If you’ve hit the gym at any point in the past few years, you’re probably familiar with—and/or afraid of—the term HIIT. For the uninitiated, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is any workout that encourages you to give all-out, 100 percent effort for quick, intense periods of time, followed by short, sometimes active recovery. The idea is that not only can you get this kind of workout over with faster than a lower-intensity one, but HIIT can temporarily spike your metabolism and can often be done with little to no equipment.
But because HIIT workouts often utilize plyometric movements (exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in a rapid or explosive manner), they’re often not an option for people with joint issues, like back or knee problems. Enter HILIT, a similar but different type of workout that’s poised to be one of the biggest fitness trends of 2020 and beyond.
HILIT stands for high-intensity, low-impact training. Like HIIT workouts, HILIT workouts focus on intensity—short bursts of going all out followed by short recovery periods. Unlike HIIT, HILIT emphasizes lower-impact movements that are easier on your joints. Translation: In HILIT workouts, you never have both feet off the ground (that means no jumping or—praise be—burpees).
Because of the high-intensity part, HILIT workouts are just as effective as HIIT workouts (assuming you’re actually exercising at your highest intensity). In a study at McMaster University in Ontario, researchers found that quick spurts of intense exercise are just as beneficial as longer endurance-training sessions. So basically, if you’re looking to cut back on the time you spend working out without sacrificing any of the results, just make sure you work a little harder for that shortened period of time.