What Is Interval Training and What is the Best Frequency?
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Whether you are a fitness freak or someone who is just looking for the right kind of workout to keep yourself fit, you should consider interval training. Many people are now turning towards interval training to achieve their fitness goals.
Exercise is all about challenging your body and putting it through the maximum intensity. While standard workouts are also effective at this task, they are still limited in many ways. You need to become imaginative and creative with your activities.
In this blog, you will be provided a brief introduction to Interval training, its variations, its benefits, and how you can start interval training to achieve your fitness goals.
What Is Interval Training?
Interval training refers to a type of training that comprises highly intense workouts combined with brief periods of rest and relief in between those workouts. This type of training uses your body’s two breathing modes during the exercise, i.e., Aerobic and Anaerobic.
What Is Aerobic Respiration?
Aerobic respiration refers to the mode of breathing when the cells of your body respire in the presence of oxygen. This process breaks down glucose to yield energy and supplement it to your muscles during the exercise.
What Is Anaerobic Respiration?
Anaerobic respiration, on the other hand, refers to the mode of breathing when the cells of your body respire in the absence of oxygen. This process yields less energy from the glucose than aerobic respiration, and as a byproduct, lactic acid accumulates in your muscles, causing fatigue.
How Interval Training Works?
Interval training works by combining the two modes of respiration. The high-intensity workouts are closer to anaerobic exercise and quickly deplete you of energy. The short periods of rest in between allows you to replenish your energy as your body shift into the other mode of respiration.
This type of training is better than the standard high-intensity exercises, where all of your workouts are based on anaerobic respiration. This training allows you to catch your breath and makes your body more comfortable switching between the two modes.
Benefits of Interval Training
As discussed above, interval training takes away the strain you put on your body when doing long and highly intense workouts. Besides this, interval training has many other benefits for fitness training.
It Burns More Calories
When it comes to losing weight, interval training is way more effective than the standard endurance exercises. Since you are putting more effort into the workout, your body works harder to recover from the highly intense exercises!
Following interval training exercises, your body will burn more calories than traditional works, and as a result, more human growth hormone will be produced in your body. Human growth has been shown to slow down the aging process.
It Helps You Feel Energetic
Interval training also helps your body create more endorphins. Endorphins are biochemicals that your body produces to relieve stress and pain. Due to the intense workouts, your body has these natural pain relievers.
Endorphins help you feel energetic after your workout, and you feel happier.
It Gives You More Free Time
Another reason why so many people prefer interval training over other kinds of workouts is its effectiveness and efficiency. Many people who are interested in fitness do not have much time on their hands to afford long endurance workouts.
Most people are already preoccupied with jobs, education, or other activities each day, and it’s tough to take time off of those activities to afford the gym. But interval training doesn’t require people to engage in long hours of endurance exercise.
Interval training is more effective at achieving results in a relatively short amount of time than other cardio workouts. Around 26 minutes of HIIT can be just as useful as 60 minutes of long cardio workouts.
Interval training will help you get in your desired body shape quicker, and you will not have to sacrifice your time for other daily activities.
It Helps You Develop More Endurance
Interval training is more effective at developing your body’s endurance and stamina than standard cardio workouts. Interval training encourages several physiological changes to take place in your body that lead you to a more incredible speed and stamina.
Interval training encourages your body to burn away lactic acid faster in your muscles, thus allowing you to get over your muscle fatigue. This way, you can exercise for much longer without having to stop due to soreness or fatigue.
Interval Training Helps You Improve Your Heart Health
Interval training can also help you develop a healthier heart. This benefit is not limited to endurance; interval training can decrease the strain you put on your heart during highly intense workouts.
Cardiovascular exercises can increase the heart stroke volume or the amount of blood your heart can pump per beat. Cardiovascular exercises thus, make your heart stronger and healthier. Cardiovascular exercises also decrease the risk of heart diseases.
Interval Training Makes You Healthier
Interval training is the most effective form of cardiovascular exercise. It helps you reduce cholesterol and thus lowers the risk of heart diseases. It strengthens your immune system and makes you less prone to getting sick.
Interval training amplifies all the benefits of cardiovascular exercises, such as reducing the risk of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Interval training is simply the best to remain healthy and fit.
Types of Interval Training
Interval training has the following types.
Sprint Interval Training
This type of interval training is, as the name suggests, mostly for runners. In sprint interval training, one sprints a short distance that can be anywhere from 100 to 800 meters, then returns to the starting point to recover, and then starts running again.
Sprint interval training is one of the most effective interval training methods to reduce weight and build stamina. Sprint interval training helps athletes achieve results quicker than other high-intensity interval training and fartlek training.
Fartlek training was developed in Sweden and incorporates elements of interval training with regular distance running. In fartlek training, the runner runs at irregular speed and points with bursts of explosive movements.
Usually, a fartlek training session is consisted of 5-10 minutes of warm-up, running at a steady speed, hard speed for about 2 km, rapid walking, periods of recovery, periods of a sprint, and repeating all these according to their schedule.
Fartlek is one of the best training methods to get your body accustomed to switching between the two modes of respiration and develop endurance.
High-Intensity Interval Training
High-intensity Interval Training or HIIT is an attempt to decrease training volume by reducing the effort one has to put during high-intensity exercise intervals. The strategy of HIIT is to alternate between the two modes of respiration.
Most HIIT workout sessions last from 30 to 40 minutes. HIIT workouts are the best if one wants to develop athletic capacities such as stamina, endurance, strength, and agility. It provides a better conditioning to the athlete and improves the metabolism of the athlete.
How to Do Interval Training?
Interval training is easy to do, and the good part is that you can convert any exercise into interval training; there are no set boundaries on this. All you have to do is remember to follow interval training guidelines to ensure that you are doing it the right way.
Pick an Exercise
The first thing that you need to do is to pick an exercise for interval training. Since you are not bound to a specific exercise, you can choose any exercises depending on what you think you need or any exercises you are comfortable with, such as running, machine exercises, cycling, walking, kickboxing, jumping ropes, sprints, pull-ups, and so on.
Pick the Length of Your Workout Session
The second thing you need to do is pick an appropriate length for your workout; if you are new to interval training, your workout should be somewhere between 5-15 minutes of exercise.
For advanced athletes, the length can be somewhere between 30-6! Choose the length of your recovery sessions. If you are a beginner, you should reserve more time for your low-intensity recovery sessions to avoid straining your body.
However, if you are advanced in interval training, then you should make your high-intensity sessions longer and lower intensity sessions shorter.
Don’t Forget to Warm Up and Cool Down
Don’t forget the basics. You need to focus on some essentials when training with low and high-intensity sessions. Always remember to warm up for 5-10 minutes before you start your workout session.
Remember to take adequate rest and cool down in the shorter recovery sessions. You can stretch your body during the rest sessions to avoid injuring yourself during the workout. Drink enough water to help your body retain the normal temperature.
What Is the Best Frequency for Interval Training?
Frequency refers to how many times you are doing cardio and strength training exercises in a week. The training frequency that is usually recommended is 3 days per week.
You should not do interval training on consecutive days as this training is highly intense and require adequate amounts of recovery periods in between.
Experienced people can cut back on one day and train for 2 days a week to maintain their body’s shape and endurance. If you are looking to challenge yourself or think that your body goals require more training, you can train 4 days a week.
As long as there is an adequate amount of rest between your workout days, you can excel in your workout schedule.
What Are the Best Exercises to Do for Interval Training?
As discussed above, your interval training routine is not confined to any specific exercises. However, there are some best exercises that you can perform during interval training to amplify the weight loss and endurance building qualities of interval training.
Jumping rope is one of the most commonly performed exercises in interval training. The best thing about jumping rope is that it’s cost-effective and very convenient to perform. All you need is a rope, and you can add high intensity to your workout session.
Burpees are one of the best exercises to engage your whole body and improve your cardiovascular fitness. They are simple to perform yet can easily be made intense. To perform a burpee, stand still, then squat down and place your hands on the floor.
Then kick your feet backward in a pushup position, then return your legs towards you and standup to form the initial position. If you want to make the exercise more challenging, you can perform a pushup in the pushup position or jump when you are in the standing position.
Shuttle sprints are another great exercise to do as a part of your interval training program. Athletes often use shuttle sprints to build agility, endurance, stamina, and strength.
To make a shuttle sprint, mark two points with a short distance between them and then run from one point to another.
One run between the two points counts as one rep. Try to do around 10 reps of shuttle sprints for maximum performance.
Pull-ups are also a great exercise to do in interval training sessions. Pullups help you strengthen your core muscles and builds endurance and stamina.
If you happen to have a set of stairs nearby, you can do a very useful running exercise. Stair running is excellent for your calves and thighs and helps develop stamina and endurance, just like other running exercises.
Pushups are a classic and are one of the best exercises to do. They engage your upper body and help you build endurance and stamina. They can easily be converted into an interval training exercise.
Final Thoughts on What is Interval Training
Interval training is one of the best workout sessions for you to perform. However, they require an adequate amount of rest in between. Ensure that you follow the right frequency for interval training workouts and remember the basics such as warm-ups and cool down.
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