Centr trainer Da Rulk performs a sit-thru exercise.
Centr Team

Are you making these common HIIT workout mistakes?

Centr Team

If you’re looking for big results in a smaller time frame, nothing delivers like HIIT – high-intensity interval training.

HIIT workouts are short, sharp and effective – just the way we like ’em! And our new 6-week workout program Centr 6: Phase II has been designed to boost your cardio and build your strength while doing your HIIT workout at home. From beginner to advanced, all you need is a set of dumbbells.

When you’re busy concentrating on the “high-intensity” aspect of HIIT, it’s easy to let mistakes creep in. Poor form is especially problematic in HIIT sessions, not just because it can be frustrating when you can’t nail a move. Pushing through with incorrect form can lead to an inefficient workout, meaning you’re not getting the most out of your time on the mat. Even worse, it can lead to injury, which is the quickest way to derail your training goals.

We've identified six tricky HIIT exercises that often trip people up – and we’re laying down the technique tips you’ve been looking for so you can nail your form and maximize those gains.

The move: Deadlifts
The mistake: Not hinging at the hips.

When doing dumbbell deadlifts, you need to make sure you are hinging at the hips – not just rounding your back or squatting. Do the move keeping your back straight, your shoulders locked down, then push your butt back as far as you can in a straight line (don’t let it drop). To get the hang of the form, it may be helpful to keep your butt against a wall as you do it.

The move: Scissor kicks
The mistake: An arched back.

The arching back strikes again! Your body will always look for the path of least resistance in an exercise – and with scissor kicks it’s natural to try arching your back off the floor. Aim to keep your lower back glued to the floor and your core engaged (drawing your belly button in as tightly as you can.) This will promote correct form and help strengthen your core. Bonus!

The move: Dumbbell back squat
The mistake: Not engaging your glutes.

If all the load appears to be on your knees when you squat, it’s time to give your glutes a wake-up call. Doing pre-activation exercises like glute bridges will help to spark them into action. Then when you’re ready to drop into a squat, stay focused on pushing your hips back and down. You can use a chair or box as a guide – just tap your butt on it at the bottom of each squat. And really squeeze your glutes as you rise back up.

The move: Burpees
The mistake: Straining your back.

You’re not alone – many people overuse their lower back doing burpees. There are two ways to avoid this. One, ensure your core is switched on (your belly button drawn into your spine) the entire time. Two, make sure you squat down as low as you can before kicking your feet back. This will ensure your core and glutes are both firing throughout the movement, protecting your lower back.

The move: Bent-over rear raise
The mistake: Neglecting your core.

Your poor core – getting overlooked in so many upper-body movements when it just wants to help out! The best way to hold the correct position on this raise – without putting all the pressure on your lower back or hamstrings – is to engage those abdominal muscles and hold your core tight.

The move: Sit thrus (or kick sits)
The mistake: Flailing.

Sit thrus are a great functional rotational movement, but – as anyone who has attempted a Da Rulk workout will tell you – they require a bit of mind-body coordination. To stop your arms and legs (and entire body) from flailing, you need to lock into a tight crawl position from the get-go: hips in line with knees, shoulders square and hands on the floor directly under your shoulders. From here you’ll engage your core then drive your left knee towards your right wrist, and vice versa, by rotating at the waist. Keep the four points of your crawl position solid and you should be flail (and #workoutfail) free!


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