Advanced HIIT Protocols
In case you missed our previous article on HIIT style training, you can view it here.
In this article I will be going over 2 intense styles of HIIT training, namely; Tabata and cardio acceleration.
What is Tabata?
Tabata is one of the best-known forms of HIIT and one of the most effective and efficient for burning lots of fat and building muscle.
The best thing about Tabata is an intense workout will only take around 4 minutes. So if you are short on time and need to get a tough workout in, then read further.
Example of a Tabata workout
20 seconds of high intensity
10 seconds of rest
You then repeat the process for a total of 8 times.
While 20 seconds of high-intensity training may sound easy, I can assure you it is not, especially when you are only allowed to rest 10 seconds between each burst. You will quickly find how taxing this type of workout can be on your body and towards the end of the workout, you should be completely exhausted.
Tabata training does not only need to consist of running. You could, for example, do burpees for 20 seconds or grab a kettlebell and perform 20 seconds of kettlebell swings followed by a 10-second rest and then repeating. As long as you keep the intensity as high as possible for 20 seconds, you will benefit.
Tabata is an advanced type of HIIT training and should not be done by beginners. If you are starting out and your fitness levels are not quite there yet, then I suggest reading our previous article and starting with an easier form of HIIT until you feel comfortable with trying out Tabata.
When starting Tabata you can also perform fewer repetitions, so instead of doing 8 repetitions of 20 seconds intense cardio and 10 seconds rest, you could instead start with doing 4 repetitions and slowly increase as you get fitter.
A Side Note
A side note that applies to Tabata in particular but all these HIIT workouts to a degree is just how powerful this is for training your mental discipline. When you’re exhausted, pushing yourself to the absolute limit again can be incredibly hard. This requires a lot of mental discipline and self-control, and that is one of the things that are most exciting and beneficial about HIIT in general.
Once you have mastered Tabata training and are finding it too easy, it may be time to try something a bit more challenging.
Simply put, cardio acceleration is a combination of HIIT and resistance training that combines weight training with cardio.
With a typical weight training workout, you will usually do between 8 and 12 reps for each exercise and rest 1 to 2 minutes between each set. When using heavy weights, you are using your fast twitch muscle fibers. These fibers rely on glycogen and ATP stored in the muscles to provide energy to perform the exercise. You thus need to pause after completing those ten reps to build up the strength to go again for the next round.
With cardio acceleration, you remove the 1 to 2 minute rest period between each set. The specific muscle group you are training will still get a rest, but your body will not be resting because you will be using that 1 to 2 minute rest period to do some form of cardio such as skipping, sprinting, box jumps, etc.
Make sure that the cardio you do between your sets does not use the same muscles that are being trained. So if you are training legs, you won't want to be skipping or sprinting between sets. Instead, do some cardio that trains the upper body.
The benefit of cardio acceleration is it allows you to get the benefits from weight training and cardio at the same time. This means you will be able to build muscle while also burning fat.
If you find you dont have an hour or 2 to spare at the gym everyday then HIIT may be a good option for you to look into. Whether it be regular HIIT training, Tabata or cardio acceleration, you will benefit hugely from any one of these styles of training.