Everyone who joins a fitness center wants good results and they want those results fast. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an incredibly popular approach to exercises that may definitely yield excellent results. HIIT workouts deliver massive fat loss by combining extremely fast and intense short-duration cardio work with equally short-duration cardio work. While effective, HIIT workouts can—and do—come with injury risks. The high-intensity nature of the workouts do require fitness enthusiasts performing such exercises to be very careful and be mindful of potential injuries.

What are HIIT Exercises?

With HIIT, interval training sequences are performed for a limited amount of time. An example of an HITT exercise would be jumping on a treadmill and running at 8.0 MPH for 10 seconds followed by 10 seconds of only 3.5 MPH. This "loop" of interval training may be done for 8 minutes. The cardiovascular system and the muscles are both greatly stressed by such an exercise strategy leading to possibly excellent results. Unfortunately, the risk for potential injury exists here as well.

Health Professionals' Warnings and Advice

Due to the growth of HIIT programs as new exercise fads, injuries are catching up to those rushing into these workouts. Sports medicine professionals have two warnings:

  • These types of exercises are exceptionally challenging.
  • Performing these exercises requires paying attention to how the body reacts.

Dismissing these two items creates the risk for serious injury. Enthusiasm for fast results might cloud judgment. Pushing oneself beyond what is advisable could lead to a disastrous injury.

Over-Training and Injuries

Being too single-minded and only focusing on results at the exclusion of safety is unwise. The allure of a ripped and lean body,however, may drive some to push their limits past sensible levels. Running on a treadmill does speed up the heart and engage the muscles, but running at an unsafe intensity level could be extremely self-defeating. Hearing popping sounds in the knee or hamstring and choosing to continue with the exercise may be a disastrous decision. A minor injury could become a worse one in, literally, a manner of seconds.

The injury may end up being far worse than minor. HIIT workouts have been linked to exertional rhabdomyolysis, a condition capable of causing kidney damage.

Meet with Professionals

Guidance from a personal trainer on how to safely perform HIIT exercises is worth seeking out. Also highly important would be to see a sports medicine professional (like those at Tedder Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center) at the first sign of an injury or illness.