HIIT Workouts Are More Likely to Cause Injury, Study Finds

That buzzy new HIIT class may promise to torch calories and get you in shape, but it could also lead to injuries, according to some new research.

A Rutgers research team found that data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System revealed a 144 percent increase in overall injuries between 2012 to 20016, compared to 2007 to 2011. These incidents were related to exercise equipment like barbells, kettlebells and boxes, or movements commonly found in high intensity interval training (HIIT) protocols, like burpees, push-ups, and lunges. White males between 20 to 39 suffered most of the injuries, which most often occurred in the knees, ankles, and shoulders.

The Rutgers team believes a rise in the popularity of HIIT workouts, as determined by analyzing Google search data, might explain this spike in injuries.

“These workouts are marketed as ‘one size fits all.’ However, many athletes, especially amateurs, do not have the flexibility, mobility, core strength and muscles to perform these exercises,” said study co-author Dr. Joseph Ippolito, physician in the department of orthopedics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

That’s not to say that the researchers believe that HIIT classes are bad. Before taking on any new protocols or group fitness classes, it’s important to speak with a trainer or instructor about pre-existing injuries or weaknesses to ensure you don’t get hurt.

Many high impact movements like box jumps can be replaced with a safer alternative, such as stepups. Adding exercises that improve mobility, flexibility and strength can also reduce your risk of injury.

And with any exercise, it’s important not to sacrifice form for speed. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with everyone else if something doesn’t feel right.

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