Last Updated on April 26, 2021 by JP
High Intensity Interval training, or HIIT is a form of workout involving bursts of very intense activity followed by quick recovery periods. The aim is to
work as hard as you can for the short time frame, take a quick rest, and go again. A HIIT workout is a great way to exercise as it caters to all goals and can be tailored for all sports. It helps to drastically reduce body fat, gets you fit quickly, maintains muscle levels, and is fast, efficient, and easy to introduce into your busy schedule. We’ll break down the benefits and serve up a couple of HIIT routines you can do on an rowing machine at the gym or at home.
HIIT Workout Benefits
Increased Fat loss
A HIIT workout plan is a great way to target and decrease body fat. Studies show that high-intensity workouts lead to greater fat loss compared to low-intensity body workouts.
It increases your metabolic rate, not only during the class, but also in the 24 hours that follow. This elevated rate means calories are burned more efficiently for a longer time period and so after a few weeks worth of sessions, you should start to feel leaner.
Compounding Fitness Levels
HIIT requires you to push yourself into your anaerobic zone, meaning that your lactic threshold (the point where lactic acid builds up) increases as you get used to training at that intensity. Adaptations occur and you are able to push even harder as you feel the burn at a higher work level. Cardiovascular efficiency improves as your body transports oxygen to the working muscles faster. You end up with a brilliant cycle – working harder increases your fitness, meaning you can work even harder. With each adaptation, you can push yourself to a greater max!
No Muscle Wastage
Many forms of exercise will decrease muscle mass, as it is burned alongside fat. HIIT workouts have been proven to sustain muscle levels, meaning you can use HIIT to compliment your weights sessions, as the combination allows you to get stronger and leaner.
Time-saving and Super-Efficient Workout
This is a big one for the very busy, time-crunched people out there. HIIT workouts are optimal for those of us who value time and have limited quantities of it (so that covers most people!) A HIIT workout usually last no more than 30 minutes and does not require any equipment – (unless you choose to add some in). Because of the short time frame you feel good about pushing yourself as hard as you can go. You know it will soon be over.
Adaptable to Any Sport or Fitness Goal
One of the best things about HIIT is that it is great for anyone and everyone. Whether your goal is to get fitter, stronger or to train for a particular sport, HIIT routines can be adapted to suit all needs. It caters to every level, as each individual works to their max, regardless of anyone else’s abilities.
Here are some examples of how to change a HIIT routine depending on your levels:
For fit athletes looking for a hard workout:
->Increase work periods, decrease rest times
For lower abilities:
->Decrease work periods, increase rest time
Looking to get stronger:
->Use free-weighted exercises within your session
Training for a particular sport:
->Use exercises/movements/machines that are specific to your skills for muscle memory and specific fitness
A HIIT Workout Plan Using a Rowing Machine
An excellent type of HIIT workout includes using a rowing machine. This is a low impact, whole body exercise, and will be a great HIIT cardio workout for anyone of any level. Here are two ways to get a HIIT workout on a rower:
HIIT by Distance: “The Ladder Challenge”
- 250m Row as fast as possible (AFAP)
- 1 min rest
- 500m Row AFAP
- 2min rest
- 750m Row AFAP
- 3min Rest
- 1000m Row AFAP
- (Repeat … if you want…)
HIIT by Time: “HIIT Your Score”
- 3 min row AFAP – Take note of your distance
- 1 min rest
- 3 min row AFAP – You have to reach same distance as first attempt’s distance
- 1 min rest
- 1.5 min row AFAP – You have to beat half your first attempt’s distance
- 1 min rest
- 6 min row AFAP – You have to double your first attempt’s distance
You can get a HIIT workout on just about any piece of cardio equipment including indoor cycling bikes and treadmills (see treadmill ratings). Want to save your knees? HIITs on ellipticals offer a low-impact method of intensifying your workout.
Final Word on HIIT Workouts
Overall, a HIIT workout is a great form of exercise. Whether you choose body weight exercises, use cardio machines to get a HIIT cardio workout, or add in free weights, the high intensity nature helps with fat burning and increases fitness levels very quickly. Aim to add HIIT workout into your fitness routine at least twice a week to complement other types of training and you’ll most likely witness the difference in only a few weeks. And most important, you’ll feel great!