Twenty Minutes of High Impact Twenty Minutes of High Impact

Interval training alternates between power and pauses. Previous medical evaluation is key before practicing it.

Advisor Ivan Leonardo Duque
Sports Physician, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) consists in alternating short periods of intense physical effort with brief times of recuperation. Twenty seconds of sit- ups, for example, with ten seconds for a pause or active rest. It is a flexible method that can be practiced through other disciplines such as cycling, swimming, or athletics. In this last case you practice athletic sprinting and alternate with short pauses.

Why Choose It?

If an individual has available only a short time during the week to dedicate to physical activity due to his professional or family life, high intensity fractioned training is an alternative to practice sports from three to four times a week, depending on his physical condition. This type of routine saves time, can be practiced at home or in a near by park. Nevertheless, it is recommendable to consult with a sports physician that assigns the individual the most suitable technique and exercises.

Inspite of its short duration, this high intensity interval training has been recognized for its efficiency in burning fat: “It is a physical effort focused on power that consumes large amounts of energy in a short space of time. Therefore, HIIT contributes in that way,” states Ivan Leonardo Duque, Sports Physician, graduated from the University of Aix-Marseille, in France.

Concise and intense efforts involve fibers responsible for muscle construction. So, repetitions of vigorous contractions, using 80 or 90 % of the maximum strength of a muscle, in the long run, attain greater firmness and volume to the muscles.

Due to the impact on the muscle mass of this practice, a good intake of protein contributing foods such as meat, eggs and dairy products is convenient.

While the traditional cardio improves resistance, augments the capacity to transport oxygen in the organism as well as tolerance to long-term effort, HIIT focuses more on power. In this measure, both strategies should not be compared, because each type of training has different objectives.   A marathon runner, for example, is a sportsperson that runs long lasting stretches in which power is not so important, as he does not define his competition in ten seconds but rather along the entire race.

Who Is This Not Indicated For?

It is important to bear in mind that since it is intense and lasts only a short time, this routine is not apt for people with metabolically associated diseases, excess weight, high levels of cholesterol, triglycerides or sugar; as well as those suffering from cardiovascular pathologies or ailments of the bones, joints, ligaments or muscles. We indicate the above because this type of training has incidence on the heart rate and arterial blood pressure.

Generally speaking, to carry out this practice you must have good health and physical state, or, if those are lacking, you must be receiving adequate treatment. “In patients with non-athletic locomotive apparatus, this type of repetitions may turn out to be aggressive or risky, and to increase the possibility of injury,” states Duque.

Know Other Forms of High Intensity Training


Is the better-known method.  It consists in carrying out eight series of a given exercise, twenty seconds each one, resting ten seconds in between each series. This four minute block can be repeated two, three, four or five times depending on the physical state of the individual.


Proposes high intensity thirty-second intervals, alternating with four minutes of active recuperation such as walking, and can be repeated depending on the physical state of the sportsperson.

Little Gibala

Sixty-second sessions of sprint (velocity thrusts), combined with seventy five seconds of active pause.

RECOMMENDATION: these routines may be alternated with other types of exercise such as swimming. No method is better than another; all of them can be adapted to the level and capacity of each individual. For this, it is convenient to train under professional guidance.

It is important, before deciding to undertake high intensity training, that a specialist evaluate your physical condition, as well as your needs and the type of results you wish to obtain. It is fundamental not to force the body and to follow a predetermined plan.

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