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Interval Training

Do the warmer temperatures have you ready to take your cardio outside? Mix it up with interval training this week!

Interval Training

Interval training is basically exercise which consists of activity at high intensity for a period of time, followed by low intensity exercise for a period of time. These ‘sets’ are repeated.

Sprint Intervals

The high intensity portions are called Sprint Intervals. Sprint intervals are measured either by time or distance. They can be as short as 15 seconds in activities like HIIT or as long as 20 minutes for aerobic interval training.

An example of a Sprint Intervals would be running at full pace for 30 seconds, another would be an indoor cyclist spending 15 minutes simulating a climb on the bike.

Rest Intervals

The periods of recovery are called Rest Intervals. During a rest interval athletes do not stop the activity but generally exercise at a low intensity, which allows the body to recover from the sprint interval. Primarily your fitness levels and the type of the sprint interval determine the length of these rest intervals.

The intervals are important; the basis of the interval training is to ensure that your sprints are done at an optimal intensity, without sufficient rest your interval training will resort back to an aerobic type of activity.

Intensity

The intensity of the sprint intervals is how hard you push yourself during the sprint. For simplicity sake the intensity is usually measured on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being no effort whatsoever while 10 represents the maximum effort possible.

Now this is a completely personal scale depending on your own fitness levels and the type of interval training.

For example a seasoned athlete may be training on improving their speed work, the sprint lasts for 15 seconds and their 10 may be a flat out sprint with the athlete going as fast as he or she can.

Another example would be someone who has not exercised in a while decides to do intervals while walking; a 1-minute walk at a brisk pace may leave the person completely out of breath. This would be their 10.

Check out these 3 workouts!

1. Cardio Blaster

This is one of the best interval training workouts you can do to improve fitness. It burns lots of calories in a short amount of time.
How to do it:
•Warm up for 15 minutes.
•Then run, bike, or row for 3 minutes at 90 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate (should feel like 8.5 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 10). Take 3 minutes active recovery (you’re still moving, but at an easy pace) and repeat the 3 on/3 off pattern 3 to 4 more times.
•Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
Bonus benefit: This workout is like weight training for your heart—it strengthens your cardiovascular system, which improves your overall health.

 

2. Speedplay

Sprinting is great for tightening and toning your legs, glutes, and core. It increases your muscle power, which helps you push harder and makes your non-interval training workouts feel easier so you can challenge yourself and burn even more calories.
How to do it:
•Warm up for 15 minutes, adding a few 20-second bursts at the end to prepare for the workout.
•Run, bike, or row for 30 seconds at a nearly all-out effort. Take 3 minutes active recovery and repeat the 30 on/3 off pattern 5 or 6 more times.
•Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
Bonus benefit: Because of its very high intensity, this workout is very short.

 

3. Cardio-Sprint Pyramid

This adds sprint interval training for a fast and fun workout. Here, after each burst of hard work, you’ll recover for the same amount of time.
How to do it:
•Warm up for 15 minutes, adding a few 20-second bursts at the end to prepare for the workout.
•Run, bike, or row: During the work periods, you should have a rate of perceived exertion (RPE of 8 to 10, followed by 30 seconds of active recovery.
Build and taper the workout like this:
30 seconds sprint/30 seconds recover
1 minute sprint/1 minute recover
2 minutes sprint/2 minutes recover
4 minutes sprint/4 minutes recover
2 minutes sprint/2 minutes recover
1 minute sprint/1 minute recover
30 seconds sprint/30 seconds recover
•Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
Bonus benefit: This major calorie-burning interval training plan gives you the best of both worlds—high-octane cardio and muscle-sculpting sprints (from Shape.com).

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