Can You Condense a Workout into Four Seconds?

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This isn’t just HIIT. This is… advanced HIIT.

The concept of HIIT, or “high-intensity interval training,” is simple enough enough on paper. You put everything you’ve got into exercising for about 30 seconds, take a quick break, then get right into it. It’s a very intensive form of training, not for the faint of heart. However, even among HIIT enthusiasts, there are a terrifying few with a hankering to go even further beyond. But can you condense a true exercise into a span of time even shorter than typical HIIT? According to a new study, you just might.

In a report penned by Dr. Edward Coyle, a University of Texas professor of kinesiology and health education, and published by The New York Times, it’s been suggested that it’s theoretically possible to condense the entirety of a HIIT routine into a mere four seconds. That’s shorter than it’s taking me to write this sentence.

Dr. Coyle centered his study around specially-designed stationary bikes. He found that, in the span of two-to-four seconds, the pro athletes he was testing on these bikes could maximize aerobic level and power output. These herculean bursts of effort were repeated up to 30 times, with rest periods of fifteen to thirty seconds in-between. Theoretically, working out in this way maximizes aerobic power in short order, burns fat like nobody’s business, and of course, works the ever-loving heck out of your legs.

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That said, Dr. Coyle’s findings aren’t quite conclusive yet. The athletes on the bikes were all part of very specific age ranges and body types, and specifically on the specially designed bikes. If you attempted something like this on home equipment, you might not get a proper workout going, or worse, you could hurt yourself. This kind of training is extremely intense, and not recommended for anyone but trained athletes who have mastered the absolute apex of proper workout form. If you’re already ripped like the Hulk, you might be able to try it out, but otherwise, stick to normal HIIT training.