HIIT is less time consuming & more efficient than endurance training

The concept of HIIT, high intensity interval training, has surged up as the go to training regime for stressed out people with little time on their hands. So how good is HIIT compared to ordinary endurance training?

Well, it seems to hold up really well, Gillen et al. let a group of sedentary men (age27+-8) participate in either sprints or endurance training 3 times a week for a period of 12 weeks. Total time in training during each session for HIIT and endurance where 10 and 50 minutes respectively, i.e. a five- fold difference in time consumption.

VO2 peak, i.e. cardiorespiratory fitness, increased by 19% in both groups as compared to their baseline values. Insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial content in skeletal muscle increased similarly in both training groups.

Another group studied the effects of regular gym-training (4 times a week) compared to the combination of gym-training and HIIT (2 + 2 times a week) for 8 weeks. They found that both setups improved various physical fitness parameters and reduced body and visceral fat. However, the combination showed a greater reduction of visceral and body fat and was the only setup that increased cardiorespiratory fitness levels (2).

Take home message: It might be a good idea to incorporate some HIIT in your training regime if you want to increase your cardiorespiratory fitness and improve your cardiovascular health parameters.

1. Gillen JB. Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training Improves Indices of Cardiometabolic Health Similar to Traditional Endurance Training despite a Five-Fold Lower Exercise Volume and Time Commitment. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0154075.

2. Giannaki CD et al. Eight weeks of a combinationof high intensity interval training and conventional training reduce visceral adiposity and improve physical fitness: a group-based intervention. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2016 Apr;56(4):483-90

Article by team EBT member @jonasliefke, 3rd year Medical Student, BSc Physiotherapy. www.jonasliefke.com

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