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HIIT workout progression?

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  • HIIT workout progression?

    30 y old male, 6'5, 185 lbs, 6% BF but not much muscle. I've always been "strong" in walking (recently walked 20 miles in mountain - personal record), running (5K in a 5-ish minute/km).

    Recently I've started doing "Sprint 8"-like HIIT workouts that look like this:

    * using the elliptical at home at the max resistance setting
    * 4 min of warm-up at low intensity
    * 0:30 max intensity followed by 1:30 low intensity, each of these 2 min cycles repeated 8 times (16 minutes total)

    I've read that the workouts have to be done 3 time/week, so let's say every other day, but I'm able to do them every day and I was wondering whether I'm doing it correctly. During the 30 second sprint I'm really pushing with maximum speed/intensity, so I cannot find how in any way I'm doing it with sub-optimal (read "maximum") intensity. This is because it is a general guideline that if one's able to do it every day he/she is not doing it at the real max intensity.

    So, I've researched a bit and found an article that proposed a progressive HIIT that have the following stages:

    * Stage 1 (basically the one that I'm doing at the moment): 0:30 max, 1:30 min, repeat 8 times
    * Stage 2: 0:30 max, 1:00 min, repeat 11 times
    * Stage 3: 0:30 max, 0:30 min, repeat 16 times
    * Stage 4: 0:30 max, 0:15 min, repeat 21 times

    The sprint cycles are calculated in such way so in every stage the total workout time is around 16 minutes without the warm-up.

    So, should I give it a go? I mean, I "feel" that I'm ready to upgrade from the current Stage 1 to Stage 2, and try to persist to Stage 4 in about 8 weeks or so. Stage 4 is basically the same as Tabata except that the intervals are 30:15 instead of 20:10 seconds. I'm really hoping that sticking to each Stage for at least 2 weeks can "guarantee" that I will be able to do real Tabata at the end.

    I'm open to a discussion about the general variations of the HIIT workouts, so criticize!

    Thanks in advance

  • #2

    My first question is: What is your training goal? Strength? Mass? Endurance? It doesn't seem like you need to reduce fat. ;-)


    • #3
      HIIT should leave you pretty gassed out, I don't think I could get to that level easily on an elliptical. It doesn't sound like a very serious scheme. You appear to be a healthy young male - why not run hill sprints for your HIIT or do some classic crossfit WODs?
      If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):


      • #4
        Thanks for the answers so far.

        Of course, my bad that I forgot to state my goals. So, I want to lean out to about 5% BF. Call me paranoid or anorexic but I still have some stubborn BF patches on the lower abs and the lower back sides (similar to love handles). In the last couple of months I saw that I lean out mostly on the arms, shoulders, chest, especially on calfs. I really want to "equalize" the level of leanness of the whole body.

        I'll stick with the first stage for a couple of more days, and then I'll try the second stage with the rest period cut in half (60 seconds).


        • #5
          Muscles are made by exercise. Bodyfat is reduced by diet.

          As low as your body fat is, you would do better to focus more on lifting heavy things to build muscle. Unless you are a world-class athlete, there isn't any advantage to dropping your bodyfat below about 8%, and it supposedly can even be dangerous. You'll probably like the way you look more as well. I'm kinda in the same boat, though not so tall. I'm 5'9ish and 150. I've found that I can't diet my abs to show any more than they already do, so I'm focusing on making them bigger so I can see them more easily. This plan is working out better for me.

          If you are really concerned about the "flab" that you claim to have, post some pictures and let people here vote on it. Odds are that you are being harder on yourself than anyone else will be.