How You Can Apply Interval Training
Here are a few ways you can incorporate the system into your regular gym or exercise routine. As always, be sure to consult your physician before starting any new program or before making significant changes to your current routine.
Walking: On the treadmill, use the incline function to create your workout.
Start by warming up for 5-10 minutes at a speed of 2.5-3.5 miles per hour. Then stop the treadmill, get off it, and stretch for a few minutes. Get back on and add an incline of 3.5. Walk at a 2.5-3 pace for 30 seconds or a minute. Then lower the incline back down to 0 and walk (or run).
Running: Mix short bursts of speed of varying lengths, or sprints, into your run or jog. After warming up, run at your normal pace for a few minutes. Then take off, running at an increased speed for 30 seconds to a minute. After each interval, slow down and allow your heart rate to decrease.
Swimming: Guy Edson, technical director of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) and an ASCA Level 5 coach who has trained swimmers for 35 years, has always used interval training. He suggests swimmers start with lengths of 25 yards or meters. Begin with six, swimming one length at a time, resting 30 seconds after each.
Two days later, aim for seven lengths with 30 seconds of rest, and so on. Then begin decreasing your rest. The goal is to get to 10 lengths with 15 seconds of rest.
“It’s called a pyramid progression and it’s typically used with weight training but can apply to any activity,” Edson says.
Rowing: Try two minutes of hard rowing with one minute of rest, repeated 10 times. After two weeks, move up to three-minute intervals with one minute of rest.
After another two weeks, go to four minutes with a two-minute rest, but stay with the 20-minute maximum workout. Do that workout for two weeks. The goal is to be able to do two 10-minute intervals with a five-minute rest in between, which should happen in about eight weeks.
Looking for other ways to create intervals? Try sprinting, indoor cycling, or jumping rope.
Remember: Exercise is all about what you put into it. Effort in; results out. So add some interval training to your workouts, and see the shift.