T Nation

Racquetball as HIIT

I don’t much care for working out on cardio machines. Bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, stairclimbers. There all boring. I’ll do it if I have to but I’d rather do something else.

Which brings me to racquetball. There are several guys who play very seriously at the YMCA where I work out. They are all better players than I am and push it hard for an hour. I would much rather do this than attempt some type of interval training on a treadmill. This seems to me to be a good HIIT type exercise. Go hard for a rally, very brief rest between serves, and hard at it again. If I go hard for an hour straight, would you agree that this is decent HIIT training? The current plan is geared toward fat loss. Racquetball M-W-F, Staley’s EDT T-Th-S. What do you think?

[quote]squatdude wrote:
I don’t much care for working out on cardio machines. Bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, stairclimbers. There all boring. I’ll do it if I have to but I’d rather do something else.

Which brings me to racquetball. There are several guys who play very seriously at the YMCA where I work out. They are all better players than I am and push it hard for an hour. I would much rather do this than attempt some type of interval training on a treadmill. This seems to me to be a good HIIT type exercise. Go hard for a rally, very brief rest between serves, and hard at it again. If I go hard for an hour straight, would you agree that this is decent HIIT training? The current plan is geared toward fat loss. Racquetball M-W-F, Staley’s EDT T-Th-S. What do you think?[/quote]

I totally agree with not caring for the cardio machines. In the same vein I play 5-a-side football (soccer to you guys over the pond) a couple of times a week. This is similar to racketball in the sprint/stop/sprint nature.

I don’t know whether it will be as effective as a “normal” HIIT plan, but I can say with certainty that it will be one hell of a lot more fun…

It’s a great HIT workout! Especially when you play with palyers that are somewhat good at it. Hitting the angles & drop shots. Awesome workout, don’t take too long of a break after a game.

My friends & I usually play for an hr. non stop. Afterwards were dead tired. ENJOY!

AND, wear some goggles!!!

I must agree! @ college we had a great sports facility and I was actively playing 4 sports a week, and the one that by far made me sweat the most was racquetball. I think a lot of it is because you’re inside and there is no wind to cool you off – soccer doesn’t wind me nearly as much and neither does cycling. I find the most fun for me is to play with 3 person rotation, so one watches whilst the others play. 1 hour strait? You guys are animals!

The major problem I see with racquetball is diminishing returns – if you are a great player, you won’t be doing much sprinting because you are basically forcing the other guy to hit the ball back to you.

I would also agree with you that it’s great exercise. BUT I’ve also known quite a few fat players.

As long as you’re getting your heart rate up, it’ll be great. Any kind of sports in my opinion is better than traditional “cardio” as long as intensity is high enough.

I agree with you, fat + skilled will destroy fit and quick every time at racquetball.

Thanks for the great responses. As I said, the guys I play with are all better than I am but everyone gets a good workout. I think the “fat + skill” comments are well taken. One of the best players is a guy who is very chubby but knows exactly where the ball is going at all times. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry too much about that yet.

Regarding player rotation, we play singles, cutthroat, or doubles, depending on how many show up to play. Cutthroat is my personal favorite. You’re playing two guys at once. I play for an hour and am dead tired.

[quote]squatdude wrote:
I don’t much care for working out on cardio machines. Bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, stairclimbers. There all boring. I’ll do it if I have to but I’d rather do something else.

Which brings me to racquetball. There are several guys who play very seriously at the YMCA where I work out. They are all better players than I am and push it hard for an hour. I would much rather do this than attempt some type of interval training on a treadmill. This seems to me to be a good HIIT type exercise. Go hard for a rally, very brief rest between serves, and hard at it again. If I go hard for an hour straight, would you agree that this is decent HIIT training? The current plan is geared toward fat loss. Racquetball M-W-F, Staley’s EDT T-Th-S. What do you think?[/quote]

Should work, unless you’re one of those old, fat guys who stand in the middle and kill you with splatt shots and perfect ceiling shots. I hate those guys.

I consider myself an avid (not skilled) racquetball player. After a solid three-game set (40-60 mins) I feel absolutely demolished. I consider it an excellent form of cardio.

Also, if you want something even more intense, try squash. As the ball doesn’t bounce very much it is like racquetball on speed- absolutely ridiculous.

I’ve never played raquetball, but have played squash. I am by no means good, but I found squash really enjoyable, and a fantastic workout. A 40min game would have me covered in sweat and my legs feeling like jelly. I stopped playing about a year ago but have now found some people at my new job that play, so I’ll start getting a game a week on non-lifting days when the courts reopen in September.

I think squash (and probably raquetball) are the closest sports to HIIT cardio.