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What Is The Difference Between HIT vs. HIIT?

hiit hit

You have been putting it off long enough.

It’s time to step it up and get your body into shape.

You have been checking out new types of workouts and want to know the difference between HIT vs. HIIT.

Both exercises can give you great results.

Our guide will outline the benefits of HIT and HIIT and will give examples of each type of workout so you can decide which one is the right fit for you.

Table of Contents

hit vs hiit

What Is HIT: High-Intensity Training?

Exactly what is high-intensity training, and how does it work?

High-intensity training, also known as HIT, was made popular in the 1970s by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus.

High-intensity training is an umbrella term for several workout methodologies. So, what does a HIT workout look like?

HIT exercise takes into account 3 basic concepts:

  • Time under tension – the length of time a muscle is held under tension during an exercise set
  • Repetition tempo – the speed or count of each lift
  • Rest period – the amount of time you take for rest and recovery following a lift

High-intensity training focuses on:

  • Working only one muscle group at a time
  • Controlled, slow repetitions, which are continued to the point of momentary muscle failure
  • Short periods of rest and recovery between sets

The idea behind high-intensity training is this:

Overloading your muscle will stimulate further muscle growth, which will in turn increase both muscle strength and size.

If you’re all about building muscle, HIT may be for you.

HIT workouts should be:

  • Intense – “Give it all you’ve got”
  • BriefAllowing just enough time for recovery
  • Infrequent Doing just a few workouts each week

Our trainers at In Motion O.C. can work with you to create a customized HIT workout plan and help you reach your personal fitness goals.

is hiit better than cardio for fat loss

Benefits of HIT: High-Intensity Training

Does HIT training work? Absolutely!

Besides achieving optimal results in a short amount of time, high-intensity training has quite a few benefits.

High-intensity exercise can:

  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Lower your LDL and raise HDL cholesterol
  • Lower your total body fat
  • Burn a huge number of calories in a short amount of time 
  • Increase your muscle mass
  • Reduce your heart rate
  • Improve your oxygen consumption 
  • Lower your blood sugar 
  • Keep your metabolic rate high for hours after exercise

3 HIT Training Examples

Remember, the important thing to keep in mind with a HIT weight training program is that you are:

  • Working only one muscle at a time
  • Keeping your reps super-slow and tightly controlled
  • Pushing yourself to give 110% effort

So what does a HIT workout look like?

Here are some common examples:

#1: Drop Sets

Drop Sets are popular with the HIT exercise crowd.

They go like this …

You perform a set of any exercises you choose, either to or just short of, muscle failure.

Then, you drop some of the weight and continue the repetitions with a lower number of pounds.

Bodybuilders love drop sets because the workout is geared towards increasing their muscle size, rather than enhancing their athletic performance.

So, if you’re going strictly for cosmetic gain, drop sets might be just the thing for you.

Drop sets are also known as:

  • Descending sets
  • Breakdowns
  • Strip sets
  • Triple drops
  • Down the rack
  • Running the rack
  • The stripping method 
  • The multi poundage system

#2: Class HIT

Do you love to work out in a group?

If so, a HIT exercise class might be right up your alley.

In a HIT class, you will be working out alongside others who are serious about building muscle and sculpting their bodies.

You will be targeting a specific body part with only one or two exercises, most likely with a single set of 6 to 10 repetitions for your upper body exercises and 12 to 20 reps for your lower body.

Due to the intensity of HIT exercise, and the need to give your body plenty of time to recover between workouts, you will only want to do classes three to four times per week.

#3: Single-Set-To-Failure HIT

Single-set-to-failure HIT exercise is similar to drop sets, except you are only doing a single set of 12 to 15 reps.

The important thing to remember when you are doing single-set-to-failure Hit exercise is to be sure to push your muscles all the way to fatigue.

In other words, go until you can’t possibly lift any more weight with that muscle group.

As long as you’re using the proper weight, you should be able to build your strength as effectively with single-set-to-failure HIT exercise as you would with multiple sets of the same exercise.

hit vs hiit

What’s HIIT Training?

We mentioned that high-intensity training is an overarching term for a variety of types of training, and high-intensity interval training falls under that umbrella.

How do we define HIIT?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of HIT workout that combines short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower intensity exercise.

Think HIIT exercise is just another walk in the park?

Not even close. So, what does a HIIT workout look like?

HIIT workouts include:

  • A burst of strenuous exercise
  • A short period of recovery
  • Repetition of the burst/recovery cycle several times within a 20- or 30- minute period

A typical formula for HIIT exercise follows a 2:1 ratio of exertion to recovery.

For example, 30 to 40 seconds of hard sprinting followed by 15 – 20 seconds of jogging or walking.

This cycle is then repeated to failure.

Each HIIT workout should last around 30 to 60 minutes from the warm-up to the cool-down.

In true high-intensity interval training, your body goes into an anaerobic state.

What exactly is an “aerobic state” and what does it do for your body?

Let’s take a look:

  • Consistent anaerobic exercise can increase your body’s ability to store glycogen.
  • Glycogen, which comes from the food you eat, is stored as fuel in your liver and muscles.

So, when your body needs energy, it can draw on this stored glycogen as fuel.

Therefore, consistent anaerobic activity can increase your glycogen stores and give you even more energy for your next round of intense physical activity.

Maybe you have done cardio workouts in the past and are wondering,

“Is HIIT better than cardio for fat loss?”

According to this study, the answer is — yes.

Not only does HIIT take less time than your typical cardio workout, but you also continue to consume more oxygen post-workout, thus burning additional fat.

HIIT is great for helping you lose weight while increasing cardiovascular performance.

It’s also super popular because it provides you with an effective workout in a short amount of time.

Benefits of HIIT Training

HIIT sounds great, right?

But what can HIT high-intensity training do for your body?

Some of the benefits include:

  • Increase in aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased heart rate 
  • Decreased abdominal fat
  • Weight loss while maintaining muscle mass
  • Increased insulin sensitivity, which helps muscles use glucose for energy
  • It can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time
  • It can keep your metabolism burning at a high rate for hours post-exercise 
  • It can increase your oxygen consumption
  • It helps lower your blood sugar

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3 Examples of HIIT Exercise

Although HIT high-intensity is typically associated with cycling or running, it can also be modified for other sports. So, what’s the difference between cardio and HIIT?

The important thing to remember about high-intensity interval training is that you go all-out, giving 100%.

You should be working at around 90% of your maximum heart rate.

HIIT gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for optimal fat-burning.

Are you wondering: What does a HIIT workout look like?

Take a look at these 3 examples:

#1: Tabata Workouts

There is no difference between HIIT and Tabata. Tabata is just a short, high-intensity cardio workout.

Developed in the late 1900s by Dr. Izumi Tabata, Tabata was used to train Japanese Olympic speed skaters.

A Tabata HIIT workout lasts just 4 minutes.

But don’t let the idea of only 4 minutes fool you.

A Tabata workout will most likely be the most intense 4 minutes you have experienced in a very long while.

During the workout, you will cycle through eight rounds of 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest.

As you push yourself to your maximum capability, your heart rate will spike causing your body to burn a huge amount of calories in a super-short amount of time.

Tabata is popular because it’s a high-intensity workout that takes only a few minutes, yet produces amazing results.

And Tabata workouts can combine a wide array of exercise moves.

In this example of a Tabata workout, you’ll be doing 20 seconds of push-it-to-the-max exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

  • Push-ups
  • Burpees
  • Sprints
  • Rowing
  • Lunges
  • Dumbbell squat
  • Kettlebell swing

#2: Running

Are you a runner wanting to give HIIT high-intensity a try?

No problem.

HIIT adapts perfectly to running:

  • Run/jog briskly for 30 seconds. 
  • Next, jog/walk at a slower pace for 2 minutes. 
  • Follow this up with another 30-second run/jog.
  • Keep this cycle going until you are either worn out or have completed about 10 push/rest intervals.

hit exercise

#3: Cycling

Maybe doing HIIT on your bike is your thing?

Here is what that would look like:

  • Start with a 10-minute warm-up.
  • Next, ride full-throttle for 30 seconds.
  • Follow this up with 60 seconds of easy peddling
    • If you’re a beginner, you can extend this rest time to 90 seconds. Advanced cyclists can cut it back to 30 seconds. 
  • Repeat this series four times. 
  • After the fourth cycle, pedal easy for another 4 minutes. 
  • Complete this entire sequence 2 more times.
  • Ride easy for a 5-minute cool-down.

And remember, due to its high intensity, experts recommend doing HIIT just twice a week to give your body plenty of time to rest and recover.

How In Motion O.C. Can Show You How To Incorporate a HIT vs. HIIT Workout Into Your Routine

Are you brand new to working out?

Or maybe you have been hitting the gym for years.

Either way, In Motion O.C. is ready to meet your exercise needs.

Our personal trainers will work with you to create a completely customized HIIT or HIT fitness program that meets you at your fitness level and takes you where you want to go.

Click here for your free consultation and take your workouts to a whole new level.

hit vs hiit

In Motion O.C.