Cardio For Lifters: HIIT

We want to talk about cardio. We get a lot of questions about cardio, what to do and what kind. So we want to give a basic overview of the two and get a basic understanding on how to perform a HIIT workout.

Whats the difference between low intensity cardio and high intensity.

Low Intensity Cardio

Low intensity means you can hold a conversation, you may be breathing heaving but you can continue on at that same pace for 20, 30 even possibly 60 minutes. <-- This is dependent on how good of a shape you are in.

Low Intensity cardio is obviously lower impact most of the time, you will need more time to burn the same amount of calories. This is also not necessarily as anabolic as HIIT is.

Examples: Elliptical, walking, stationary bike

High Intensity Cardio (HIIT in this example)

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training, everyone has heard about it(probably) and it is a really effective way to get in some cardio. High intensity cardio has to be done in intervals as you are going very hard. In intervals of around 10, 20 or 30 seconds.

There is some research coming out that shows, when you are doing HIIT you are more likely to convert type 1 to type 2 muscle fibers. Type 1 being more of a muscle endurance muscle fiber. Type 2 being the more explosive muscle fibers.

You can get a really great HIIT workout in, in a short period of time. Depending on how in shape you are or the exercises you are performing you can do one in ten minutes to a half an hour.

Examples: Sprints done with a sled, on a hill or on an assault bike.

How Do I Do A HIIT Workout?

You need to select your exercise(s). It could be a kettle bell, an elliptical, assault bike, sled sprint and even running stairs. These are great because they give some type of resistance. You are less likely to get injured when you are running against resistance and if you need to you can always add more rounds or load to progress further.

  • Start off with a nice easy warm up by jogging or walking for 5 or so minutes.
  • From there, we want 5-15 rounds of 20-30 seconds of all out, everything you got.
  • Then take one min to a minute and a half of off time or moderate depending on the exercise.

If you are doing sled sprints, you can sprint all out for 20 sec then do a walking lap as the cooldown. On an assault bike you can sprint all out for 20-30 sec then just cruise for a minute. You will want to repeat this process again 5-15 times. And if you are newer maybe try 20 sec on and a minute and a half off for 3 to 5 rounds. Then every 2-3 weeks try to bump that up. You can go harder on your sprints, shorter on your recovery or upping the rounds.


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