What is the difference between HIIT and HIT?

What is the difference between HIIT and HIT?
What is the difference between HIIT and HIT?

Is there actually a difference between HIIT and HIT or are it just different spellings of the fitness trend that has become so popular in recent years? Clearly, this is actually two different training forms!

Both have one thing in common, namely the extremely high intensity, but the one (HIT – high-intensity training) is used in the sport and the other (HIIT – high-intensity interval training) rather in the area of ​​the endurance sport.

HIIT as a time-saving variant to the classic perennial training

Highly intense intervals in the HIIT sense have always existed in the competition sport. But over the past few years, more and more studies have shown a very high effectiveness in the relatively short, but intensive endurance intervals, and thus presented it as a very time-saving variant of the classic perennial training.

One of the best known methods is certainly the so-called Tabata method, in which 20 seconds of high intensities followed by 10 seconds of pause are performed exactly eight times in succession.

In the course of only four minutes of training time, the scientist Tabata was able to prove extreme training adaptations of his subjects.

However, many associate this method as the only HIIT method and this is far from true. There are many more, like for example: 10 x 1 minute high intensity followed by each 60 to 75 seconds break (Gibala method).

Other methods, such as, for example, 5 × 30 seconds or 4 × 4 minutes, etc., have also often been scientifically tested and quite effective.

Now you are sure to ask yourself: “What does HIIT look like at all?” HIIT is divided into two phases that are constantly being repeated:

  • High Intensive Phase: You go to your maximum stress limit for a certain period of time. Normally these time intervals are no longer than 30-60 seconds.
  • Recovery phase: In the following phase you recover at a moderate pace for approximately two to three times the duration of your stress phase.

As a study by Prof. Billy Sperlich of the University of Würzburg recently showed, even six-minute intervals can be very effective. However, the results of this study were even more positive in terms of the adaptations of the subjects’ ability than those of the endurance. And here, there seems to be interfaces and / or overlaps for force training. In summary, the HIIT method can be regarded as very effective and time-saving, but should not be viewed as a complete replacement for the “good old perpetual training”.

Also interesting: This is the most common mistake during training

HIIT Workout Example : The 7-minute workout

The 7-minute workout begins with a warm-up phase to reduce the risk of injury.

This is followed in seven minutes by an intensive interval training with 12 exercises, which is an efficient combination of conditioning training and power sport.

The Exercise Order:

  1. jumping jack
  2. wall seat
  3. pushups
  4. crunches
  5. Step-up on chair
  6. squats
  7. Tricep dips
  8. forearm support
  9. Running straight with your knees pulled
  10. lunges
  11. Lie support with rotation
  12. Side arm support

Each exercise lasts 30 seconds.

An example of a HIIT training plan for beginners

  • Week 1-4: 15 seconds HIIT (eg sprinting, burpees , cycling), 45 seconds of recovery, total duration: 12 minutes (3x per week)
  • Week 5-8: 20 seconds HIIT (eg sprinting, burpees, cycling), 40 seconds recovery, total duration: 12 minutes (3x per week)
  • Week 9-12: 15 seconds HIIT (eg sprinting, burpees, cycling), 30 seconds recovery, total duration: 12 minutes (3x per week)

The order of the exercises is designed in such a way that the stressed muscles alternate and so always a moment to rest. For this reason, the breaks within the 7-minute workout can also be extremely short.

But what about HIT?

The version with the one “I” has also been known in specialist circles for decades. But rather in force sport circles!

High-intensity training is generally understood to mean so-called intensity enhancement techniques in the field of force sport. There are a lot of them and they all have one goal: the absolute fatigue of the muscle to be trained. This includes, for example, the so-called “forced repetitions”.

This is to say that you can do a few repetitions with a weight after the last repetition, preferably with the help of a training partner.

Also interesting:  More muscle and less fat with superset training 

One of the best-known methods, which is often associated with HIT, are the so-called drop sets. Here you train, for example, with a weight, which can be managed eight times alone.

In contrast to conventional strength training, however, the trainee will not pause after the eight rehearsals, but will reduce the weight (about 10-20%) and continue the exercise immediately. After a renewed fatigue or a few possible “repetitions,” the trainee will repeat the weight reduction again and will train in the following third sentence (quasi 3 in 1) to the absolute fatigue of the muscle. In the true sense of the word, a highly intensive workout, a HIT!

However, these and other methods of the HIT should only be used by advanced coaches, as otherwise it can quickly lead to overload damage!

Both methods come from completely different camps (Ausdauersport vs. Kraftsport), but they have the goal: to achieve a high training effect by extremely high loads in the shortest possible time. This is a good alternative, especially for experienced athletes, but should not be applied to sports beginners, or only conditionally or in consultation with a coach or doctor.

lets go!


Written by Marcus

Fitness is not always easy and there is no perfect plan for everyone to stay fit for life. That is why I have set myself the goal of finding the most accessible way for people to build healthy lifestyles.