Fitness & Training, Cardiovascular fitness

HIIT: High-intensity interval training

Do you want to know everything there is to know about HIIT, the trendiest cardio workout of the moment? Find out how a session takes place, how to equip yourself to start and how to adapt the exercises according to your physical capability. As a bonus, discover some key tips for success. 

Focus on a trend: what is HIIT?

cardio training

What is HIIT? High-intensity interval training comes straight from the United States. It was created by two sports coaches who wanted to meet the constraints of the lack of time their customers encountered. Why is HIIT so successful? Originally based on workouts of 12 exercises in 7 minutes and offering such spectacular results that the concept quickly won over athletes!

To be clear, HIIT alternates between very intense exercises and short recovery phases. The method can take several different forms:

  • The 30/30 method: 30 seconds of fast running followed by 30 seconds of slow running for 8 minutes
  • The Tabata method is the most intensive: in 4 minutes, 8 repetitions of an intense exercise of 20 seconds are carried out back-to-back, interspersed with 10-second recovery sessions
  • The HICT, a variant of HIIR based on a circuit with bodyweight exercises, lunge squats…

In practice, the idea is to bank on sessions of less than 30 minutes. For the most experienced athletes, the recovery time is often calculated to be 2 to 3 times shorter than that of the exercise. When you start, adapt the difficulty of the session to your abilities by increasing the allowed recovery time between two intense sessions. At the outset, recovery can be passive, but soon it will become active during training. You can perform several cycles of 7 or 10 sets during a session. HIIT can be done without equipment, by running, by cycling, by using a treadmill or with any cardio training activity. It’s up to you to imagine your own workout!

Is HIIT for you?

outdoor training cardio

Do you like to work out, have little time for training and want to add a little spice to your fitness sessions? HIIT is perfect for you!

A fun cardio activity accessible to all

HIIT is a training method that is for everyone, and it adapts to almost all sports. If you rarely play sports, gradually integrate the principles of HIIT after trying out a few more traditional cardio sessions. If a 30-minute session of running or cardio training is within your reach, then the world of HIIT training is available to you!

Time-saving and optimised training

Do you like playing sports but training sessions are too infrequent because you find it difficult to integrate 3 or 4 hour sessions into your schedule? If so, HIIT was created for you! This activity allows you to continue enjoying a sport while maintaining your physical fitness over short sessions with convincing results. Even with a busy lifestyle, HIIT allows you to take care of yourself and let off steam!

The secrets to successful HIIT training


These few tips should help you succeed in your HIIT sessions:

  • Bring a heart rate monitor to help you measure the intensity of the effort that you will need to reach to be effective but without exceeding your limits. Some home fitness machines give you a real-time overview of your heart rate and include HIIT programmes: it’s great for getting started and setting motivational goals.
  • A stopwatch will be useful for calibrating your activity and recovery cycles.
  • Hydrate yourself before and after exercise: HIIT will certainly make you sweat!
  • Start the session with a good warm-up and end it with passive stretching: your muscles could be very stressed and might need to regain their elasticity. Hold your stretching position for at least 10 seconds while breathing deeply.

Now you are ready to plan your HIIT training in the most favourable way!

Check out our Fitness & Training page for more advice.