In many trending fitness videos, you see ripped men and women jogging at full speed, then dropping to do push-ups, then pull-ups, jump squats and kettlebell weights, then repeating the entire routine, without once stopping to rest.
That’s HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), a type of workout that involves fast, intense bursts of exercise followed by brief exercises of lesser intensity. It is an amalgamation of aerobic and anaerobic exercises and is aimed at building strength and endurance.
The most extreme form lasts for seven minutes, and takes the exerciser’s pulse to 80% to 90% of maximal heart rate. Which means that HIIT, though everyone is talking about it, is not something to be undertaken lightly.
It is most suitable for athletes, sportspeople and those who have built up their levels of endurance, says fitness trainer Diksha Chhabra. It was designed for runners, who have to break into bursts of high and low speed at a moment’s notice. Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi and trainer Lauri Pikhala are popularly credited with pioneering this technique, in 1910.
“It is not for everyone,” Chhabra stresses. It’s certainly not for those with cardiac, pulmonary or respiratory issues; anyone who suffer from asthma; people with arthritis or other inflammation-related conditions; or those who are over their ideal weight.
“Do it, if you must, but strictly under supervision,” says Chhabra.