Skip Nav

What Is HIIT?

It's time to HIIT it! Rising slowing in popularity for a while, HIIT workouts first made the the American College of Sports Medicine's list of fitness trends back in 2014 and it is still going strong. If you haven't jumped on the HIIT bandwagon here's what you need to know.

What Is HIIT

The accuratly poetic acronym HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. A HIIT workout mixes shorts bursts of activity with even shorter rest periods. Ideally, you work to your maximum capacity during the short bursts of activity, hence the use of "high intensity" to describe those intervals. Because you are pushing your limits, these workouts tend be shorter, rarely passing the 30 minute mark.

HIIT workouts are scalable to any fitness level, making it a popular format for group fitness classes. Your goal is push yourself to 90 percent of your personal max in the intense intervals, and this varies amoung individual. And using the received rate of exertion scale to measure your efforts helps keep the workout individualized.

You can do a HIIT workout with almost any type of activity, including running, swimming, and cycling but also strength training as well with exercises like burpees, squats, and push-ups. HIIT is flexible and you can create different formulas for the work to rest ratio, but the most popular is 2:1. You work for 40 seconds at your max and rest for 20 — repeating this pattern for five to 10 sets. The Tabata Protocol, might be the most well-known HIIT workout. It's eight rounds of 20-second intervals followed by 10 seconds of rest, makes it one of the hardest four-minute workouts you've ever done.

The Benefits

HIIT Workouts to Try

Here are some of our favorite HIIT workouts.

Since HIIT workouts are so vigorous, it's best to do no more than two a week and avoid doing back-to-back HIIT workouts. You need to give your body time to recover to truly reap the benefits of these workouts so you can hard at your next sweat sesh.

Latest Fitness