular about the kinds of workouts that science was based on.

When researchers talk about HIIT, they’re pointing to workouts that alternate hard-charging intervals and rest.

During high-charging intervals, a person’s heart rate can reach at least 80 percent of its highest capacity.

The Key to HIIT

While “hard work, short rests” is the principle of HIIT, there are five key variables that can alter the nature of your HIIT workout massively.

The initial two are your work and rest durations.

Working for 40 seconds and resting for 20 seconds is significantly distinctive from resting for 40 seconds and working for 20 seconds. Longer work sessions are better for developing endurance, and shorter ones are better for power.

Then there’s the intensity of the work sessions. With HIIT, you need to be driving hard to benefit the most from it. It’s also important to try and keep a consistent level of discipline across the work periods.

That indicates that it’s not just about going all-out because you won’t be able to support it across the workout.

The fourth variable is the type of rest you do. Are you stopping completely or involving in active recoveries, like pedaling moderately on an exercise bike? The latter can help wash out lactic acid ahead of your next work session.

Lastly, there’s the total volume or how many periods you do. It’s easy to do too much with HIIT, which ends up being of no real benefit. That’s because, by the end of the workout, you’re not able to maintain the intensity.

As a rule, begin with low volume and go as hard as you can. When it seems easy, add a round or two, but cut the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) a bit.

There aren’t any challenging and fast practices for HIIT when it comes to the nature of exercise you do. It can be executed with cycling, bodyweight moves, running, or weights as long as you’re able to do it at a high intensity.

That makes some disciplines more fitting than others.

Knocking out efforts on an exercise bike is more likely to be less risky than trying to do heavy barbell squats at an intense pace.

You can cycle within a circuit of several exercises for your HIIT session or stick to one or two for all your reps.

The latter makes it easy to hit your time targets because you don’t have to shift exercise equipment during your rest periods. But doing a circuit with a variety of moves means you can hit more muscle groups during your workout.

The key to making HIIT work is intensity.

You can’t coast through your work sessions when doing HIIT. The rules are designed to give you opportunities to go hard, so you need to grab the advantage of those changes.

That indicates working hard, but it doesn’t mean to give all your 100 percent with the intensity. If you’re new to this kind of exercise, don’t go all out all at once.

Instead of 15 to 30-second intervals of execution at near-100 percent intensity, opt for intervals of one to three minutes at closer to 80 percent of maximum effort. And then follow this with five minutes of lower intensity exercise. This can help with weight loss if you’re sedentary.

It’s common among people in the fitness community to use HIIT and “interval training” interchangeably. But proper HIIT demands you to be explosive and intense during your work session.

However, basic interval training is what you see most on the group fitness scene, sans the high-intensity workout.

The Benefits of HIIT Workouts

Fat Loss

Let’s begin with the calories you’ll burn, which are many. Mind you; your body may keep on burning fats even a few hours after you’re done.

This happens as part of the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) result.

What happens is that your body burns more calories while returning to its resting state after a workout. The EPOC effect increases with the intensity of the exercise you do, which is why HIIT is such an efficient fat burner.

Fast Metabolic Rate

Some researchers have discovered that HIIT boosts metabolism for hours after exercise.

Also called EPOC, it is a measurably enhanced rate of oxygen intake following vigorous activity.

There are also logistical advantages to HIIT, like the fact your workout takes less time so you can fit it into a lunch break. And while it’s remarkably hard work, the short, sharp challenge of HIIT ensures you’ll never get bored with your training.

Overall Health

HIIT is not just a mechanism to use to lean out. It can enhance your overall health, too.

A summary of 50 different studies found that HIIT lessens blood sugar levels. Further analysis shows that it can decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure in overweight and obese people.

HIIT also increases your VO2 max, which is the volume of oxygen your body can use and indicates cardio fitness. This is why any cycling training program or running worth its salt has some form of interval training in it.

Building your VO2 max is the core to working harder for longer, helping you log a 5K personal best, for example.

Types of HIIT Workouts

Beginner: Timmons Method

Created by a team at Loughborough University, this one’s entry-level.

Do 20 seconds of all-out work, followed by two minutes of active recovery (walking/freewheeling will do) or complete rest. Repeat three times, and you’re done.

Intermediate: 10-20

Also known as “reverse Tabata,” this doubles the rest and decreases the work intervals to shift the focus to anaerobic fitness.

Use it if you intend for power production or don’t have the fitness for an all-out Tabata. Warm-up for ten minutes, then do six to eight rounds.

Advanced: 10-20-30

In this program, you’ll do five “blocks” of work, made up of 30 seconds at 30% intensity, 20 seconds at 60%, and ten seconds all-out.

Result? Lots of volumes at controllable intensity.

Extreme: TABATA

The most popular HIIT protocol is excellent for increasing VO2 max as long as you do it right.

It’s twenty seconds of all-out work, followed by ten seconds of rest, repeated eight times. This program helps enhance endurance by as much as 30 minutes of steady-state cardio.

The key is keeping the intensity high.

10 HIIT Workouts to Try

Kettlebell Workout

The Louisiana University conducted a study that compared kettlebell swings, cleans, and deadlifts with a sprint training program.

They discovered that the maximum heart rate was only somewhat higher in the sprints, while calorie expenditure was more significant with the bells.

Rest for 30 seconds in the end, then repeat for three to five rounds.

  1. Alternating swing (30sec) Like the regular swing but alternating arms at the top portion of the lift.
  2. Clean and jerk (15sec left arm, 15sec right arm) Finish each 15-second work section by pressing the kettlebell over your head.
  3. Goblet squat (30sec) Hold the kettlebell close to your chest and maintain your back straight.

All-Out Bike Workout

There’s a reason why many people exercise with bikes: going all-out on the pedals isn’t too technical, injury risk is low, and you can ruin yourself. For maximum efforts, which stimulate every accessible muscle fiber, the bike is an excellent choice.

When looking to develop the fitness levels of Premier League footballers in pre-season, strength and conditioning trainers at the country’s top clubs have a particular favorite in the Tabata protocol. It’s used up to four times a week and generally done on an exercise bike.

You can obtain the same rewards by following the plan: 20 seconds sprint cycle, ten seconds rest or slower cycle, repeat for eight rounds.

Battle Ropes Workout

In a research held at the College of New Jersey, it was discovered that battle ropes beat 13 other exercises for energy expenditure. It has also produced the highest average heart rate.

The rules: 15 seconds of single-arm waves, 15 seconds of double-arm waves, 60 seconds rest, repeat eight times.

Burpee

In the same research facility in New Jersey, studies show that burpees beat four other bodyweight moves and every free weight exercise for VO2 response.

If you’re short on time and lack space, use this protocol instead: 30 seconds all-out, then four minutes of rest, done four to six times.

Sprint Workouts

“Production training” exercises develop your capacity to work at the highest effort with short rest. They are ultra-short but super-hard exercise intervals mixed with long rests for a workout that’ll build your power.

Use them when you’re following a 500m row or preparing for a boxing bout.

Mountain slider

Work: 15sec

Rest: 1min 30sec

Rounds: 6

Begin in a press-up position with your feet on a pair of small towels or Valslides, then take one knee and then the other up to your chest as fast as possible. Think of it like a crawling sprint.

Thruster

Work: 15sec

Rest: 1min 15sec

Rounds: 6

Holding a light pair of dumbbells at shoulder height or a light barbell on your shoulders, drop down into a squat. As you stand up, push the weight overhead, then lower straight into the next rep.

Jump lunge

Work: 20sec

Rest: 10sec

Explode off the ground and alternate legs in the air on each rep. Rest for ten seconds, then go straight into exercise 2.

High knees

Work: 20sec

Rest: 10sec

Jog in place, bringing your knees as high as you can. Maintain the intensity high throughout, then rest for ten seconds.

Jump squat

Work: 20sec

Rest: 30sec

Drop into a squat and then explode off the floor, landing as softly as possible. Rest for 30 seconds before you start the next round.

The 3-Week Workout Plan

WEEK 1

WORKOUT 1 (MONDAY): CHEST, BACK, ABS

ExerciseWeightSets/RepsRest
Bench Press50% 10RM10/1060s
Bench Press10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Incline Press10RM3 / Failure60s
Cable Crossover15RM3 / Failure60s
Wide-Grip Pulldown50% 10RM10/1060s
Wide-Grip Pulldown10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Barbell Bentover Row10RM3 / Failure60s
Straight-Arm Pulldown15RM3 / Failure60s
Reverse CrunchBody weight^10/1060s
CrunchBody weight^10/1060s
Dead/Curl/PressLight dumbbells10/1060s

WORKOUT 2 (TUESDAY): LEGS, TRICEPS, CALVES  

ExerciseWeightSets/RepsRest
Squat50% 10RM10/1060s
Squat10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Leg Press10RM3 / Failure60s
Leg Extension15RM3 / Failure60s
Leg Curl15RM3 / Failure60s
Triceps Pressdown50% 10RM10/1060s
Triceps Pressdown10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Lying Triceps Extension15RM3 / Failure60s
Standing Calf Raise50% 10RM10/1060s
Standing Calf Raise10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Seated Calf Raise15RM3 / Failure60s
Kettlebell SwingLight Kettlebell10/1060s

WORKOUT 3 (WEDNESDAY): SHOULDERS, TRAPS, BICEPS, FOREARMS  

ExerciseWeightSets/RepsRest
Dumbbell Shoulder Press50% 10RM10/1060s
Dumbbell Shoulder Press10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Lateral Raise10RM3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Rear-Delt Raise15RM3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Shrug50% 10RM10/1060s
Dumbbell Shrug10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Curl50% 10RM10/1060s
Dumbbell Curl10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Incline Dumbbell Curl15RM3 / Failure60s
Barbell Wrist Curl50% 10RM10/1060s
Barbell Wrist Curl10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Clean50% 10RM10/1060s

WORKOUT 4 (THURSDAY): CHEST, BACK, ABS  

ExerciseWeightSets/RepsRest
Bench Press50% 10RM10/1050s
Bench Press10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Reverse-Grip Incline Bench Press10RM3 / Failure60s
Incline Dumbbell Flye15RM3 / Failure60s
Wide-Grip Pulldown50% 10RM10/1050s
Wide-Grip Pulldown10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
One-arm Dumbbell Bentover Row10RM3 / Failure60s
Reverse-Grip Pulldown15RM3 / Failure60s
Reverse CrunchBody weight^10/1050s
CrunchBody weight^10/1050s
Dead/Curl/PressLight dumbbells10/1050s

WORKOUT 5 (FRIDAY): LEGS, TRICEPS, CALVES  

ExerciseWeightSets/RepsRest
Squat50% 10RM10/1050s
Squat10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Lunge10RM3 / Failure60s
Leg Extension15RM3 / Failure60s
Romanian Deadlift15RM3 / Failure60s
Triceps Pressdown50% 10RM10/1050s
Triceps Pressdown10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Cable Overhead Triceps Extension15RM3 / Failure60s
Standing Calf Raise50% 10RM10/1050s
Standing Calf Raise10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Seated Calf Raise15RM3 / Failure60s
Kettlebell SwingLight Kettlebell10/1050s

WORKOUT 6 (SATURDAY): SHOULDERS, TRAPS, BICEPS, FOREARMS  

ExerciseWeightSets/RepsRest
Dumbbell Shoulder Press50% 10RM10/1050s
Dumbbell Shoulder Press10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
One-arm Cable Lateral Raise10RM3 / Failure60s
Machine Rear-Delt Flye15RM3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Shrug50% 10RM10/1050s
Dumbbell Shrug10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Curl50% 10RM10/1050s
Dumbbell Curl10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Behind-the-Back Cable Curl15RM3 / Failure60s
Barbell Wrist Curl50% 10RM10/1050s
Barbell Wrist Curl10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Clean50% 10RM10/1050s

WEEK 2

WORKOUT 1 (MONDAY): CHEST, BACK, ABS

ExerciseWeightSets/RepsRest
Bench Press50% 10RM10/1040s
Bench Press10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Dumbbell Incline Press10RM3 / Failure60s
Cable Crossover15RM3 / Failure60s
Wide-Grip Pulldown50% 10RM10/1040s
Wide-Grip Pulldown10RM (From Test)3 / Failure60s
Barbell Bentover Row10RM3 / Failure60s
Straight-Arm Pulldown15RM3 / Failure60s
Reverse CrunchBody weight^10/1040s
CrunchBody weight^10/1040s
Dead/Curl/PressLight dumbbells10/1040s

WORKOUT 2 (TUESDAY): LEGS, TRICEPS, CALVES

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Squat50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Squat10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Leg Press12 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Leg Extension20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Leg Curl20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Triceps Pressdown50% 10RM10/1030 sec.
Triceps Pressdown10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Lying Triceps Extension20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Standing Calf Raise50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Standing Calf Raise10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Seated Calf Raise20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Kettlebell Swinglight kettlebell#10/1030 sec.

WORKOUT 3 (WEDNESDAY): SHOULDERS, TRAPS, BICEPS, FOREARMS

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Dumbbell Shoulder Press50% 10 RM10/1020 sec.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell lateral Raise12 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Shrug50% 10 RM (from test)10/1030 sec.
Dumbbell Shrug10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Curl50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Dumbbell Curl10 RM (from test)3/to failure60 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Barbell Wrist Curl50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Barbell Wrist Curl10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Cleans50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.

WORKOUT 4 (THURSDAY): CHEST, BACK, ABS

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Bench Press50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Bench Press10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Reverse Grip Incline Press12 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Flye20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Wide-Grip Pulldown50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Wide-Grip Pulldown10 RM (from test)3*/to failure30 sec.
One Arm Bent Over Row12 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Reverse Grip Pulldown20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Reverse Crunchbody weight^10/1030 sec.
Crunchbody weight^10/1030 sec.
Dead/Curl/Presslight dumbbells10/1030 sec.

WORKOUT 5 (FRIDAY): LEGS, TRICEPS, CALVES

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Squat50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Squat10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Lunge12 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Leg Extension20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Romanian Deadlift20 RM3/to failure30 sec.
Triceps Pressdown50% 10 RM10/1060 sec.
Triceps Pressdown10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Cable Overhead Tri-Ext20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Standing Calf Raise50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Standing Calf Raise10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Seated Calf Raise20 RM3/to failure30 sec.
Kettlebell Swinglight kettlebell#10/1020 sec.

WORKOUT 6 (SATURDAY): SHOULDERS, TRAPS, BICEPS, FOREARMS

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Dumbbell Shoulder Press50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
One-Arm Cable Lateral Raise12 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Machine Rear Delt Flye20 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Shrug50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Dumbbell Shrug10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Curl50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Dumbbell Curl10 RM (from test)3/to failure60 sec.
Behind-the-Back Cable Curl20RM3/to failure60 sec.
Barbell Wrist Curl50% 10 RM10/1030 sec.
Barbell Wrist Curl10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Cleans50% 10 RM10/1020 sec.

WEEK 3

WORKOUT 1 (MONDAY): CHEST, BACK, ABS

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Bench Press50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Bench Press10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Incline Press15 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Cable Crossover30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Wide-Grip Pulldown50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Wide-Grip Pulldown10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Barbell Bent-Over Row15 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Straight-Arm Pulldown30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Reverse Crunchbody weight^10/100 sec.
Crunchbody weight^10/100 sec.
Dead/Curl/Presslight dumbbells10/100 sec.

WORKOUT 2 (TUESDAY): LEGS, TRICEPS, CALVES

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Squat50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Squat10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Leg Press15 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Leg Extension30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Leg Curl30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Triceps Pressdown50% 10RM10/100 sec.
Triceps Pressdown10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Lying Triceps Extension30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Standing Calf Raise50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Standing Calf Raise10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Seated Calf Raise30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Kettlebell Swinglight kettlebell#10/100 sec.

WORKOUT 3 (WEDNESDAY): SHOULDERS, TRAPS, BICEPS, FOREARMS

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Dumbbell Shoulder Press50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell lateral Raise15 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Shrug50% 10 RM (from test)10/100 sec.
Dumbbell Shrug10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Curl50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Dumbbell Curl10 RM (from test)3/to failure60 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Barbell Wrist Curl50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Barbell Wrist Curl10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Cleans50% 10 RM10/100 sec.

WORKOUT 4 (THURSDAY): CHEST, BACK, ABS

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Bench Press50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Bench Press10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Reverse Grip Incline Press15 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Flye30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Wide-Grip Pulldown50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Wide-Grip Pulldown10 RM (from test)3*/to failure30 sec.
One Arm Bent Over Row15 RM3/to failure30 sec.
Reverse Grip Pulldown30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Reverse Crunchbody weight^10/100 sec.
Crunchbody weight^10/100 sec.
Dead/Curl/Presslight dumbbells10/100 sec.

WORKOUT 5 (FRIDAY): LEGS, TRICEPS, CALVES

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Squat50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Squat10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Lunge15 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Leg Extension30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Romanian Deadlift30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Triceps Pressdown50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Triceps Pressdown10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Cable Overhead Tri-Ext30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Standing Calf Raise50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Standing Calf Raise10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Seated Calf Raise30 RM3/to failure30 sec.
Kettlebell Swinglight kettlebell#10/100 sec.

WORKOUT 6 (SATURDAY): SHOULDERS, TRAPS, BICEPS, FOREARMS

EXERCISEWEIGHTSETS/REPSREST
Dumbbell Shoulder Press50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
One-Arm Cable Lateral Raise15 RM3/to failure0 sec.
Machine Rear Delt Flye30 RM3/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Shrug50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Dumbbell Shrug10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Curl50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Dumbbell Curl10 RM (from test)3/to failure60 sec.
Behind-the-Back Cable Curl30RM3/to failure60 sec.
Barbell Wrist Curl50% 10 RM10/100 sec.
Barbell Wrist Curl10 RM (from test)3*/to failure60 sec.
Dumbbell Cleans50% 10 RM10/100 sec.

The “Afterburn” Effect

Many HIIT gyms tout training programs that will direct to an “afterburn” or EPOC.

Sure, the afterburn effect is real, but it’s often exaggerated.

When measured in a lab, it shows that a 20-minute session of intervals can result in the same calorie burn as a 50-minute constant exercise. This indicates that the afterburn effect is more significant after the breaks, but it peters out after a while.

It’s also limited and not the kind of calorie loss that would manage to lasting weight loss. 

Building more muscles, though, can be a little more convenient for the afterburn. That’s because one of the variables that alter your resting metabolic rate is the volume of lean muscle you have.

For one, muscle utilizes a lot more energy than fat while at rest. So the logic is if you can build up your muscle and diminish your body fat, you’ll have a higher resting metabolism and more immediately burn the fuel in your body.

But that takes a lot more work than a short aerobic HIIT exercise.

And even a short HIIT exercise may not be suitable for everyone. Intervals can be mentally and physically demanding. So some continuous steady-state exercise is excellent once in a while.

But for those who are time-pressed and can endure intervals almost entirely, it’s the most effective way to train.

When to Avoid High-Intensity Circuit Training?

If you feel exhausted quickly in the first place, HIIT isn’t the session to go for.

Sure, HIIT is effective because it requires less time and burns calories during recovery. But for it to happen, you’ll need a lot of energy.

Finally, it’s essential to acknowledge how often you can do “real” HIIT. While this workout method can trigger protein synthesis, it can also lead to protein deficiency, which means that your weight loss could cause muscle mass loss.

If your goal is to build muscles, then proper weight training should be your primary focus. Only use HIIT to complement your workout routines.

Remember, HIIT is deemed short, intense, and infrequent, not an everyday effort. Recovery days are essential for avoiding injury and ensuring you can work at the intensity needed for efficacy.

Conclusion

Ensuring you work to your full capability during the work periods of a HIIT workout will mean you obtain the maximum reward.

It’s a gas-on, gas-off way of training, so it should be on when the gas is on.

Yes, you’re working harder. But it’s a much shorter period, so you’ve got to make the best out of it.

Sources