Looking for more reasons to celebrate this July? Another new study shows (HIIT) High Intensity Interval Training provides big BANG for your exercise buck!

The study at Penn State (Cook, Hastings, Gottschall) involved the training regimens of 18 NCAA Division 1 women’s soccer players. Researchers wondered if training in the 85 to 100% heart rate zone could improve the body composition and VO2max of already well-trained college athletes.

The soccer players replaced their offseason 8-hour per week training protocol with a 5-hour per week training schedule, which included:

  • 2 hours of soccer specific training
  • 2 hours of strength training
  • 1 hour of HIIT involving explosive plyometric and dynamic strength exercises

HIIT alternates high intensity exercises with recovery exercises. The time spent in each phase varies depending upon the intensity of the exercise.

The results were positive. Body composition and VO2max improved by including HIIT in their training protocol. Researchers concluded HIIT can increase training levels in top athletes while decreasing training time.

A quick way to figure out your heart rate maximum is by using the formula “220 minus your age”. For example, a person who is 20 years old would have a maximum heart rate of 200 (220-20=200). Multiply the heart rate maximum by the percentages of the work zone. Still using our 20 year-old example, take 200 (heart rate maximum) X 85% or 200 X 0.85 = 170. Therefore, to exercise in the high intensity zone, a 20-year old person would work hard enough for the heart to pump 170 to 200 beats per minute (85% – 100% heart rate maximum).

Check with your doctor before starting HIIT. It’s also a good idea to work with a personal or athletic trainer who can design a program appropriate for you.

Want a training program with real BANG for your buck? Add HIIT!

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