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HIIT Training vs. Resistance Training: Which is most effective?

HIIT training ( High Intensity Interval Training) is still the buzz in the fitness industry.  However, resistance or strength training is extremely important because there is little doubt that muscle mass declines with age.  Ideally we should be doing both but who has time for that in a life full of many other obligations?  The question then becomes which one is more important.  A recent article in Cell Metabolism studied just this question.  The study looked at both age (18-30 years old and 65-80 years old) and type of training (HIIT, Resistance training or RT and Combined Training or CT (RT and HIIT).  The researchers acknowledge that the CT group did not engage in the same level of intensity than either the HIIT or RT group.  The study found that HIIT training in young and old resulted in increased VO2 Peak (the primary indicator of cardio-respiratory fitness), increased insulin sensitivity (a marker of decreased risk for type 2 diabetes), increased Fat Free Mass and increased muscle strength.  The RT group in young and old resulted in increased insulin sensitivity and Fat Free Mass but not VO2 peak and the CT group saw modest but less gains in Fat Free Mass and VO2 peak.  As stated earlier the researchers indicated that there was less intensity in the CT group exercise regimen.

What does this mean to you?  It means that we can significantly improve our cardio-respiratory fitness (heart and lung health), decrease our chances of developing type 2 diabetes, improve our lean body mass and increase our muscular strength with HIIT training regardless of age. However, while this study indicated positive results for HIIT training the type of HIIT training should be explored a little more.  This study looked at HIIT training using only cardio exercises (treadmill and bike).  The CT group involved strength training and HIIT training as with the other groups but was separated during the workout.  What if you could combine the two to involve both HIIT and RT into one effective and efficient workout?  Fortunately there is a program out there that does just that.  It is called Tabata Bootcamp.  This program combines cardiovascular exercises and strength exercises to achieve the benefits of both the HIIT and RT groups in this study.  I encourage you to find a program in your community that offers this type of training.  If your gym or health club doesn’t offer it ask your club manager or owner to look into having some of their group exercise instructors trained.  For more information on Tabata Bootcamp and to find a program in your area visit

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