Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Are HIIT Workouts That Use Sprint Intervals Safe?

 You’ve most likely heard about some of the incredible health benefits of high-intensity interval training. HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of recovery. This strategy helps boost your metabolism, lower blood pressure, and reduce blood sugar.

Following this exercise strategy forces you to work much harder in short bursts than any other exercise regimen. Since it doesn’t require hours of exercise, it appeals to many people. While it might be popular, some are concerned about the negative impact HIIT workouts with sprints can have on your body.

Let’s break these exercises down and explain how to stay safe when doing HIIT.

Don’t do HIIT Sprints Daily

The US government guidelines say you need two and a half hours of physical activity per week and two days of muscle-strengthening per week. That means that you should not be doing high-intensity workouts every day. Any exercise can become harmful if you overdo it; the same goes for HIIT.

HIIT is an effective form of exercise for those who are consistent and stick to a workout plan. You need to have everything figured out ahead of time, so you don’t overwork yourself. Make sure you keep your current level of fitness in mind as well. If you have never done these types of exercises before, don’t expect to jump right in. Take it at your own pace.

Mix Up Your HIIT Workouts

Doing high-intensity interval training sprints daily results in shin splints, ankle problems, and joint pain. If you want to do this type of training four or five days a week you’ll need to mix it up or else it could become harmful to your body. You might not notice the negative effects right away, but eventually, you’ll experience a decrease in performance, plateaus, and frequent injuries.

Working harder is not always the right choice when it comes to physical training. You want to work smarter. Alternate between treadmill sprints and outdoor sprints. Incorporate cycling into your workout plan as well.

Why HIIT Workouts with Sprints Could be Unsafe

We’ve covered some ways to prevent injury when doing HIIT but what if you already suffered an injury before and you’re nervous about trying high-intensity interval training again. Maybe it worked great for you, and you want to get back into it, but you’re unsure. Here are some of the reasons why HIIT could be unsafe.

Lack of warm-up

The number one reason anyone suffers a sports or training injury is that they didn’t stretch out well enough before. If you work in an office like most people, you sit at a desk all day with limited activity. You’re all stiff, and then you take off like a lightning bolt expecting to adjust in a matter of seconds. The body doesn’t work that way.

You need to understand that warming up and stretching is an integral part of training and fitness. Skipping this step will only come back to bite you later on.

Bad instruction

Unfortunately, you might not have had the right trainer or coach showing you what to do. Everyone has a different way of training, and some are not afraid to skip steps like stretching; they may not even show you the proper way to warm up before HIIT. You always want to make sure you have a licensed coach who understands how to train in HIIT properly. You also want to ensure you get plenty of rest in between intervals, especially if you are starting out.

Due to shows like “The Biggest Loser” and some of these other training and weight loss shows, we think it’s okay for coaches to push you to the absolute limit. There is some truth to that, but you need to know your limits. If your coach is pushing you too far, you need to be open with them. If they don’t understand and they don’t respect your honesty, find another coach.

Improper form

If you got injured from HIIT, you might not know the correct way to do the exercise you were doing. If you use high-intensity sprints for your training you might need to tweak your form and technique. The most important part of any workout is having the correct method. Ask any expert who considers themselves knowledgeable in their style of training, and they will tell you that technique trumps strength and skill any day of the week.

The downside to HIIT is that the focus is on numbers and speed, which takes away from the fact that you need to learn how to train properly first. You need to make sure you’re conducting your exercises correctly, so you not only get the most out of them but so you also prevent injury.

Lack of recovery time

As we said at the beginning of this article. You need to put a lot of emphasis on rest and recovery when you’re doing HIIT because you are pushing your body to the absolute limit. You must take plenty of rest periods between your levels of high-intensity, so you give your body a chance to heal.

At the same time, you don’t want to exercise every day because overtraining your body is a serious thing. You shouldn’t work out more than four times a week, and you need to swap out HIIT for other things. In between workout days you should try things like yoga and other flexibility work like gymnastics.

Doing these things along with your HIIT, will not take away from your exercise, it will only compliment it.

How to Properly do HIIT Sprints

If you find all of this a little overwhelming, you should check out the Sprinterval app which helps you tackle all of these HIIT issues. It’s like having a workout buddy there to cheer you on, make sure you’re staying on track, and to ensure you don’t overwork yourself!

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