HVIT Vs. HIIT: What’s The Difference?

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If you’ve been in the fitness world, you’ve surely heard of HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT workouts for many are excruciating – demanding 200 percent and leaving you exhausted, sweaty, and beet-red afterwards. It’s for this reason why many are turned off from it and why some of them are interested in something called High Volume Interval Training or HVIT. It’s much like HIIT, but not really.

According to Eliza Nelson, an ACE-certified personal training, nutrition expert, and orthopaedic exercise specialist, HVIT is a “training modality that is a step below HIIT in that you’re not training at max intensity for each interval.”

But HVIT is a little more than just that simple explanation. It goes a bit deeper but to better understand it it’s important to know the ins and outs of HIIT first.

With HIIT it’s more than some excruciating workout. You’re essentially tapping into your anaerobic energy systems, Nelson explains. It’s to the point that if you want to have a true HIIT workout, you need to go very hard with every round. HVIT is a bit different where you’ll be working out at a lower intensity (roughly 60-75 percent which is big since HIIT demands 90 to 100 percent)

On top of that there is the recovery time. For HIIT it requires more recovery time between each round. The recovery time generally falls around a 1:3 ratio of work to recovery. However many fitness studios that offer HIIT classes, what you end up doing isn’t actually HIIT. You’ll find the classes being longer rounds at lower intensities with very little time to recover. They’re still challenging exercises but they’re not accurate to the real thing.

Furthermore, you should only be doing HIIT two or three times per week in order to let your body adequately recover. And even then for the general population and even for those who work out on the regular HIIT classes aren’t really that needed. As Nelson explaines, “If an individual is lacking in stability, mobility, core strength, or understanding of proper form, doing HIIT workouts with the required intensity to get that coveted after-burn with some frequency may result in injury or overreaching the ability for that persons body to adequately recover.”

It’s at this stage where HVIT comes in. It’s still a challenging amount of exercising, however it’s not as intense and allows you to build both strength and cardio at a level that pushes you to go further. What’s also nice is that the intensity is low enough that if you don’t get the form quite right you’ll not be putting yourself in danger of injury.

In fact, HVIT doesn’t sound that different from most exercises. According to Nelson, a HVIT circuit would look like a three minute training of strength building through weights and/or bodyweight followed by active recovery in between. Active recovery being things like doing a light exercise while walking.

In the end, HIIT isn’t for every person as it requires a good form and a lot of speed. Not to mention able to work yourself to the bone. However if you want something challenging High Volume Interval Training can  be a great way of challenging yourself without over-exerting yourself.


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