Are Your HIIT Workouts Broken?

HIIT Workouts

Everywhere you look these days, someone is talking about HIIT workouts. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) burst onto the scene about a decade ago and has only picked up steam since.

Why is HIIT so popular? People love HIIT workouts because they just plain work. Research has shown over and over again that HIIT workouts burn more fat than traditional cardio exercise, even up to 50 percent more!

But those results only come when HIIT is done properly, and more often than not, people are missing the mark.

2 Reasons Why HIIT Workouts Just Aren’t Working

Here are the two reasons why what most people consider a HIIT workout really isn’t HIIT at all.

Just as I explained in this video, the crucial element of HIIT is using VERY short, VERY intense bouts of exercise followed by quite moderate exercise that allows for significant recovery.

Not enough intensity? Not enough recovery? Say goodbye to the benefits of HIIT!

A HIIT Workout That Works

In the video above I demonstrate a simple but extremely effective HIIT workout.

What’s so special about it?

1. All-Out Intensity. You’ll notice that the cycling component of this HIIT workout states that you “could not exercise this intensely for even 1 minute!” That’s intense! It’s 45 seconds of all-out effort.

That’s one of the reasons I like doing HIIT workouts using a stationary bike. You can hop on, set the resistance and go! Using a treadmill isn’t so user-friendly because you have to wait for the treadmill to adjust, and then for it to get up to the appropriate speed.

2. Full Recovery. Notice what we’re NOT working during the recovery portion of this HIIT workout? Your legs!

I realize that a 45-second bike ride might not sound like that much work for your legs, but just wait until you’re on your fifth (or more) set. If you are really pushing to your limit on the bike, your muscles will need this break.

Also notice that these four exercises aren’t quick. It will take about 3 to 4 minutes to get through each of them before you’re ready to hop back on the bike. That is very strategic because, as we know, most people don’t give their body long enough recovery times.

At the end of this recovery phase, your heart rate should have significantly dropped (not all the way back to a resting heart rate, but still considerably), and your legs should feel ready to push all-out on the bike again.

HIIT-workoutPro Tip: Try to find one or two dumbbell weights that will get you through all of these resistance exercises. Minimizing the time between exercises (i.e. finding the “right” weights) will keep your body moving. Test it out ahead of time and have your weights ready for you to get lifting immediately!

What are your favorite HIIT workouts? —Dave

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10 Comments
  1. Michelle says:

    I have noticed myself falling into this trap with HIIT so many times. I will either over commit and push myself for a full 20 minutes or under commit and not get my heart rate high enough. So tough to keep it in the right range!

    https://thedogtribe.com/2016/06/15/i_dont_use_soap/

  2. Samantha says:

    Thanks for sharing this HIIT workout and advice! 🙂

  3. Your take on HIIT is great. I like the video explanation.

  4. Andy says:

    Looking at people doing HIIT without giving themselves enough time to recover is cringeworthy. Recovery is an important part of HIIT, and if you don’t allow yourself to do that, you could overtrain your and even lose the muscles you worked so hard to get.

  5. Sara Cooper says:

    Awesome article Dave! Really helpful. So, I think I was doing it wrong due to some misinformation about HIIT. I am still confused though.
    What I do in my HIIT day is, I run on a treadmill for 30 sec with maximum intensity and then 30 sec medium intensity. I repeat this routine for 20 min. I start with a warm up stretching and finish with a very low intensity of cool down session.
    I thought that this was a correct HIIT formation. But, after watching your video I think you are right. Because, when I do my HIIT, a 30 sec medium intensity running doesn’t actually rests my legs after a full throttled 30 sec running. So, after few rep I couldn’t reach to my highest pace. Let see what can I do to make it an accurate HIIT. Thanks a lot. 🙂

  6. jordan says:

    Wow! Awesome information here really helped me improve my hiit…before was really overdoing it and now thanks to your video am now in perfect sync…really thank you for this blog post!

  7. Laura Rose says:

    Thanks for sharing this workout – I realized my HIIT workout wasn’t HIIT at all when I could have a conversation post interval. I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing results and then I found you guys! So far I’m about a week and a half in to this new way of shaping my HIIT workouts and I’m seeing awesome results – thanks guys! Will be subscribing to this blog for sure.

    1. Jenn says:

      Wow, that is AWESOME to hear, Laura! HIIT it! 🙂

      —FBG Jenn

  8. Cory Young says:

    Hey Jenn,

    Thanks for sharing this advice I’m going to try the workout and philosophy this afternoon…I will say I’m a bit scared though, lol!

    1. Jenn says:

      Cory,

      You can do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come back and let us know how it goes. 🙂

      —FBG Jenn