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What is HIIT at Home?

Wondering what HIIT is and how it can help you get fit in half the time of other exercise routines? Read on to find out

What is HIIT? An Introduction to High Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises consist of brief bursts of vigorous activity interspersed with rest intervals. Due to its success in enhancing cardiovascular fitness, boosting muscle strength and endurance, and burning calories it has been incredibly popular in recent years.

In HIIT, high-intensity workouts are interspersed with rest or low-intensity periods. The rest periods, which can run anywhere from one to five minutes, are usually immediately after the high-intensity periods, which normally last between 20 seconds and two minutes. Normal exercise intensity ranges from 85 to 95 percent of a person’s maximum heart rate.

The relationship between VO2 max, a measurement of a person’s cardiovascular fitness, and HIIT is one of the primary physiological factors underlying the efficiency of this type of exercise. The greatest quantity of oxygen a person can use when exercising is known as VO2 max, and it plays a significant role in predicting athletic performance. Athletes frequently employ HIIT to boost their VO2 max because it has been found to do so more successfully than steady-state exercise.

Running, cycling, rowing, and bodyweight exercises like push-ups and burpees can all be integrated into a HIIT workout. Many other activities can be done. The secret is to select workouts that can be done for brief intervals of great intensity.

Since its inception in the early 20th century, it has been used to improve a variety of physical and physiological markers. As a result, it has a lengthy history and has become increasingly popular in recent years. Due to how quickly it can be completed, it appeals to people who are busy, and many well-known athletes and celebrities have taken notice of it and complimented its efficacy.

High-Intensity Interval Training is helpful for weight loss and improving insulin sensitivity, which can help to avoid or control diabetes. These benefits are in addition to those it provides for cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and endurance. Overall, HIIT is a flexible and efficient kind of exercise that can be modified to meet the demands of different people.

Read our Beginner’s Guide to HIIT for more information and to really understand what is HIIT.

High Intensity Interval Training


Work Hard for 2 minutes

HIIT workouts involve intense bursts of exercise followed by short rests. When exercising you should aim to hit at least 85% of your maximum capacity


Rest for 1 minute

Your body can't work at 85%+ capacity for long so you train in intervals separated by 1 minute of rest to allow your body time to get ready for the next burst


Repeat for 25 minutes

The frequent rests allow you to push your body further than a normal intensity workout overloading your metabolic system which means you get fitter faster

The History of HIIT

When Paavo Nurmi, a Finnish runner, developed the idea of interval training to increase his endurance in the early 20th century, it became known as high-intensity interval training or HIIT for short. During his exercises, Nurmi would alternate between high-intensity sprints and low-intensity jogs, allowing him to excel in the middle-distance race.

Dr. Per-Olof Strand, a researcher, expanded on the idea of interval training to enhance cardiovascular fitness in the 1960s. He discovered that intermittent exercise, such as jogging or cycling at a constant speed, was less effective at enhancing cardiovascular fitness than brief bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest.

In the 1980s, when researchers first began examining the physiological consequences of this form of exercise, HIIT started to become widely popular. In one study, researchers discovered that HIIT was superior to steady-state training at raising VO2 max, a gauge of cardiovascular fitness.

As more studies on the effectiveness of HIIT were completed in the 1990s and 2000s, its popularity grew. According to one study, 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise were equivalent to 15 minutes of HIIT per week for increasing cardiovascular fitness. Another study discovered that HIIT was superior to steady-state exercise for boosting muscle strength and endurance.

Today, people of all fitness levels, from competitive athletes to occasional exercisers, use HIIT as a common form of exercise. Due to its ability to significantly improve a variety of physical and physiological markers in a reasonably short period, it has drawn considerable attention. Numerous well-known athletes and celebrities have also taken notice of HIIT and lauded its success in enhancing physical fitness.

HIIT workouts for beginners

Is HIIT suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! A HIIT workout can be tailored to your individual needs and ability. A beginner might start with a shorter burst of exercise, say 1 minute, and a longer rest interval. As you get fitter and stronger you can push yourself harder

HIIT workouts without equipment

Another aspect ideal for beginners, HIIT workouts don't require any equipment. That means you can train anywhere and at any time and there is no investment in expensive exercise equipment needed

HIIT for cardio and strength

HIIT workout plans are designed to improve your cardio and your strength in half the time of normal intensity workouts. So it's possible to get fitter and stronger with just a couple of HIIT sessions a week and nothing else

The Benefits of HIIT

Due to its efficiency in terms of time and ability to improve physical fitness, HIIT has grown in popularity recently. Cardiovascular fitness improvement is one of HIIT’s key advantages. Researchers asked “what is HIIT?” and evaluated the effects of HIIT to moderate intensity continuous training (MICT) on VO2 max (an indicator of aerobic fitness) and body fat in overweight and obese adults in a study by Gibala et al. (2006). The findings demonstrated that HIIT was more effective than MICT at improving VO2 max and reducing body fat.

Additionally, HIIT has been proven to be a successful method for increasing muscular endurance and strength. According to a study by Thiel et al. (2007), HIIT was superior to MICT for developing muscle strength and endurance in recreational athletes while also increasing muscle glycogen, which serves as a source of energy for muscle contraction. Another study by Daussin et al. (2008) discovered that HIIT enhanced trained cyclists’ muscular oxidative capacity, or their capability to utilize oxygen to produce energy.

High-Intensity Interval Training has been demonstrated to be successful at reducing body fat in addition to its effects on cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. According to a study by Weston et al. (2014), HIIT is more efficient than MICT for reducing abdominal fat in overweight and obese adults. In a separate study by Trapp et al. (2008), it was discovered that HIIT was equally as effective as conventional endurance training for lowering body fat in young, healthy women but in considerably less time.

The time-effectiveness of HIIT is one of its key benefits. Since sessions can last as little as 20 minutes (there is even a book out called the 1 Minute Workout!), it is a convenient option for people with busy schedules. Traditional endurance training, in contrast, might take a lot longer to accomplish and may not be practical for everyone.

HIIT has been demonstrated to provide psychological advantages in addition to physical ones. In a 2013 study, Thiel et al. discovered that HIIT helped obese adolescents feel better about their bodies and their self-worth. In another study by Leith et al. (2013), it was discovered that HIIT helped inactive adults feel better and feel less anxiety.

High-Intensity Interval Training is a powerful form of physical activity that has several health advantages, such as increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and endurance, and decreased body fat. It appeals to those with busy schedules because of how time-effective it is. HIIT has also been demonstrated to have psychological advantages, such as boosting mood and self-esteem.

Want to try an online HIIT session with a HIIT trainer for free?! Head to the contact page and send us a message.

Is HIIT at Home Effective?

Yes it is. High intensity interval training has been scientifically proven to improve fitness and strength in half the time of normal intensity training. So you can see the benefits with half the effort!

Who Uses HIIT?

Due to its efficiency in terms of time and ability to improve physical fitness, HIIT has grown in popularity recently. Many well-known individuals who are famed for their fitness have promoted the advantages of High-Intensity Interval Training:

  1. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: Johnson is known for his impressive physique and attributes much of his success to HIIT. In an interview with Men’s Health, he said: “I do a lot of high-intensity interval training. I’ll do 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest and do that for 20 to 25 minutes.” Johnson also mentioned that he focuses on compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, to maximize his gains.

  2. Jennifer Aniston: Aniston is known for her toned and fit physique, and she credits HIIT for helping her maintain her shape. In an interview with Shape, she said: “I do some form of interval training. I’ll do the treadmill, I’ll do weights, I’ll do the elliptical. I switch it up.” Aniston also mentioned that she incorporates yoga and Pilates into her routine to stay balanced.

  3. Chris Hemsworth: Hemsworth, best known for his role as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is known for his muscular physique. In an interview with Men’s Health, he said: “I do a lot of HIIT training. It’s just a lot more time-efficient. You’re getting a lot more out of it in a shorter period.” Hemsworth also mentioned that he focuses on functional movements, such as lifting, pushing, and pulling, to stay in shape.

  4. Michelle Obama: Obama is known for her dedication to fitness, and she incorporates HIIT into her routine to stay in shape. In an interview with Shape, she said: “I do a lot of interval training. I’ll do sprints on the treadmill, or I’ll do sprints outside. I’ll do jumping jacks during commercials.” Obama also mentioned that she enjoys dancing as a form of exercise and often incorporates it into her HIIT workouts.

  5. Hugh Jackman: Jackman is known for his impressive fitness levels, and he credits HIIT for helping him stay in shape. In an interview with Men’s Health, he said: “I do a lot of high-intensity interval training. It’s the most efficient way to train. I’ll do 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest and do that for 20 to 25 minutes.” Jackman also mentioned that he focuses on functional movements, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, to build strength and endurance.

HIIT is a popular method of staying in shape and being healthy. This kind of training saves time, is successful in enhancing physical fitness, and can be customized to meet specific goals and tastes. These well-known people have maintained their fitness levels and attained great outcomes by implementing High-Intensity Interval Training into their exercise regimens.

See what the Papers say...

"High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can deliver many of the benefits of other forms of exercise in a shorter amount of time, including increased fat-burning and muscle definition, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)"
daily express
“Recent studies have shown that the "key" to losing menopause belly fat is to do high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is shown to help people lose weight faster and keep it off.”
“Bursts of high intensity interval training (Hiit) may be more effective for weight loss than longer less intense workouts, a study by British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests. Although all the participants lost weight, those doing Hiit saw a 28.5% greater weight loss.”
BBC Health - February 2019

Some Examples of HIIT Exercises and Routines

Now you know the answer to “What is HIIT?”, let’s look at some example HIIT workouts. HIIT can be carried out with a range of workouts tailored to suit personal tastes and aims. We’ll give some High-Intensity Interval Training workouts and examples below.

The adaptability of HIIT is one of its key advantages. Numerous exercises, including cardio, weightlifting, and bodyweight movements, can be used to conduct HIIT. For instance:


  • Sprinting: You can do this on a stationary bike, an outdoor track, or a treadmill. Start with a gentle warm-up of jogging or cycling, then gradually increase the intensity to a brief sprint (e.g., 30 seconds). After that, take a small break (for instance, 30 seconds) before performing the sprint again.
  • Swimming: Begin with a modest pace for a brief duration (for example, 30 seconds), then raise the intensity to as high as you can for a briefer time (e.g., 15 seconds). Then, repeat the interval after a small respite (for instance, 30 seconds).

Strength training:

  • Squats: Start with slow (1 second down, 1 second up) squats (for example, 45 seconds), then rest (e.g., 15 seconds). Then, repeat. To increase the intensity try adding some weights, they don’t need to be dumbbells, a heavy book in each hand would be just as good.
  • Push-ups: As with squats, complete 45 seconds of slow push-ups (1 second down and 1 second up) followed by 30 seconds rest then do it again.
  • Lunges: Start with a short, moderately-intensity lunge (for example, 30 seconds), then quickly increase the effort to a full-out lunge (e.g., 15 seconds). Then, repeat the interval after a small respite (for instance, 30 seconds).


  • Add these exercises together to create a circuit and you have an all-over body workout in 25 minutes!

HIIT workouts can be modified to suit unique preferences and goals. For instance, someone who wants to increase their cardiovascular fitness could concentrate on aerobic workouts like running or jumping rope. Focusing on strength training exercises like squats and push-ups can help someone gain strength and muscle. A person who wants to lose weight and get fitter could mix bodyweight exercises, cardio, and strength training into their HIIT routine.

It’s crucial to remember that HIIT can be difficult and should be used cautiously. Before beginning a new workout regimen, it’s wise to seek advice from a medical practitioner or a licensed fitness teacher. To lower the chance of injury, it’s also critical to properly warm up before starting a HIIT workout.

If you’re looking for a gym in Bicester read our guide to the best gyms Bicester has to offer here and why not sign up for our completely free open-air HIIT class in May, to be held in Bure Park Nature Reserve.

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What is HIIT