An Introduction to Interval Training


Interval Training pic

Interval Training

Mary Niederlehner attended Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned a bachelor of nursing magna cum laude in 2013. A fitness enthusiast in her free time, Mary Niederlehner is interested in numerous forms of exercise.

For experienced athletes, interval training can be a way to increase the efficiency of workout sessions and provide an increased challenge. The basic premise is that the athlete alternates intense exercise with less intense recovery periods. By doing so, the body has more opportunities to work hard and to return itself to baseline. This acclimatizes the body to rapid changes in stress and demand, while simultaneously increasing caloric burn rate.

Experts have found that this strategy is most effective when implemented three days per week. That way, the body has 48 hours in between workouts for recovery.

Early interval workouts may feature a shorter high-demand period of 70 percent effort followed by a longer recovery time, working up to 100 percent effort in the high-intensity intervals by the end of the workout. Other athletes might choose to balance the length of the high-intensity and recovery periods, lengthening each toward the middle of the workout and tapering off toward the end.

Regardless of specific plan, which will vary based on the athlete’s needs, an interval training regimen is likely to improve cardiovascular health and build muscle. Many athletes appreciate that these benefits are not only more comprehensive than those attained by engaging in a purely aerobic regimen, but also that they require less time than a standard, base-effort run.


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