Michael Mosley shares three ‘effective’ exercise routines that are ‘better than HIIT’

By Staff 5 Min Read

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been a major fitness trend in recent years – with many people swearing by its ability to help them get in shape quickly

TV doctor Michael Mosley has suggested that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is ‘the single best way to get the most benefits out of exercise in the shortest amount of time’ – and could even help you live longer.

His advice supports research indicating that exercise involving alternating between short, intense bursts of activity and fixed rest periods may be superior for enhancing adults’ memory and cognitive function than moderate exercise. However, HIIT workouts can be daunting, says Leon Bolmeer, fitness expert and director of Geezer’s Boxing. He offers three alternative exercise routines that yield similar health benefits.

Tabata-Inspired Training

This sort of workout is inspired by the research of Dr. Izumi Tabata and emphasises ultra-intense efforts interspersed with brief rest periods. A typical Tabata-style workout involves performing a single exercise (like squats, sprints, or kettlebell swings) at maximum effort for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for eight cycles (four minutes in total).

Fartlek Runs

Fartlek training blends continuous and interval training. Continuous training is often labelled boring due to its monotonous nature, but Fartlek runs add spontaneity and freedom to your routine, making it far more interesting. Begin with a moderate-paced jog, then periodically move into faster sprints for 30 to 60 seconds. After each sprint, return to a comfortable pace for recovery.

The main appeal of Fartlek training for most people is its versatility, as you can adjust speeds and duration based on how you feel, terrain variations, or specific training goals.

Pyramid Circuit

Unlike a HIIT workout or a typical circuit training routine, pyramid circuits build intensity gradually before tapering down, offering a structured yet challenging session. Start with a foundational exercise (such as bodyweight squats), performing it for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest.

Then, move to the next exercise (such as press-ups, burpees, plank) extending the work interval to 30 seconds with a 15-second rest. Continue adding increments (40 seconds/20 seconds, 50 seconds/25 seconds) until reaching the peak, then descend back down the pyramid.

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