Everyone is back into HIIT training again these days. HIIT is an acronym for "high intensity interval training." It was first developed in the 1970's by Peter Coe under the premise that fitness with fast interval repetitions interrupted by short recovery periods. One of his manuals is literally called "Better Training for Distance Runners"
There has been significant study of the use of high intensity in fitness programming. Cardiovascular HIIT training involves programs of peak periods of exertion followed by lesser exertion times for recovery, which translates into faster mid-level exertion for endurance events. One example of this training is "interval training": one minute at a sprint pace (say 7-8 miles per hour) followed by a one minute jog pace (5-6 mph), repeating these intervals several times. The optimal number of repetitions depends on the runner's race length.
Another example of HIIT training is called "circuit training." This was a backbone of Peter Coe's running program. He supplemented his runners with weight lifting with timed intervals. Some of the fastest runners in the world incorporate heavy lifting into their programs. This type of program stimulates muscle growth to provide bursts of power over medium distances such as 800 m sprints.
However, most programs are not really HIIT, but HVIT "high volume interval training". The regular person gains more from consistent, repetitive motion than from super intense bursts, and are less likely to suffer injury because the goal is more repetitons at a manageable resistence level. HVIT is the backbone of our fitness programs at our studio because it promotes muscle gain, thermogenesis, and stress relief in addition to resolving chronic problems in the back, neck, and knees.
Here's a sample program you could start on your own at home from another blog of mine:
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