The approach seems promising, since most of us have minimal time to exercise each week. Gibala last month published a new study of H.I.T., requiring only a stationary bicycle and some degree of grit. In this modified version, you sprint for 60 seconds at a pace that feels unpleasant but sustainable, followed by 60 seconds of pedaling easily, then another 60-second sprint and recovery, 10 times in all. “There’s no particular reason why” H.I.T. shouldn’t be adaptable to almost any sport, Gibala said, as long as you adequately push yourself.
Of course, to be effective, H.I.T. must hurt. But a study published last month found that when a group of recreational runners practiced H.I.T. on the track, they enjoyed the workout more than a second group of runners who jogged continuously for 50 minutes. The H.I.T. runners, the study’s authors suspect, were less bored.
The only glaring inadequacy of H.I.T. is that it builds muscular strength less effectively than, say, the squat. But even that can be partially remedied, Gibala said: “Sprinting up stairs is a power workout and interval session simultaneously.”Meaning that running up steps just might be the single best exercise of all.
That is the view of Martin Gibala. He is the guy who has been doing a lot of research recently on the imapct of interval training, generally finding that short sprints can have the same effects as endurance exercise and that you also do not need to be flat out in the sprints to get the benefits.
The full paper for that last one is here.