Crossfit vs HIIT High-intensity Interval Training

Crossfit vs HIIT High-intensity interval training

Comparing Crossfit vs HIIT

As more and more people learn the advantages of workouts like Crossfit or HIIT (High-intensity interval training), there can be a lot of debate if one training program is better than the other.

Crossfit has a fanatical following among some and its well-deserved. Crossfit entered a fitness market that was boring and stale and revolutionized what a high intensity fitness workout should look like by combining Olympic lifting with high-intensity cardio workouts with WODs (Workout Of the Day) and posting results of each competitor.

HIIT vs Crossfit woman pushing Prowler sled

Is Crossfit or HIIT better?

The answer is that really depends on how you depend “better.” There are benefits to both Crossfit and HIIT and in some cases, there’s a fair amount of overlap between the type types of workouts.

How are Crossfit and HIIT similar?

Let’s look at the similarities first. Both Crossfit and HIIT can feature high-intensity interval training designed to max out your heart rate followed by rest or recovery periods. Both programs can incorporate weight training with either dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells. Both can also focus on just body-weight exercises as well

Both HIIT and Crossfit are great workouts for helping to lose weight. If you do a resistance or weightlifting-based HIIT, both HIIT and Crossfit can also help you build muscle mass if done properly.

Both HIIT and Crossfit can be done in a group setting, so there can be a great social aspect to the workout as well. Plus having others to workout with can push you to work harder than if you were just working out by yourself.

Both types of exercise will improve your fitness and cardiovascular health which will reap long term benefits.

crossfit vs HIIT

Advantages of Crossfit vs HIIT

There are a few advantages when comparing Crossfit vs HIIT workouts. Most of the benefits have to do with a better variety of exercises as well as better access to coaching.

More Variety in Crossfit vs HIIT

Crossfit tends to focus on not focusing on the same exercises workout to workout. In fact, Crossfit prides itself in trying to make Crossfitters good at a lot of different types of exercise, from Olympic lifting, gymnastic-style exercises on the rings, tire-flipping, weighed sled pushing and lung and heart-bursting high-intensity cardio workouts.

As a result, Crossfit tends to offer a lot of variety in its workouts. One WOD may incorporate 800m runs in between Olympic lifting sets while the next day’s WOD (if you’re a glutton enough for punishment to come back) may. be burpees and bodyweight exercises until you wobble out of the Crossfit box with the help of others.

Better Coaching in Crossfit

Overall, most Crossfit boxes have well-trained Crossfit coaches and Crossfit has an on-ramping process for people new to Crossfit to help show them proper Olympic lifting techniques. I think this is an important benefit to well-coached Crossfit programs, learning the proper technique to reduce the risk of injuries.

Advantages of HIIT vs Crossfit

Less Equipment Needed for HIIT

You can do your own high-intensity interval training just by running intervals, doing burpees in the park or jump roping in the garage. Most HIIT exercises require no more equipment that running shoes and a watch to keep track of time.

Flexibility of HIIT schedule over Crossfit

You can also schedule your HIIT workouts around your own family and work schedules without having to worry about getting to the Crossfit box on time for the start of that 6 am Crossfit workout.

HIIT Requires Less Time than Crossfit

If you’re doing a well-designed high-intensity interval training program, in some cases, you can be done with the HIIT workout in twenty minutes or less. Crossfit workouts usually run for 60 minutes, which include warm up and cool down portions of the workout.

Downsides of HIIT and Crossfit

The one downside with both HIIT and Crossfit I see as a sports medicine physician is that some people don’t allow enough recovery between these sessions. As a result they end up under-recovered and overtrained, which are a recipe for injury and ending up in my office.

It’s easy to get caught up in the allure of pushing yourself to the limit every day, but its also important to take time to allow the body to properly recover as well. Remember, the gains happen away from the gym. If you think you’ve hit a plateau with your Crossfit or HIIT workouts, look and see how many high intensity workouts you’re doing each week. You might be redlining it a little too often.

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