What is interval workouts

Interval training alternates between short, intense outbursts of activity with short rest periods. Learn more about what interval workouts are.

What is interval training?

Before you start, you should know what interval training is. Interval training alternates between short, intense outbursts of activity with short rest periods. Interval training uses the aerobic and the anaerobic energy-producing systems.

The aerobic system allows you to walk or run long distances and uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy. The anaerobic system uses energy from carbohydrates stored in the muscles for short bursts of sprinting, jumping, or lifting heavy objects.

In interval training, the periods of high intensity are usually at or near the anaerobic threshold, while recovery periods may involve complete rest or activity of lower intensity.

Intervals allow you to work more in less time, and it is much more comfortable than completing the entire workout with high intensity. The key is to complete exercises you can handle and your goal.

Benefits of interval training

Interval training teaches your heart to pump more blood to your muscles, and it exercises your muscles to extract oxygen more efficiently, making all your other workouts easier to handle.

Faster and more effective workouts

Interval training is a time saver if you do not have much time to get a lot done in less time. You can efficiently complete the entire workout in as little as 15-30 minutes.

Reduced risk of injury or overtraining

Because you vary the intensity of activity during your workout, you may be able to avoid injury or overtraining compared to longer workouts.

Weight loss

Studies show that interval training, even with moderate intensity, can burn more fat and continue to burn many calories after the workout is completed. Interval training provides more variety than other workouts, making them less tedious and more effective.

How to train intervals

  • Choose any aerobic activity. It can work with any machine or exercise – running, cycling, walking, elliptical trainer, skipping rope, kickboxing, and more.
  • Choose the length of the workout. If you are a beginner, you may want to alternate 1-2 minutes of higher intensity with five or more minutes of lower intensity. This can be 10-20 minutes for beginners or 30-60 minutes for more experienced. The more experienced can make the intervals longer (up to 10 minutes) and shorter recovery intervals (2-3 minutes).
  • Warm-up and cool down. Start the workout with 5-10 minutes of warm-up followed by interval training. Finish with 5 minutes of cooling and stretching.

Interval training is highly demanding on the heart, lungs, and muscles, and it is essential to consult your doctor if you are out of shape or in a state of health. It would help if you also had specific general aerobic fitness before performing a high-intensity exercise of any kind.

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