The Four Main Types of HIIT Workouts

11 June, 2020
Nowadays, people have little time available to exercise due to busy lifestyles. HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a good alternative to work out intensely in a short time. 
 

HIIT workouts are currently one of the most important and popular methods to exercise. In this article, we’ll go over the four most effective ones to date.

It’s worth noting that this type of training is popular due to many factors, one of them being the many benefits it provides in a short time. Plus, you don’t need any equipment to do it, which makes it even more accessible.

What are HIIT workouts?

HIIT consists of performing brief exercises in time intervals and at maximum intensity, with small breaks in between.

The main benefits of HIIT workouts are the following:

  • It’s a healthy workout. In fact, it improves the lifestyle of type 2 diabetes patients and of those who suffer from heart disease, as long as they do it under supervision from a professional.
  • Recent studies show that HIIT workouts promote fat loss, especially in the abdominal area, and improves maximal oxygen uptake.
  • Even after you finish a HIIT session, your body will continue to burn fat, meaning you’ll still burn calories while resting.
  • This type of physical activity provides the benefits of other workouts, but at a whole new level. For example, it guarantees increased fat loss and an increase in maximal oxygen uptake.

Four types of HIIT workouts

In the HIIT category, you can find four different types of training that have their own characteristics:

1. CrossFit

This type of training is famous nowadays. It’s a combination of functional training, cardio, and body-weight exercises, all performed at maximum intensity.

 
People doing crossfit while avoiding risk of injuries.

One of the most important benefits of CrossFit is the variety of exercises it provides. It’s really hard to find a CrossFit session that’s identical to the last one, which makes it less monotonous than other types of training.

Like all physical activities, there are some risks if it’s not done correctly:

  • There’s a high risk of injury due to the method’s intensity and the weight used, especially if you’re not using good technique.
  • You should always follow the basic principles of CrossFit, one of them being individuality: everyone should do the movements at their own pace and based on their physical condition. Otherwise, you’ll risk severely injuring yourself.

2. Tabata training

Another high-intensity interval training workout that people in the fitness world love, is the Tabata training. It consists of performing seven maximum intensity exercises, 20 seconds each, with a 10-second break between them. 

A woman planking.
 

One of the main benefits of Tabata training is that, due to its intensity, you’ll increase your basal metabolic rate as well as your energy expenditure. The key point of the method is the short breaks: you’ll exercise for double the time you’re resting.

3. The 7 Minute workout

The 7 Minute workout’s main characteristic is that it’s an aerobic exercise, which improves endurance and prevents fatigue. Another important characteristic of it is that you can do it anywhere without any equipment.

A woman doing crunches over pilates ball.

This method was created for those who have little time to exercise. It mixes aerobic and resistance movements in one 7-minute set.

The 7-minute workout uses only your own body weight in a 12-stage circuit, each lasting 30 seconds, with a 10-second break between them.

In order for this workout to be effective, you’ll want to repeat the circuit 2-3 times depending on how much time you have available. The exercises are mainly jumps, crunches, mountain climbers, etc.

4. P90X

Last but not least, there’s the P90X workout: a high-intensity training that you can do at home. Unlike the previous one, P90X focuses mainly on strength exercises and muscular endurance.

 

One of these method’s main characteristic is the 7-sessions-per-week format; basically one 60 to 90-minute session a day. Just as the name suggests you should follow the plan for 90 days in order to get the results you set out to achieve.

Women doing yoga seated forward bend.

Just like the 7-minute workout, circuit training is the core of this method. Each training session focuses on different sets of muscles, including some yoga exercises and plyometrics.

P90X isn’t for everyone. In fact, its target audience, unlike the other HIIT workouts above, is people who have a high physical performance level. In order to succeed with this method, you should start progressively and improve gradually.

Some conclusions on HIIT workouts

As you can see from this article, there are different types of HIIT workouts. However, all of them stand out for having some characteristics in common, such as the short duration, little to no equipment, or the fact that you can do them anywhere.

Finally, it’s important to note that every HIIT method can cause injuries if not supervised by a professional, especially if you’re not executing the movements correctly. Ask an expert to help you and start doing HIIT workouts to get in shape!

 
  • Boutcher, S. H. (2011). High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 684-691
  • Gillen, J. (2012). Low-volume, high-intensity interval training: A practical fitness strategy. Wellspring, 23(4), 1-4.
  • Trapp, E. G., Chisholm, D. J., Freund, J. y Boutcher, S. H. (2008). The effects of high- intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. International Journal of Obesity, 32,684–691.