High-Intensity Interval Training (also known as HIIT) is an extremely popular training method that uses short bursts of 100% effort followed by short recovery or rest periods. For example, a HIIT workout with a Jump Rope could be 30 seconds of all out effort followed by 30 seconds of rest, for 10 minutes straight. HIIT has become popular because of its ability to burn an incredible amount of calories over a short period of time. However, there are drawbacks to this training method that may not make it an effective training method for everyone.
Increased Fat Burning in less time
There is no denying that HIIT is one of the most effective ways to burn fat. And not only is it an effective way to burn fat, it burns fat faster than any other training method. Going all out during an active period will raise the heart rate, and the heart rate will stay increased even during the rest period. This manipulation of heart rate leads to the body working harder, which in turn results in a much more efficient workout when compared to low-intensity training such as walking. HIIT allows for more calories to be burnt in 10 minutes than about 45 minutes of low-intensity training.
Can be completed anywhere at any time
Along with being very time-efficient, HIIT also allows for flexibility of location and space. Many HIIT workouts require no gym equipment and very small places. Many HIIT workouts are centered around bodyweight exercises, such as jump squats, push-ups and sit-ups. This flexibility, along with the small time allocation, are driving factors to the popularity of HIIT.
Very Taxing on the Heart and Central Nervous System
The biggest argument against HIIT is that it puts too much stress on the heart and the central nervous system. Due to the high intensity of the training and the manipulation of heart rate, it is important to understand your personal ability to handle the intensity before jumping into HIIT, and if implementing HIIT, make sure to start slow and build up to harder workouts. Jumping right into a difficult HIIT routine can be detrimental.
Can affect weight training and recovery
With a higher stress on the heart and muscles, a longer recovery is going to be needed for HIIT compared to low-intensity cardio. This can affect how often you workout, and if not handled correctly, can negatively impact your weight training and/or other workouts or training.
In conclusion, HIIT is an excellent and efficient form of training that can be used to burn calories and increase cardiovascular and muscular endurance, but is not for everyone. It is imperative that the correct steps be taken when using HIIT, such as ensuring proper recovery and diet.