High Intensity Interval Training

Hope everyone keeping safe and healthy! 

This is Nejin, physiotherapist from Apple Creek Sports Medicine.

Many of you may have heard about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It can be a perfect choice if you are looking for an intense workout in a short amount of time. 

Studies have suggested that HIIT is safe and beneficial across healthy and those with physical health comorbidities, and among younger or older populations. HITT is considered superior to many traditional forms of exercises. Along with its ability to burn maximum amount of fat, evidence has shown HIIT can improve cardiorespiratory function and fitness, blood glucose/glycemic control, exercise capacity, muscle structure/mass, anxiety, and depression.

Here is how you can create a custom HIIT session

It is advised to have a warm-up and cool-down period for your high intensity workout. The high intensity phase consists of an all-out effort followed by a short rest period. 


2 to 5 min. Slow jogging or jogging on the spot

Stationary bike with a slow speed and low resistance

May do some stretches (hamstrings, quads, calf, trunk rotations etc.)


High Intensity Phase

You can choose one activity from below for all the sets or chose 2 or 3 different ones, keeping the total number of sets the same. Choose an activity that matches your current performance level and ability. Choose a lower time duration and number of sets at the beginning and progress as your endurance improves over a 4 to 6 weeks period. Perform the activity at your best effort at max reps possible within the time duration. Remember to have a stop watch to track your activity and rest timings.

FREQUENCY: 3 to 4 times per week

INTENSITY: Perform the selected activity for 15 or 30 sec followed by a 30 – 60 sec rest period. Repeat each activity for 4 to 10 sets.

ACTIVITIES (Choose up to 3)

  • Sprinting or running on the spot – 30 sec followed by 30-60 sec rest (5-10sets)
  • Stationary bike – Max effort and speed against resistance of 5 – 7-5% of your body wt. 30 sec followed by 30 to 60 sec rest
  • Squats/Lunges max number possible 15 sec followed by 30 to 60 sec rest (Based on your ability you may modify squats by doing mini-squats or wall squats)
  • Pushups 15 sec followed by 30 to 60 sec rest (modify by staying on your knees or by doing pushups over a desk/wall)
  • Planks (30sec hold) or walking planks (15sec) with 30-60sec rest
  • Squat jumps/Tuck jumps/Box jumps/Burpees 15 sec followed by 30 to 60 sec rest

Cool-down Phase

2-5 min; Repeat as warm up, Ensure to add stretches

Caution: Ensure to start HIIT with easy an activity with low repetitions and fewer sets. Please consult with your therapist or physician prior to doing HITT if you have cardiac or respiratory conditions, advanced arthritis, recent surgeries, recent injuries or any other health condition for which you are supposed to avoid physical exertion. You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs


HIIT Cheat Sheet

0-10 Hard Activity Chart



Martland, Rebecca, Valeria Mondelli, Fiona Gaughran, and Brendon Stubbs. “Can High-Intensity Interval Training Im


prove Physical and Mental Health Outcomes? A Meta-Review of 33 Systematic Reviews across the Lifespan.” Journal of Sports Sciences 38, no. 4 (February 15, 2020): 430–69.

Metcalfe, Richard S., John A. Babraj, Samantha G. Fawkner, and Niels B. J. Vollaard. “Towards the Minimal Amount of Exercise for Improving Metabolic Health: Beneficial Effects of Reduced-Exertion High-Intensity Interval Training,” 2012. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-011-2254-z.

Zuniga, Jorge M, Kris Berg, John Noble, Jeanette Harder, Morgan E Chaffin, and Vidya S Hanumanthu. “Physiological Responses during Interval Training with Different Intensities and Duration of Exercise:” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 25, no. 5 (May 2011): 1279–84. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d681b6.