HIIT training workouts can be put together in almost any way you want. Factors that can be adjusted the interval length, the rest length, the number of intervals and the type of training used. How you decide to set these ups depends on what you are training for and your current fitness level. Below are some case studies to highlight the wide range of possibilities:
Case study 1- Tom is a football player and wants to increase his sprint speed, as well as how fast he can recover between sprints. He is already quite fit. He uses running as his training type, as this is the same discipline he uses when playing. He knows that he usually gets at least a minute to recover between sprints during offensive parts of the game, but that his sprints can often be the length of the field. So he sets his intervals up as 30 second sprints with a minute rest in between. His current fitness level means that he cannot do more than 15 intervals before his performance drops drastically. As his fitness increases he will add more intervals.
Case study 2- Sarah is trying to lose weight. Her current fitness is very poor and she does not enjoy cardiovascular training, so she decides to use weight training in her HIIT sessions instead. She finds one exercise for each body area and tests herself to find a weight that she can perform 15 repetitions with for each. Because her fitness is so low Sarah decides to have 30 seconds of rest between each set. As her fitness increases she will reduce this rest, until she is doing circuits that have a minutes rest in between.
Case study 3- Amy competes in Thai boxing competitions. She is looking to increase her ability to throw strong punches and kicks for the duration of a round, as well as improving her ability to recover between rounds. As her discipline is very tough on all parts of the body she decides to use running for her HIIT sessions, as it is the most challenging of the cardio training types. She most commonly fights 10x 4 minute rounds with 1 minute rest in between. So she performs a test sessions to see what speed she can run on the treadmill for 10x 4 minute intervals with 1 minute rest in between. To last this duration of time she finds she can run at 9.5kph during the hard intervals. She does this session 3 times a week and will increase her speed by 0.25kph every 2 weeks. This will encourage her body to increase its power endurance and cardiovascular endurance.
Case study 4- Mitchell wants to improve his core strength to give himself better posture. His fitness is ok so he decides to do circuits. Firstly he finds 5 exercises that hit his core muscles in different ways. Then during his core HIIT sessions he does each exercise to failure, one after another. This takes him about 2 to 2 ½ minutes. He then rest for 1 minute and then repeats the circuit another 3 times. As his core strength increases he can hold each exercise for a longer period of time, meaning that his circuit length increases to 4 minutes over time. He keeps his rest periods at a minute though to further challenge himself.
As you can see from these case studies the number of ways a HIIT sessions can be set up is pretty much unlimited. Decide what you want to train for and what your current ability is and set your sessions up accordingly.