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HIIT vs LIIT

They’re both terms we hear a lot in the fitness world, and personal trainers use them almost every day among their classes and clients sessions… but what do they actually mean?! HIIT stands for “high intensity interval training” whilst LIIT stands for “low intensity interval training”. Let’s first of all break down the one thing that they both have in common; interval training.


Interval training is defined as “physical training consisting of alternating periods of high and low intensity” (definition from Oxford Languages), which may lead you to think… is there actually any difference in the training then? Well yes, is the short answer. HIIT training periods are very high intensity (think squat jumps, mountain climbers and high knees), whilst LIIT periods aren’t as intense, but generally stick to the same time frames (squats, lunges or crunches for example). In typical TABATA style HIIT (originated from Japan as an alternative to moderate long duration exercise), time periods are 20 seconds work with 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds (a 4-minute block), although you may find slightly different interval training periods in some classes, such as 30 seconds work and 15 seconds rest, but this of course won’t be classed as typical Tabata.


There’s a time and place for both styles of training within a fitness timetable, and I often find that within my own classes I can offer both styles to my clients. Some people love the burn, and being able to push themselves, whilst understandably, others may prefer a slower sweat, or need to take care with a current injury for example. Injuries don’t always mean complete rest - it's sometimes more beneficial to move gently than not at all, as we can otherwise lose strength across the whole body!