A treadmill is one of many ways to do high-intensity interval training. Tabata’s classic study used a stationary bicycle.
I found a free article by Martin Gibala,Ph.D., a major researcher into high-intensity interval training (HIIT). He prefers to abbreviate it as HIT.
I don’t like to exercise, so I’ve been incorporating HIIT into my workouts for over a year. It’s helped me maintain my level of fitness to that required of U.S. Army soldiers, without being a exercise fanatic.
So what’s HIIT? Gibala’s definition:
High-intensity interval training is characterized by repeated sessions of relatively brief, intermittent exercise, often performed with an “all out” effort or at an intensity close to that which elicits peak oxygen uptake (i.e., ≥90% of VO2peak).
HIIT involves short sessions of very intense exercise two or three times per week, for as little as 15 minutes. That’s total time, not 15 minutes per session! Yet you see a significant fitness improvement. Be aware: the brief exercise bouts should be exhausting.
The Gibala article has all the scientific journal references you’d want, plus a suggested HIIT program for an absolute beginner.
One final quote from Dr. Gibala:
It is unlikely that high-intensity interval training produces all of the benefits normally associated with traditional endurance training. The best approach to fitness is a varied strategy that incorporates strength, endurance and speed sessions as well as flexibility exercises and proper nutrition. But for people who are pressed for time, high-intensity intervals are an extremely efficient way to train. Even if you have the time, adding an interval session to your current program will likely provide new and different adaptations. The bottom line is that — provided you are able and willing (physically and mentally) to put up with the discomfort of high-intensity interval training — you can likely get away with a lower training volume and less total exercise time.
Read the rest.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: Why won’t Gibala give some credit to Izumi Tabata who did a pioneering study on HIIT in 1996?
PPS: Gibala narrated this stationary bike HIIT video.
h/t Tony Boutagy
Classic Tabata intervals use a stationary bike, but this is more fun
Gretchen Reynolds is the Phys Ed blogger at the New York Times. She posted a short demonstration of high intensity interval training on a stationary bicycle. It’s narrated by a leading researcher in this type of exercise, Martin Gibala of McMaster University.
No mention of Tabata, as usual.
No crowds and no roads: You have to be in good shape to get up here
This last winter I slacked off on my physical activity. But in April I started Chris Highcock’s Hillfit program. It’s based on resistance exercise, and I supplemented with high-intensity interval training on a treadmill. All in less than an hour a week.
To help me judge effectiveness of the new plan, I measured and recorded my baseline fitness.
Exercise isn’t fun. You need good reasons to do it. Here are mine:
- it keeps you young (fountain of youth)
- less low back aching
- injury resistance
- dementia prevention
- lowered risk of heart disease and cancer
- I’m a sheepdog, not a sheep
- weight management
- emergency preparedness
- more energy to enjoy life (hiking, camping, horseback riding, long walks with others, etc.)
If you hope to exercise regularly, you’ll need your own list of reasons. You’ll have days, weeks, or months when you just don’t want to exercise. Review your list then.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: Here’s my report after six weeks of Hillfit.
Tabata's team used stationary bicycles
I ran across this recent scientific review article on HIIT
(high-intensity interval training) and thought you might be interested. Looks like it’s slated for publication in The Journal of Physiology
I’m interested in HIIT as a means to achieve fitness in much less time than the 150 minutes a week of exercise recommended by various public health authorities.
Why didn’t the authors at least mention the oft-cited and apparently pioneering work of Izumi Tabata et al from 1996?
Steve Parker, M.D.
Gibala et al. Adaptations to low-volume, high-intensity interval training (preliminary draft). Journal of Physiology, doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.224725
Tabata, I., et al. Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Medicine and Science in Sports and Medicine, 1996 Oct;28(10):1327-30.