High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) is all the rage these days. People are ditching the two hours on the treadmill for workouts that push their bodies to the limit for a short period of time. And by “push their bodies to the limit”, I mean laying in a puddle of sweat after the workout is done.
Yes, you should expect to be completely gassed after a HIIT workout. The entire purpose is to push you to the absolute limit of your physical capabilities and leave you gasping for breath. HIIT is nothing like spending an hour on the treadmill or elliptical. The only common trait among the two is that you sweat, but I wouldn’t try to catch up on Netflix while performing a HIIT routine. That could be dangerous.
HIIT is basically performing some strenuous activity for brief period followed by a slightly longer period of rest. You then repeat this cycle 3 to 5 times. That’s a HIIT routine. These routines can be infinitely varied depending on type of exercise, duration and length of rest periods. The goal is to challenge your body with varied exercise so it does not become rote and your body doesn’t acclimatize.
There are several benefits to choosing HIIT training over traditional exercises, and we go over them in detail here, but the primary reasons that many people opt for High Intensity training over Traditional Training are related to time. The workouts are short, and the gains in endurance and strength begin to show almost immediately. HIIT works, and it works fast.
HIIT is dangerous in that sense that all exercise can be dangerous. HIIT’s unique danger comes from the amount of endorphins released during the exercise and the pressure you put on yourself to complete the workouts. This can lead to both acute injuries and overuse injuries. It’s easy to overdo it when the music is pumping and you’re getting that endorphin rush.You should always listen to your body. If you feel a twinge in your knee, don’t push it too hard. Back off and really evaluate what’s going on. You should also schedule off days, and drink plenty of water, to avoid overuse injuries.
If you feel you’ve sustained an injury during your HIIT routine, feel free to reach out to the professional staff at MSA. We can help you evaluate your injury and put together a training regimen that allows you to continue to train without further injuring yourself.