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High-Intensity Interval Training Program for Youth Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 30th, 2021

In the modern world, with the development of technologies and an increase in sedentary work, an average individual spends more time inactive than earlier. This fact, combined with unhealthy dietary habits, provokes increasing obesity rates and other health problems related to excessive weight and low physical activity. According to Wewege, Berg, Ward, and Keech (2017), physical exercises are “mildly effective for reducing total body weight” (p. 635).

This training program is designed for a particular client, accounting for their physical parameters, lifestyle, and goals. However, it also includes general recommendations for improving health outcomes. Multimodal high-intensity interval training is chosen as the means of achieving combined goals of improving body composition and aerobic fitness.

Client’s Baseline Information and Goals

The client is a healthy 24-year-old female who has prior experience in weight-bearing exercise. The client currently has a sedentary home-based job and spends most of the day without physical activity. Aerobic fitness (VO2max) is measured by resting heart rate method and estimated to be 38 ml/kg/min. The client’s resting heart rate is about 80 beats per minute, with no cardiovascular diseases. The BMI is calculated as 24.8, which is on the higher-margin of the norm.

The percent of body fat is calculated with the measurement method and identified as 26.4%. The client reports dissatisfaction with her body shape and aims and breathing discomfort during physical activity due to the absence of exercising. Thus the goal of the program is to improve body composition and aerobic fitness. The client has also reported low motivation for exercising, caused by time consumption that affects her job and other everyday routines.

Due to the prior weight-bearing exercises, the client reports high muscle strength and volume. That is why the main emphasis in assessing the results will be not on BMI changes but the reduction in body fat percentage. Thus, the positive changes in the waist and hip circumference are the main measurements of exercise efficiency. The aim is to reduce body fat percentage to the rates of 22% – 22.5%. As rapid changes in weight and body composition are stressful for the organism, the client is ready for an extended period of working out with stable long-term results. The training program is developed for four weeks to observe half of the intended body fat reduction, and prolonged for another four weeks when successful.

The Rationale for the Choice of Training Program

Although it is generally believed that any physical activity is beneficial for healthy individuals, the choice of the specific program should be made according to one’s goals. In addition to the aim, the physical parameters and client’s preferences should be taken into account. As Greenlee et al. (2017) note, lack of time is among the most common barriers to physical activity. The time efficiency of the training program is one of the main demands of the client under discussion.

Wewege et al. (2017) claim that high-intensity interval training is 40% more time-efficient in contrast to traditional moderate-intensity training. However, Farland et al. (2015) suggest that apart of time efficiency HIIT programs do not show increased results in terms of weight loss. Concerning the aim of fat percentage reduction, HIIT protocols are effective but not superior to the other training modes.

The main advantages of high-intensity interval training are the facts that they are more time-efficient and have proven to improve health outcomes. Several studies, including Karlsen, Aamot, Haykowsky, and Rognmo (2017) and Schubert, Washburn, Honas, Lee, and Donnelly (2016), suggest that an increase in exercise intensity leads to maximizing health outcomes. Improving aerobic fitness is another client’s goal, which is essential for chronic disease prevention for people with a mostly sedentary lifestyle.

Aerobic capacity is a measurable unit that comprises 38 ml/kg/min for the client. Interval training, according to Milanović, Sporiš, and Weston (2015), has more impact on VO2max increase in comparison to continuous training with equal training volume. MacInnis and Gibala (2017) state that “interval training is clearly a potent stimulus for physiological remodeling” (p. 2916). Taking into account the mentioned ideas, HIIT is the most relevant training strategy for improving aerobic fitness.

High-intensity interval training protocols vary in terms of exercise mode, duration, frequency, and intensity. Taking into account the client’s needs, the training program should be highly intensive, providing high caloric consumption during the limited time, with the frequency of 4 sessions a week. As traditional HIIT protocols do not differ from MICT programs in terms of their effect on weight loss, they should be transformed to maximize caloric consumption without extending the duration of the sessions. Buckley et al. (2015) suggest using multiple modalities of training, including strength exercises that have a positive effect on muscle strength.

Such an approach is reasonable, considering the client’s experience in weight-bearing training. Greenlee et al. (2017) support the idea of multimodal HIIT completed in a circuit. Circuits help to maximize the aerobic capacity of the individual as the intervals can be longer in such training when the person switches between the groups of muscles, giving them rest without stopping the activity.

Four-Week Training Plan

The combined modes of training that include strength exercises were chosen for the program. Each of the four weeks is repeating with a mild increase in weight for strength exercises. The client has to do four sessions each week. There are two types of sessions repeated twice during the week. Each session consists of 4 circuits of 5 exercises with no rest between the exercises and one minute and 30 seconds of rest between the circuits.

Session 1

  1. jumping jacks
  2. burpees (or squat thrusts if difficult)
  3. lunges with dumbbells – 2 dumbbells, 6lb each.
  4. squats with a sandbag – 10lb
  5. side lunges

Session 2

  1. mountain climbers
  2. jump squats
  3. jumping lunges
  4. split squats with dumbbells – 2 dumbbells, 6lb each.
  5. deadlift – 20-25lb.


The client aims at reducing body fat percentage by 2.9% – 3-4%. For achieving long-term sustainable results, the progress should be slow but steady. That is why the four-week training program aims to lose at least half of this percentage and continue for another four weeks when the desired effect is observed. However, according to Wewege et al. (2017), physical activity “has been reported to be relatively ineffective for managing overweight or obesity when not combined with a dietary intervention” (p. 5).

That is why a mild deficit in caloric intake is recommended in the client’s diet. Still, without the possibility of managing the client’s diet, the exercises should be developed to maximize weight loss potential. That is why the emphasis on the muscle strength is made in this program, as muscles increase caloric consumption of the resting body. So, by improving muscle strength and volume, one improves caloric metabolism. Taking into account this fact and general effect on health outcomes, Multimodal HIIT with strength exercises is the most relevant and time-efficient program for the client’s goals.


Buckley, S., Knapp, K., Lackie, A., Lewry, C., Horvey, K., Benko, C., … Butcher, S. (2015). Multimodal high-intensity interval training increases muscle function and metabolic performance in females. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 40(11), 1157-1162. Web.

Farland, C. V., Schuette, J., Foster, C., Porcari, J. P., Doberstein, S. T., Harbin, M., … Tuuri, A. (2015). The effects of high intensity interval training versus steady state training on aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Journal of Sports Science& Medicine, 14(4), 747-755. Web.

Greenlee, T. A., Greene, D. R., Ward, N. J., Reeser, G. E., Allen, C. M., Baumgartner, N. W., … Barbey, A. K. (2017). Effectiveness of a 16-week high-intensity cardioresistance training program in adults. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(9), 2528-2541. Web.

Karlsen, T., Aamot, I.-L., Haykowsky, M., & Rognmo, Ø. (2017). High intensity interval training for maximizing health outcomes. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, 60(1), 67-77. Web.

MacInnis, M. J., & Gibala, M. J. (2016). Physiological adaptations to interval training and the role of exercise intensity. The Journal of Physiology, 595(9), 2915-2930. Web.

Milanović, Z., Sporiš, G., & Weston, M. (2015). Effectiveness of high-intensity interval training (HIT) and continuous endurance training for VO2max improvements: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. Sports Medicine, 45(10), 1469-1481. Web.

Schubert, M. M., Washburn, R. A., Honas, J. J., Lee, J., & Donnelly, J. E. (2016). Exercise volume and aerobic fitness in young adults: The Midwest Exercise Trial-2. Springer Plus, 5(1), 1-9. Web.

Wewege, M., Berg, R. V. D., Ward, R. E., & Keech, A. (2017). The effects of high-intensity interval training vs. moderate-intensity continuous training on body composition in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 18(6), 635-646. Web.

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