1Life Blog

The lowdown on HILIT

Posted by Paul Rayner on 25-Jan-2020 13:00:00
Paul Rayner


Just when you thought you’d got your head around all the workouts and associated acronyms, we go and throw another in the mix!   

But what exactly is HILIT and why should you be incorporating it in your workouts?  Don’t worry 1Life is here to explain all…  

You are probably familiar with HIIT (high intensity interval training) which has dominated the fitness scene in recent years and involves alternating between high-intensity exercises and longer intervals of low – moderate intensity exercises.  This has been proven to be effective in burning calories and fat but the impact associated with the high-intensity exercises might not be suitable for those recovering from injury or with joint problems. 

What if we told you that you could still achieve all the benefits of HIIT but without leaving you hobbling the next day?  Let us introduce you to HILIT!  The name stands for high-intensity, low-impact training and as the name suggests, is a lower-impact option for exercisers.  

HILIT is a high-intensity style of interval training with a particular focus on achieving muscle fatigue and target heart rate but all the while minimising the amount of impact on the joints.  A HILIT workout involves performing at exercise as hard and fast as you can for about 20 seconds, stopping for a 10 second break then repeating for six sets or more.  Exercises involving strength training should work your muscles to their maximum capacity while any cardio exercises should bring you as close as possible to your target heart rate.   


The benefits of HILIT 

More bang for your buck – if you are short on time or want to see results fast, HILIT is one of the most time and energy efficient ways you can work out.  Thanks to the efficiency of the HILIT method, you can work out for 20 or 30 minutes and achieve the same benefits as a longer, steadier workout.  

Aid recovery - HIIT training first became popular because of its Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) effect, this is when the body continues to burn calories at an increased rate even after the exercise session has finished.  This spells good news for keeping your metabolism firing on all cylinders. A HILIT workout also offers the same benefit and means your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate even when resting.  

Plateau buster - For those who tend to walk or jog as their only form of fitness, or any other type of easy to moderate intensity exercise, often find that the body quickly adapts to the same exercise over time and it stops becoming a challenge.  This means that your body stops improving which can lead to weight-loss plateau or you stop seeing improvements in your strength or endurance.  HILIT workouts keep your body oits toes.  This helps you to break the rut and continue to progress with your health and fitness goals. 

Training for the mind and body – The main aim of HILIT is to challenge your body to try new things, which also involves moving in different ways, such as front and back, side to side or diagonally.  Moving your body in a variety of ways helps to keep your smaller, supportive muscles strong and your brain more aware of balance and reactions.  The different stimulus each exercise provides is particularly important as we age and also for providing cross-training for different sports. 


Example HILIT workout 

The following HILIT workout is the perfect mix of cardio and bodyweight strength HILIT exercises. This is a short but sweet 24-minute workout and has the added bonus of being super-efficient.  Remember, the key is to work as hard and as fast as you can during the 20-second time but remember to maintain good form to avoid injury. 

  1. March on the spotwith high knees for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second break, for eight sets. 
  2. Performpush-ups for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second break, for eight sets.
  3. Perform alateral shuffle for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second break, for eight sets.
  4. Do triceps dips for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second break, for eight sets.
  5. Do a sumo squat burpee without jump for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second break, for eight sets.
  6. Do frog push-ups for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second break, for eight sets.

If you are keen to give HILIT a go, a few other examples of HILIT exercises can include walking lunges, weighted jabs with light weights, swimming, cycling, golf or Pilates/yoga classes.  Whatever combination of exercises you decide on, the most important thing to remember and which will bring you the results you are looking for, is to get out of your comfort zone.   

Find out more about different workouts at your local 1Life centre here.