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Working on cardio to improve endurance with HIIT, good or bad? Any tips?

marzNC

Angel Diva
#1
HIIT, short for High Intensity Interval Training, is an exercise approach that has come up in other fitness threads for cardio exercise. Have you tried HIIT? If so, what did you like about it? What didn’t work for you? How often do you do a HIIT workout during the off-season? Do you continue during ski season? Got a favorite HIIT workout to share?

The 7-Minute Workout written up by the NY Times in 2013 was part of an increasing awareness of the HIIT approach. The concept had been around since the 1990s. One nice aspect of this workout is that it can be done anywhere there is a little floor space, a towel, and an appropriate chair for step-ups. Especially if you find a free app or video to keep you on track.

 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
While cardio training, also called endurance, is not at the top of my list of fitness areas to work on during the off-season, it moved up in importance as I got into better shape in terms of balance, flexibility, and core strength. For me, leg strength wasn’t really an issue when I started skiing more regularly. As I improved as an advanced skier, I also became a bit more interested in hiking for turns. Not back country, but 10-20 minutes hiking in-bounds for fresh tracks is worth it these days. For instance, Catherine's at Alta or Long Shot at Snowmass.

I started working with a personal trainer after rehabbing a knee injury over five years ago. For working on cardio, she introduced me to the concept of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The basic premise is that a workout based on HIIT achieves maximum results in a relatively short amount of time. Meaning instead of 30 or 60 minutes of constant movement (running, biking, swimming, zumba, etc.), can make good use of 5-20 minutes plus warm up and cool down. In recent years, quite a few research studies have shown HIIT to be effective.

When I first started doing the 7-Minute Workout in Post #1, I was in decent shape but I wasn't ready for 30 seconds for some of the exercises. I did what I could, and then rested until it was time for the next exercise. I wanted to maintain good form and didn't care about maximizing reps. For instance, I started with about 8 pushups at a slow pace. Once I got into better shape, I did 10-15 pushups in the 30 seconds. When I've been exercising regularly for a month or two, I can do 20 pushups. Sometimes I substitute an exercise for the jumping jacks and/or high-knee running if I don’t feel like doing high impact.

Possible progression from easy to harder:
Very slow, stopping before 30 sec up if needed, complete rest for 10 sec
Slow and steady, continue for 30 sec, complete rest for 10 sec
Normal pace for 30 sec, simpler versions for a few exercises, complete rest for 10 sec
Normal pace for 30 sec, good form for all exercises, complete rest for 10 sec
Normal pace for 30 sec, good form for all exercises, active rest for 10 sec
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#3
For folks unfamiliar with the wide variety of ways to do HIIT, here are a few other examples. The sound for the two videos is on the annoying side, but they show very different approaches (not Americans).

My personal trainer gets some of her ideas from a little book published in 2015 by Brett Kilka called 7 Minutes to Fit: 50 Anytime, Anywhere Interval Workouts.

List of 50 exercises that could be in an HIIT workout
http://www.bodysmithfitness.com.au/fitness/50-hiit-exercises-you-can-use-to-create-your-workout/

Lots of jumping, no upper body, 30 sec rest periods during 7 min workout

Full body workout in 4 minutes
 

Ski Sine Fine

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Sometimes I substitute an exercise for the jumping jacks and/or high-knee running if I don’t feel like doing high impact.
Thanks for starting this thread. I definitely need to work on my endurance but I hate being on the NordicTrack for more than 25 minutes.

What exercises do you substitute for the jumping jacks and high-knee running? I have to baby my knees.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#6
Thanks for starting this thread. I definitely need to work on my endurance but I hate being on the NordicTrack for more than 25 minutes.

What exercises do you substitute for the jumping jacks and high-knee running? I have to baby my knees.
I've never liked running for exercise, whether outdoors or on a machine. If I use a exercise bike, I do HIIT for at most 30 minutes. But haven't done that for a few years. May use an exercise bike if I'm using a hotel fitness room for 15-20 minutes, assuming the TV works so I don't get completely bored.

For high-knee running, back when I first started using the 7-min workout I would simply do high-knee stepping or walking in place. Meaning always keeping one foot on the floor so there was little impact. As for the jumping jacks at the beginning, any other exercise that raises the heart rate works just as well. I think at the very beginning I simply only did 10-15 sec for jumping jacks. You are supposed to warm up for 2-5 min before doing an HIIT workout, so not doing the full 30 sec isn't a big deal. When I'm at home, these days I'm likely to do skaters with TRX since I exercise in the basement where the TRX is set up (over a bathroom door).

All of the exercises in the 4-min workout in Post #3 have a non-impact version. She uses arm movements, as well as legs, for full-body motion.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#7
Remembered that I've done HIIT using a stability ball with my trainer. Didn't like it enough to want to do a full sequence on my own. But sometimes do a few of the exercises as part of warm up. A stability ball is one of the "tools" I have at home. Also finding them more often in hotel or resort fitness rooms.

Here are two completely different approaches to using a stability ball for HIIT. The first includes exercises bordering on "too intense" for me. But includes good exercises for hamstrings. The second . . . well, just watch. The first 2 min is warm up and there is a cool down and stretch at the end. The complete video is about 11 min but the workout must be at least 20 min, if not 30. There are just clips of each exercise. No high impact. I recognize a few exercises and stretches.


 
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marzNC

Angel Diva
#8
Had a personal training session today. We talked about HIIT in general. Used TRX and a stability ball for a HIIT sequence.

substitute for the jumping jacks
When I was getting ready to use the stability ball for stretching, my trainer reminded me that it's possible to do "jumping jacks" while sitting on a ball. Assuming of course that it's the right size. I use the medium size ball but can do some stuff with a large or small ball. Neither of these videos are great but you'll get the idea. I was moving my feet when I did jumping jacks today.


 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#9
Looking at stability ball exercises led to reading that the BOSU® was invented partially because some people were doing exercises standing on stability balls, which can be pretty risky. Didn't realize the BOSU has been around for 20 years.

The description of HIIT on the BOSU website is one of the clearest I've come across.

HIIT IT WITH THE BOSU® BALANCE TRAINER

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 9.31.42 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 9.31.56 PM.png
 

BlueSkies

Certified Ski Diva
#10
I've found for my knees that the angle of my legs in the "A" position when landing makes a big difference. I can do a narrower stance jumping jacks or jump rope but my knees complain as I try to get more "A" like.
 

Ski Sine Fine

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
So I tried the 7-minute workout from the first post. I must not have pushed myself as much as I was supposed to; I’m not sore today. I had to take the easier position on the side planks and, after 12 push ups, I had to drop to the knee. I also couldn’t do the step up to a chair. My left knee with the torn meniscus would not bear the weight, so I did the step up on the stairs. It also means my squats are barely squats. I think I was holding back on going as fast as I can. According to my watch, my heart rate peaked at 101 bpm. So more like medium rather than high intensity.

This was my first HIIT ever. I quite like it. I wasn’t bored!
 
#12
So I tried the 7-minute workout from the first post. I must not have pushed myself as much as I was supposed to; I’m not sore today. I had to take the easier position on the side planks and, after 12 push ups, I had to drop to the knee. I also couldn’t do the step up to a chair. My left knee with the torn meniscus would not bear the weight, so I did the step up on the stairs. It also means my squats are barely squats. I think I was holding back on going as fast as I can. According to my watch, my heart rate peaked at 101 bpm. So more like medium rather than high intensity.

This was my first HIIT ever. I quite like it. I wasn’t bored!
Good for you! That's a good adjustment to use stairs instead of a chair for step ups.

I never got sore doing that 7-min workout. HIIT is about cardio, not developing strength. The goal is push hard enough during the exercises to break a sweat by the end. Although obviously doing any workout on a regular basis that includes push ups or lunges is helpful in terms of strength.

What gets interesting after a month or two is the progression for the same HIIT workout. Especially for an exercise that's difficult to do quickly for 30 secs in the early days. While it's possible to do the 7-min workout daily, I've never done it more than three times in the same week.

While I can do deep squats now, I still prefer to do them with TRX support. I don't really put much weight onto the TRX, but it gives me a little more confidence to go a bit deeper than with a free-standing squat while maintaining good form.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
FWIW Fitness blender has a ton of these interval workouts, and they're free. After a while you can pick the exercises you like and put them into your own interval training app to customize your own workout (I use Seconds, but haven't paid for the upgrade so basically have to re-enter a workout each time to do it more than once).
 
#14
I use Johnson & Johnson’s 7 minute workout app for this type of workout every now and then. It’s free and has a variety of workouts that you can adjust for intensity.
 

SallyCat

Moderator
Staff member
#15
I find mountain biking in Vermont to be an excellent, natural HIIT workout. I mention it because I seem to be unable/unwilling to commit to scheduled workouts/gym time but I love to play outside. The short bursts of power you need to get up inclines and over obstacles definitely gets your heart rate/rate of exertion to the "uncomfortable" level. Of course the rest-exertion ratio is uneven and I'm curious about how much that matters if you do a 2-hour ride in a hilly area. As I ease back into running, I'm also curious to see if the HIIT-esque pattern of mountain biking helps my running. The important things for me anyway is that mountain biking is fun, so it's great incentive to get out.
 
#16
I find mountain biking in Vermont to be an excellent, natural HIIT workout.
Makes sense to me. Of course, I'm not a professional trainer. Just someone with time to satisfy my curiosity by looking around the Internet for info related to a topic of interest.

For me, I find indoor rock climbing is fun and natural HIIT. I'm an intermediate climber. Meaning I mainly do routes rated 5.6, 5.7 as a fun way to exercise every so often. I can do a 5.6 fairly fast without stopping, even if I've never done the route before. So naturally raises my heart rate for a few minutes, and then I get a rest before climbing again. Usually only climb 2-3 times. My fitness center has a climbing wall with a staff member available for belaying when it's open. Being retired, I can go when kids are in school so don't have to wait for others between climbs.

Of course the rest-exertion ratio is uneven and I'm curious about how much that matters if you do a 2-hour ride in a hilly area.
From the article I found in a biking magazine targeted at people who actively train for racing, different ratios produce slightly different changes in your body. The first article includes specific timing examples. For HIIT beginners, the recommendation is to push hard for 30 sec, followed by 60 sec of easy pedaling, and repeat for 4 intervals. Plus of course a solid warm up period and active cool down. Three sets are recommended.

https://www.bicycling.com/training/...sity-interval-training-workouts-for-cyclists/ - Mar 2019

https://www.bicycling.com/training/a25177624/high-intensity-interval-training/ - Nov 2018
" . . .
Larsen says you’ve got three main weapons to choose from in the HIIT arsenal: Long intervals like the VO2 intervals that range from one to four minutes; short intervals done at about 120 percent VO2 max that can last from 10 to 60 seconds with equal recovery periods; and sprint intervals, which are done “all out” and can be either very short (three to six seconds) or longer (20 to 30 seconds).


You can take the shotgun approach and rotate through all three. Or choose the format that best works your weak spot. “If you fade out during longer efforts, do longer HIIT training intervals. If you’re lacking in the short 10 to 30 percent power range, then do sprints,” he says.

For general endurance benefits, interval durations ranging between 30 seconds to five minutes at a very hard intensity build your aerobic system while also recruiting some fast twitch sprint fibers, which makes your power-producing fibers more fatigue-resistant over time, Laursen says.

“Performing three to six of these efforts, allowing one to two minutes of recovery between, can have impressive effects,” he says.
. . ."
 
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Soujan

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
I've been back to working out on a consistent basis since November. I do about half weight training and half cardio. My go to for cardio is a HIIT workout. Since I've been doing HIITs for awhile now, I've been adding dumbbells and kettlebells. You can use a HIIT approach to weight training as well. Below is similar to something I would do. Takes about 35 minutes to complete. Something else that I add in for a muscle burning leg workout is the Leg Blaster (https://www.backcountry.com/explore/train-eccentric-leg-strength-for-alpine-skiing). The Nike Training app looks good for people needing guidance and inspiration for workouts. I downloaded the app but never actually used it. I'll also use the rowing machine for sprint intervals. One minute max effort followed by 30 seconds rest, 10 intervals. 1561055734474.png
1561055768711.png
 
#18
My go to for cardio is a HIIT workout.
For the workouts you posted in Post #17, doing the 3 or 4 reps recommended is certainly quite a workout! That's far more effort that I would be willing to do. Plus I get bored pretty easily so doing any sequence more than twice isn't of interest. I'm much more likely to do one HIIT workout, then do something different that is also good for cardio. But that's just me.
 
#19
Found where I stuck the comments by a man who checked out the NY Times 7-min HIIT workout in 2017 by doing is 5-6 mornings for 30 days. He was clearly in pretty good shape already. He's not in the business of sports or exercise training.

 
#20
Mmm, he reminds me of a better-looking Zach Galifianakis. Nice bit about rocking a tux after the 30 day.
 

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