What is interval training?
Interval training is a type of training in which there is the exchange of period of intense activity with periods of active recovery. The duration and intensity of work intervals together with the duration and intensity interval recovery makes a serie. When planning interval training, it is necessary to determine:
1. the duration and intensity of work intervals,
2. the duration and intensity of the recovery interval and
3. the total number of series.
Because of a large number of variables and the limitless possibilities of combination, interval training is more effective and more interesting than continuous training.
The usual method of interval training, for example .. “fartlek” training originally from Sweden, in which alternate periods of sprint with periods of jogging. Characteristic Fartlek is that the intervals are not precisely defined, but the effort and recovery exchanged on current abilities of the individual. Interval training can be adapted to all levels of fitness. The same principle applies when riding a bike, or putting any real alterations of interval sprints or climbs with flat pedaling downhill will give good results.
What are the benefits of interval training in keeping weight off?
In a continuous aerobic-type training in a certain point your body achieves so called “Steady state.” It means that the body adapt to the load and seeks conserved energy (calories). In interval training, permanent changes in the intensity avoids achieving a stable condition, and therefore higher consumption of calories in the same period. According to research, 24 hours after the interval aerobic training basal metabolism is higher by 5 to 10% compared to the aerobic continuous type, which also implies a higher consumption of calories.
What are the characteristics of interval training?
Interval training for decades was used for the development of elite athletes. The intensity of the exercises can be regulated in several ways, by changing the speed, resistance…
The dangers of too intense work, so the chance of injury or heart problems in uncontrolled interval training are very high. This is perhaps the only weak point of interval training. It is therefore recommended mandatory use of heart rate monitors, to on time reduce the intensity of exercise, if the pulse exceeds a set training zone.
For a beginner interval training is preferable to start spontaneous, not strictly defined intervals based on the individual level.
Interval effort can be from 1 to 15 minutes intensity of 60 to 85% of maximum heart rate, and the ratio of the interval of rest and effort in the beginning should be 1: 3 (eg. 2 minutes jogging with 6 minutes walking), with the aim of achieving the planned ratio of 1:1. Interval training should begin and end with a gradual warming and cooling (2×5-10 minutes, approximately 60% of the workload), a series of intervals can be repeated up to 10 times, depending upon trained and training objectives. Total duration of interval training should be between 20 and 50 minutes (+ warming and cooling).
Well-trained people can extend the duration and / or intensity interval effort to raise to 90% of max heart rate. And shorten the recovery interval duration with an intensity up to 60% of max.
How often you should perform interval training?
Due to its specificity, interval training should not plan more often than 2 times a week. The distance between the two interval training should be a minimum of 48 hours. During this period, there can be a lower intensity training. Therefore, if your goal is losing weight or the development of cardiorespiratory capacity, and two aerobic sessions per week is regarded as too few, the general recommendation is to combine interval training with continuous aerobic training.
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