Whether you’ve taken your first HIIT class or you’re still working up the courage, there are likely a few terms you’ll hear called out in class that you haven’t heard before. Read on to learn the meanings of 5 common HIIT vocab terms that you’ll need to know before you hit the mat.
It only makes sense to start with the most obvious acronym of all. You know… the word that’s in the name of that class you’re signed up for? Simply put, HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. But what does that really mean? High-intensity interval training involves performing all-out exhaustive physical exercises for a short period (interval) of time followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods.
If you’ve already conquered your first HIIT class, you’re sure to have heard “AMRAP” at least once. The phrase, which stands for “As Many Reps As Possible,” is the basis of many HIIT workouts. Because interval training is at the center of HIIT, many of the moves are completed in time intervals which call for you to do—as the phrase suggests—as many reps as you can within the given amount of time. Just be sure to focus on your form and ensure you’re nailing each rep. Quality is always more important than quantity.
Another common phrase you’ll hear is “EMOM,” short for “Every Minute On the Minute.” An EMOM routine tasks you to do a certain number of reps in a minute. After the minute is up, it’s time to switch to a different move. If you finish your reps before the minute is up, take a few seconds to rest before launching into the next exercise.
If you’re new to HIIT, you’re likely new to Tabata training as well. Tabata, named after the method’s creator Izumi Tabata, is a four-minute, max-effort routine consisting of eight rounds of exercises. Each exercise is meant to be performed in a 20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off interval for four minutes.
Traditionally, only one exercise move is performed during the full four minutes, but you can alternate between moves for a Tabata mash-up too. Complete four minutes of one Tabata round, then switch positions and change up your move for the next round. Give Tabata a try to find out just how long four minutes can feel!
The level of intensity required during a HIIT workout increases the body’s need for oxygen. This creates an oxygen shortage, which causes the body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. This “afterburn” effect is referred to as Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC. EPOC is the reason why performing intense intervals will help burn more fat and calories than steady-state workouts, as they require the body to keep working long after you’ve finished your workout.