HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, has definitely taken off in the world of fitness. However, just because you want your workout to be high intensity, that doesn’t mean you have to opt for high impact. With all of the known negative effects that high impact moves can have on your body–like joint pain and increased risk of injury–it’s always a good idea to find ways to lower impact while keeping that intensity high.
In the case of HIIT routines, you’ll often find that a lot of moves are high impact because just about every high impact move is high intensity (be it burpees or jumping rope). However, there are also plenty of low impact moves that are high intensity. So, all you have to do is make some smart substitutions and you’ll have a modified workout that’s better for your joints while being just as effective for your fitness goals.
Anything that requires you to lift both feet off the ground is probably a no-no. Jumping is a major culprit in HIIT routines, whether you’re ending your burpee by reaching towards the sky or doing “star jumps” to get your heart pumping fast. Luckily, some low impact alternatives also work to get your heart racing. Instead of jumping back into a burpee, simply step it out one foot at a time. Instead of jumping up at the end, do a lunge or a squat.
Slow Things Down
Slowing things down might make it sound like low impact equals easier, but it most certainly does not! By slowing down your movements, you gain more control over your form and end up working against your own body weight to tone your muscles and get your blood pumping. One good example is marching. Marching is the ideal substitution for high impact moves like butt kicks and running in place because it works similar muscles without all the pounding. March in place with your knees going as high as you can make them at a pace you can withstand.
Opt for Body Resistance Moves
You can definitely work up a sweat by opting for body resistance moves over large, range of motion activities. Holding a deep squat, for instance, is certainly going to get your heart pumping even if you aren’t doing a bunch of big, fast movements. Also try planks, wall sits, and squats to get your body working against its own weight. That’s when you’ll really feel the burn.