HIIT or Miss? (Infographic)

January 27, 2015

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise programs like P90X and CrossFit are sweeping the nation. While these fitness trends have many proven positive results, there are also some potential risks to be aware of.

Injinji HIIT

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Before you dive into the deep end and join a pricey specialty CrossFit gym, check out the pros and cons of HIIT and consider starting by getting your toes wet in the shallow end of the pool.

About High-Intensity Interval Training

  • Time is money and we want results! These are the desires that drive the HIIT market. High-intensity interval training can be completed quickly and can lead to incredible fitness improvement. No wonder HIIT ranked #2 in the 2015 ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends.
  • However, this hardcore-style workout with little to no rest time has its weaknesses. Check out the information below to make the right exercise decision for your fitness level.

HIIT vs. Moderate Exercise

  • Average jog RPE = 13-14
  • HIIT exercise RPE = 18-19

RPE (rate of perceived exertion) Borg Scale

  • 6
  • 7 – very, very light
  • 8
  • 9 – very light
  • 10
  • 11 – fairly light
  • 12
  • 13 – somewhat hard
  • 14
  • 15 - hard
  • 16
  • 17 – very hard
  • 18
  • 19 – very, very hard
  • 20

HIIT Positives

  • Health Benefits

    • Maximum fat burning & muscle building in a short time
    • Increased calorie burn before and after workouts
    • Boosted metabolism
    • Builds lean muscle tissue

  • Valued Preferences

    • Efficient and convenient
    • No equipment necessary
    • Large variety of exercises
    • Competitive atmosphere in classes

HIIT Negatives

  • Minor physical risks

    • Dizziness
    • Extreme muscle soreness
    • Dehydration

  • Major health risks

    • Orthopedic injury (hips, joins, ankles, or knees)
    • Cardiovascular complications
    • Rhadbo (Rhadbomyolysis): muscle membranes wear down and leak into bloodstream, poisoning kidneys

Is HIIT Right for YOU?

  • HIIT is designed for athletes, not for beginners.
  • Modification: The typical HIIT exercise ratio is 2:1 (work to rest time). See what work-to-rest ratio is best for your fitness level, and modify your HIIT exercises to match.

    • Experienced athlete – 2:1
    • Regular gym goer – 2:3
    • Beginner – 1:3

Baby Steps to a Better Bod

Try this cardio-strength interval workout at home with minimal equipment!

Total time: 20 minutes

Transition time: 15 seconds

Equipment needed: Sturdy picnic table or chair, hand weights

1. Warm up (3-5 minutes) - Fast walk, shoulder rolls, side lunges, etc.

2. Cardio (1 minute) - Run or fast walk

3. Strength (45 seconds) - Squats (weights optional)

Trainer’s notes:

  • Bend legs to be a 90 degree angle
  • Do not let your knees go beyond your toes

4. Cardio (1 minute) - Jumping jacks or jump rope

5. Strength (45 seconds) - Push-ups with hands on table (easier) or with hands on bench (harder)

Trainer’s notes:

    • Keep a straight spine (including neck, back, and rear)
    • Bend to be a 90 degree angle

6. Cardio (1 minute) - High knees

7. Strength (45 seconds) - Step-ups with RIGHT leg on chair or bench (weights optional). Bring your left leg to meet your right by tapping your left toe on the bench and repeat on same leg.

8. Cardio (1 minute) - Run or fast walk

9. Strength (45 seconds) - Step-ups with LEFT leg on chair or bench (weights optional). Bring your right leg to meet your left by tapping your right toe on the bench and repeat on same leg.

10. Cardio (1 minute) - Jumping jacks or jump rope

11. Strength (45 seconds) - Tricep Pulls with RIGHT arm holding weight. Place left knee and left hand on the bench, keep right arm at a 90 degree angle and repeatedly lift right elbow toward the sky.

12. Cardio (1 minute) - High knees

13. Strength (45 seconds) - Tricep Pulls with LEFT arm holding weight. Place right knee and right hand on the bench, keep left arm at a 90 degree angle and repeatedly lift left elbow toward the sky.

14. Cardio (1 minute) - Run or fast walk

15. Strength (45 seconds) - Tricep dips with palms on bench facing away from table and feet on floor (weight on lap optional). Bend and straighten arms with your body away from the bench.

Trainer’s notes:

      • Keep shoulders away from your ears
      • Bend arms to be a 90 degree angle

16. Cardio (1 minute) - Jumping jacks or jump rope

17. Abs (2 minutes) - Crunches or sit-ups

Trainer’s notes:

        • Elbows should be in line with the back of your head
        • Keep chin away from your chest

18. Stretch (as long as needed) – Various arm, leg, and torso stretches [Reference image http://www.acclaimimages.com/_gallery/_images_n300/0071-0901-1200-1054_young_african_american_woman_stretching.jpg]

Fun Fitness Extras

          • Start slow and approach each workout at your own pace
          • Know your physical limitations
          • Be knowledgeable about correct and safe exercise practices
          • Seek a doctor’s approval before starting HIIT if you are over 55

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