Since becoming a Personal Trainer in 2014, I have observed over the years the growing popularity of High Intensity Interval Training (HIT) as part of a varied training regime. On the outset, it appeared to be a training style that not only promoted increases in lean muscle mass and aerobic capacity through short bursts of explosive movements, but was also an efficient and convenient workout method for those with time restrictions or limited space/resources to perform physical activity. Due to these characteristics, I have gradually implemented this training style into my own regime and introduced it into my clients’ exercise prescription to complement their fat loss efforts.
Further investigation into the benefits of HIT has partially confirmed my knowledge and understanding of the exercise approach. According to a systematic review titled Effects of Low-Volume High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT) on Fitness in Adults: A Meta-Analysis of Controlled and Non-Controlled Trials, the evidence concluded that low-volume HIT “produces moderate improvements in the aerobic power of active non-athletic and sedentary subjects” (Weston, Taylor, Batterham, Hopkins, 2014, pp. 1005).
Whilst this systematic review established the aerobic benefits of HIT in specific individuals, there was not a dedicated discussion regarding my predominant interest of the relationship between HIT and changes in body composition. The authors do mention that “the effectiveness of HIT to improve health-related outcomes has recently generated new interest” (Weston, Taylor, Batterham, Hopkins, 2014, pp. 1006), therefore indicating that further research needs to be conducted to determine these specific outcomes.
Nonetheless, my personal experiences of performing HIT has returned positive results in terms of increasing my aerobic capacity and muscular endurance. For my clients seeking to improve their cardiovascular health, prescribing HIT will certainly be beneficial in achieving that result.
Weston, M., Taylor K.L., Batterham, A.M., & Hopkins W.G. (2014). Effects of Low-Volume High Intensity Interval Training (HIT) on Fitness in Adults: A Meta-Analysis of Controlled and Non-Controlled Trials. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
If you have been watching your favourite fitness influencers’ exercise videos on social media lately, you may have seen them incorporating a variety of resistance bands and chains in their workouts. While you may think this style of training is “cute and fluffy”, this isn’t simply a trending fad – there are actually scientifically-proven benefits in using these pieces of equipment.
Curious to learn more about the benefits of bands and chains, I came across an article titled Practical applications of biomechanical principles in resistance training: The use of bands and chains which discusses “a range of mechanical and neuromechanical concepts that exercise professionals can explore to manipulate the training stimulus associated with conventional resistance training exercises” (Swinton, Keogh & Lake, 2014, pp.27). In plain English, this article investigates how the force, velocity and resistance of certain exercises can be manipulated using bands and chains to enhance daily functionality, improve performance and increase physical power.
I consider my knowledge and understanding of band and chain use to be basic, so it was a little disappointing to learn that “the vast number of possible acute and chronic training designs make it challenging to recommend a specific set of guidelines” (Swinton, Keogh & Lake, 2014, pp.39). Despite this, results from acute biomechanical studies do suggest that the use of bands and chains in training promotes stimulus, exercise progression and positive training adaptions – winning!
Bands and chains have been found to be most effective on exercises that feature ascending force-time curves, such as:
So, while the performance and physical power that is developed through the incorporation of bands and chains is subjective based on individual circumstance, it’s comforting to know that fitness influencers have gotten something right with the use of these nifty training accessories! I will continue to incorporate bands and chains into my clients’ workout regimes and further test these theories out on my own training.
Swinton, P.A., Keogh, J., & Lake, J. (2014). Practical applications of biomechanical principles in resistance training: The use of bands and chains. Journal of Fitness Research, 3(2)