HIIT (or High-Intensity Interval Training) has come to the fore in recent years as being one of the best and most convenient ways of exercising. Yet everywhere you look, there are different exercises and they all have different times stamped on them. Which ones are better? The shorter, seemingly more intense exercise routines, or the longer ones?
We know exactly how you feel and spent a good amount of time looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each of them, just so we would know which HIIT Workout is better for us. Here’s our breakdown of the differences between a 15-minute and a 24-minute workout so that you can decide which is better for you.
Benefits of HIIT
Without a doubt, and regardless of what time limit you pick for your HIIT Workout, HIIT workouts are almost always more convenient than a 90-minute gym session. HIIT Workouts have noticeable results and help to strengthen the body in a lot of similar ways to a 90-minute gym session. Moreover, HIIT sessions are arguably more ‘doable’, meaning that everyone can engage with them in their spare time. A lot of people just can’t find the time to get a 90-minute gym session done once a week, let alone 3 or 4 times.
The Benefits of HIIT include burning calories, using up your energy, boosting metabolism, not needing any specialized equipment, boosting your heart strength, and much, much more. Undoubtedly, you’re receiving a lot of the benefits from HIIT that you’re looking for with a shorter workout. So what’s the difference between a long and short HIIT workout?
The Advantages of a Shorter HIIT Workout
Shorter HIIT workouts do have their advantages. Firstly, they are a lot more convenient. Whilst it might not seem like too much of a difference between 15 and 24 minutes, imagine the difference between 8 and 30-minute workouts. 8 minutes is a lot less time and leaves you with more freedom in your schedule. Would it be great if you could get the same results in those 8 minutes as you could in 30?
Studies have shown that short HIIT Sessions do work. Short HIIT Workouts have been shown to work wonders on your body, helping to speed up your metabolism and strengthen your heart and lungs. Not only that, but exercises as short as 10 minutes can lead to a noticeable boost in endurance during just a 6-week period.
The Advantages of a Longer HIIT Workout
So why would anyone want to take part in the longer sessions? With Short HIIT Workouts having such good results, it would seem like the longer HIIT sessions are a waste of time. Well actually, longer workouts aren’t ready to be retired just yet. They continually workout the body and your muscles, leading to a better idea of your fitness level and a more reliable grade for measuring fatigue. For some professional athletes, building towards fatigue is what exercise and workouts should be all about.
Longer workouts also mean that you’re going to be able to workout and exercise more areas of your body. Instead of just repeating the same activities in a loop, longer workouts tend to have a more diverse range of activities for you to try. As long as you continue to follow the pattern of work, rest, work, rest, you’re still working out.
What to Focus on If You’re Going Short?
If you decide to go with the short workout sessions, then you’re going to want to focus on the right things to keep your body in shape and make sure that your workout was worth it. That means evenly dispersing your exercises throughout your body as much as you can.
You’re going to want to work out your core muscles, your upper and lower body, and also focus on enough cardio to help you boost fat burn.
An Example Short HIIT Workout
To get the most out of a shorter HIIT Workout, you’re going to want to focus on a particular set of exercises. That includes, but isn’t limited to, the following:
- Four minutes of Cardio. You want to use high energy activities like jumping jacks or jogging on the spot. Make sure to keep your body moving whilst you’re doing this. 30 seconds of high-intensity activity followed by 30 seconds of light walking on the spot or marching. Repeat several times to match the requirement.
- 3 minutes of upper body and lower body training. This should include things like pushups, squats, crunches, and similar exercises.
- 2 minutes of exercises which will strengthen your core muscles, such as planking. Don’t forget to rest if it’s too hard.
- 1 minute to cool down and stretch.
The Conclusion: Which HIIT Workout is Best?
So, which is the better HIIT Workout? Well, it seems like neither is really ‘better’ than the other, they’re both just different ways of doing the same thing. For those with more time, we recommend the longer workouts though, because these will help to strengthen your body quicker and increase endurance faster. If you’re looking for quick results, then the longer workouts are going to give these to you, along with a more balanced effect.
The shorter workouts are effective and do give you results, but they can sometimes be uneven. Despite trying to work out all of the different areas of the body – as per our short HIIT Workout example above – 15 minutes just isn’t really enough to get your whole body going at the same level as the longer equivalents. That being said, we reckon that short HIIT Workouts are perfect for the beginner or someone who finds it difficult allocating time to their workout routine.
Overall, if you can go with the longer HIIT workouts. The 24-minute workout is less than 10 minutes longer and will help you to see results faster. However, if your time is limited (which might be the reason you started HIIT workouts in the first place) then stick to the shorter workouts, which are still much better than nothing and great for travelling.