Who is loving the HIIT workout craze?! I know I am—they are a ton of fun. A study from the most recent edition of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at how HIIT running workouts effect running kinematics (your running mechanics). “HIIT” stands for “High Intensity Interval Training”, and this particular study defined it as “repeated short to long bouts of rather high intensity exercise performed close to 100% max oxygen uptake with recovery periods”. Sound familiar? This is what a lot of threshold repetition speed training looks like.
This study is important because previous studies addressing this topic were conducted in a lab —a very different setting from the real world! So they took 28 male, moderately trained endurance runners between the ages of 18 and 40 years old, and put them on a track for a speed (HIIT) workout. The workout was 4 sets of 3 400 meter runs with 1 minute recovery between runs and 3 minutes recovery between sets. For the 400s, runners were instructed to run at the fastest pace they could maintain consistently.
The data collected from the markers placed on the runners showed that the workout did not substantially alter the runners’ kinematics. This is very valuable when considering training plans and injury prevention strategies— HIIT workouts are a great way to include a quality workout with relatively low mileage, therefore decreasing overall mileage (higher mileage=higher injury risk), without putting the runner at risk for injury due to poor running mechanics.
It is important to note the body of research that has shown fatigue can alter biomechanics and neuromuscular function, and exercising while fatigued will increase stress and shear and impact forces to the legs. So it is important that you understand the purpose of any workout you are doing— a well designed HIIT workout should not alter your running kinematics (and therefore increase your risk for injury) and avoid extreme fatigue.
- Cathlin Fitzgerald, PT, DPT, CSCS, CAFS
- NY Custom PT & Performance
- 295 Madison Avenue #1026
- New York, NY 10017
- Garcia-Piniollos F Soto-Hermoso VM Latorre-Roman PA. “Do running kinematic characteristics change over a typical HIIT for endurance runners?”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.. 2016; 30(10): 2907-2917.