• So, how would you apply this if you were using the elliptical for example… or walking the beach? Thanks!

    From Merlyn Ruddell
    June 11, 2011

  • Hey Merlyn,

    If using the elliptical you would put the resistance at a very low setting and increase the RPM during the high-intensity phases. As for walking the beach, your high-inensity phases could be a power walk and your low-intensity phase could be a slow walk.

    From Adam Martin
    June 13, 2011


A new frontier in the fitness field is emerging and it’s dispelling years of conventional thought.  For decades we have been trained to pound the pavement for a long duration at a manageable intensity.  As we’ve been taking our sweet time leisurely pedaling or ambling along, a growing collection of individuals are practicing a more effective method

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an exercise strategy that improves performance with short training sessions that typically last between 10-20 minutes.  HIIT is a repeated combination of short near maximal intensity bouts of activity followed by periods of recovery.  In addition to being time effective, HIIT has been shown to significantly increase cardiovascular efficiency as much, and in some cases more, than moderate aerobic training, decrease body fat percentage and increase resting metabolic rate, and improve insulin action.  Below are three methods; the 1:2 ratio, 1:3 ratio and the Tabata Method.

Keep in mind that HIIT is only effective if you warm-up and cool down—take the prescribed rest—and is not appropriate for individuals that have preexisting cardiovascular issues.  I’d recommend starting with one or two HITT sessions per week and increasing to three or four once you feel your body is ready.  Finally, HIIT training can be used during any modality of exercise whether that’s cycling, running, elliptical, swimming or rowing. 

1:2 Ratio

A 1:2 exercise session consists of 30 seconds of high-intensity aerobic exercise at about 70-80% of your maximum effort. This 30-second session of intense exercise is followed by 60 seconds of low-intensity exercise at about 30% of your maximum (30 seconds followed by 60 seconds is a 1:2 ratio). 

This is a total of 90 seconds and completes one interval.  Repeat this cycle for 6-8 intervals depending on your fitness level.


1:3 Ratio

 For a 1:3 ratio workout start at 90% of your maximum for 30 seconds followed by 90 seconds at 30% effort. Notice that the “rest” period is 3 times as long as the exercise period but the intensity level is higher than in the 1:2 routine. 

Thirty-seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 90 seconds of “rest” is a two-minute interval.  Repeat 4-5 times, then cool-down.  Exercise time for this workout: 8-10 minutes!


Tabata Method

Dr. Izumi Tabata is a Japanese exercise physiologist at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan where he has been researching HIIT training in competitive athletes.  When he and his colleagues experimented with the interval ratios they made a startling discovery. 

By changing the ratio from 1:2 to 2:1, he found that the greatest benefits came from exercising at very high-intensity (at or near 100% effort) for very short durations.  A Tabata workout would consist of 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest (a 2:1 interval ratio).  This creates a 30 second interval that is repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes!  With warm-up and cool-down, this is a 14 minute workout!

The amazing thing is how well this workout routine seems to work.  The competitive athletes that Tabata tested showed a 28% increase in their aerobic fitness while a control group that did more traditional cardio training showed little increase over the testing period.


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