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  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
    I have been reading up on HIIT and would like to try it out. From what I've read, a 1:4 (work:rest) ratio is a good start for beginners. Then increase. I'd like to try this with cardio (running, elliptical, skipping, heavy bag kicking). My instructor recommended 3min work:30s rest, which I feel is unrealistic for me. I'm just getting back into exercise from a 2-month break, so I currently feel out of shape. As a beginner (although I'm not new to exercise) , should i be extra cautious so as to not injure myself, or is this relatively safe to do? Is 2 sessions/week enough to benefit? My instructor also says that when we do HIIT in class with those nasty roundhouse air kicks, to pay more attention to speed & worry less about form. My instincts raise alarm bells at this. Any opinions?
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      • 1
      Tracy I should clarify something about my post. I HAVE learned from this community that I should only do speed kicking against resistance, not in the air. That just happened to be the exercise that my instructor made the comment - that when the focus is on speed, you don't need to pay that much attention to form. But I'm going to take David's advice and I will only up my speed if I feel my form is correct, even when kicking with a heavybag.
      • 1
      Rachel DS I do TABATA and HIIT with an app (free) called 8 fit. Work outs vary but typically they are either 20sec on 10 sec off repeat 8 times then rest a minute before next one or a certain amt of reps followed by 1 minute cardio. Ex include bodyweight resistance / light weights / cardio.
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        Tracy Hi Rachel
        This app looked interesting so I just downloaded it. I might use it in the future, but for now I would like to try HIIT with cardio-type exercises similar to what I mentioned above. The app at my fitness level seems to just have bodyweight-type exercises, unless I missed something? I'll probably try it at some point, though, maybe on a strength day. It looks appealing. The bikini body I had to pick out to get started - not so much:)
        Thanks!
      • 0
      David Cochran Tracy, from our conversations I feel that you are probably in above baseline shape for you current station, even with the two month break. My first question is how sound is your cardio-vascular system? It is a given that you may not be able to perform like you once could but is physical exertion dangerous for you? The four exercises listed are lower body & torso work so you could change one to upper body for equity and maybe a little break. You could change the ratio initially (3:45s, 3:1m) to be realistic. Going 3:30s and then right back at it repeatedly is tough for anyone at any station. How many reps are you thinking about? If this is the only exercise you are doing during the week, you will not see a lot of gain out of twice/week. If you want to damage your knees and back listen to your instructor on the kicks. Listen to your instincts.
        • 1
        Tracy David - you should start charging me a coaching fee:)
        I feel my cardio-vascular system is strong. I have no reason to feel otherwise. I'm more concerned about injuries (ie:hamstrings) from sprinting or kicking the heavy bag if i don't have perfect form (and I WILL keep paying attention to form - thanks for your thoughts on this). I had it in my head that one session i would run, one i would kick, etc. I didn't consider doing a variety of exercises in one session. Yes - I could add in some heavy bag punching - great idea. The online plan for beginners recommends 8 rounds,then work up to more. I was thinking 2 sessions/wk to replace my jogging. So I'd still be doing yoga, forms & kicking practice, strength training on top of this. But if 3/wk is what I need to do, I'll see if I can fit in another session.
        Thanks David.
          • 1
          David Cochran Tracy, Thank you again for the kind words. I am glad to help out anywhere I can. It has been my experience that I am more prone to a hamstring injury when "hyper-stretching", such as kicking the air at full speed and/or force or an awkward landing/fall. My worst hammy, a total tear, was from assisted splits using a wall with a hand rail. I had done the same thing many times without incident so I guess I will never know exactly why it happened.
          I say this to say I firmly believe kicking the bag is ALWAYS safer on the body vs. kicking the air at full speed/strength. The only exception may be the ankles. Slower air kicks to critique form are great for technique as well as balance, similar to Yoga. I haven't done sprints since college, back when I was still pliable so the warmup curve was much less. I am sure you have a warmup routine before you do any sprinting. I'm curious, how long are your sprints?
          It seems there is a new acronym every year or so that is really just putting a new face on what people have been doing for years. We never timed our purely kicking intervals, but instead did them on some sort of count, whether in cadence, random, or on our own. It always creates a heart rate curve, similar to the HIIT description. When gearing up for tournaments which followed IOC rules we would spar per the rules, 3 - three minute rounds with a 1 minute break between. Quite often during kicks/combo drills we go longer than 3 minutes to increase endurance and prevent building a cardio/mental memory routine.
          If your ultimate goal is to have a crazy long max heart rate endurance then I would say it makes sense. A more realistic scenario is shorter max heart rate intervals coupled with low to mid heart rate intervals for longer periods. Using the sparring analogy, I cannot remember going at max, really max for 60 - 120 seconds. I was doing something very wrong to have to go that long. Whatever the scenario, the person better at chess is going to win.
            • 1
            Tracy So far I've always avoided sprinting except for the odd time in class - my concern has been injury. The intervals I've been doing in my runs have been what I feel might be 80%, whereas with sprinting I believe it should be 95%. I also have an old hamstring injury (a tear from stretching) that is about 4 years old now. Even though it usually doesn't cause me sharp pain, its always tight and affects my strength and kicking height. I also have an old plantar fasciitus injury that I have to do daily massage with in order to keep it at bay. So these are 2 things that are a bit of a worry with the sprinting. I should maybe play it smart and start off very slowly with a couple of rounds and very short intervals. And see how things feel. I'm glad to know HIIT could still be affective using shorter intervals than the 3-min or vary the intensities like you said.
            I do have a dynamic warm up I do before running (about 5 minutes) and I also do joint rotations. The online beginners HIIT plan I found says to start with something similar to that, then jog for about 10 minutes before starting the intervals. Do you think this is a sufficient warmup?
            Thanks:)
              • 1
              David Cochran Well, I see you are in Canada so warmup may an incorrect saying. Seriously, I get the impression you know you body pretty well and are not new to running. If your current warmup works for your current level/intensity of running I would feel you are doing good. If you plan to amp up the running, maybe do the lower % running first as part of the warmup. Back to the consolidation of efforts. Keep in touch and let me know how it is going. Also, I will stop railing on the air kicks.
              • 0 1 vote

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