The problem with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Over the last 5 years, HIIT is one of the biggest fads to hit (pardon the pun) the health and fitness industry. It came about potentially as a spin off from CrossFit and it is backed by a lot of compelling evidence.
- An enjoyable training environment (so adherence to programs are higher).
- Less time required to achieve results!
- Improved cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes.
- Increases in muscle mass.
- Increases in bone density.
- Decreases in body fat %
Plus dozens and dozens of more benefits.
All sounds pretty dandy?
Well unfortunately, it isn’t so simple as banging out 3 x HIIT sessions a week to get a shotgun effect of every possible benefit exercise has to offer.
A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness recently reviewed the amount of injuries between 2007 – 2011 compared to 2012 – 2016.
A quote from the study reads:
“From 2012-2016 versus 2007-2011, there was a 144% increase in all injuries including a 159% increase in trunk injuries, a 137% increase in lower extremity injuries, and a 132% increase in upper extremity injuries. There was also a 127% increase in lower extremity strains and a 124% increase in upper extremity strains. Additionally, knee and ankle sprains increased 125%. These increases in injury incidence correlated with a 274% increase in HIIT interest.”
Although the study is only a correlation (which is not statistically very satisfying), all you have to do is ask your local musculoskeletal physio or doctor how many patients they see that have HIIT related injuries.
Why bring all this up?
To put it simply, we’ll go back to our musician comparison.
If we thrust a guitar in your hands and asked you to stand up in front of 50 of your work colleagues and belt out Wonderwall at 6am in the morning without a single guitar or singing lesson (this is presuming that you can’t sing or play guitar very well) – you’d probably tell us to shove it.
Well, to us, a HIIT session is very much the same.
Thrashing your body around in a HIIT session without learning how to activate the correct muscles and perform complex movements at high speed properly is a recipe for disaster.
Something we are pretty keen on is people getting fitter and living healthy. In fact, we are big advocates for HIIT as this is one of the best ways to achieve this! However, injuring people is not something we are very keen on.
Although we don’t insist, we certainly encourage everyone that trains with us to first learn about their movement before they really ramp up their intensity and you should do the same.
A mix of Pilates and well-executed strength training is one of the best ways to do this.
You have to learn how to play a few chords, piece them together and practice rigorously before you can sing your song – there is no short-cut or easy way to do it.
Stuck with a place to start?
Let us know and we can share our ‘5-step guide to better movement’ program with you.