Exercise Science and Sport Management
High-intensity functional training (HIFT) is an exercise modality that emphasizes functional,multi-joint movements that can be modified to any fitness level and elicit greater muscle recruitmentthan more traditional exercise. As a relatively new training modality, HIFT is often compared tohigh-intensity interval training (HIIT), yet the two are distinct. HIIT exercise is characterized byrelatively short bursts of repeated vigorous activity, interspersed by periods of rest or low-intensityexercise for recovery, while HIFT utilizes constantly varied functional exercises and various activitydurations that may or may not incorporate rest. Over the last decade, studies evaluating theeffectiveness of HIIT programs have documented improvements in metabolic and cardiorespiratoryadaptations; however, less is known about the effects of HIFT. The purpose of this manuscript is toprovide a working definition of HIFT and review the available literature regarding its use to improvemetabolic and cardiorespiratory adaptations in strength and conditioning programs among variouspopulations. Additionally, we aim to create a definition that is used in future publications to evaluatemore effectively the future impact of this type of training on health and fitness outcomes.
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