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High Intensity Training

High intensity training refers to exercise that is usually of short duration but performed with a high level of effort. This exercise routine is based on the idea that high intensity repetitions stimulate the body to increase muscular strength and size.


Basic principles of high intensity training (HIT)

High Intensity TrainingProgressive increase in weights

HIT proponents believe that muscles become stronger with gradual increases in weight or resistance training. Once a routine begins to feel easy, additional weight is added to challenge the muscles further. Increasing weight load at each successive routine is believed to rapidly increase muscle strength.

Rest and recovery

Your body requires adequate rest to recover after a high intensity workout. This principle also applies to other types of workout where training schedules are set days apart to allow muscles to rest and recover. After a rest and recovery period, muscles are stronger and your body may appear leaner.

Short duration workouts

Your body is expected to reap more muscular benefit from performing high intensity repetitions in the shortest time possible. While other exercise fitness routines encourage longer exercise periods, HIT routines are kept brief.

Strict form

HIT stresses the need for proper form in exercising while controlling lift speeds. Bouncing, jerking, or yanking of the weight or machine should be avoided.

Complete muscle failure

HIT requires you to do your repetitions with a load that will lead to complete muscle failure at the end of each set. Complete muscle failure means that you are unable to move the weight to the desired position with proper form despite your most focused effort. This explains why HIT workouts always feel difficult towards the end of each session.

Benefits of HIT
Improved metabolism

HIT is known to improve metabolism and burn more calories than any other type of workout. Unlike other exercises, you may burn fat during and after an HIT routine. This is because HIT focuses on developing and strengthening muscles, and muscles continue to burn calories even while at rest.

Shorter exercise time

There is an inverse relation between the intensity of a workout and its duration. The more intense the routine, the shorter is its duration. The rest and recovery period also means that HIT should not be performed daily. This allows working individuals to squeeze in HIT into their busy schedules and do a variety of exercises in between HIT schedules. A workout may be limited to doing 8 to 12 repetitions in 1 or 2 sets at a time.

Safety tips
Consult health professional

You may get hurt during HIT or the intensity of a workout may cause serious health problems. HIT should only be performed after obtaining prior approval of a health professional if you suffer from a pre-existing health condition and your movement should always be monitored by a qualified trainer.

Drink fluids

HIT will raise your body temperature faster than moderate exercises which will cause you to sweat more. Prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids and exercising in cool temperatures.

While HIT is usually applied to weight and resistance training, high intensity exercises may also be done with aerobic routines such as spinning, fast cycling, rowing, swimming and race walking.

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