High Intensity Interval Training of the Quadriceps

Improved Quadriceps strength has many benefits, particularly for people with knee problems. Recent studies suggest that short bursts of high intensity exercise with rest periods between them is more beneficial for muscle groups than exercising at a constant steady rate.  This form of exercise is known as HIITS, but another way to describe it is “hard : easy intervals”.  

High Intensity Interval Training Example

High Intensity Interval Training Example

Not only does HIITS strengthen your muscles faster than conventional exercises, it can be done in less time as well.  This type of exercise works well on an exercise bike, but can also be undertaken in any workout such as a road bike, cross-training machine , rowing machine, swimming etc.  If you have osteoarthritis, low impact exercises (bike / swimming) are better than high impact (fast walk / running).

This type of exercise also helps you lose weight faster and is more beneficial to blood sugar & lipid control than normal exercises.

The aim is a ride “hard” or as fast as you can for 45 second intervals, with rest intervals of about 11/2 minutes in between. 

The entire session is about 25 minutes & is as follows:

  1. 7 minutes warm-up at a comfortable pace.
  2. Ride for hard for 45 seconds at a high resistance & almost as fast as you can.  If at the end of 45 seconds you have to stop & rest - that is about right.  If you feel faint or very short of breath - go a little slower next time.
  3. Ride slowly for 1.5 minutes or until for have your breath back at a lower resistance, ie ride “easy”.
  4. Ride again for 45 seconds “hard” followed by 1.5m minutes easy
  5. Repeat the “hard : easy intervals” 5 times in total
  6. Slowly warm down for 6 or 7 minutes at the end. 

Aim to do 4 25 minute HIITS sessions per week for best results.

Who should consider a HIITS program? 
Patients with mild, moderate to severe osteoarthritis.  Patients who have had knee surgery, such as a knee reconstruction or knee replacement.

Should I take my usual pain tablets ?
Just take your normal tablets such as NSAID or Panadol as you usually would.

What should I do if it hurts ?
If the exercise causes knee pain, try it at a lower intensity. If it continues to hurt, stop the exercises & seek advice.

Usually 25 minutes 4 times per weeks

Does it matter which type of exercise bike I use

Should I do another exercises ?
Gentle hamstring stretching after the HIITS session is a good idea.  

Should I take my pulse ?
You don’t have to, but it can help to know your heart rate.  Aim around 90% of your maximum heart rate at the end of the ‘hard” session.  Maximum heart rate is about 220- your age. You can use a heart rate monitor as well.

What if I have a cardiac history ?
HIITS programs are also beneficial for cardiac patients, but you must check with your cardiologist or GP if you have a cardiac history.