Physio Perspective: The Pros and Cons of HIIT

Physio Perspective: The Pros and Cons of HIIT

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been increasing in popularity over recent years. It claims to deliver results by utilising short bursts of intense physical activity which raises your heart rate. These are followed by brief intervals of less intense activity.

The popularity of HIIT workouts is due mainly to the short time it takes to complete them, and the versatility of this form of exercise. HIIT workouts can be made up of a range of different activities such as stationary cycling, sprints, burpees, squats and bodyweight exercises.

As with all exercise types, there are both good and bad things about HIIT training. To help you decide if it’s the right type of physical activity for you, consider some of these pros and cons of HIIT.

The pros of HIIT

HIIT training is popular for a reason. There are many pros to working out this way, including:

Saves time

A HIIT workout takes considerably less time to complete than other types of exercise. It takes just four to thirty minutes to complete a HIIT workout, meaning you’ll spend less time at the gym or training at home. That makes it very easy to fit into a busy schedule or around other steady state training.

Improves endurance

High intensity training helps to improve your endurance, even when it’s done in small bursts. This type of exercise can be good for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health and increasing endurance. The benefits of endurance can also translate to other physical activity.

Can be done anywhere

HIIT workouts can be done just about anywhere. They don’t require any expensive equipment or gym memberships, and they can easily be performed in your house or backyard, or at a local park. This makes HIIT workouts ideal for those on a tight budget.

Burns more fat

HIIT can burn more calories during and after a workout than other forms of exercise. Not only will you burn calories during HIIT workouts, but you’ll also continue to burn calories afterwards as well. The total amount of calories burned has been shown to be greater with HIIT than with continuous types of exercise.

The cons of HIIT

Even with all those benefits, there are some possible drawbacks to HIIT training you might also want to consider. It may be prudent to mention that many of these cons are familiar across many forms of exercise. These include:

Higher risk of injury

Due to the intense nature of this type of activity, there is an increased chance of injury with HIIT training – particularly overuse injury. If you’re not using correct form and positioning for the exercises you’re doing, a fast burst is much more likely to leave with you a painful injury which could have been avoided. Luckily, physiotherapy can help with this one.

May not be suitable for everyone

This isn’t the kind of physical activity suited for those exercise newbies. Due to the complexity of some of the movements, it’s best performed by those who already have a basic level of fitness. If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey it might be best to work your way up to HIIT workouts by starting out with a less intense activity first

Puts strain on your body

It’s high intensity training and that means it puts a lot of strain on your body, muscles and joints. If you train this way too often or without warming up properly, you can risk damaging or straining your muscles or ending up with an overuse injury. It’s best to stick to only a couple of HIIT workouts a week, when you’re first starting out.

Can stress the nervous system

When you’re training at a high intensity you trigger cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Too much adrenaline in the body can lead to over-stimulation in the body. Over time, this can impact things like your digestive system. It’s a great idea to balance out your high intensity exercise with a low impact activity which is calming to the body to combat this issue.

Interested in giving it a go? At Sycamore, we can help you get into HIIT training while remaining injury-free. And, if you’ve gone at it a little too hard, we can help treat your injuries and show you how to avoid further issues. Book online or call us on 3046 1700 to make an appointment today.


All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion.

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