HIIT the Gym

Runners can reap benefits from high intensity interval training

Alicia Bell
Photo: Dave Laus

Location: OTC Toronto; Make Up & Hair by Lori Fabrizio

Challenge yourself this winter with a hit of HIIT (high intensity interval training). As a runner, HIIT will help with your speed and fitness level. You can get faster with the high intensity of this workout.

What is HIIT? Generally, quick powerful bursts of exercise that can last anywhere between 10 to 60 seconds. The work is followed by rest that can last one to four times the length of the interval.

The following workout is designed to keep your fitness level all winter long and help build speed with powerful, explosive exercises. Move quickly from one exercise to the other with no more, or no less, than the allotted rest period. This will allow enough time to recover so the next exercise is done with proper form. You can add weight to all the exercises, except the hamstring pikes, if you wish. With just your bodyweight, you will still get an effective workout.

Make sure if you are doing weights on a running day that you do your Runner’s Winter HIIT first to prevent fatigue that can cause your form to fail and lead to injury. Go through each exercise in order and repeat the entire pattern 3-5 times, depending on your fitness level.


  • Treadmill Run/Walk: Incline of 10, speed of 4-5.5.
  • Plank Hip Opener: 10x each leg.
  • Wall Front Leg Swings: 10x each leg.
  • Wall Sideways Facing Leg Swings: 10x each leg.


Complete the following circuit 3-5 times, with 30 seconds of rest between exercises.

1. Bench Hop with Curtsey x 10 per side

  • Start on one side of the bench, step with the inside foot followed by the outside foot onto the bench to hop over it to the other side.
  • Your inside leg stays in place while you reach back and behind making a curtesy position as you lunge by bending both legs.
Bench hop with curtsey
[/media-credit] Photo: Dave Laus

2. Runner Lunge Jump x 10 per side

  • Perform a reverse lunge then push up off your front foot heel and drive opposing leg in front to jump.
  • Return to starting position and repeat with opposite leg.

3. Hamstring Pike Press x 60 seconds

  • Start in a crouched position with your elbows close to your knees.
  • Push hips into a pike position, while you push your heels into the ground making your legs as straight as possible.
  • Return to starting position and repeat in a fast, continuous movement.

4. Box Jump x 10

  • Squat in front of a box, engage your core and jump with both feet at the same time onto the box.
  • Make sure to land in a squat position.
  • Step off the box and repeat.

Cool Down

  • Treadmill Run/Walk: Incline of 3, speed of 3.5.
  • Foam Roll: Quads, hamstrings, calves. Roll out each for a minimum of 60s.