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29 July 2021

What is Interval Training?

Interval Training definition

Interval training is most commonly employed with conventional cardiovascular workouts like running, rowing, cycling, and swimming to push yourself harder than you could in a continuous effort.

It comprises of, a series of short bursts of exercises (work intervals) that can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. You work at a set intensity for a given period of time or distance during each interval, followed by a low-intensity rest period (recovery interval). To attain different goals from your training session, you can change the tempo, length, and rest period.

Stair Running


What are the benefits of Interval Training?

Interval training is beneficial for both aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen) energy systems, and it is particularly effective in increasing your VO2 Max and anaerobic threshold. In the actual world, this means you’ll be able to work harder (run faster) and sustain that intensity for longer (run further at a faster pace).

Interval training can be used to increase endurance performance or recovery rate in team sports like football or rugby that need repeated bursts of high-intensity activity, depending on your goals.

Can Interval Training be used for weight loss?

Do you want to lose weight through exercising? Intense exercises are not only more efficient with your time, but they also burn calories quicker.

According to new research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, interval training such as sprinting is more beneficial for weight reduction than continuous, moderate exercise such as brisk walking or cycling under 10 miles per hour over extended distances.

Interval workouts that can be done at home include Tabata sprints (running hard for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest) and burpees (squat thrusts with pushups), according to Josh Jarrett, chief exercise officer of Quantify Fitness of Nashville.

Before you start your weight loss program it’s a good idea to know your BMI, you can use our free tool. For more information on BMI we have an article for you: What is BMI and how is it calculated?

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When is the best time to undertake Interval Training?

Interval training is most effective once you’ve achieved a good baseline level of cardiovascular fitness through low-moderate intensity.

Interval training might be good if you were training for an endurance event such as a 10k race. Depending on what you want to accomplish, there are particular suggestions for how long and how hard you should work. A member of your gym staff or a Personal Trainer can create an interval training programme that is specifically tailored to your needs.

Interval training may be beneficial for those who find continuous cardiovascular exercise dull or tedious since they have a shorter but more intense period of work and can utilise each interval as a little objective within their training session.
Looking to lose weight and gain fitness? Try combining intermittent fasting with interval training.

Benefits of Interval Training

  1. Enhanced endurance- Interval training teaches your heart to pump more blood to your muscles and your muscles to extract oxygen more efficiently, making all of your other workouts more manageable.
  2. Workouts that are more efficient and faster – Interval workouts are wonderful time savers if you don’t have much time. They help you to get a lot done in a short amount of time. This is the type of workout to be burned to if you want to be able to get in and out of the gym quickly. The full session can be completed in as little as 15-20 minutes.
  3. Injury and overtraining risks are reduced – When compared to longer workouts, you may be able to avoid injuries or overdoing it since you vary the degree of activity during your workout.
  4. Weight reduction – Studies demonstrate that interval training, even at a low level, can burn more fat and continue to burn calories even after the workout is finished.
  5. The Pleasure Factor – Interval workouts are less monotonous and dull than other workouts because they provide more variety.
Before you start your workout, here are the ‘Most Crucial Things You Should Do Before and After Exercise’
hiit workout
man running

Example session

  • Warm-up by jogging for 5 minutes at a 5/10 effort level.
  • Work interval: Run for 90 seconds at a high intensity (8/10 effort).
  • Jog for 3 minutes at an easy 5/10 effort as a recovery interval.
  • Intervals should be repeated a total of four times.
  • Cooldown by walking for 5 minutes at a leisurely pace.


More examples of Interval Training

Interval Training: Common examples

The exercises in the following list demonstrate how easily interval training programs can be modified to fit most sports or activities. Specific training responses may be produced by varying the intensity and duration of work intervals, as well as the length of rest periods.

Skipping rope is a low-cost and quick approach to improve general fitness. It can increase physical strength, endurance, balance, agility, and burn calories in addition to increased cardiovascular fitness.

Sprint for 30 seconds drills enhance aerobic capacity and fitness in a fraction of the time it takes to do extended, sluggish exercise. For example, you could run at a steady pace and it would take your body 20-30 minutes to be at max capacity (depending upon your ability) or you could go all out and reach your hearts max capacity within literally seconds.

stair run

Sprint and speed workout drills are beneficial to any sport because they combine speed and endurance. Start only after three months of continuous athletic exercise and after you’ve attained a fitness level where you can run for 20-30 minutes at a time.

Exercises with explosive intensity,  another technique to gain strength and power. Elite athletes use it in sports like sprinting and leaping that need quick bursts of maximal exertion in a short length of time.

Agility drills help players enhance their coordination, speed, power, and sports abilities. These activities also aid in the development of foot speed and the refinement of sports techniques.

Shuttle runs are a common agility and speed practice used by players who participate in stop-and-start sports including basketball, football, hockey, and tennis.

Stair running is a high-intensity workout that improves speed, power, and cardiovascular fitness. Quickness, foot speed, and a good sprint exercise make this a wonderful addition to any agility training programme.

Plyometric jumping exercises improve athletic power (strength and speed), coordination, and agility for superior sports performance.

Tuck jumps are easy workouts that enhance an athlete’s vertical leap by increasing agility and dynamic power. Used to improve vertical, high, box, and long jump skills.

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