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July 7, 2021

Is HILIT (high intensity low impact training) a Thing?

HILIT high intensity low impact training with annie Miller

First thought – what even are you doing?

One of my clients sent me a post the other day that listed a workout as HILIT. And my client was like, “is this a thing? Which is a fair question.

I voice messaged her back after reviewing the post. What the influencer posted was definitely not HILIT. But, high intensity low impact training DOES exist. Gasp. I know, go ahead and wipe your face because I know you just spit out your beverage. Stick with me.

My answer may surprise you, but not for long. First we need to understand what high intensity and low impact are defined as (swipe). If the two can coexist, then put simply, high intensity low impact training can indeed be a thing.

I want you to think about exercises like:

  • slow sled pulls or prowler pushes
  • a slow paced five minute walking lunch with a Weight vest on.
  • the versa climber. Ever used one of those? They are low impact but also, DEATH.

In fact much HICT (high intensity continuous training) could be considered HILIT – 20 minute stair climb with a weight vest, high resistance cycling. These are the exact methods that I used in college for what could be considered high intensity, low impact training. My heart rate was well into the 180s, I was winded, and there was low impact on my joints (one foot on the ground at all times).

Think of someone with pelvic floor weakness or disfunction. How might we get their heart rate and respiration in the red zone 85-100% without high impact on their joints (sprinting, jumping)? It’s a reasonable question, and essentially asking – how can we elicit a high intensity cardiorespiratory response while keeping low impact on the skeletal system? OH SHIT! I know, I KNOW. It exists.

Now – HEAR ME. LISTEN TO ME. Most of what you see on Instagram or Pinterest as HILIT, is not legitimately HILIT. Much like most of what you see on Instagram listed as HIIT, is not HIIT. My hope is that these examples and explanation give you the skills to differentiate what is and what isn’t considered HILIT. Good talk? Good talk.

Now, if you want to get strong, enjoy your workouts and make #educatedgains, then get on the Built by Annie waitlist. 

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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