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does cycling hills count as hiit?

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does cycling hills count as hiit?

Old 04-21-16, 07:57 PM
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John Redcorn
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does cycling hills count as hiit?

does cycling up a bunch of rolling hills count as hiit?

The hills take a minute or less to get up and if I give it the juice trying to maintain speed or even go faster I'm pretty out of breath at the top.

I don't know the grade or elevation gain for a typical hill but I usually see around 700-1000' elevation gain over a typical 10 mileish lunchtime or after-work ride.

Earlier this year I used to cycle a lot at a big 20+ mile system of trails alongside a river (riverparks tulsa if you're from around here) so they are way flat, I noticed weight started dropping* much quicker about exactly the time I started riding another set of trails alongside a turnpike, trails follow the countour of the earth and also go up or down every mile for exiting at major streets. (creek turnpike trail and st. francis area bikeway if you're from around here)

*wife and I got too in to drinking for a few years, that plus eating bad plus a wreck that put me off the bike for 2 weeks and those 2 weeks down made me lazy and turned in to 2 years down, I put on a lot, up to 244, down to 205 now since feb 1, just riding, drinking under control and using myfitnesspal to eat between 2000-2400 cals/day.

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Old 04-21-16, 08:29 PM
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Hiit ?
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Old 04-21-16, 08:59 PM
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High intensity interval training.

Yes, hill repeats are classic interval training.
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Old 04-21-16, 08:59 PM
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I don't understand the question. Hiit?
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Old 04-21-16, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Hiit ?
High Intensity Interval Training

And yes, OP, if you're exerting yourself rolling hills are like nature's intervals. If you're shifting down real low and just spinning your way up (keeping your heart rate fairly low) then they're just scenery, but you can make them whatever you want
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Old 04-21-16, 09:02 PM
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High intensity interval training. Had to google it.
Cycling up a bunch of rolling hills can be good training, generally. And fun.
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Old 04-21-16, 09:03 PM
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It really depends on what you're doing. The essence of HIIT is that you are doing very brief blasts of truly maximum effort with brief rest periods in between. You should get close to puking, if you don't actually puke. Just riding up hills ain't necessarily HIIT.
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Old 04-22-16, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
It really depends on what you're doing. The essence of HIIT is that you are doing very brief blasts of truly maximum effort with brief rest periods in between. You should get close to puking, if you don't actually puke. Just riding up hills ain't necessarily HIIT.
Agree and taking a minute to climb up a hill isn't climbing up a hill. That's just riding.

Having to gear down from 3rd ring to 1st ring and from the 14t cog to 28t or 34t cog and you can hear your heart pounding in your ears, the road surface is soaked with your sweat because you're doing 3 or 4 mph, and it's 10-15 minutes before you even see the top of the hill, that is climbing a hill.

Of course, on this forum, no one does that. Everyone here climbs 20+% hills in the big chain ring spinning in the middle of the cassette at 16 mph.

As for weight loss, I'm no expert, but I personally think riding continuous for longer periods of time on a flat trail with sustained moderately elevated heart rate will burn fat and result in weight loss much better than hill climbing. The hill climbing or interval training is probably the best for fitness (heart strength and respiratory) but I lose weight easier when riding the flat river trails than riding on the road with western PA hills.
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Old 04-22-16, 06:44 AM
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I've been doing intervals for a long time -- and yes, hill climbing is interval training.

Technically you don't have to push yourself to ALL-OUT levels of intensity for it to be considered HIIT. Just an intensity level during your high intensity intervals that is higher than you could sustain for a longer duration. Typically you do want to push yourself to the max you can do in that 30 seconds or however long your intervals shape out to be. But just because it's not an all-out effort doesn't mean that it's not high intensity.

In the end, you know if your intervals are pushing your intensity to a level that you can't sustain for longer than 1-2 minutes, so if you're not going as hard as you can, you should probably push it a bit more, but it's not absolutely necessary that you're nearly dying at the end of each high intensity interval. You can technically do 1:30 of low intensity, then :30 of 80-90% MHR, repeat...that's still a high intensity interval and just bringing your heart rate up to that unsustainable heart rate during your high intensity interval portion, then letting it come back down during rest is enough to get the benefits associated with training in that higher HR zone.

Now tabata will put you into MHR or above ( Trainer Q&A: What's the Difference Between HIIT and Tabata? )...and is probably only recommended for very highly-conditioned athletes who are currently performing at or very near their peak.
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Old 04-22-16, 08:48 AM
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Hills are good training and intense ONLY until you stop short of going all-out....which is what usually happens. Tell ya what, train on hills until you are feeling like you are in decent shape. Then, hit an all-out, everything you got, grizzly-on-my-azz half mile SPRINT. When you finish....coast to catch your breath and wonder what just happened.

I commend you for hill training. Hills are your friends, dont avoid them. But you really can add to that with gut-busting intervals.

Last edited by OldsCOOL; 04-22-16 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 04-22-16, 08:55 AM
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Since I seldom do any real all-out HIIT, you bet I count the rolling hills! But HIIT are targeted exercises for specific goals, and hill "intervals" don't really have the structure to provide that.
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Old 04-22-16, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
I've been doing intervals for a long time -- and yes, hill climbing is interval training.

Technically you don't have to push yourself to ALL-OUT levels of intensity for it to be considered HIIT. Just an intensity level during your high intensity intervals that is higher than you could sustain for a longer duration. Typically you do want to push yourself to the max you can do in that 30 seconds or however long your intervals shape out to be. But just because it's not an all-out effort doesn't mean that it's not high intensity.

In the end, you know if your intervals are pushing your intensity to a level that you can't sustain for longer than 1-2 minutes, so if you're not going as hard as you can, you should probably push it a bit more, but it's not absolutely necessary that you're nearly dying at the end of each high intensity interval. You can technically do 1:30 of low intensity, then :30 of 80-90% MHR, repeat...that's still a high intensity interval and just bringing your heart rate up to that unsustainable heart rate during your high intensity interval portion, then letting it come back down during rest is enough to get the benefits associated with training in that higher HR zone.

Now tabata will put you into MHR or above ( Trainer Q&A: What's the Difference Between HIIT and Tabata? )...and is probably only recommended for very highly-conditioned athletes who are currently performing at or very near their peak.
If by MHR you mean maximum heart rate, how exactly does one go above his maximum?
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Old 04-22-16, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
If by MHR you mean maximum heart rate, how exactly does one go above his maximum?
When I say MHR I mean the theoretical maximum value one perceives to be their maximum heart rate based on the standard calculation of 220 minus their age.
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Old 04-22-16, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
When I say MHR I mean the theoretical maximum value one perceives to be their maximum heart rate based on the standard calculation of 220 minus their age.
Does anyone still use this formula to estimate max heart rate?
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Old 04-22-16, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by KenshiBiker View Post
Does anyone still use this formula to estimate max heart rate?
How else would one estimate their MHR?

There's one way to receive an actual value and that involves a cardiologist.

EDIT: Seems like an easy and a practical method to base your .65-.85 MHR, or .60-.70, .70-.80, .80-.90, and .90-100 off of to me. If there's some other way to calculate those and at least arrive somewhere in the ballpark, I'm all for learning it.

Last edited by deapee; 04-22-16 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 04-22-16, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
How else would one estimate their MHR?

There's one way to receive an actual value and that involves a cardiologist.

EDIT: Seems like an easy and a practical method to base your .65-.85 MHR, or .60-.70, .70-.80, .80-.90, and .90-100 off of to me. If there's some other way to calculate those and at least arrive somewhere in the ballpark, I'm all for learning it.
I don't estimate it. I use my observed maximum. In my case it's 15bpm higher than the number derived by 220-age formula. If I went by 220-age, I'd barely be above lactate threshhold. Although it may be accurate for large samples of untrained subjects, it's pretty useless for individual athletes. I'm always amazed that magazines and trainers are still spouting it.
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Old 04-23-16, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I don't estimate it. I use my observed maximum. In my case it's 15bpm higher than the number derived by 220-age formula. If I went by 220-age, I'd barely be above lactate threshhold. Although it may be accurate for large samples of untrained subjects, it's pretty useless for individual athletes. I'm always amazed that magazines and trainers are still spouting it.
Probably a fairly accurate method for one who is conditioned and regularly pushes himself to that level.

Since you state your parents are in their 70's, I calculated the zones for a 50 year old (and since you stated your MHR is 15 BPM higher, I simply added 15 to the calculation)...

[TABLE="width: 288"]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="colspan: 2"]formula max: 170[/TD]
[TD]actual max: 185[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD].6-.7[/TD]
[TD]102-119[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD]111-129[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD].7-.8[/TD]
[TD]119-136[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD]129-148[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD].8-.9[/TD]
[TD]136-153[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD]148-166[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

For a newer person to a sport, I'd be willing to bet that the zones for formula based on a MHR of 170 are more accurate than for a conditioned athlete such as yourself. Clearly the MHR formula is just an estimate and not applicable to those who are well-trained. Either way, the zones based off of the formula are roughly equivalent and would probably result in satisfactory training even for a conditioned athlete.

That being said, we do know that the heart rate supposedly declines by 7 BPM every 10 years (I think) which would actually put a 50 year old right at 185 as opposed to 170...maybe that is a more accurate metric. However, maybe the metric is designed for beginners anyway.

In either event, even using the standard 220-age formula, working at the top of a zone puts the 50 year old in the zone anyway (the greater your age the greater the probability of discrepancy here anyway). So while not super accurate, I'd call the formula a pretty good method of determining your zones for conditioning well into any person's path to fitness.
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Old 04-23-16, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
For a newer person to a sport, I'd be willing to bet that the zones for formula based on a MHR of 170 are more accurate than for a conditioned athlete such as yourself. Clearly the MHR formula is just an estimate and not applicable to those who are well-trained. Either way, the zones based off of the formula are roughly equivalent and would probably result in satisfactory training even for a conditioned athlete.
I wouldn't place too much money on that bet. MHR tends to go down with increasing fitness as the heart responds to training and the stroke volume increases for each beat. There's no place for the formula in training as it's simple to get a reasonable estimate.
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Old 04-23-16, 07:32 AM
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Riding hills doesn't necessarily mean it's HIIT...HIIT is basically 10-30 seconds of an all out max effort
(eg: sprinting) followed by 20-60 seconds of rest and then repeat that for a few sets...You can ride hills all day and not even come close to anaerobic threshold...The intensity of real HIT is so high that it's impossible to continue for longer then 30 seconds...If your efforts are closer to 1 minute or longer then you're just doing aerobic work and not HIT.
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Old 04-23-16, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I wouldn't place too much money on that bet. MHR tends to go down with increasing fitness as the heart responds to training and the stroke volume increases for each beat. There's no place for the formula in training as it's simple to get a reasonable estimate.
hrmm...Gotcha. That makes sense. For me, I like using the formula to calculate my zones. The highest I've ever seen my heart rate was 181. But supposedly based on the formula my MHR is 185. I just always assumed I've never pushed hard enough to hit it or the methods I've use aren't precise enough.

Sorry for hijacking the thread. I'm a fan of perceived rate of exertion anyway, personally...I just track heart rate and review my own graphs after activity for fun I guess.
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Old 05-01-16, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Riding hills doesn't necessarily mean it's HIIT...HIIT is basically 10-30 seconds of an all out max effort
(eg: sprinting) followed by 20-60 seconds of rest and then repeat that for a few sets...You can ride hills all day and not even come close to anaerobic threshold...The intensity of real HIT is so high that it's impossible to continue for longer then 30 seconds...If your efforts are closer to 1 minute or longer then you're just doing aerobic work and not HIT.
This is not necessarily true, intervals can be as long or short as you can sustain within a reasonable time but a 10 second interval isn't doing anything for you unless your doing 10 seconds on then 10 off... I would say minimum 30 seconds up to 1 1/2 for extreme. The key is finding the balance of interval and rest period. When I do Hiit it's 1 minute of close to max effort then 1 - 1 1/2 minute of lower intensity. As you progress, you will be able to sustain the high intensity longer and need shorter rest periods.
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Old 05-01-16, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
How else would one estimate their MHR?

There's one way to receive an actual value and that involves a cardiologist.

EDIT: Seems like an easy and a practical method to base your .65-.85 MHR, or .60-.70, .70-.80, .80-.90, and .90-100 off of to me. If there's some other way to calculate those and at least arrive somewhere in the ballpark, I'm all for learning it.
See what it is on your HR display on, or just after, the big hill when you gave it everything and blew up.
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Old 05-01-16, 12:40 PM
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I can only go by feeling. I can go as hard as I can on flat for 30-60 seconds. My legs give out first. I can get going so fast and try to keep up 30 or so MPH on flat for so long before I can't utilize my legs to keep it up any more. I don't know what my heart rate is doing. I can only judge what it feels like by comparing it to riding a hill.

Riding hills, so far there isn't a hill I can't climb, but I haven't tried any of the extreme grades in Pittsburgh yet (a coworker rode one of the dirty dozen hills last weekend and came back in shock over the steepness.) I am overweight and don't climb them fast, but on 16-18% I can tell you, my legs will grind up it slow but steady until I get to the top but my heart rate is screaming in my ears and I am dang near at my limit for breathing. I can tell, riding up a steep hill, it is definitely far more taxing on my heart rate and respiratory system than 30-60 seconds of all out sprinting on flat and the duration lasts far longer than doing HIIT sprints as it may take me 10 minutes or more to climb up a hill. Last big hill I climbed had 17.9% max, half a mile in length, and took me 15 minutes to climb up. That's the hardest I felt my heart and respiratory working since the very beginning when I started riding on the road with hills.
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Old 05-01-16, 02:43 PM
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I don't delve too deep into it, but I consider any portion of my rides done above LTHR to be high intensity, and going up hills is pretty much the only way for me to get above LTHR for any period of time. I have a hill segment I repeat now and again, a roughly 2-mile square which ascends 150 feet in 0.4 miles, then descends over the remaining 1.5 miles back to the start, where I do it again. The climb comes in under 2 minutes when pushing it, and I go as hard as I can. The descent is usually long enough to recover for the next climb.

The thing about MHR dropping definitely seems to be happening to me. A few months back, I hit 184bpm twice in one ride. Lately, getting above even 170bpm is quite rare. Most days will have a peak of 166-168bpm, even when perceived effort is wide open and I feel like breakfast/lunch might be coming back for a second visit.
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Old 05-01-16, 03:17 PM
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I think it all depends on the hills, and how you approach them.

I hit a couple of hill climb rides last weekend (about 30 out of 50 miles each day).
https://ridewithgps.com/ambassador_r...est-portlandia
https://ridewithgps.com/ambassador_r...ost-portlandia

They may not look like much, but there are a lot of 10% hills mixed in. And those jagged edges on elevations shouldn't be ignored.

And, for those that rode the 20% slopes, they were nothing but HIGH INTENSITY, especially if you hit them at moderately high gearing. I think I hit them at 39/23 which threw me over the top.

One thing, if you use Strava, with or without a power meter, it should give you some idea of the watts.

At least for an amateur rider, hit the slopes at 300W, and it is a pretty decent workout. Hit them at 400-500W, and it is a really good workout.
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