No time for long runs? Give HIT a try!
Once believed to be another workout gimmick, high-intensity interval training, or HIT, is gaining validity in the fitness community. The idea that short bursts of 80-90% maximum effort can produce comparable results to long traditional endurance training almost seems too good to be true. Believe it or not, HIT can help you train for endurance events without hours and hours of training.
High-intensity interval training can be performed with most exercises as long as proper form is maintained throughout. Individuals move through a series of exercises at near maximum effort for a short time frame (usually 20-30 seconds) with minimal rest between exercises. This forces the body to activate numerous energy systems that are usually associated with endurance training.
New research conducted by McMaster University and the University of Melbourne has confirmed that small bouts of intense exercise not only increases your metabolism but can actually increase the skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and endurance performance. This study validates the idea that HIT can be useful when training for long endurance races such as half or full marathons. Dr. Martin Gabala and Dr. Sean McGee found that HIT also alters the metabolic control during traditional aerobic-based exercise. Since these races usually require hours of long runs, which forces the body to endure more stress, the idea of HIT is appealing to most endurance athletes or those aspiring to become one. Before you go crazy remember that those long runs provide more than endurance of the muscles of the body. Long runs prepare your mind to deal with doing the same physical movement for hours on end. The study, however, suggests possibly limiting the number of long runs by supplementing a few with HIT. After only four sessions of HIT, results showed increases in the mitochondrial enzymes which assist with traditional endurance exercises. After six weeks of training, the gains were significant.
This is also useful information for the general population! The number one excuse for not exercises is lack of time! Kick that excuse to the curb, hit the pavement and sprint!
Give this HIT workout a try!
*Perform each exercise for 30seconds with 30seconds of recovery in between each.
- Jumps from one leg to the other side to side (Skater Jumps)
- Squat with a Shoulder Press (grab a medium/comfortable weight)
- Plank on your hands with a Mountain Climber (knee to opposite elbow)
- Plank on your forearms with an arm reach (don’t let your hips rock as you reach)