What is LIIT (Low Intensity Interval Training) and what are the benefits?
Surely the more intense the workout, the closer we are to achieving that beach bod we have always dreamed about — right? Wrong. The delusion that high-intensity workouts will always be the answer to a more toned and desirable body has clouded the majority's understanding towards fitness and physical body goals. We take a look at low intensity interval training (LIIT), the makings of it and why we think LIIT might just be the new HIIT.
Think of LIIT as the more tamed but equally intelligent child of two siblings — the other being HIIT. Having taken the fitness scene by storm for its intense, high-calorie burning workouts, HIIT has been shown much love for its weight loss effects. The misconception is that LIIT is slow and easy but it is no easy feat as it will leave your muscles burning without leaving you gasping for air. Similar to HIIT in terms of the workout-rest-workout-rest sequence, what sets LIIT apart from its HIIT counterpart are its longer rest breaks (minutes and not seconds) which gives you more time to recover. For those chasing the lean muscle mass dream, LIIT is one of the safest and most effective ways to attain such said muscles. Another notable difference lies in how long the workouts are — in order to attain similar results as HIIT, it takes about twice the time for LIIT workouts.
LIIT is great for those new to fitness and coming off an injury due to its gentle nature. Whether you are in your early 20s or in your late 70s, LIIT is suitable for all and has been shown to be beneficial in the long run with its lower risks of injury. Studies have shown that through low intensity exercises, older adults not only got physically stronger but also saw a boost in their cognitive health. Goes to show that LIIT can kill two birds with one stone and is especially appropriate in today's aging population.
LIIT training can be easily added a few times a week to your regular workout routine. According to Andrew Borsellino, co-founder of Precision Sports performance, LIIT workouts can come in many forms. For those unwilling to ditch your treadmill, tone it down a notch with jogging at a moderate pace for two to three minutes followed by a brisk walk for five minutes. Try three to four rounds of circuit training that includes ten squats, ten push-ups, and 30-second planks with a 90-second rest interval in between sets. LIIT can be extended to weight training with three to four sets of ten kettlebell swings, ten single arm dumbbell rows per side, holding a side plank for 20 seconds on each side with a 90-second rest between sets. The workout can easily be adapted on household gym equipment such as the elliptical, stationary bike, treadmill or rower.