HIIT After Weight Training – A Good Idea?

High intensity interval training (abbreviated as HIIT) is a type of cardiovascular exercise that lets you burn lots of calories in the shortest time possible. As a fitness enthusiast or gym goer, you may find yourself wondering whether or not to indulge in HIIT after weightlifting. With numerous mixed reviews out there about HIIT, it can be challenging to figure out when you should do HIIT. Look no further because this guide has all the answers you need.

What’s HIIT All About?

HIIT lets you do quick bursts of work with resting periods (passive or active) placed in between the exercises. The goal of the workout is to increase your heartbeat during the quick bursts or intervals and then slightly decrease it while you’re resting. With HIIT, it’s possible to experience quick gains in your cardio fitness and build muscle. On the downside, HIIT requires lots of recovery for the gains to be beneficial. 

Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training

Though it’s tough to execute, HIIT can help you build anesthetic-looking muscular and lean physique when done in the right way. The exercise lets you burn 25 to 35 percent more calories than other workout types while keeping your body fat down. HIIT is a great exercise for improving cardiovascular health and in turn lowering your risks for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke. After each HIIT session, you’ll feel more energized and productive.

Should You HIIT After Weightlifting?

The answer to this question is yes. If you’re engaging in high intensity interval training, it’s advisable to place the exercise after your weightlifting sessions. Consider doing HIIT as a separate exercise from your weight training session for maximum results. It’s more ideal if you do this cardio exercise 6 hours after weight training (preferably the next day). 

Why Spread Out Your Weightlifting and HIIT Sessions?

A 2017 study by Murlasits et al revealed that spreading out a HIIT session is crucial for more strength improvements. Doing HIIT before your weightlifting sessions won’t yield positive cardiovascular gains.The magnitude of the gains in muscle mass and strength will depend on the type of endurance training you’re using.

A separate study conducted by Wilson et al found out that resistance training combined with running results in a significant decrease in strength and hypertrophy. The study concluded that running disrupts the muscular system since it relies on movements that are inconsistent with strength training. When running, every step causes shocks known to trigger muscle damage. Running also stresses the legs making it difficult for you to recover or gain muscle mass.

While spreading out your HIIT sessions, engage in low impact cardio exercises such as swimming, rowing and cycling for the best results. Avoid running since it’s detrimental to your legs. If you don’t care about leg size, you may engage in running.

How to Indulge in HIIT

The recommended time for performing HIIT is 15 minutes (at least 2 to 3 times a week). When done moderately, HIIT promotes muscle growth and strength. If you over do it, the exercise will likely interfere with your strength training program. Choose any type of modality when performing HIIT except running and jogging. 

A good HIIT routine includes 3 to 5 minutes of warm-up and a 30-second rest (moving slowly or complete rest). Repeat this routine for at least 15 minutes to maximize your gains. You can also indulge in sports once or twice on your resting days for 20 to 30 minutes. The good thing about sports is that it’s more fun and less repetitive than other HIIT modalities.

Summing Up

Your HIIT sessions will depend on your goals, recovering capacity and training experience. If you’re aiming to build muscle mass, engaging in HIIT everyday will negatively affect your recovery and decrease your gains. Your body may adapt well to doing HIIT everyday if you always recover well and you’ve been doing HIIT for a long time.

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