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Timed Set Breakdown

It is funny when you look at all the different ways and styles of fitness over the years.


There have been a lot of fads in the past. Things like standing on a bosu ball to do anything or aerobic type classes.


Something that was at first thought to be a fad and ended up not being one because of how effective it was is HIIT.


HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training, and over the past couple of weeks we have been talking a little bit more about the different ways to do HIIT.


Today we will go over the most popular HIIT workouts, timed sets, or more commonly known as Tabatas.


Timed sets are a selected time limit of work with a rest period. Your goal with the work time is to get in as many reps as possible.


There are several ways we can do timed sets and they all have their reasons and where they fit into a fitness plan.


Let’s get started:


Short work with longer rest:


Short work with long rest periods will be used to build strength. Typical what is used for this is a 1:3 to a 1:5 work rest ratio. I like to use a 15 second work time, you can bump to as high as 30 seconds. Keep in mind with a higher work time you will be using a lighter weight.


This will be best at the start of a workout when you are fresh and you can work your hardest and lift the heaviest.


Middle work with middle rest:


Middle work with middle rest periods will be a good hybrid between strength, muscle building, and cardio. Usually you will see a 1:1 work rest ratio with this. 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest seems to be the magic number for this set up.


This will work at any point during the workout. I would argue that you can do this for 20 minutes and make it the entire workout if your exercises are properly planned.


High work with low rest:


High work with a low rest period is perfect for the cardio strength set up. The work rest ratio will be 3:1 or even a 1:0. I find that 45 seconds of work with 15 seconds rest and 60 seconds of work with 0 seconds of work to be the best.


Keep in mind that after each set to take a full 1 minute break. This will ensure that you can work at a higher capacity the entire workout.


This is best for toward the end of a workout and works best for cardio style exercises. Any exercise will work, ballistic movements and bodyweight fits best for this.


As far as fitness fads go HIIT has proven that it is not a fad. Timed sets are possibly the most popular of all the ways to build a HIIT workout. Just like there being many ways to do a HIIT workout, there are many ways to do a timed workout. With timed workouts we can build muscle, strength, and conditioning. In what way are you going to use timed workouts to reach your goals?


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