The Prerequisites of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Many people walk into our physical therapy office with injuries from sports or exercise classes where they participate in activities that are too advanced for them. A main example of this is when people participate in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that HIIT is a great form of exercise. There’s actually very few forms of exercise I don’t approve of. The exercise isn’t the problem, it’s the individual’s preparedness for it. Do they have the prerequisite strength and motor control for those fast paced movements.

HIIT classes involve movement such as burpees, squat jumps, plank jacks, kettlebell swings, box jumps, lunge jumps, and mountain climbers to name a few.

While there is nothing wrong with these exercises, those who are about to participate in this form of exercise need to make sure that they can perform these movements with control and good form before making it a plyometric (jumping/fast/ powerful). You need to be able to perform the foundational movement before picking up the speed.

So, before you do the exercises shown in this first video... burpees, squat jumps, plank jacks, kettle bell swings, box jumps, lunge jumps, and mountain climbers

... can you do the prerequisite exercises below and feel the work in the right place without pain?

✅Plank
✅Pushup
✅Squat
✅DeadLift
✅Step up
✅Lunge

If you can, then make sure you can perform the same amount of reps slowly for what you’re about to do fast. If you start to lose form or get sloppy, you’ve hit YOUR limit, regardless of what the instructor is asking you to do.

If you can’t do these without pain or without the correct technique, then come in and see me! I’d love to help you figure out the best way to achieve the results you’re looking for in a SAFER and SMARTER way in order to make you STRONGER.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

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Dr. Adrienne Jensen

Center Director / Physical Therapist / Doctor of Physical Therapy
Adrienne Jensen is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). She works at Activcore in Princeton, New Jersey, located just 2 miles from Princeton University. Besides athletics, Adrienne has a special interest in orthopedics and breast cancer rehabilitation.
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