What is Interval Training?
Interval training is basically a method of conditioning that uses alternating periods of work and rest.
The Benefits of Interval Training
Interval training has been around for decades however only recently have fitness enthusiasts around the world been awakened to the true value of interval training. Interval training is often referred to as High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) and after developing a healthy diet, HIIT is a good way to losing body fat fast. Savvy fitness enthusiasts and personal trainers are starting to use the concept of high intensity interval training or Sprint Interval Training (SIT) to improve their results. You don’t need 40 minutes per day on a piece of aerobic equipment to get lean or to get fit fast and improve your athletic ability.
Interval training actually develops aerobic capacity better than aerobic training. Does that make sense? Not really but, it’s a fact. A great way to raise VO2 max, the standard measure of aerobic fitness, is through interval training. Steady state aerobics is not the best way to get there.
Another benefit to interval training is the positive changes in the body that come about from this type of exercise. If you look at the team sport and sprint athletes, they all have toned, lean bodies where as your steady state long distance athletes tend to be skinnier and not as muscular or toned. This is not to say that aerobic training is useless as it is a good way to improve your fitness and get you to a level where your body can handle interval training. It is really important to be physically prepared for interval training by improving your strength, core stability, endurance and balance so you are able to cope with the rigours of interval training.
Interval Training Methods
The following methods can be used for your interval training workouts:
- Running is probably the most effective way to interval train yet the most likely to cause injury.
- A combination of shuttle running (intensive) and tempo running (extensive) are best.
- Both can be done in standard rest to work format or with a heart rate monitor.
- Shuttle runs are great in that they have both a high muscular demand (acceleration and deceleration) and a high metabolic demand.
- Interval training on a treadmill is effective but also dangerous for other reasons.
- Getting on and off a moving treadmill while it is still moving is an athletic skill and can result in serious injury.
- The drawbacks are that treadmill running produces a lack of true active hip extension which means the hamstrings may be underworked.
- Dual action bikes like the Airdyne produce a higher heart rate due to the combined action of the arms and legs.
- Probably the best and safest tool to use when interval training as it requires limited skill to use and it limits the potential for over use.
- The slideboard works great in groups as no adjustment is needed.
- Your whole body gets a complete workout from the efficient, rhythmic motion of rowing.
- It is low impact and great for joint health as rowing promotes a wide rage of motion.
- Swimming provides a great total body workout and is a great way to take stress off your joints.
-Boxing is one of my favorite ways to interval train. I don’t do it often but it is fun.