Simple Ways to Implement HIIT Into Your Facility

July 6, 2015 Updated: July 6, 2015

The popularity of high intensity interval training (HIIT) has been on the rise for years. According to ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), HIIT involves repeated bouts of high intensity work followed by varied lower intense recovery times. The intense work periods are typically performed at or above 80% of the theoretical max heart rate, which should feel “hard or very hard” for the exerciser. And it varies in length from as short as 10 seconds to several minutes long. Recovery periods are usually performed at 40 to 50% estimated max HR, which should feel “very comfortable” to the individual and last the same length, less or more than the intense periods.

HIIT sessions vary in time and modality. They can employ cardiovascular equipment, resistance equipment or even body weight training. Outdoor boot camp group workouts are popular forms of HIIT, but it can also be done using the various types of equipment in any fitness facility. When developing a HIIT program there are various factors to consider:

  • Demographics of exercisers in the facility and concerns like age, fitness levels, wants and needs.
  • Proper equipment and space. An inviting atmosphere and effective equipment are both critical to successful HIIT sessions.
  • Fitness staff knowledge. A staff has to be able to develop and lead HIIT sessions, and be aware of factors such as duration, intensity, frequency of the work intervals and the length of the recovery intervals. 
  • Prior to beginning HIIT training a person should be encouraged to establish a foundational level of fitness. Although there are hundreds of ways to perform HIIT sessions, individual fitness levels should always be established first. 
  • Safety should always be the primary priority. Exercisers should focus more on finding their own optimal training intensities instead of keeping up with other individuals.

Below are two HIIT examples that can be easily incorporated into any fitness facility.

Athlete doing a push-up (arekmalang/iStock)
Athlete doing a push-up (arekmalang/iStock)

Strength Training HIIT: 

Follow a tabata protocol (20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest) for each. Complete each exercise once before repeating the circuit. Rest two minutes before repeating and aim for two to three rounds.

  1. Jump rope
  2. Push-ups
  3. Bodyweight rows
  4. Medicine ball squat to overhead throw
  5. Burpees
  6. Medicine ball chest pass
  7. Renegade rows
  8. Jumping lunges
  9. Planks
  10. Mountain climbers

Treadmill HIIT:

  • Warm-up at 2.5 to 3.5 MPH for 3 to 5 minutes
  • 1-minute sprint
  • 90-second recovery
  • 1-minute sprint at 3% incline
  • 90-second recovery
  • 1-minute sprint at 6% incline
  • 90-second recovery
  • 1-minute sprint at 9% incline
  • 90-second recovery
  • 1-minute sprint at 12% incline
  • 90-second recovery

Repeat depending on level of conditioning.

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