Maximize Your Cardio Training With HIIT | STACK Fitness
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Maximize Your Cardio Training With Intervals

December 27, 2012 | Mitch Calvert

Must See Conditioning Videos

Ever feel like the hours you spend on the treadmill don't yield the results you're looking for? Your muscles look flatter, you still have fat in troublesome areas, and you feel a general sense of fatigue going into your training session. This is not uncommon, yet people still flock to cardio equipment for long-duration workouts. (Learn how to condition for your sport.)

Steady-state aerobic training, where you maintain a slow to moderate pace for extended durations, can seriously interfere with power and strength development—for several reasons, including:

  • It increases the release of cortisol, a hormone that actually breaks down muscle
  • It fails to develop fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are primarily active during strength and power movements

There's also evidence that extreme endurance training, such as that performed by marathoners and triathletes, may cause transient structural cardiovascular changes. Over time, this can lead to of scarring of certain areas of the heart and abnormal heart rhythms. (Source.)

At this point, you may be wondering what type of workout will provide the assumed benefits of cardio workouts without the drawbacks. The answer is high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

HIIT workouts involve alternating intervals of work and rest. The idea is that you are able to train at a higher intensity, increasing the physiological changes in your body. And this can be achieved in a much shorter amount of time.

A popular example of HIIT is Tabata training, which calls for eight 20-second max-effort sprints, each followed by  10 seconds of rest. Compared to traditional aerobic training, Tabata training produces vastly superior results and a more meaningful impact on sports performance. (Find out the detailed results here.)

The great thing about HIIT workouts like Tabata is you can perform them with a variety of exercise options to keep workouts fresh, fun and challenging. For example, you can choose to perform Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Squat Jumps or virtually any exercise that elevates your heart rate.

One final point: compare the physiques of Olympic sprinters with those of long-distance runners. Sprinters wouldn't look out of place on an NFL field or NBA court, whereas long-distance runners look like they might blow away in the wind. I rest my case.

Sources

Passelergue, P., et al. "Saliva cortisol, testosterone and T/C ratio variations during a wrestling competition and during the post-competitive recovery period." Int J Sports Med. 1999 Feb;20(2):109-13.

O'Keefe, J., et al. "Potential Adverse Cardiovascular Effects from Excessive Endurance Exercise." Mayo Clinic Proceedings. June 2012. 87 (6), 587-595.

Mitch Calvert
- Mitch Calvert, born and raised in Canada, chose a life of health and fitness eight years ago, transforming himself from a severely overweight teenager to...
Mitch Calvert
- Mitch Calvert, born and raised in Canada, chose a life of health and fitness eight years ago, transforming himself from a severely overweight teenager to...
Must See
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,990,293
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 4,093,103
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 24,322,563

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,465
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,408
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,719
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,311
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,974,807
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,610
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,504
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,173,968

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

In-Season Baseball Pitcher Workout Program

In-Season Baseball Pitcher Workout Program Baseball pitchers have to take a different approach than the rest of the team when strength training...

How Much Conditioning Do You Really Need?

How Sporting Kansas City Stays 'Sporting Fit'

4 Simple Drills to Improve Your Endurance

Who Invented the Burpee?

Training Secrets of UFC Champion Johny Hendricks

Get in Shape With 5 Intense Lower-Body Finishers

Baseball Conditioning: Why You Need an Aerobic Base

The Mount Everest Treadmill Challenge

Get in Shape With This Basketball Conditioning Workout

Training with the Elevation Training Mask 2.0

High-Intensity Interval Training: How Much Is Too Much?

LaTroy Hawkins' Epic Battle Ropes Workout

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Hill

Advanced High School Football Summer Conditioning Program

Get in Basketball Shape With the Right Workout

In Defense of Cardio

LeBron James's Insane Conditioning Drill

STACK Challenge: The 10/10 Treadmill Challenge

5 NBA Players Who Found Their Game After Losing Weight

Win the Fourth Quarter With These Basketball Sled Push Finishers

Can You Pass Drew Brees' Conditioning Test?

5 Brutal Sprint Drills That Push the Lactic Threshold

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Interval Sprints

Test Your Toughness With the Who Dat? Challenge

4 HIIT Workouts That Will Get You in Shape Fast

Off-Season Conditioning: Full-Body Med Ball Workout

STACK Challenge: 500-Meter Row

7 Footwork Drills That Give You an Advantage

Alternatives to Boring Cardio Training

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Altitude Training

STACK Challenge: Finish Strong

Full-Body Conditioning Workout: 3 Loaded Carry Variations

Improve Your Aerobic Fitness in the Off-Season

Get in Football Shape Fast With Metabolic Runs

How to Avoid Hockey Conditioning That Slows You Down

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Fartlek Run

Get in Game Shape With 4 Conditioning Combos

Can You Handle the Husker Toughness Test?

A Slo-Mo Must-See: Ike Taylor's 4-Man Battle Rope Squats

STACK Challenge: 5 Minutes of Treadmill Torture

Can You Survive the