What is HILIT training – and what are the fitness benefits?

Lose the impact without losing the intensity. (Photo: Getty)

If you’ve ever been to a gym, you’re probably familiar with HIIT training – High Intensity Interval Training.

It involves short, sharp bursts of high cardio and explosive movements, with short periods of rest. It’s meant to raise your heart rate and bring it down quickly, which is meant to really boost your aerobic fitness.

HIIT has been a huge trend in the fitness world for years, but in recent months there has been a slight shift, with more and more people leaning towards exercise that is gentler and gentler on your body.

But, as we move away from focusing on consistent power and speed, can we still find a workout that’s just as effective? Enter HILIT.

The latest trendy fitness acronym means; High intensity, low impact training. And, as the name suggests, it has a lot less impact on your muscles and joints, while still giving you the intensity that will help you reach your fitness goals.

In HILIT, you never have both feet off the ground – which makes it low impact – and the focus is on increasing the heart rate – that’s where high intensity comes in. . But there is no jumping, no running and no burpees.

The morning stretch is important.
No burpees? Where do we sign? (Photo: Getty / iStockphoto)

Instead, you’ll focus on movements that elevate your heart rate without needing to jump in – think lunges, boards, mountaineers, and worms.

“Low Impact High Intensity Training (HILIT) is a safe and effective way to train without high impact – for example, jumping has a high impact and causes a lot of stress on the joints,” explains Lydia Arnoux, Barrecore teacher and personal trainer.

“This type of exercise is often recommended if you are a beginner, injured, deconditioned, or perhaps prenatal (and these are all valid recommendations), however, this type of training is much gentler on our joints, while working out. muscles, and therefore might be a better option for anyone who wants to feel fitter and stronger, whether you are a seasoned athlete or a senior.

The benefits of HILIT workouts

Lydia explains that this style of exercise is gentle on the joints, which means it reduces the risk of injury. It can be done anywhere without or with minimal equipment making it more accessible, the lack of jumping also means that if you work from home it will make your neighbors happy.

“It is still possible to maintain or build muscle mass with this type of exercise and therefore can help promote fat loss and is highly recommended as we age and our body begins to naturally lose muscle mass. and that our joints can get a little sore, ”says Lydie.

“Even regular gym goers who start to notice more aches and pains can benefit from a balance between high impact work and low impact exercise, after all, if we are away for months with injuries, no isn’t it better to incorporate something a little nicer into the body?

“Low intensity exercise can build strength to protect and prevent injury rather than having to deal with a problem later.”

At Barrecore, Lydia says she works in small isometric movements, essentially holding the muscle where it’s burning and keeping it there, so the muscle is held at the point of work and tension.

“This means that you get maximum work from that muscle group using these precise movements,” she says.

“It also means it’s very time efficient as well. Everything is done without skipping, which over time can cause joint wear and tear causing pain and stiffness to the surrounding joints, tendons and ligaments.

HILIT is also a weight-bearing exercise, so you’ll still get the benefits of bone strengthening – increased bone density – as well as improved coordination, posture and mobility, which Lydia says , are all elements of fitness that are often overlooked.

“Isometric exercises have been proven to activate more muscle fibers and build strength faster than traditional weight lifting, saving you time while reaching your goals,” Lydia explains.

“You’ll also have that endorphin surge, the surge of ‘happiness hormones’ released by exercise. By keeping the impact low, your knees might be a bit happier the day after a tough session – muscles may still hate you a bit, but there’s a difference between feeling worked and feeling damaged.

“It means that this way of exercising is sustainable and that’s what we need because we only have one body and we’re here for life.

“Remember our bodies are designed to move, but we need to focus on longevity to help build a happy and healthy body and mind.”

Different types of HILIT workouts


Whether in the studio or online, the unique dancer-inspired Barrecore Method is designed to work your muscles through low-impact choreographed movements until your muscles start to shake.


Pilates is a low impact form of exercise that aims to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility.


Spinning on a stationary bike is notoriously very strenuous, but puts little pressure on your joints.

To swim

While swimming may seem leisurely, it can be an incredibly effective full body workout that challenges all muscle groups without straining any of your joints.

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