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What is interval training?

Over the past couple of years interval training has become very popular in all areas of the fitness industry, especially personal trainers.  I often get asked about interval training, what it is and what are the benefits of it for a wide variety of training goals.  I thought I would start off with a simple background to interval training and then in future articles move onto talking about some of the more advanced aspects of this interesting and highly effective training system.

What is interval training?

Interval training is a system that allows participants to improve the amount of work they can do over a period of time by using alternating rounds of higher intensity work with lower intensity recovery periods.  It has been promoted as a highly time efficient way of training that allows participants to make good cardiovascular gains in a relatively short period of time.

How does interval training work?

The basic idea is that during the high intensity periods the body starts to build up lactic acid, this makes this period difficult to maintain for a long time.  But then a lower intensity period allows for recovery and the body attempts to break down and remove the lactic acid formed.  You are basically alternating between anaerobic (faster paced, sustainable for a shorter duration) and aerobic (slower pace, sustainable for a longer duration) forms of exercise.   The stop start approach to activity is one of the interesting aspects of interval training as it allows the body to get used to recovering from high intensity activity at a increasingly rapid rate.

This method has been used to improve performance on a number of levels such as the improvement of lactate threshold and the ability to withstand training in that zone, the method also has a building effect on the cardiovascular system with a good cross over into may CV based sports and activities.  This means that many people who use interval training will be able to work cardiovascularly for a longer duration, at a faster rate than they would have been able to do without this form of training.

There is mounting amount of research that suggests that interval training may be as, if not more effective than more steady state exercise and returns the same benefits as longer durations of LSD style training.    The ACSM also suggest that in terms of calorific burn interval training burns more calories than equivalent work done at a more LSD type pace.

All in all this interesting style of training returns great results for those using it and is easy on that one thing that we all lack….time.

In my next blog post on this issue we will look at how to incorporate interval training into your current routine!

As always any question lease do let me know!

TOM

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 at 10:44 am and is filed under Articles, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.