High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a huge buzzword in the the fitness world today. While HIIT has grown in popularity steadily over the past decade or so, the expansion of CrossFit’s popularity has really helped it surge to perhaps the most popular style of fitness today. Some people tend to use CrossFit and HIIT interchangeably, but that is wrong for a couple of reasons:
- CrossFit is a sport, and a business, and therefore encompasses a variety of fitness movements ranging from olympic weightlifting to gymnastics, as well as strongman and endurance sports. HIIT is not remotely endurance based.
- HIIT specifically states that there must be intervals in the training plan. CrossFit does not always do intervals, in fact, many of the CrossFit workouts are not designed to be done interval style.
So, now that we have determined that CrossFit and HIIT are different things, let’s get into how to design a HIIT program.
- HIIT works best with low technical movements. Doing sets of snatches for time and then resting for an allotted time does not make sense in my judgement. Snatches, clean and jerks, back squats, etc. are highly technical movements which require attention to be performed correctly. Doing them under intense fatigue can be a quick route to injury.
- Choose your work rest ratio. A good starting point is a 1:3 work to rest ratio. For example, that would mean doing a 10 second sprint, followed by a 30 second rest period.
- Pick a duration for your total workout. Typically, I like to do full on High Intensity Interval Training for somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes. If you are really pushing yourself, that is all you will possibly need.
In total, the following would be a possible workout:
- 5 minute warm up jog.
- 5-10 minutes of dynamic movements such as high knees, butt kicks, and power skips.
- 10 sets of 100 meter sprints, with 60 seconds of rest.
- 5 minute cool down followed by light yoga or stretching.
I would not recommend doing this as your only type of workout, however, because it taxes a very specific energy system, and you need to variety to progress.