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HIIT versus HVIT Cardio Training Programs
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-Volume Interval Training (HVIT)

High Intesity or High Volume?
High Intesity or High Volume?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been a breakthrough for people who want better results in less time. It's a cardio program that requires up to 90% lower training volume and less than half the time commitment of traditional cardio. But there's a bit of confusion about what a HIIT program looks like.

A HIIT routine requires that you train with an intensity that's all out. The goal is to build bigger and stronger muscles, while increasing your explosive strength capabilities. You're pushing yourself to the limits of what you're capable of.

When a HIIT program says you should run "as fast as you can," it means just that. Don't hold anything back. It's that maximal effort that makes each interval so short, because to do more would simply be impossible. A typical HIIT interval lasts between 10 and 30 seconds.

Many trainers don't teach HIIT programs. The work they have people do, during the interval, isn't as intense and the intervals last longer. The proper name for those types of programs is High-Volume Interval Training or HVIT.

HVIT programs are designed to increase endurance. Each interval is done for longer durations and with lower weight that HIIT programs. An HVIT routine may have intervals that last at least 60 seconds, up to a full 4 minutes. The effort you put into each interval is also lower, often no more than 75% of what you're capable of.

HIIT routines are 100% effort for an average of 10 to 30 seconds.
HVIT routines are no more than 75% effort for 60 seconds to 4 minutes.

Both HIIT and HVIT programs incorporate rest periods, so your body can recover before the next interval. This can be a problem though, because many routines use fixed rest/recovery times. A set time doesn't take into account how after every interval, the recovery time needs to increase.

Instead of relying on a timer, you should base the rest period on heart rate. Once your heart rate drops into the recovery zone, then it's appropriate to begin the next interval. Doing it too soon leads to diminished performance.

For those workouts when you don't have a heart rate monitor, or forgot it, follow these simple time-based options.

HIIT Program

Think small to start. The first week, sprint for 6 seconds and then recover for 24 more. Repeat for 10 rounds, two or three times a week.

The second week, increase the sprinting time by 2 seconds and decrease the recovery time by the same amount; so you're sprinting for 8 seconds and recovering for 22. Keep increasing the work time and decreasing the rest time by 2 seconds a week, until you've completed four weeks.

HVIT Program

Run fast, but don't go all out. You want to get your heart rate up to zone 4 or 5 for a minimum of 60 seconds. Then recover for 15. Run again for 45 seconds and recover for 15 more. Run for 30 seconds and recover for 15 more. Repeat for three rounds, two to three times a week.

Each week, increase the intervals by 10 seconds. In the second week, you'll go for 70 seconds, then recover for 15. Run again for 55 seconds and recover for 15 more. Run for 40 seconds and recover for 15 more. Repeat this for 4-6 weeks, before moving on to a new program.

Intervals can also be done using other equipment or moves. Instead of sprinting or running, you can use battle ropes, a bike, a rowing machine, elliptical or stair stepper. Anything that engages your entire body while raising your heart rate.

Weights can also be used, just maintain strict form. Choose light weights and practice the movement to be sure you're moving appropriately.

Both HIIT and HVIT programs are great at burning fat. Choose HIIT to increase explosive strength and HVIT when working on endurance. Replace your traditional cardio with something better.

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