How To Spice Up Your CV Workouts For Better Results

high intensity training

Using High-Intensity Interval Training is a great way to spice up your cv workouts. Used correctly HIIT can bring many health & fitness benefits.

 I asked a client of mine a while back if they had any questions on their training and the discussion came round to cv workouts and how to make them less boring! And that is what this blog will be on, how to make cv workouts less boring. I’ll need a better title though, just to spice it up a little!

Cardiovascular work, endurance work, conditioning, whatever you want to call it is traditionally thought of as steady-state work, one pace, long-distance, slow and boring for most people. On the treadmill, bike or cross trainer for half an hour or more at the same speed. Lots of cv equipment has interval or hill programmes included which are great and certainly help to make the training more varied and it’s this type of variation that I want to talk more about.

There is more and more evidence showing that HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) or Tabata type training is not only good for international athletes but is also very good for anyone looking to improve their endurance, health and overall fitness. The health and fitness benefits are many and varied and we will be covering them later in this article.

How Did HIIT All Start?

Conditioning, endurance training, interval training and the many variations have been around since the beginning of time. The Greco-Roman era saw the rise of documented and more regulated training regimes. Much of the training was based around ‘strong’, ‘rapid’ and ‘violent’ movements. This roughly translates into strength, speed and power work. 

Running in sand, lifting and carrying heavy objects, digging and wrestling were all part of their training regime. These exercises and many others were often completed as individual exercises and as circuits. 

Most Greco-Roman athletes trained for multi-discipline events and were consummate all-rounders. In today’s world, they would be similar to Decathletes or CrossFit competitors.

In the modern era, this interval or circuit-based form of conditioning is popular and well used. A longer endurance based version known as Fartlek training which is variable pace non-stop running and is commonly used by field sports and middle distance athletes.

L. Véronique Billat used interval training of varying interval lengths to train high-level middle distance track athletes and has shown significant improvements in endurance and speed as well as specific physiological adaptations beyond just cardiovascular improvements. The links below are citations for two of her published works on this.

Her studies also showed that this training also worked with untrained individuals as well. 

Dr Izumi Tabata of Tabata training also looked at the training effects of short recovery interval training bouts, see the link below.

This study looked at the benefits of short maximum effort intervals with very short rest intervals. This became known as Tabata rounds, 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds rest for 8 efforts equalling a 4 minute round. 

This format has been played with away from the athletic arena with various timings being used. See the table below for some examples.

Tabata and Billat’s work were originally geared towards running but have both been used with bodyweight and weighted exercises to great effect.

cv workouts

This type of training has been shown to reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass, increase strength and endurance, help to reduce the risks of heart disease and diabetes, high blood pressure and can increase elasticity in major arteries which can stiffen with age.

These are big health benefits that come as a side to the main aims of this training format. Without doubt, all forms of training and physical activity bring a variety of health benefits and any appropriate and regular physical activity is strongly recommended.

How To Use HIIT

So how do I use this to make my cv workouts less boring I hear you ask? 

Below is listed several cv workouts that should ease your boredom a little.

The first three are based on Billat’s timings and should be completed at 80% to 90% effort with active recovery at approximately  40% to 50% effort. 

The last three session times are based on Tabata’s work where each bout is near maximal effort whilst recovery is minimal effort.

Work TimeActive Recovery Effort RepetitionsNo. of rounds
2 minutes1 minute 5 to 10 rounds
4 minutes2 minutes3 to 5 rounds
5 minutes3 minutes 2 to 5 rounds
20 seconds 10 seconds 8 efforts 3 to 5 rounds
40 seconds 20 seconds 4 efforts 3 to 5 rounds
30 seconds 30 seconds 4 efforts 3 to 5 rounds
HIIT Training Options

These are only some of the many variations available and should be enough for most of you to be getting on with for a while. These training options are just a few that are widely used and you could literally come up with an endless set of variations with a little imagination and planning.

high intensity training

Your training goals and preferences will determine how and when you use HIIT workouts in your routine. For those of you looking to improve your fitness, lose body fat and gain muscle then I would suggest that you include one to two traditional strength sessions along with one or two HIIT sessions a week and include some steady-state cadiovascular training in your programme, approximately once every 10 to 14 days.

To find out more about HIIT Training and how it can help you please get in touch here by email at 

You should also subscribe to The HIIT Works by Get Coached for workouts, training programmes, healthy recipes and much more! Check out the subscription options at 

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the workouts.

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