Posted in Run and tagged Training, HIIT, Workout
Why you need to try the anti-HIIT workout

The cardio benefits of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) have made it the go-to solution for time-efficient training but is it always the right way to train? Polar ambassador Jack Hanrahan explains how the Anti-HIIT approach can help you to build strength and fitness.

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a great way for busy people to get a great workout in very little time. Combining short bursts of intense exercise with short periods of rest, it spikes the heart-rate which means it's an effective way to burn calories. 

But what if there was a way to train that efficiently burns calories and builds strength, without leaving you breathless and dripping with sweat? Enter the Anti-HIIT method.

What is Anti-HIIT training?

Unlike HIIT, which periodically spikes your heart-rate, the Anti-HIIT way is to keep your heart rate in a relatively low 'sweet spot,' at around zone 2. It may surprise you to learn that elite athletes spend over 80% of their time training at a zone 2 intensity so if it's good enough for them, it's definitely worth a try.

If you're not familiar with heart rate zones, zone 2 is around 70% of your maximum heart rate. If you don't know what that is, check out Polar's Maximum Heart Rate Calculator.

When Polar ambassador and trainer Jack Hanrahan was stuck in a small flat with no exercise equipment during the long lockdown of spring 2020, he started experimenting with bodyweight exercises that would allow him to work out continuously at a steady pace for a prolonged duration.

Using his Polar Ignite to track his heart rate he discovered that, whilst he couldn't do exercises like burpees and jumping lunges, lower impact bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks and high knee skips allowed him to stay in a sustainable heart rate zone.

Anti-HIIT low heart rate training with Polar Ignite

Why you need to include low heart-rate training in your cardio plan

Anti-HIIT training delivers a whole host of physiological benefits. These include:

Metabolic Health

The aerobic system produces the vast majority of our energy requirements to support life and physical activity. A healthy metabolism improves the quality of life and dramatically lowers morbidity.


With an improved aerobic system, we produce energy way more efficiently. This means we can train harder for longer and have better stamina throughout the day.

Faster Recovery

Sleep better, wake up feeling more refreshed, recover from your workouts faster, say goodbye to ever feeling drained!

Fat Burning

Low-intensity cardio is called the ‘fat-burning zone’ for a reason. At this intensity, fat is the predominant fuel source, and in the long term, this training makes you less likely to store fat by improving fuel partitioning.

Try this low heart rate workout

To help you to get started, Jack shared his low heart rate workout. Using a HRM watch like the Polar Ignite will help you to keep track of your heart rate. 

  • High Knee Skips: 20-30 seconds.
  • Rest: 0-10 seconds.
  • Jumping Jacks: 20-30 seconds.
  • Rest: 0-10 seconds.
  • Mountain Climbers: 20-30 seconds.
  • Rest: 0-10 seconds.
  • Repeat the above steps for 20-40 minutes.

Jack's Anti-HIIT tips

  • Remember that it will take a while for your heart rate to get up to target so just keep to the above plan, skipping the rests until you've hit your zone 2.
  • Keep an eye on your watch - if your heart rate is going too high, you'll need to decrease the work time and increase the rest until it's back under control. Likewise, if it goes too low you'll need to increase the work and decrease the rest. Keep going until you find the pace that works for you.
  • Breathing through your nose gets more oxygen into your body so you'll develop aerobic fitness faster this way.

    Tap here to shop Polar fitness watches and HRMs at Wiggle 

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About the author

NChamanian's picture
Nassrin Chamanian
Published on: 11 Jan 2022

Pretty OK at bikes. Enthusiasm outstrips ability.