High intensity interval training for triathletes


Triathletes lead very busy lives. Most people who do this sport in New  Zealand have to work full time and have families as well. Time management is crucial to ensure you fit training around these other commitments. This is where High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT can be very helpful.

What is HIIT?
HIIT is a style of training where you put in maximum effort performing exercises as fast as possible in short bursts, followed by an equal or shorter period of rest. HIIT training improves your body’s  ability to burn excess body fat long after your workout is finished.
HIIT will increase your lean body mass which in turn helps you to cut  through water, drive up hills and push the pace on the run.

How do I perform a HIIT workout?
Below is a basic workout you can fit around your other daily commitments. Each exercise should be performed while maintaining correct form and  should also be done as quickly as possible. The idea is to give everything you have and leave nothing in the tank.

Required equipment:
– Cone or bottle of water x4
– Skipping rope
– Timer (smart phone)

Pace out 60 metres and a marker at 20 metre intervals – 0m, 20m, 40m and  60m.

Warm Up
– Jog out to the 20m mark and back x3
– High knees out to the 20m mark and ‘Heels to Butt’ back x3
– Then 10 squats, 10 push ups, 20 star jumps
– Finish warm up with leg swings

HIIT workout (remember as fast as possible)
– 5 push ups
– 5 squat jumps
– 5 mountain climbers
– Sprint to the 20m mark walk back to start
– 7 push ups
– 7 squat jumps
– 7 mountain climbers
– Sprint 40m mark, walk back to start
– 10 push ups
– 10 squat jumps
– 10 mountain climbers
– Sprint 60m, walk back to start

Put a timer on and recover between 1-5 minutes depending on fitness  level. Repeat HIIT workout three times – or more if you are game!

Cool down
Walk 120 metres and followed by a series of static stretches hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds.  If you have a foam roller, using this for  five minutes beforeyour static stretches is very good for dispersing lactic acid in the muscles.

I would recommend you perform this workout 1-2 times a week while training for your event. First check with your coach to see where this  regime will fit. If you do not do triathlons then you could use this as a workout regime 1-3 times a week.

Ensure you refuel the body with water and eat some real food – not a Gu or energy bar.

(One client who used a HIIT training regime noted real results. He competes in Xterra most years. Last year he used a HIIT training regime. He performed better than expected, gaining a P.B in all disciplines on the course.  Try it and see what happens for you.)

Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise regime.

caveman1Mountain climber

1) Starting in the top position of the  push. Brace your core, quickly lift one knee to your chest keeping toes off the ground.

2) Change knee quickly with a hop. Keep hips low/parallel to the ground








caveman2Push ups

1) Place thumbs shoulder width apart. Brace core to make spine ridged.

2) Breath in, exhale as you push up. Inhale on the way down.

3) Do not lock out elbows at the top of the movement. Stop yourself an inch above the ground. Repeat.





Squat jump

1) Start, feet hip width apart, toes pointing straight ahead. Firm core to stabilise spine.

2) Squat down bringing your hips behind your knees. Hands in front of your chest.

3) Explode up as fast as possible throw hands directly up over head. Land with a squat to catch yourself and reduce stress through joints.


Model Henry Tang | Henry has been working with Caveman for the last two years while he studied. He is nearing the end of his bachelor of sport and exercise.


(See next month’s Fitness Journal for a full profile on Reece Hepi)


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