Sports Injuries Rising Due to Popularity of High-Intensity Interval Training

W680 core training female According to a new study from Rutgers, popular high intensity interval training (HIIT) routines at gyms and outdoor facilities may be leading to a dramatic rise in knee and other joint injuries. Interval training combines strength and aerobic conditioning in intense periods of exertion, followed by periods of rest. Athletes often alternate between two or more exercises in rotating fashion.

From trainers to doctors, few doubt the cardiovascular and general health benefits of interval training. Strength and endurance and weight loss are the common upsides to interval training. However, there is some growing level of concern as to the rise in orthopedic injuries related to the popular workout regimen. Especially among amateur athletes without supervision, the injury rates appear to be climbing noticeably. 

Led by Orthopedist Dr. Joseph Ippolito, the Rutgers study examined a decade's worth of sports training-related injuries in the U.S. The total data set was 3.9 million injuries from 2007 to 2016. Researchers focused on injuries related to equipment or calisthenics exercises common to interval training routines at gyms. They discovered an average of 51,000 injuries per year with the number rising in correlation to the popularity of interval training.

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Researchers noted that the highest injury rates occurred among 20-30 year old white males working out with no supervision. 

The majority of reported injuries occurred in joints at the knees, ankles, and shoulders, with the knees bearing the brunt. In addition to strains, sprains and dislocations of the joints, there were significant increases in instances of nerve damage, concussions, and internal organ injuries. 

In addition to the immediate concerns related to HIIT gym injuries, Dr. Ippolito points out the long-term pathology of these types of undue stresses to the joints:

"There is strong evidence that these types of injuries -- specifically from repetitive overload at the knee -- can lead to osteoarthritis."

The report strongly advises athletes in training to consult with medical or training professionals prior to engaging in interval training

As The D10 athletes prepare for their upcoming events, we certainly encourage them to read our event training guides and attend our D10 group training classes (for NYC) to ensure they are training smartly for game-day and beyond.