LISS vs. HIIT Cardio — Which Should You Be Doing to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

Hill, PT, CSCS

When you think of cardio you more than likely think of taking a quick run, riding a bike, or any kind of exercise that gets your heart pumping. Cardio workouts can be great for getting your heart racing, but depending on the type of cardio you perform it could have different effects on your body.

Next time you decide to get a workout in, it’s important that you know what kind of cardio exercise you should do and how you can benefit from each type in different ways!

Girl stretching before run

What is LISS Training?

Defined as a low-intensity steady-state, this form of cardio can be both relaxing and rewarding. Workouts are normally longer than 30 minutes long and allow you to pace yourself throughout the duration of your workout. LISS training can often be found in the form of walking, jogging, running, or cycling. 

LISS is less intense than HIIT but still highly effective when done regularly. Through diligence and steady performance, you can find a comfortable pace to thoroughly work out your muscles without leaving you breathless from hardcore exercise.

What is HIIT Training?

Known as high-intensity interval training, HIIT workouts are typically short in length. HIIT workouts consist of bursts of intense training followed by quick periods of rest. This can often be an exercise like running sprint intervals, jumping rope on and off for several minutes, and practicing squat jumps. HIIT exercises allow you to fully use your muscles and body for a quick but thorough workout. They’re designed to get your blood pumping with strenuous movements for short periods of time.

HIIT workouts are typically only 5-20 minutes long. This allows you to push yourself as hard as you can during each set while not completely exhausting yourself with the high levels of intense movement. Be sure you’re taking cool down periods seriously after finishing a set to avoid potential injuries from pushing your body too hard.

Which Form of Training Best Fits My Needs?

Depending on what you’re looking to gain from your workouts, both LISS and HIIT training can be beneficial for you. Maybe high-intensity workouts aren’t for you, or you’re dealing with or recovering from an injury — LISS training might be your perferred form of cardio. It can help you stay in shape, lose weight, regain movement in stiff or sensitive areas, and doesn’t require much recovery.

However, if you’re looking for a quick high-intensity workout, HIIT may be the type of cardio for you. Just make sure that when participating in HIIT training you only practice 2-3 times per week with plenty of recovery to avoid any injury.

When getting into a workout routine, both HIIT and LISS training can be combined into your weekly workout regime. Incorporating both LISS and HIIT training into your weekly schedule is recommended and will allow you to gain the benefits from both!

For low impact and high impact cardio exercises that you can do from anywhere, visit the Sworkit app today! You’ll find an extensive library of exercises that cater to the needs of beginners and even the most advanced athletes.

Hill, PT, CSCS

Steve is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Physical Therapist, and one of Sworkit's Fitness Trainers. His favorite activities are working out, hiking, four-wheeling, and body surfing. Steve loves helping members with injury prevention, exercise modification, and strength training.
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