High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is the go-to workout modality for anyone who likes to get their heart rate up, strengthen their muscles, and then move on with their day. It focuses on quick bursts of hard exercise — think burpees or jump squats — followed by brief moments of rest, meaning it packs a lot of punch into a short period of time.
Then there’s a branch of HIIT training that often gets conflated with the interval-based modality: Tabata. Tabata is a type of HIIT workout, but one that comes with its own, unique set of rules: A prescribed structure of 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times to create a four-minute round. So when you compare Tabata vs. HIIT, you’re talking about two very similar ways to sweat — but they each have subtle differences that set them apart.
For an example of a HIIT sesh, you might do a 50/15 workout: 50 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of rest, says Carrie Hall, CPT, a certified personal trainer and co-owner of Fit Family Physical Therapy, but the exact interval times vary. Still, the overall goal of HIIT is to push yourself for the entire work period before focusing on recovery during your rest interval. (That’s when you’ll take deep breaths, march in place, or grab a sip of water.) Tabata also follows the philosophy of pushing hard before a timed (and brief) period of rest, but is more technical in terms of how its intervals are timed.
Here, fitness trainers explain the differences between Tabata vs. HIIT, including the unique benefits of each, so you can decide which one might be the best fit for you.
The Benefits Of HIIT
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According to Hall, doing high-intensity interval training is akin to running sprints, where your body starts from rest and then works hard for a short period of time before recovering during the rest period. And this type of workout has been shown to contribute to improved cardiorespiratory endurance.
You’ll move through any number of staple strength training (or weight training) and/or cardio-based exercises during a HIIT workout, including mountain climbers, jumping lunges, and push-ups. While HIIT sequences are certainly challenging, the idea is that your body will eventually learn to better recover during the periods of rest with regular training, says Hall, so it’ll get easier. You’ll notice that everyday life gets easier, too, since you’re working on your strength …….