High-Intensity Interval Training, commonly referred to as “HIIT,” has gained immense recognition for its time-efficient and intense approach to working out. Meanwhile, CrossFit has also become a popular fitness regimen that is well-known for its community-oriented, vigorous, and diverse workouts. At first glance, these two styles of exercise may seem pretty similar. But is CrossFit HIIT? In this blog, we’ll delve into both the distinctions and connections between these two modes of staying active.



Understanding HIIT


HIIT is a workout strategy that alternates between periods of high and low-intensity exercise. As stated by the American College of Sports Medicine, the primary goal of HIIT is to push your body towards its limits during the high-intensity intervals by reaching 80-95% of your maximum heart rate. Then, you switch into a recovery phase where you instead work at 40-50% of this max. This pattern is repeated for a set number of intervals until the workout is complete.


For example, let’s outline how you could use HIIT to switch up a traditional 10-minute run. Instead of running consistently at a moderate pace for 10 straight minutes, you could sprint for 30 seconds, then jog for 1.5 minutes. You could repeat this 5 times to accumulate 10 minutes of HIIT-style running.


The benefits of HIIT lie in its ability to elevate your heart rate quickly and help you develop a greater aerobic capacity to promote improved cardiovascular fitness through short, efficient workouts. HIIT routines can be customized to suit various fitness levels and can incorporate nearly any type of exercise. This includes bodyweight movements, cardio drills, and even weightlifting.



Decoding CrossFit: More Than Just HIIT


CrossFit, on the other hand, is a comprehensive fitness program that incorporates aspects of MANY different styles of training. Some CrossFit workouts include HIIT, but not all do. WODs change daily to help athletes accomplish a variety of health and fitness goals. For instance, a week of programming may be structured as follows:


  • Monday – This day consists of 1 WOD in which you cycle through 4 different exercises for 30-40 minutes. You’re meant to perform this workout at an intensity that’s sustainable and can take breaks as needed.
  • Tuesday – This day consists of 2 WODs. In the first workout, you have 15 minutes to build up to a heavy set of 3 reps of a specific barbell lift. You can move at your own pace and are encouraged to rest between sets. The second workout requires you to complete 3 rounds of 3 different exercises as quickly as possible in under 10 minutes. You can rest as needed but it is intended to perform it at a high intensity.
  • Wednesday – This day again consists of 1 WOD. Spend 5 minutes cycling through a set number of reps of 4 different exercises as many times as possible. Once the 5 minutes is up, rest for 2 minutes. Repeat this “5 minutes on, 2 minutes off” pattern for 4 total intervals.
  • Etc.


*This is just a broad example to show how different workouts could be formatted. You can see CrossFit LPF’s specific workouts on our website! Simply click the grey “WODs” circle in the bottom left corner of each page.


As you can see, CrossFit does incorporate elements of high-intensity interval training. It similarly combines weightlifting, gymnastics, cardiovascular exercises, and functional movements. It is scalable for all ages and ability levels. However, it also encompasses variations of HIIT, traditional weightlifting elements, and other training methodologies, creating a well-rounded approach to fitness.



The Intersection of CrossFit and HIIT


So, is CrossFit HIIT? While there is an undeniable connection between CrossFit and HIIT, they are not synonymous. CrossFit is more like a fitness philosophy that includes HIIT as one of its components. Its aim is to improve overall fitness across multiple domains, including cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, power, and more. It ultimately embraces a wider range of fitness disciplines and movements than HIIT, which revolves around alternating between high and low-intensity periods of exercise. If CrossFit sounds interesting to you, come visit us at CrossFit LPF. We can’t wait to introduce you to everything CrossFit has to offer, including aspects of HIIT!