Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The twenty minute HIT bicycle routine

High intensity interval training (HIT) is a popular fix for people with more drive than time ...

What’s the Best Exercise? - Gretchen Reynolds - NYTimes 4/17/11

... High-intensity interval training, or H.I.T. as it’s familiarly known among physiologists, is essentially all-interval exercise. As studied in Gibala’s lab, it involves grunting through a series of short, strenuous intervals on specialized stationary bicycles, known as Wingate ergometers. In his first experiments, riders completed 30 seconds of cycling at the highest intensity the riders could stand. After resting for four minutes, the volunteers repeated the interval several times, for a total of two to three minutes of extremely intense exercise...

The approach seems promising, since most of us have minimal time to exercise each week. Gibala last month published a new study of H.I.T., requiring only a stationary bicycle and some degree of grit. In this modified version, you sprint for 60 seconds at a pace that feels unpleasant but sustainable, followed by 60 seconds of pedaling easily, then another 60-second sprint and recovery, 10 times in all. ‘There’s no particular reason why’ H.I.T. shouldn’t be adaptable to almost any sport, Gibala said, as long as you adequately push yourself."

The NYT likes Dr Gibala, his prior study was featured in a 'Well' blog post of June 2009. The regime sounds a bit faddish, but I do like the idea of a solid workout over 20 minutes (10 minutes out, 10 minutes back). It is well suited to inline skating, bicycling and nordic skiing.

I can see doing this kind of HIT once a week in addition to my other exercise routines. The 'River road' near our home would be perfect for this - few stop signs, limited traffic. I'll look for find a cheap timer I can tape on my handlebars. It's also pretty easy to convert this to indoor (still have a vintage Nordic Track!) when the weather is bad.


GZ said...

I need to dig into this article bit, but while there are benefits to HIT, there ain't no shortcuts to basic aerobic development ... which is the creatures we are.

PS - look into Tabata sprints.

JGF said...

I'm suspicious too George, though perhaps it's more efficient in the same sense that running is more efficient (in time used) than walking.