LIIT - Your New Favourite Workout

The sun’s out and so are warmer temperatures. Everybody’s happy to be out under the sun; and to us this means it’s time to take our workouts outdoors and out of gyms more often!

One really popular outdoor workout style is HIIT. As creative, fun and effective they can be HIIT workouts can produce a ton of muscular damage and central nervous system fatigue. They can take longer recovery times and people are at higher possibilities of injuring themselves in the process.

Recently, there has been major awareness towards emphasizing on what we’d call workout mindfulness and effective training. So we suggest that Low Intensity Interval Training (LIIT) is something worth trying out.

What is LIIT?

Similar to HIIT, LIIT follows an intense exercise period followed by a slower-paced recovery period. It’s proven to be a lot more sustainable than HIIT exercises, significantly reducing the risk of injury as well as making it more suitable for people of all fitness levels.

Low intensity training develops the aerobic system, which uses stored body fat as well as oxygen to meet the majority of the body’s energy needs. Although it can’t produce energy quickly, it can efficiently provide a steady supply of fuel for hours at a time. It is also proven to be just as effective as HIIT workouts.

A study in The Annals of Internal Medicine tracked 300 abdominally obese adults. Researchers examined those who did HIIT and those who did LIIT for 24 weeks and found they lost the same amount of weight. They concluded LIITcan burn as many calories as HIIT, when done properly and with equal frequency. However, based on the results, LIIT exercisers must exercise an average of 58 mins compared to 40 minutes for the HIIT exercisers.

So how does LIIT help and how does it work?

Joey Atlas, inventor of the Sculptabod (™) and founder of Sculptafit studios says that LIIT is a combination of the following key elements:

  1. Slow-tempo movements where momentum is dramatically reduced/minimized.
  2. Pause-holds at certain parts of most exercises. Pause-holds require you to be more ‘conscious and ‘in tune’ with your body, building your mind and muscle connection through the entire ROM (range of motion) for each repetition of an exercise.
  3. Proper body-positioning and fine tuning form through the entire ROM.
  4. Less emphasis on resistance, pain and burn with more emphasis on feeling the movement, control and stimulation.
  5. Synergy of combined exercises/movements to create desired stimulatory responses like neurological re-activation, muscle activation, neuromuscular regeneration, cardiovascular stimulation, balance adaptation and spatial body awareness.
  6. Asymmetrical variance, which emphasizes natural body movements (limbs moving in opposition, bilateral, unilateral, staggered stance, varied gripping points, etc.

As a result of this, low intensity interval training brings ‘compound results’ as the cumulative effects of training are always progressing, and not stopping or being inconsistent due to injury, discomfort, unrealistic physical demands or time constraints. This makes it a more enjoyable and an incredibly effective workout.

Any LIIT workout session may consist of intervals of resistance/strength training movements and bodyweight cardio-movements, separated by short transition intervals.The focus in the active interval segment is NOT to go as fast or intensely as one can, but rather to be as controlled, momentum-free and intent on executing each repetition with high-focus, high-quality form. Given that, you can modify any exercise to be a LIIT workout by simply changing the weight/repetition pattern of an exercise or the tempo speed. This is key according to Andrew Borsellino, co-founder of Precision Sports Performance.

Some examples of LIIT workouts are:

  • 90-second jog on the treadmill followed by a walking recovery of three to five minutes.
  • A circuit of three to four rounds of 10 squats, 10 push-ups, and a 30-second plank with a 90-second rest in between sets.

When can LIIT be performed?

  1. Building endurance- Your body adapts to the specific stimuli you throw at it. For most sports and recreational activities, including one to two bouts of steady-state training per week will give you the stamina to play well for longer.
  2. Light workout days- On days where you want to workout lighter, after continuous intense workout sessions, or if you want a break from your usual workout routine.
  3. Recovering from some injuries or anyone else that is more prone to injuries based on age, fitness level etc.

All in all, low intensity interval training seems incredibly effective as far as building a mind body connection goes, along with better post workout recovery. As with all workouts though, don’t forget to incorporate time to warm up and cool down to avoid injuries and excess soreness.

Have a great time exercising outdoors (or indoors too)!