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Interval Training: HIIT or Miss

Written on March 8, 2009 at 7:42 am, by Eric Cressey

Today, we’ve got a special guest post from Michael Boyle of StrengthCoach.com.  This is some fantastic stuff – definitely one of the most comprehensive articles I’ve seen on the topic of interval training

Interval Training- HIIT or Miss?

I think every fat loss article we read espouses the value of interval training for fat loss. In fact the term HIIT (for High Intensity Interval Training) is thrown around so much that many people just assume they know what it is. However, among all the recommendations I see to perform HIIT, very few articles contain any practical information as to what to do or how to do it. I have to confess that I stumbled into this area somewhat accidentally. Two different processes converged to make me understand that I might be a fat loss expert and not know it. In my normal process of professional reading I read both Alwyn Cosgrove’s Afterburn and Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training. What struck me immediately was that what these experts were recommending for fat loss looked remarkably like the programs we used for conditioning.

At the time I was reading these programs, I was also training members of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey team. It seemed all of the female athletes I worked with attempted to use steady state cardio work as a weight loss or weight maintenance vehicle. I was diametrically opposed to this idea as I felt that steady state cardiovascular work undermined the strength and power work we were doing in the weight room. My policy became “intervals only” if you wanted to do extra work. I did not do this as a fat loss strategy but rather as a “slowness prevention” strategy. However, a funny thing happened. The female athletes that we prevented from doing steady state cardiovascular work also began to get remarkably leaner. I was not bright enough to put two and two together until I read the above-mentioned manuals and realized that I was doing exactly what the fat loss experts recommended. We were on a vigorous strength program and we were doing lots of intervals.

With that said, the focus of this article will be not “why,” as we have already heard the “why” over and over, but “how.” How do I actually perform HIIT? To begin, we need to understand exactly what interval training is? In the simplest sense, interval training is nothing more than a method of exercise that uses alternating periods of work and rest. The complicated part of interval training may be figuring out how to use it.  How much work do I do? How hard should I do it? How long should I rest before I do it again?

Interval training has been around for decades. However, only recently have fitness enthusiasts around the world been awakened to the value. The recent popularity of interval training has even given it a new name in the literature. Interval training is often referred to as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and it is now the darling of the fat loss and conditioning worlds. Truth is, you can also do low intensity interval training. In fact most people should not start with HIIT but LIIT. HIIT may make you vomit if you don’t work into it.

Research Background

In case you have been in a cave for the last decade let’s quickly review some research. A recent study, done in Canada at McMaster University and often referenced as the Gibala Study after lead researcher Martin Gibala, compared 20 minutes of high intensity interval training, consisting of a 30 second sprint followed by a four minute rest, with 90 to 120 minutes in the target heart rate zone. The result was amazing. Subjects got the same improvement in oxygen utilization from both programs. What is more amazing is that the 20 minute program only requires about two minutes and 30 seconds of actual work.

A second study that has become known as the Tabata study again shows the extreme benefits of interval training. Tabata compared moderate intensity endurance training at about 70 percent of VO2 max to high intensity intervals done at 170 percent of VO2 max. Tabata used a unique protocol of 20 seconds work to 10 seconds rest done in seven to eight bouts. This was basically a series of 20 second intervals performed during a four-minute span. Again, the results were nothing short of amazing. The 20/10 protocol improved the VO2 max and the anaerobic capabilities more than the steady state program.

Further evidence for the superiority of higher intensity work can be found in the September/October 2006 issue of the ACSM Journal. Dr. David Swain stated “running burns twice as many calories as walking.” This is great news for those who want to lose body fat. I am not a running advocate, but we can put to rest another high intensity (running) versus low intensity (walking) debate.

Do the math. Swain states that a 136-pound person walking will burn 50 cal/mile and proportionally more as the subject’s weight increases. In other words, a 163-pound person would weigh 20 percent more and, as a result, burn 20 percent more calories. This means that expenditure goes from 50 to 60 calories, also a 20 percent increase. Swain goes on to state that running at seven mph burns twice as many calories as walking at four mph. This means a runner would burn 100 calories in roughly eight and one half minutes or about 11 calories a minute. The walker at four miles per hour would burn 50 calories in 15 minutes (the time it would take to walk a mile at four MPH). That’s less than four calories per minute of exercise. Please understand that this is less a testament for running and more a testament for high intensity work versus low intensity work. More intensity equals greater expenditure per minute.

Interval Training Methods

There are two primary ways to performing interval training. The first is the conventional Work-to-Rest method. This is the tried and true method most people are familiar with. The Work-to-Rest method uses a set time interval for the work period and a set time interval for the rest period. Ratios are determined, and the athlete or client rests for generally one, two or three times the length of the work interval before repeating the next bout. The big drawback to the Work to Rest method is that time is arbitrary. We have no idea what is actually happening inside the body. We simply guess. In fact, for many years, we have always guessed, as we had no other “measuring stick.”

Heart Rate Method

With the mass production of low cost heart rate monitors, we are no longer required to guess. The future of interval training lies with accurate, low cost heart rate monitors. We are no longer looking at time as a measure of recovery, as we formerly did in our work-to-rest ratios. We are now looking at physiology. What is important to understand is that heart rate and intensity are closely related. Although heart rate is not a direct and flawless measure of either intensity or recovery status, it is far better than simply choosing a time interval to rest. To use the heart rate method, simply choose an appropriate recovery heart rate. In our case, we use 60 percent of theoretical max heart rate. After a work interval of a predetermined time or distance is completed, the recovery is simply set by the time it takes to return to the recovery heart rate. When using HR response, the whole picture changes. Initial recovery in well-conditioned athletes and clients is often rapid and shorter than initially thought. In fact, rest to work ratios may be less than 1-1 in the initial few intervals. An example of a sample workout using the heart rate method for a well-conditioned athlete or client is show below.

  • Interval 1 – Work 60 sec rest 45 sec
  • Interval 2 – Work 60 sec rest 60 sec
  • Interval 3 – Work 60 sec rest 75 sec
  • Interval 4 – Work 60 sec rest 90 sec

*In a conventional 2-1, time based program the rest period would have been too long for the first three intervals, rendering them potentially less effective. The reverse may be true in a de-conditioned athlete or client. I have seen young, de-conditioned athletes need rest up to eight times as long as the work interval. In fact, we have seen athletes who need two minutes rest after a 15 second interval. In the heartrate method the rest times gradually get longer. Th first interval is 1-.75 while the last interval is 1 to 1.5,

The Problem with Formulas

At least 70 percent of the population does not fit into our age-old theoretical formulas. The 220 minus age formula is flawed on two key points: it doesn’t fit a significant portion of the population, and it is not based on research. Even the developer of the now-famous formula admits that his thoughts were taken out of context. The more accurate method is called the Heart Rate Reserve Method or Karvonen formula.

Karvonen Formula
(Max HR- Resting HR) x %+ RHR= THR
Ex- (200-60) x.8 +60 = 172

The key to the Karvonen formula is that it looks at larger measures of fitness by incorporating the resting heart rate and is therefore less arbitrary. However, the two twenty minus age formula will suffice for establishing recovery heart rates.
Interval Training Basics

The longer the interval, the shorter the rest period as a percentage of the interval. In other words, short intervals have a high muscular demand and will require longer rests when viewed as a percentage of the interval. Fifteen second intervals will need at least a 2-1 rest to work ration. Three to one will work better for beginners.

Interval Rest Recommendations (Work-to-Rest Based)
- 15 sec. Beginners at least 45 sec (3-1), more advanced 30 sec (2-1)
- 30 sec. Rest 1:00 to 1:30 (3-1 or 2-1)
- 1:00. Rest 1:00- 2:00 (2-1 or 1-1)

Just remember, as the intervals get longer, the recovery time, as it relates to the interval, may not need to be as long. In other words, a fifteen second sprint may require 30-45 seconds rest but a two minute interval may only need to be followed by a two minute rest.

Aerobic Intervals?

The biggest benefit of interval training is that you can get a tremendous aerobic workout without the boredom of long steady state bouts of exercises. In fact as the Gibala study demonstrated, you can get superior benefits for both fitness and fat loss by incorporating interval training. If the heart rate is maintained above the theoretical 60 percent threshold proposed for aerobic training, then the entire session is both aerobic and anaerobic. This is why my athletes do almost no “conventional” aerobic training. All of our aerobic work is a by-product of our anaerobic work. My athletes or clients can get their heart rate in the recommended aerobic range for 15 to 20 minutes, yet in some cases, they do only three to five minutes of actual work.

Modes of Interval Training

Although most people visualize interval training as a track and field concept, our preferred method of interval training is the stationary bike. Although I think running is the theoretical “best” mode of training, the facts are clear. Most Americans are not fit enough to run. In fact, statistics estimate that 60 percent of those who begin a running program will be injured. In a fitness or personal training setting, that is entirely unacceptable. Females, based on the genetics of the female body (wider hips, narrower knees) are at potentially even greater risk. Physical therapist Diane Lee says it best in her statement, “You can’t run to get fit. You need to be fit to run.”

Interval training can be done on any piece of equipment. However, the most expeditious choice in my opinion will be a dual action bike like the Schwinn AirDyne. The bike allows, in the words of performance enhancement expert Alwyn Cosgrove, “maximum metabolic disturbance with minimal muscular disruption.” In other words, you can work really hard and not injure yourself on a stationary bike.

airdyne

Fit individuals can choose any mode they like. However, the bike is the best and safest choice. In my mind, the worst choice might be the elliptical trainers. Charles Staley, another noted training expert, has a concept I believe he calls the 180 Principle. Staley advocates doing exactly the opposite of what you see everyone else in the gym doing. I’m in agreement. Walking on a treadmill and using an elliptical trainer seem to be the two most popular modes of training in a gym. My conclusion, supported by Staley’s 180 Principle, is that neither is of much use.

Interval Training Modes in Detail

Running

  • Maybe the most effective method but also most likely to cause injury.
  • Shuttle runs (running to a line and back repeatedly) have both high muscular demand (acceleration and deceleration) and high metabolic demand.
  • Running is relative. Running straight ahead for 30 seconds is significantly easier than a 30 second shuttle.
  • Shuttle runs produce more muscular discomfort due to the repeated acceleration and deceleration.
  • Running for the average gym-goers is impractical as a fairly large area is needed.

Treadmill Running

  • A close second to ground based running in both effectiveness and unfortunately injury potential.
  • Getting on and off a moving treadmill is an athletic skill and can result in serious injury. Therefore, treadmill interval running is probably not for the average personal training client.
  • Treadmill speeds are deceiving. For example, 10 MPH is only a six minute mile yet can feel very fast. However, 10 MPH is not a difficult pace for intervals for a well-conditioned athlete.
  • High quality interval treadmills should be able to go to 15 MPH.
  • For treadmill running, first practice the skill of getting on and off the moving treadmill (The author assumes no responsibility for those thrown on the floor attempting this. Do not try this in a normal health club, where the treadmills are packed in like sardines. You must have room to fall off without striking an immovable object).

Additional Treadmill Drawbacks

  • Lack of true active hip extension may under train the hamstrings.
  • In treadmill running, the belt moves, you just stay airborne. Treadmill times do not translate well to running on the ground. This may be due to lack of ground contact time.

Treadmill Recommendations

  • Time based. Try 15 seconds on with 45 seconds off at 7 MPH and 5% incline. For safety, decrease speed and increase incline.
  • Heart rate based (max HR of 200 used for example). Try a 15 second sprint at 7/5 and simply rest until the heart rate returns to 120 beats per minute. Rest is rest, don’t walk or jog or your heart rate will lower slowly.

Stationary Bike

  • Dual action bikes like the Airdyne produce a higher HR. This is due to the combined action of the arms and legs. There is no better affordable option than the AirDyne. Although they require periodic maintenance they are the perfect interval tool as they do not need any adjustments to belts or knobs when interval training. The fan is an accommodating resistance device. This means that the harder you push the more resistance you get back. If you have large fan AirDyne, purchase and install windscreens. Most athletes and clients dislike the large fan AirDynes as they are unable to work up a sweat without a windscreen.
  • This is probably the best “safe” tool.
  • Requires limited skill.
  • Limited potential for overuse injury.

Stationary Bike Recommendations

  • Same time recommendations as for the treadmill. For the AirDyne, set the top display to Level. For a well-conditioned male a 15 second sprint should be level 12-15. Do not go all out as this will seriously undermine the ability to repeat additional intervals. Well-conditioned female athletes will be Level 8-10 for 15 seconds. Levels should be adjusted down for fitness level and up for body size. Larger athletes or clients will find the bike easier.  Large fan AirDynes (older models)  will have slightly different work levels than the newer smaller fan models.

Slideboard

  • Slideboards provide the best “bang for the buck” after the AirDyne. However, in a fitness setting there is a skill requirement. Clients must be warned that they may fall and potentially be injured. This may sound stupid but be sure to inform the client that the board is slippery. I can’t tell you how many clients have stepped on a slideboard and remarked “this is slippery”. Remember what they say about assuming.
  • The slideboard provides added the benefits of a standing position and getting hip ab and adductor work.
  • Slideboards are also great for groups. No adjustment are needed, you just need extra booties. We order 4 pair for every board.
  • Safe in spite of “experts.” Some so-called experts have questioned the effect of the slideboard on the knees; however, there is nothing more than the anecdotal evidence of a few writers to support this theory.

Climbers and Ellipticals

  • The key to using any climbing device is to keep the hands and arms off of the equipment. This is critical. Just put a heart rate monitor on and keep the hands of and watch the heart rate skyrocket. If clients complain about lack of balance, slow down the machine and develop the balance, but don’t allow them to hold on.
  • The StepMill is the least popular, and as Staley points out, the most effective. Think 180 again. If it’s popular, it’s probably not good.
  • Conventional Stairclimbers are easier to abuse than the StepMill. Many users ramp up the speed while allowing the arms to do the majority of the work. As we mentioned before, keep your hands off the rails.
  • The elliptical machine is most popular because it is easiest. This is nothing more than human nature at work. Discourage your clients from using an elliptical trainer. If they insist, let them do it on their off days.

Research continues to mount that interval training may improve fitness better than steady state work. The big key is not what to do any more but, how to do it. For maximum effect, get a heart rate monitor and go to work.

One warning. Deconditioned clients may need three weeks to a month of steady work to get ready to do intervals. This is OK. Don’t kill a beginner with interval training. Begin with a quality strength program and some steady state cardiovascular work. The only good use for steady state work in my mind is preparing an athlete or client for the intervals to come.

References:

  1. Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle.” Simon Melov, Mark Tarnopolsky, Kenneth Beckman, Krysta Felkey and Alan Hubbard PLoS ONE 2(5): e465. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.
  2. “Short Term Sprint Interval Versus Traditional Endurance Training: Similar Initial Adaptations in Human Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Performance Journal of Physiology Sept 2006, Vol 575 Issue 3.
  3. Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, Hirai Y, Ogita F, Miyachi M, Yamamoto K. Department of Physiology and Biomechanics, National Institute of Fitness and Sports, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.
  4. September/October ACSM Health and Fitness Journal. Dr. David Swain Moderate or Vigorous Intensity Exercise: What Should We Prescribe?

Michael is a Boston-based strength and conditioning coach and the editor of StrengthCoach.com. You can purchase Mike’s products through Perform Better. The above article is based on the best-selling Interval Training DVD filmed  in 2007.

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16 Responses to “Interval Training: HIIT or Miss”

  1. Jonathan Stewart Says:

    Thanks for passing that on Eric. Mike Boyle continues to publish no nonsense articles…I’ll definitely be incorporating some of this into my clients and my own programs.

  2. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach Says:

    I liked reading about keeping the hands off the elliptical while training – I noticed my heart rate increased when I did that. It also required far more balance on my part too.

    Great articled, shared with my network. Barbara

  3. Tim Says:

    Eric,

    Much of this is rudimentary stuff, much of the rest is questionable.

    Fat loss is a generally a consequence of energy balance, energy intake is much more modifiable than expenditure, end of story.

    The energy demand for exercise increases with intensity as does metabolic cost, this is incredibly basic and logical stuff, not “research background”.

    The author obviously does not have the greatest background with interval training, heart rate can be a guide but it is not the basis of interval training. There are three ways to progress:

    1. More reps at pace e.g 8 X 200 metres in 30 sec off 1 minute recovery to 10 X 200 in 30 sec off 1 minute

    2. Quicker Reps e.g 8 X 200 metres in 30 sec off 1 minute recovery to 8 X 200 metres in 28 sec off 1 minute

    3 Less Recovery e.g 8 X 200 metres in 30 sec off a minute to 8 X 200 metres in 30 sec off 45 sec

    Combining these progressions specifically for your purpose gets results. Simply relying on heart rate does not mean you are adapting to the stimulus. You need to increase capacity, i.e. how fast you can go in your intervals and how long you can maintain that intensity.

    No heart rate monitor is needed to progress interval training, progression by any of the three methods stated above is genuine progression in capacity. Just set your goals and get after them, e.g. if your goal in testing to cover 1600 metres in 4 minutes (this is quite quick, only a hypothetical), start at 8 X 200 metres and progress as listed above. The energy systems and how they interact are less important than the demands of the sport, training is about progression towards a goal and often coaches would do well to concentrate on this rather than arcane measures. Heart rate is a useful guide but does not define adaptation.

    I don’t know where to start with the “Aerobic Intervals?” paragraph but statements like these concern me “If the heart rate is maintained above the theoretical 60 percent threshold proposed for aerobic training, then the entire session is both aerobic and anaerobic”.

    As far as modes of training go, these are my thoughts:

    1) If the athlete is after general central adaptations for a speed/power based sport like gridiron then most equipment will do the job.

    2) If the athlete is attempting to improve conditioning for an intermittent field sport with significant amounts of running e.g. soccer, field hockey and basketball, the athlete should train with movements that will produce the necessary peripheral adaptations, which are just as if not more significant than the increases in central qualities. This means shuttles, lateral movement (e.g. shuffling) backpedalling, sprints and running not slidebaords, bikes, ellipticals, treadmills etc.

  4. Tim Says:

    Not sure if this posted properly the first time:

    Much of this is rudimentary stuff, much of the rest is questionable.

    Fat loss is a generally a consequence of energy balance, energy intake is much more modifiable than expenditure, end of story.

    The energy demand for exercise increases with intensity as does metabolic cost, this is incredibly basic and logical stuff, not “research background”.

    The author obviously does not have the greatest background with interval training, heart rate can be a guide but it is not the basis of interval training. There are three ways to progress:

    1. More reps at pace e.g 8 X 200 metres in 30 sec off 1 minute recovery to 10 X 200 in 30 sec off 1 minute

    2. Quicker Reps e.g 8 X 200 metres in 30 sec off 1 minute recovery to 8 X 200 metres in 28 sec off 1 minute

    3 Less Recovery e.g 8 X 200 metres in 30 sec off a minute to 8 X 200 metres in 30 sec off 45 sec

    Combining these progressions specifically for your purpose gets results. Simply relying on heart rate does not mean you are adapting to the stimulus. You need to increase capacity, i.e. how fast you can go in your intervals and how long you can maintain that intensity.

    No heart rate monitor is needed to progress interval training, progression by any of the three methods stated above is genuine progression in capacity. Just set your goals and get after them, e.g. if your goal in testing to cover 1600 metres in 4 minutes (this is quite quick, only a hypothetical), start at 8 X 200 metres and progress as listed above. The energy systems and how they interact are less important than the demands of the sport, training is about progression towards a goal and often coaches would do well to concentrate on this rather than arcane measures. Heart rate is a useful guide but does not define adaptation.

    I don’t know where to start with the “Aerobic Intervals?” paragraph but statements like these concern me “If the heart rate is maintained above the theoretical 60 percent threshold proposed for aerobic training, then the entire session is both aerobic and anaerobic”.

    As far as modes of training go, these are my thoughts:

    1) If the athlete is after general central adaptations for a speed/power based sport like gridiron then most equipment will do the job.

    2) If the athlete is attempting to improve conditioning for an intermittent field sport with significant amounts of running e.g. soccer, field hockey and basketball, the athlete should train with movements that will produce the necessary peripheral adaptations, which are just as if not more significant than the increases in central qualities. This means shuttles, lateral movement (e.g. shuffling) backpedalling, sprints and running not slidebaords, bikes, ellipticals, treadmills etc.

  5. Doug G Says:

    Great stuff – For some reason, I’ve neglected the one Airdyne bike in our facility – Will start to take advantage of this –

    And I can vouch for your 180 rule – Our facility recently purchased new equipment and I think Ellipticals outnumber the treadmills, bikes, and stair climbers (combined).

  6. Doug Says:

    I workout in my home gym. I have none of this gym aerobic equipment. Running is out of the question because of a foot issue. What can I do at home? What about bodyweight squats?

  7. Von Says:

    Great job Mike.

    This was really needed – you always hear about interval training, but no one goes into specifics. Can you imagine if people said the same thing about strength training – yet people may do just as much interval training. The 15s. “on” period on the treamill is too short – it needs to be longer because it takes the treadimll time to adjust its settings of speed and incline.

  8. Dr. Steve Says:

    I use a Schwinn AirDyne. I’m 58 yrs. old. Using the 220-age estimate, my 90% target HR is 146, my 60% target HR is 98. If I’m using a HR monitor is the following correct for HIIT? I warm-up until the monitor stops beeping at 98. I then go at it full speed until the monitor starts beeping again at 146 (this would be WORK interval #1). I slow down (REST interval #1) until the monitor signals 98. Then I repeat for WORK/REST intervals #2, #3, etc. I don’t keep track of interval time lenght, I use only the HR targets to signal starts and stops. Thank you for the information on HIIT and you comments on my question.

  9. Dale Buchanan Says:

    Schwinn Airdyne is the best. I learned about intervals using the airdyne from my friend Clerance Bass, Mr Ripped. If you do it correctly you will see amazing results from the airdyne.

  10. Matt Acker Says:

    Amazing article. Its nice to see experience and science based articles like this, not just fluff and repetition.

    I’d guess Tim is not a trainer but a guy who read a few articles. Physiology is more complex than “try harder get more results.”

  11. James Says:

    This is a great article, and exposes some fantastically useful facts.

    This guy Tim should be ignored. He questions the validity of the article, then comes out with things which are basically un-true, and takes a high handed and arrogant tone about it too.

    He presents a very old fashioned view of interval training that follows the old arbitrary ways which have been discredited by numerous studies.

    What the article is actually about is how regular guys can take a less arbitrary approach to interval training, and improve their fitness level in a methodical and efficient way. It does not seem to me to be directed specifically at people training for Grid iron or Hockey.

  12. Jerry Bruton Says:

    When I was a sprinter in college, we trained using interval training the way Tim described. That approach is for training for competition. I’m using the heart rate method described in this article because my goal is to reduce bodyfat. I do 5 exercises in a continuous cycle with a body bar for the anaerobic activity. The exercises are performed in the following order without putting down the bar:
    1. Front Squats 6 repetitions
    2. Standing Overhead Press 6 repetitions
    3. Romanian Deadlift 6 repetitions
    4. High Pull 6 repetitions
    5. Bent Row 6 repetitions
    I cycle through the exercises to get my heart rate into the anaerobic zone and continue cycling for one minute in the anaerobic zone. After the one minute in the anaerobic zone, I do light and easy cycling on my stationary bike until my heart rate is at the minimum for the aerobic zone. At that point I start the 5 exercises for the second anaerobic set.
    If you want to try this routine, select a body bar or barbell weight based on your weakest exercise. In my case the weakest exercise is the standing overhead press. With a 5 minute warm up on my stationary bike, 3 one minute anaerobic sets, and a 5 minute cool down on stationary bike the routine takes about 25 minutes. My goal is to add more anaerobic sets as my conditioning improves.

  13. Kevin O'Mahoney Says:

    What a nicely-written essay. Thank you for posting it.

    I think the only drawback to HIIT is that it is so unpalatable to beginners. I have a wife who thinks a good workout is thirty minutes on a bike in front of the tube, pedaling along at maybe 50 RPM, wondering why the results aren’t coming.

    I do a lot of interval training – medicine ball, BOSU trainer, heavy jump rope, and dumbbells. My workouts are short, there’s a lot of yelling and sweating, and I look like I went for a swim when I’m done. Intensity is more important than attendance.

    Thanks for the write-up on the Airdyne. I just ordered one and it should arrive in a few days; the price mixed with its durability and safety record make it too good to pass up.

  14. Kevin O\'Mahoney Says:

    What a nicely-written essay. Thank you for posting it.

    I think the only drawback to HIIT is that it is so unpalatable to beginners. I have a wife who thinks a good workout is thirty minutes on a bike in front of the tube, pedaling along at maybe 50 RPM, wondering why the results aren\’t coming.

    I do a lot of interval training – medicine ball, BOSU trainer, heavy jump rope, and dumbbells. My workouts are short, there\’s a lot of yelling and sweating, and I look like I went for a swim when I\’m done. Intensity is more important than attendance.

    Thanks for the write-up on the Airdyne. I just ordered one and it should arrive in a few days; the price mixed with its durability and safety record make it too good to pass up.

  15. Frank Says:

    A couple of things.. one, you immediately denigrate the elliptical, but don’t give a reason. I use one regularly for heart rate monitor training and its very responsive. I don’t understand your reasoning.
    2nd, you start down the route of heart rate monitor then completely abandon it. Targets? Are we supposed to go to our max heart rate and then 60% for the rest period? 95% of the max??? You give a good formula for the max heart rate and don’t use it.

  16. Daniel White Says:

    I don’t understand why the author is so negative about elliptic trainers. He never gives any reason. Just this general rule that the more people like something, the less beneficial it is. I initially ran for a couple years, but I got injured so often, I switched to elliptical, which I’ve now used for a long time without any injuries. I also use a pulse monitor, and find that I can easily keep my heart rate in any range for as long as I have the stamina, including the 90 – 95 % range which seems to be recommended for high intensity intervals.. To me it seems ideal for H.I.I.T. Does anyone know what the disadvantages are for elliptical training?

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