Paul Laursen: HIIT It! How (and Why) To Add High-Intensity Interval Training to Your Endurance Program with Success

January 24, 2020


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Paul Laursen is an author, scientist, coach and entrepreneur who’s back on the podcast to discuss his latest project that’s years in the making, one of the most comprehensive resources on high-intensity interval training to ever exist, called HIIT Science. To find out more, head to their website,, for their free blog and resources, online course and more. Purchase the book, The Science and Application of High-Intensity Interval Training here.


On this show:

HIIT Training:

  • Content vs. context
    • Depends on how much strength, speed, and endurance your sport requires
    • An image of content vs context
    • When looking at endurance sports, you want the HIIT to target the development of the aerobic system
  • Two key benefits of HIIT (if done appropriately):
    • Fast-twitch muscle fibers become more fatigued resistant
    • Increased cardiac output efficiency
  • The biggest misconception about HIIT:
    • It’s NOT about “no pain, no gain!” Always leave a session feeling like you could have done one or two more.
  • How many days do you want to take off between HIIT sessions?
    • The general consensus is 48 hours, a threshold session is 24 hours, and an aerobic session didn’t need any recovery time
    • Context is very important!
    • If the HIIT is done in the running context, it could be up to 72 hours
    • A beginner triathlete might need a whole week
  • Is there a way to add HIIT to your regiment safely for an athlete who has a history of injuries?
    • Depends on the injury
    • HIIT can be added to a lot of different modalities of exercise
    • For example, you can add them to swimming, cycling, and water running
  • Different types of HIIT intervals:
    • HIIT training is defined by periods of exercise that are above your threshold or inside your red zone
    • The red zone exists within a range; the higher the intensity the shorter the duration
    • Long intervals:
    • Short intervals:
    • Repeated sprint intervals:
      • Typically used in a swimming context
      • Between 6-15 seconds all-out followed by a 20-30 seconds recovery
    • Game-based intervals:
      • Typically used in a team sports context
  • How do you envision a plan that blends MAF & HIIT? And do you see the two as being able to complement each other for max results?
    • Both fit in well, within the polarized training model
    • Context is important
    • Steven Seiler’s Polarized Training model:
      • 80:20 rule
  • Other topics covered:
Other links mentioned by Paul:

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