Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Intervals For Better Results

Last week I posted about using interval training and weights to build a better body rather than doing steady state cardio. I figured I would build off of that post and explain in more depth interval training and different methods associated. Before I get into details I want to preface by saying that those new to exercise and intense training should partake in about a month of steady-state work and simple weight training, in order to build up some endurance and strength. Also I am not totally against long distance cardio 100%. For weight loss clients and athletes involved in a more aerobic sport, I like to incorporate a day of recovery where a long easy paced run or bike ride is completed.

There are many different types and protocols of interval training. Some are more sport specific and some are just created to incorporate power and strength into a more cardiovascular workout. Interval training ranges from weights to sprints to repeats to tabata training. Interval weight training can be as simple as having an exercise for three different body parts and cycling through each exercise, a circuit if you will. Running sprints of a specific distance with a rest time of about double the sprint time is a type of interval training. Composing a workout that consists of intertwining periods of sprinting with periods of jogging on a recumbent bike or a treadmill are also simple, yet effective methods of interval training.

Other methods of interval training include repeats and tabata training. Repeats are a way to get a lot of distance into a more strength and speed oriented workout. Mile repeats, half-mile repeats, 100m repeats and so forth are commonly used, especially for field sport training. Three 1-mile repeats would be a total of three miles but it would be ran in a fashion that would be more explosive and recruit more muscle. Run a mile as fast as possible, rest for about 4-5 minutes, repeat. This can be done with any distance under a mile.

A highly intense form of interval training is known as Tabata training. I have seen many different time intervals associated with this type of training but one that I have seen more often is that of 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. With this time combination you would complete 8 sets. This would be done with an exercise that works multiple muscle groups at once. It's a grueling workout but very effective. Other time intervals I have worked with include 1 minute on, one minute off; 30 seconds on, one minute rest; and so on. Honestly, one can mess around with work:rest ratios to fit their capabilities and to tax themselves to the fullest. You can also pick a group of exercises to cycle through. If you are familiar with CrossFit then you have seen plenty of this. Now I am not a follower of CrossFit, and I find some of their workouts to be ridiculous, but I have gotten ideas from them. CrossFit is an all around approach and doesn't focus on one aspect of fitness. Some of their stuff is very effective for weight loss because of its use of interval training.

Interval training has been shown lately to be the most effective way to cut fat and reduce weight. It can also save time by getting a great workout in 20 minutes. However, beginners should be cautious to this type of training and work their way into it. Feel free to email me with questions or check out the websites below for further information.

Tabata Training



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