HomeFitnessFitness Plans › HIIT'ing An Incredibly Fast Biking Workout

The method is right there in the name -- in which you’ll be doing intervals of high intensity effort, followed by a rest period where you get your heart rate back down to a resting level. HIIT workouts are great because you can get them done in a relatively quick fashion -- most should only take about 20-30 minutes.

The way this style of cardio works is by increasing fat oxidation during, and after exercise. Which is to say that your fat burning furnace is ignited by the highly intense nature of the activity. Additionally, the skeletal muscles (muscles of your body) are strengthened, while also creating a higher endurance capacity. This is due to the fact that they really have to be working at high levels to get your body moving fast enough to be called ‘high intensity’.

The beauty of the HIIT workout style is that you can use pretty much any cardio machine: treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, or the exercise bike. The only thing to keep in mind is your heart rate levels. Your maximum heart rate is calculated by taking 220 beats per minute, and subtracting your age (give or take maybe 5 beats per minute). At the peak of the high intensity portion, you should be getting near 90% of your maximum heart rate. Generally speaking, this is nearly all out effort.

For the rest periods between levels of high intensity, you need to make sure your heart rate drops back into a fat burning zone. That’s where you would need to get down to, in order to best accomplish the fat burning benefit of HIIT. If you don’t have access to a heart rate monitor, think of the resting period as a state in which you could have a normal conversation; working, but not working hard at all. Once you return to this resting heart rate zone, it’s time to ramp back up to the intense work period heart rate.

A very basic, and highly recommended, routine is listed below. Generally speaking, your HIIT workout shouldn’t take any longer than 20-30 minutes. Due to the nature of the workout, any more time spent doing HIIT cardio would be less optimal for muscle maintenance and fat loss. Thanks in large part to Cycling Week here at Wellki, we're going to focus on putting the pedal to the metal...gears that is.

This workout can certainly be done outdoors, perhaps on a nice track around a lake -- or along a beach. However, if the weather turns ugly, feel free to do this HIIT workout in the friendly, air-conditioned confines of your local gym. For resistance, or effort levels, think of it as a scale from 0-20 (0 lower, 20 highest), and for perceived intensity, think about a scale from 1-10 (1 lower, 10 highest).


The Workout




Resistance or Effort Level

Perceived Intensity

Warm Up 3:00 2 - 5 1 - 2
Work Intervals 1:00 14 - 18 7 - 10
Rest Intervals 1:00+ 5 - 8 2 - 5
Cool Down 5:00 1 - 4 1 - 4


Keys To The Workout:

  • Warm up for a good three minutes, in order to get the body ready for exercise.
  • Go nearly all out effort for your working intervals, nearly to the full 20 on the resistance scale.
  • Of course, make sure that this is something you can accomplish. If you're new to exercise, be sure to only go to a resistance and intensity level that you can sustain.
  • For rest periods, make ABSOLUTE sure that your heart rate drops back into that zone where you can hold a conversation. This will help you be able to keep hitting high intensity intervals throughout the workout.
  • Sometimes this will mean a rest period beyond one minute. If that happens, don't worry about it -- that's just your body's way of saying it needs a bit more time.
  • Complete as many working/resting intervals to make your workout last a total of 20-30 minutes. This could mean eight intervals; it could mean 10.
  • Make sure to cool down properly to avoid any cramping, stiffness, or other delayed onset muscle soreness that can exist. Remember, these are intense training intervals, so be sure to rest properly.


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