Centr Team

LISS cardio vs HILIT: which one is better for you?

Centr Team

You want a great cardio workout without the impact on your joints. But which kind of low-impact training is right for you?

LISS cardio and HILIT are two of the most popular and accessible forms of cardiovascular exercise. While they both rock a fancy acronym, the style of training they offer is poles apart. So what’s the difference? And can you do a LISS workout at home, or would HILIT be better?

We’re breaking down the pros and cons to help you choose the training that will get you on the path to your goals.

Want to give low-impact workouts a try? Start your free trial at today.

What is LISS cardio?

LISS stands for low-intensity steady state, a form of cardio exercise in which you maintain a steady pace for an extended period. A LISS cardio example could be swimming laps, riding your bicycle on a local track, walking around the park or jogging on a treadmill.

You don’t necessarily need equipment or experience, so it’s easy to get started with LISS cardio at home – or at least close to home, around your neighborhood.

What is HILIT?

HILIT is high-intensity low-impact training, a style of exercise that gets you working at your highest intensity, but reduces the load and force of movements to have a lower impact on your joints. This means no jumping or plyometric movements such as jump squats – which is why HILIT expert Alexz Parvi describes her workouts on Centr as “similar to HIIT, but without so much bouncing”.

Alexz Parvi, smiling and wearing activewear, demonstrates a C-shape press exercise from her HILIT workouts on Centr.

Curious? Try a free HILIT core workout with Alexz right now.

You don’t need equipment for HILIT. Plus, because it’s low-impact and you’re working at YOUR highest intensity, it’s accessible for beginners and those who have problem joints or are recovering from injury.

What are the main differences between LISS cardio & HILIT?

While both styles of training are low-impact, low-intensity steady-state cardio and HILIT deliver different benefits. Let’s take a look at the main differences.

1. Heart rate
In a LISS workout, the aim is to keep your heart rate at a low-to-moderate level – 50-65 percent of your maximum capacity – so you’re able to exercise continuously without running out of puff. While your LISS cardio heart rate is low and steady, a HILIT workout will challenge you to work at your maximum intensity. The aim is to peak your heart rate by working in short bursts, then resting before you go again. For instance, you may do an exercise for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds.

Alexz Parvi, wearing black activewear, sits on the floor to recover after an intense HILIT workout on Centr.

Want to keep burning energy after your workout? HILIT is the low-impact exercise style that will deliver.

2. Afterburn effect
As a form of high-intensity training, HILIT will push you to your maximum work rate to build cardiovascular endurance and burn calories – plus, you’ll continue to burn energy even after you’ve finished training. This is known as the “afterburn effect”.

3. Space required
You’re most likely to find people doing LISS cardio by walking or jogging outside, or using a treadmill, exercise bike or another cardio machine. HILIT can be done anywhere with just a workout mat.

4. Time commitment
It’s recommended that you exercise three times per week for 30-60 minutes to achieve the benefits of LISS. You can get your workout done quicker with HILIT, with an effective session taking just 20-30 minutes.

HILIT vs LISS: Which one is right for you?

In a battle of slow and steady vs. fast and furious, which comes out on top? Deciding which style of training is for you will come down to your lifestyle and your overall health and fitness goals.

If you struggle with cardio or hate the feeling of being out of breath, LISS may be the easiest way for you to maintain regular exercise. Any movement you can fit into your day is better than nothing. While LISS can help to build your cardio endurance, shorter bursts of cardio at a higher intensity (running for the bus, for instance) will likely still be a challenge.

Because you’re training more vigorously with HILIT, even short workouts done regularly (say 3-5 times per week) will burn more fat, further increase your stamina and do more for your overall heart health. While the intensity required may seem intimidating at first, the finish line is always in sight with a HILIT session – and you might find that quick bursts of exercise are actually easier to fit into your day.

There are different pros and cons to every workout style. Any movement is better than no movement, so what’s most important is that you pick a style of exercise that you can commit to regularly.

Ready to try a high-variety Bodyweight HILIT workout with Alexz Parvi? Start your free trial at to get moving at home.

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