HIGH-INTENSITY POWER TRAINING — IS IT RIGHT FOR YOU?

Sports Woman's legs in running movement

Is high-intensity power training for you? Also known as HIPT, this way of working out can boost your health and be a fun way to exercise. Here are some points to keep in mind if HIPT interests you.

What is HIPT?
While programs differ, HIPT as a rule means working out at a high level of intensity. It often mixes plyometrics (also known as plyo), calisthenics, and weight training with high-intensity interval training (or HIIT). During plyo drills, muscle fibers contract and relax in quick sequences. Using explosive movements such as vertical jumps and quick, upper-body exercises, these drills can help increase strength, speed, agility, and balance. Calisthenics training involves using your own bodyweight for resistance. Pull-ups, push-ups, and squats are some examples. On the other hand, weight training involves using equipment such as weight machines and free weights. Both calisthenics and weight training can also help shape lean muscle and build strength, flexibility, and balance.

HIPT workouts can last from about 4 minutes to a half-hour or more. Sessions start with a warm up, such as walking. Next comes the intense part of the workout. This may include calisthenics, plyo drills, or weight training sets performed in quick succession. You may do one kind of activity per session or many. HIPT sessions should always end with a cooldown period. This typically includes gentle stretches and slow-paced movements that help lower your heart rate.

Is an intense workout safe for you?
If you haven’t worked out in a while or if you have any health concerns, it’s vital that you check with your doctor before starting an HIPT program. This kind of workout can ask more of your body than other kinds of exercise. Your doctor may give you guidelines on how long or how intensely you should work out. He or she can also offer advice on how to avoid injuries. Be sure to follow up with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns at any point after starting this type of training.

What can HIPT do for you?
Research has shown that bursts of high-intensity workouts and the type of exercises that make up HIPT can help support aerobic fitness. It can also help support a healthy ratio of lean body mass to total body fat. These health benefits have been observed in athletes, people in general, and even those with health conditions such as high blood pressure and obesity. It’s important to follow your doctor’s guidelines and not to push your body to do more than it can safely do.

Should you choose one-on-one training or join a group?
If you are new to HIPT, you may want to start off with one-on-one training to challenge yourself without the pressure of keeping up with others. If you have health issues, working out with a trainer will allow you to tailor your workouts and not be tempted to do more than you should. You can always join a group in the future if you are ready to take your training to a new level.

It’s easy to find an HIPT group to join at a gym or local rec center. Group sessions are led by certified fitness trainers who often change up HIPT routines. You may find each session is rarely the same as the last one. This, mixed with the support you get from the group, can give you the nudge you need to stay on track with your fitness goals. It can also help you step up your fitness routine and keep boredom at bay.

HIPT—a timesaver
We can all use more time in our day-to-day lives. The good news is that when you work out at an intense level, you may see or feel results faster. One study showed that 11 minutes of HIPT twice a week resulted in aerobic fitness that took much longer to reach with other forms of activity. If you are healthy enough to do HIPT, you may be able to spend less total time each week working out. Most adults can choose to get at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week to support their health. If you work out 5 days a week, that’s only 15 minutes of HIPT a day.

Along with its health perks, HIPT can be a way to make new friends and reach new levels of fitness. With all these pluses, you may want to take a closer look at this workout option.