Why LIIT is just as effective as high intensity interval training.
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Why LIIT is just as effective as high intensity interval training.

Everyone has heard about the HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) fitness trend by now. High-Intensity Interval Training is one of the most effective workout methods for burning calories and fat, building muscle, and improving endurance. But what about LIIT (Low-Intensity Interval Training), and how useful is it? Is one of these intensity levels better than the other for you, and if so, what's the best duration to perform it? We'll try to answer all of these questions for you.
HIIT and LIIT are the new buzzwords in endurance training. Many studies show that low-intensity basic training paired with high-intensity training elements is one of the most effective methods for building muscle. This approach isn't new: top professional trainers have been doing it for years. The way HIIT is performed is to mix high and low-intensity exercises disproportionately, with about 80% of the training done at low intensity and only about 20% at high. Since this means that top athletes are training in both HIIT and LIIT ranges, the question is, "what does low-intensity training look like, and how effective is it?"
A woman trains on the bellicon trampoline

Slow training - fast results

In low-intensity fitness training, the exercise units never exceed medium intensity. The main focus is on increasing aerobic energy metabolism, the economy of movement, and long-term endurance. The workout includes alternating exercise intervals, but intensity levels never reach those of HIIT. Instead of emphasizing speed and elevated effort, the focus is on performing the exercises cleanly and consciously. After each exercise interval, you shouldn't be entirely out of breath, and the recovery phases between the intervals are longer than with HIIT. Because of this, a LIIT training session naturally lasts longer than a HIIT session but stimulates the metabolic processes just as much. The optimal length of a LIIT is 50 to 60 minutes, but shorter interval sessions can also be effective.

Choosing the right LIIT exercises

Simple exercises such as squats, side raises, or simple lunges work well with LIIT, and you can perform all of them on a bellicon. You can also use hand weights, such as our weight balls, to vary the intensity, though it should never exceed moderate levels.

LIIT series on bellicon Home: Discover the variety of bellicon now.

For the most part, HIIT is known as running training, which is also true for LIIT, with the only difference being the intensity levels of each. HIIT includes running at high speed, and LIIT never does. A LIIT session typically alternates between 2 to 5 minutes of easy walking and 1 to 2 minutes of moderate jogging.
Mistakes to avoid with interval training
One mistake people often make with interval training is spending too much time doing medium-intensity exercise, missing both the long-term benefits of low-intensity exercise and the performance increases produced with high-intensity. As a result, they may feel worn out after a training session, but the benefits are minor, and their progress can stagnate. Anyone looking to improve their fitness should avoid this middle road. So, if you've chosen to do HIIT, ensure that your most strenuous portions really are in the high-intensity range and that your lows are truly low. Likewise, with LIIT, don't stay in the medium-intensity stage longer than you should.

Who should choose Low Intensity Interval Training?

In case you were wondering, LIIT isn't just for beginners. LIIT is an excellent workout approach in and of itself, but a shorter-than-normal version can also be helpful as a warmup for other kinds of exercise. As a stand-alone workout, it increases cardiovascular fitness, doesn't strain your joints, helps prevent injuries, and doesn't leave you exhausted afterward. And since the goal is overall well-being, you can fully concentrate on your execution and motivation.
Clearly LIIT is a good form of training for beginners who first want to learn how to correctly carry out movements because of its moderate intensity. Low intensity interval training is also suitable for those who want to get back into endurance training or exercise in general after injuries or a break from training.

Burning calories without pouring sweat

One advantage of interval training is that an athlete can quickly raise and lower their heart rate because of the breaks involved. During HIIT, heart rates rise to 70-80 percent of a person's maximum heart rate, significantly boosting metabolism and generating high calorie consumption.
Calculate your maximum heart rate
The following rule of thumb applies:
Men: 220 - Current age
Women: 226 - current age
Example: A 30 year old woman would have a maximum heart rate of 196 (226 - 30), so her target heart rate for a HIIT session this would be at least 137, which is 70% of 196, her maximum heart rate.
A higher heart rate during exercise also means that it will take longer to return to your resting heart rate after your workout ends - this is called the "afterburn effect". During the afterburn, your metabolism is still elevated and will continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate until your body returns to its resting state. This post-workout effect is one of the reasons that HIIT is so effective for weight-loss.
Man doing squat on bellicon trampoline
However, if you think LIIT is ineffective, you are mistaken. You can burn just as much fat and just as many calories with LIIT as with HIIT. With LIIT, you always stay below 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, but because of the increased duration of the workouts, it can produce benefits similar to HIIT. LIIT is the perfect alternative to HIIT fo for people with health problems. People with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, in particular, find low-intensity intervals preferable because it doesn't overtax them. During the more prolonged regeneration phase, the muscles and cardiovascular system can slowly adapt to the increasing load.