Power HIIT Builds More Strength and Improves Fitness in Less Time
These highly efficient workouts build lean muscle, increase your metabolism, and boost your mental strength.
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is hugely popular in the fitness world. And for good reason: HIIT works, and it works fast. This hard-but-effective training style compresses tough efforts into quick bursts so you can get big benefits even if you’re pressed for time.
Research shows that short bouts of intense exercise can improve your cardio capacity, boost your fat-burning capabilities, and even improve your cognitive function in less time than slogging through a steady-state workout.
Power HIIT, specifically, combines the principles of HIIT with resistance training to help you build muscle, accelerate your metabolism, and break through plateaus by gaining both power and endurance. Using Tonal’s velocity and range of motion tracking capabilities, power HIIT workouts keep you honest by pushing you to maintain your effort rep over rep.
What is Power HIIT?
Power HIIT is a high-intensity interval training style that incorporates weights to improve your all-around fitness. These sessions emphasize lifting quickly, while maintaining good form, to improve your ability to generate power, or how quickly you can overcome resistance.
“In power HIIT, we’re calling members to move with greater purpose and intent,” says John Christie, the director of Applied Training Science at Tonal.
Each workout includes a short warmup to prep your mind and muscles for action. Then you’ll move into three main blocks of work:
Prime: The prime block bumps up the intensity of the workout with compound movements targeting the large, primary muscles and preparing you for the challenges to come in the following blocks. This block will typically include movement patterns similar to what you’ll be doing in the power block, according to Christie.
Power: The power block focuses on lifting with sustained power to build muscular endurance. During this phase, you’ll maximize your effort in each rep and maintain that effort through each set. This block features movements you’re already familiar with from the prime block, so you have the confidence to move with proper form and throw down everything you’ve got.
“The goal is to move the resistance at a speed that’s as fast as you can handle,” says Christie. “Force times velocity equals power. The intention is to move forcefully so power is high and to preserve the velocity through the duration of the session.”
Tonal’s power meter displays your effort in real time so you can get immediate feedback on how hard you’re working and see if you need to up the ante. Your coach will specify your power goal for each set, but Christie explains you’ll usually be shooting for at least 80 percent of your peak power.
Burn: The burn block is a high-intensity finisher that increases your time under tension and demands a hard effort, often from accessory muscles that helped with earlier movements. This is where you push to exhaustion, breaking down muscle fibers so you can build them back up and return stronger than before. In the burn block, you might see explosive plyometric moves or exercises with a core emphasis.
Finally, you’ll perform a short cooldown to lower your heart rate, re-center your focus, and move on with the rest of your day.
What Are the Benefits of Power HIIT?
The Power HIIT format helps you recruit more muscles in less time, increasing your overall calorie burn and strength development without dedicating hours to training. You’ll also boost your general fitness and cardiovascular function as your heart and lungs become better prepared for the varying demands of this training style with more practice.
One key reason is that the power block better trains type-II muscle fibers, which are responsible for coordinated, explosive movements, and boosting your average power. Training explosive muscles in this way improves your athletic reactivity and increases your metabolism throughout the session and beyond.
Power training is especially important for older adults. Fast-twitch muscles generally slow with age, which can hinder your ability to get up out of a chair or cross the street before the light changes. “The ability to do everyday tasks tends to be about the application of force over a relatively short period of time—and that’s power,” says Troy Taylor, senior director of Performance at Tonal.
The benefits aren’t just purely physical, either. As power HIIT introduces challenges of varying demands, you’ll develop the mental strength required to put your all into every rep in any condition. And you won’t do it alone. “The coaches help members find a way through the challenge, helping craft a strategy for each session,” adds Christie.
Power HIIT is the perfect workout for busy, athletic people who seek efficient training. This style of workout will teach you more about your performance in training so it’s great for former athletes or anyone who appreciates the qualities that make up sport and performance and are looking for ways to bring those skills into their own lives.
Just remember that high intensity means hard effort—like, really hard. Prepare yourself to throw down and get to work. In order to reap the benefits of this style of training, you need to really push yourself to the max during work intervals and recover during rest periods.
Power HIIT on Tonal
Since Tonal tracks every rep in real time, these power HIIT programs and workouts give you unique insights into how you’re generating power with each movement. Give your all-out effort in these sessions to reap big benefits.
Prime, Power, Burn – Multiple Coaches
All the workouts in this two-week program follow the power HIIT format, with variety to keep you engaged, including different training types such as ascending rep schemes and circuits.
Super Power HIIT – Coach Akeem Emmons
Chains mode is activated during the burn block of this full-body workout to help you focus on generating concentric force and explosive movement.
HIIT for Speed – Coach Tanysha Renee
See how power HIIT can improve your athleticism in this high-energy workout that’s all about generating power and speed through compound lifts and dynamic movements.