HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has seen its popularity soar in recent years, with many people loving the fact that they can get a quick workout in if they are struggling for time. HIIT workouts consist of short bursts of very high intensity exercises – about 20-40 seconds – (ideally to around 90% of your max heart rate) followed then by a slightly longer rest period where the heart rate drops back down to around 60%-70%.
I've written out a few pro's and con's of this training method, in my opinion, below:
PROS OF HIIT TRAINING
- Can be carried out in pretty much any location even with limited space
- Little to no equipment required - most HIIT workouts will just use bodyweight exercises like burpees, mountain climbers, squats, press ups
- Effectively a free way to workout as you don’t need to pay a gym membership or have any equipment
- Can be a fun workout to do with a partner or in a big group
- Workouts are short and sharp - most HIIT sessions will be between 15-20 minutes
- Workouts don’t require much thinking which can sometimes be a plus!
- Good for building cardio vascular system
- Good for boosting metabolism - studies show that your metabolism stays in a heightened state for up to 24 hours after your session
CONS OF HIIT TRAINING
- People may over estimate how much muscle they will build and how much fat they will lose
- Injuries are very common due to bad form – some people are not strong enough to perform the exercises correctly
- People may think that speed equates to a better workout (this is not the case!)
- Fatigue will set in if this type of training is overdone - I would suggest 1 or 2 15-20 minute HIIT sessions per week and no more due to the exertion
- Can cause stress on the body due to the frantic nature
- People on social media who promote this type of training often don’t do as much as they let on so it can be a false representation
HIIT training can be a great addition to your training schedule - for example Jess will often do 1 HIIT session at home a week as it is time efficient for her - she saves time not having to drive to the gym - and is really easy for her to fit in around the girls and work. She can do the session in limited space with no equipment and she likes the variation it gives her to normal gym sessions.
If you do give HIIT a go, please make sure you perform a really thorough warm up and a nice stretch afterwards to ensure your body is ready for the intensity and has time to settle down afterwards. During the workout, don’t sacrifice your form for smashing out the reps - controlled, smooth movements will be far better for you rather than frantic ones that will increase your risk of injury. And as always ensure you are drinking plenty of water throughout and afterwards.