High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and CrossFit are becoming increasingly popular in fitness all across the country. What is it about these two fitness paradigms that has everyone buzzing? The easy answer: you can maximize the number of calories you burn in the shortest period of time. In other words, you lose body fat and get to spend less time at the gym. Both HIIT and CrossFit are intense interval training techniques where you give 100 percent of your efforts in quick bursts of energy, followed by short recovery periods. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, just two weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of treadmill jogging.
Health Benefits of Intense Interval Training
Intense interval training is the foundation of both HIIT and CrossFit workouts. There are many health benefits to this aspect of training, some of which exceed those of general exercise or cardiovascular training. Some of the health benefits include improvements in cardiorespiratory function, blood pressure, metabolism and insulin sensitivity, cholesterol profiles, and the reduction of body fat while maintaining muscle mass. Many people find this type of training superior to steady state cardio training (cycling, jogging, swimming), because it allows them to burn fat while maintaining or even gaining muscle mass. Steady state cardio can have similar health benefits, but sessions take longer periods of time, and you tend to lose muscle mass despite burning fat.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT includes a set of intense effort/exertion followed by short rest periods. The length of time per set and exercise routine depend on individual ability. Thirty minutes of body movement exercises, to one hour of free-weight exercises, or anything in between are common. An example workout might implement a circuit including: jump squats, push-ups, lunges, tricep dips, burpees, and high knees stationary running. Each exercise is performed for 30 sec, at 100% effort with 30 seconds of rest between. Repeat this series of exercises four more times. For more information about HIIT, call our office at 262-366-3655 or visit our website at millerswc.com.
CrossFit is a specific and sometimes more advanced form of interval training that incorporates different functional movements. A few of the exercises include deadlift, snatch, clean and jerk, and kettlebell swings. Although some of the exercises may be very difficult to perform at first, with proper form, progressions, and training, these can be good tools for improving fitness and daily movements. The idea of CrossFit is to move the largest loads the longest distances, to maximize the amount of work done in the shortest time. CrossFit has excelled in bringing together a community of like-minded fitness enthusiasts who are willing to push their limits and achieve success. To find out more about CrossFit and where to join, call our office at 262-366-3655 or visit our website at millerswc.com.
Risk of Injury
Although the benefits are high, the risk of injury is also relatively high for this type of training. Whether it is HIIT or CrossFit (or any exercise for that matter), there are many factors to consider to reduce the risk of injury. Follow these steps to decrease your risk:
- It is important to establish good muscle strength, functional range of motion, and stability before increasing intensity.
- Poor form is the leading indicator for injury for those who participate in any exercise. Exercise form should be covered in detail by a qualified exercise specialist before adding resistance or weight.
- The intensity of the workout should be modified to a person’s appropriate level.
HIIT and CrossFit are exercise varieties which have high rewards but also increased risk of injury. It is important when starting intense interval training that one seeks professional help/advice in order to maximize success and prevent injury. If you want to learn more, contact our office and we will help get you started!