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It’s no secret that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the top training trends in the fitness industry today.  In addition to being a good challenge (the words “high intensity” in the title give that away), HIIT workouts can be quick and very effective.

While there are many ways to get in a HIIT workout (bodyweight intervals, Tabata, Boot Camp-style workouts, spin class, etc.), beginners can be somewhat intimidated and unsure where to start.

Matrix treadmills inside a 2nd Wind Exercise Store

Enter the Sprint 8 program!

Sprint 8 is a well-rounded HIIT program because it allows everyone the opportunity to tackle a HIIT workout at a level that’s appropriate for them.  So whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced exerciser, Sprint 8 offers pre-programmed options that best fit YOU!

Another big advantage to the Sprint 8 program is that can be done on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical trainer.  In fact, Matrix Fitness has the Sprint 8 pre-programmed into select pieces of their equipment.

Example of the XER console on a Matrix exercise bike.

Before we continue, let’s give a quick re-fresher of how HIIT works…..

Because of the higher intensity, HIIT recruits fast-twitch muscle fibers.  Fast twitch fibers are designed for anaerobic or short but powerful bursts of energy (think a track & field sprinter, a running back in football, etc.).  Steady-state cardio on the other hand recruits slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are designed for aerobic or endurance-type activities (think long distance runners).

Fast-twitch fibers need more fuel than slow-twitch fibers. This allows them to not only function properly when called into play, but also to recover properly following a workout or sporting event.  If your workout targets fast-twitch fibers, you’ll burn more calories during the workout AND after the workout.  This later is known as the “after-burn effect” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which allows your body to continue to burn calories well after your workout is over.

The Sprint 8 program makes HIIT training really simple and consists of 3 main components:
  • A pre-programmed 3 minute warm-up that gradually increases your heart rate.
  • Next it goes into the heart of the workout as the user goes through a series of 30 second sprints (8 in total), followed by 90 seconds of active recovery (slower pace that allows the heart rate to gradually come down). The HIIT portion of the workout is based on the user’s input of age, weight and desired level of intensity.  The Sprint 8 equipment will then automatically adjust speed, elevation and/or resistance throughout the workout.
  • The workout then finishes-up with a pre-programmed cool-down that allows for proper heart rate recovery.
Console interface displaying an in-progress Sprint 8 program-

In this example the user is at a 4.0% incline and sprinting at 8.4mph. The exerciser is 22 seconds into their third 30 second sprint. Don't worry there are beginner levels, see below.

Who Can Do HIIT Workouts?


Although many think of HIIT being for advanced exercisers that are already in great shape, HIIT workouts can be modified to fit all levels of fitness and all ages.

The key for beginners is to learn how to listen to your body.

The Sprint 8 program does a great job with this because you can adjust the workout to fit your fitness level.  For instance, there are five levels – Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Elite, & Custom. The beginner level starts with the lowest incline and speed settings and as you move up in levels the incline and speed increases. In each of these levels are sub-levels (see photo). While the goal of this program is to complete all 8 sprints at your maximum potential, the Custom option does allow you to choose how many sprints you want to do. You can then gradually work your way up to a full 8 sprint workout as your bodies adapt to the introduction of HIIT training.

This what the Beginner Level looks like:

Within the beginner level there are 5 sublevels. The first of the five is shown. The console is listing the 8 sprints and recovery sessions for Beginner Level 1. So as you can see the first sprint would be at 3% incline and 3.2 mph and the recovery is at 0% incline at 1.5mph.

Who Should Do HIIT Training?


Well, at least those who are ready to take on HIIT and have the ok from their physician to add it into their exercise regime.

HIIT training and the Sprint 8 program offer a quick and effective way to get your body in great shape.  Focus initially on 2-3 days/week, with a full Sprint 8 workout only taking 20 minutes!

To supplement, add in an additional 2-3 days/week of resistance training or other beneficial workouts such as yoga or pilates.  And don’t forget to focus on a clean meal plan that includes plenty of protein, healthy carbs (fruits & veggies) and fats (nuts, fish, avocados, etc.), and lots of water.

Why Sprint 8?

Again, with many of Matrix Fitness products, the Sprint 8 program is built in and ready to go!  This takes the guesswork out of having to build your own HIIT workouts and allows you to follow a proven program that can offer some great results.

And, as previously mentioned, with the Sprint 8 program you don’t need a ton of time to accomplish a very effective workout.  That alone is a game-changer for many of you who struggle to find the time each day to fit in a workout.

Finally, it works!  Take some time to research the Sprint 8 program on your own and you’ll find plenty of evidence as to its effectiveness.

About the writer: Ken Grall is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and owns and operates an Edge Fitness in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Ken.

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