5 Reasons to Avoid HIIT Treadmill Workouts - Chi Living

5 Reasons to Avoid HIIT Treadmill Workouts

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Fri Feb 5th, 2016, 9 comments

5 Reasons to Avoid HIIT Treadmill Workouts

Running doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it can actually be very relaxing. We at Chi Running believe that running doesn’t have to always be intense, it can be rejuvenating while also reaping the same health benefits of an intense workout.

In recent years, HIIT cardio treadmill workouts have become quite popular. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and combines high-intensity exercise intervals, with low to moderate recovery phases. A study done by The American College of Sports Medicine, has identified HIIT workouts as one of the top 20 fitness trends in the past decade. However, along with their popularity, HIIT workouts come with some myths, as well as some blatant warnings.

So, for your own health and safety here are some things we think you should know about HITTs:

1. HIITs aren’t for everyone

You wouldn’t jump right into a half marathon without training, right? The same goes for HIIT workouts. Studies from institutions Central Michigan University and  University of New Mexico speak on the dangers doing HITTs too early in your running life.

The advice is to begin any running practices with low to moderate exertion levels. Starting off with high intensity running is dangerous to your knees and ankles.  You should ease in to any running practice, and Chi Running teaches a way to build your stamina, without wearing yourself (and your knees) out.

2. Focus Matters

This is especially true for treadmill cardio workouts. You’ll have better workouts when your focus is more on your technique and less on maintaining intensity.

With Chi Running, you can focus on your posture, your breath and your body sensing skills, rather than recovering for your next interval. This is key to a healthy treadmill run!

Focus and concentration are huge factors, with ChiRunning, because your stamina and speed last longer due to a mix of breathing, focus, alignment and relaxation.

3. Treadmills Affect Proper and Natural Movement

The biggest problem with HIIT treadmill workouts… is that they're done on a treadmill. It's always better to run on a track or in an open environment whenever you can. That's because treadmills force you to run in an unnatural way. Here's why. Since the treadmill’s belt pulls your feet out from under you when you run, you don’t have to push off as much to generate momentum. You're basically just keeping your balance on top of a moving object.

This affects your balance and gait, and definitely your foot strike pattern. This is doubly true for HIIT, considering the oncoming force of the treadmill is at a high rate of speed. It can definitely throw you off your stride and pound your quads if you're not careful.

Chi Running focuses purely on natural movements that don’t jeopardize your natural body flow. You need consistent, fluid movements – rather than stopping and starting on a treadmill.

4. Rhythm is in Everything… Especially Running

Cardio is fun! It’s a stress reliever for many, and a huge part of this is your body’s natural aerobic rhythm. Once you get into a cadence that fits you, and you develop your own gait and movements, it becomes second nature to you.

When doing a HIIT workout on a treadmill, most runners increase their cadence as their treadmill speed increases. This only increases the impact to your legs.

By finding your unique pattern in breathing, cadence and movement, your stamina and energy levels increase. This is very difficult to find in a HIIT.

5. Functionality Matters

Let’s be honest here, HIIT cardio be pretty tough, logistically. Not all treadmills have HIIT settings. So this means some runners will have to set their speed, run it, watch the treadmill clock, pause it, reset the timer and start again… and, this is repeated after each interval is completed.

This simply isn’t effective for your body’s natural flow. Chi Running is all about feeling and energy. We believe that running can be rejuvenating but to feel rejuvenated, your focus and mind needs to be on the act – and not on the clock or treadmill setting.

These are just a few myths surround HIIT Treadmill workouts and HIIT cardio workouts. If you’re looking for a rejuvenating run – one that both builds as well as works your body – look into us at Chi Running! We take natural energetic methods, and ensure they are instilled into your cardio in a safe way.

Happy running!

The Chi Team

9 CommentsLeave a comment below

What do you think about non-powered treadmills? What is the best technique to run on one?

Patricia and Bill Miller Feb 8th, 2016 07:32am

Thanks for this.  An outstanding article and I believe it all.

Thanks Danny. I think we runners sometimes feel guilty as our friends tell us HIIT is It!! I know that I can never quite get my lean or form correct on the treadmill and so upping the intensity just seems like a really good way to run poorly and increase risk of injury. The other thing is that the treadmill is so boring. Now that I’ve participated in a summer and winter training group, I have run in all kinds of weather that used to send me indoors. Now, I just enjoy the weather and do any speed work outdoors and I’m much happier overall!!!

I’ve done Tabata training (20 second high intensity followed by 10 second recovery) for a few years.  It was never practical on a treadmill - by the time the belt slows down, recovery time is over and time to speed back up.  I’ve found an elliptical much more effective for this type of training, however I do it as supplemental training after a Chi run, not as a substitute.

good thoughts that have given me some pause. What about the zero runner machine for an inside workout?

I am a dedicated Chi walker and runner.  I do my intervals in the pool, swimming, once or twice a week!  Cross-training!  Thus the benefits of HIIT without messing with my Chi posture and techniques!


Floyd Fisher May 31st, 2016 08:49pm

In your book, you talk about running for a period, then taking rest breaks and walking…how is that different from HIIT training?

Freya Osborne Jan 29th, 2017 03:45am

Really informative post for treadmill users.As my husband also included.

Thanks for sharing.

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