Just like steady state cardio, HIIT can get boring and repetitive. It’s important to the body and the mind to switch it up and keep things fresh. Essentially, every cardio machine will produce the same effect on your body. The great thing about most machines in today’s commercial gyms, is that they all generally have built in computers where you can keep track of speed, time, calories, and numerous other factors. It’s awesome because you know exactly what you’re doing and you can make slight adjustments from week to week. What it will come down to, is your personal preference. Find equipment that feels comfortable and that allows you to adjust speeds and resistance. Some machines might just feel better or worse for you. You will find that some machines are easier or harder for HIIT cardio. I for example, prefer the treadmill because of it’s simplicity. Many people however would pick the elliptical machine over the treadmill so it just all depends. Here’s a brief overview of the most ideal cardio machines that you can do your HIIT workouts on. The links provided will take you to webpages with great example HIIT workouts for each machine.
One of the most basic and effective pieces of equipment in the gym, the treadmill has truly stood the test of time. They are a breeze to figure out and you can easily step on and off for sprint intervals. Most of the newer ones allow you to program speed intervals, so you can set it to go certain speeds for set times and essentially build your own program. Example workouts: http://www.builtlean.com/2012/12/18/hiit-treadmill-workout
You will typically find a standard standup bike or recumbent bikes in the gym. The great thing about both of these, is that they are low impact and you can do your HIIT workouts based on how hard and fast you pedal. These bikes will take stress off of knees and other joints that take a pounding on the treadmill. The recumbent bikes are generally easier to get in and out of making them a top pick for senior citizens with mobility issues. They take the strain off the back. These are very easy to implement HIIT workouts. Simply have a timer, and pedal harder and faster or slower for desired intervals. Example workout: http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/high-intensity-interval-training-for-beginners
Often overlooked and not extremely common. If you’re not familiar with these, it’s exactly how it sounds. Picture a the motions somebody goes through whilst rowing a boat, that’s it. Generally these machines are for the advanced trainee, since it utilizes an almost constant full body motion. There’s an article on T-Nation that goes into great depth on technique and various workouts for the rowing machine: https://www.t-nation.com/training/interval-training-on-the-rowing-ergometer. The rowing machine requires great form to use properly.
Like the bike, these machines also provide a low impact cardio option. The other great thing about the elliptical, is that you’re also using your arms to propel yourself and gain momentum making it a less stressful full body motion. The one con with these machines is that sometimes it can be difficult to stride out if you’re a taller person. The resistance can also be adjusted on these machines for another training variable. Example workouts: