Interval Training

kettle-bell-grip_closed_catchInterval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high intensity work. This high intensity work is alternated with periods of rest or low activity (the intervals in interval training).

It is believed by many in the fitness industry that this method of training is more effective at inducing fat loss than simply training at a moderate intensity level for the same duration. This has been confirmed in at least two studies. {1} {2}

Interval training is often practiced by long distance runners (800 metres and above). Sprinters and footballers have also been known to use this type of training.

Distance runners often practice interval training on tracks, running hard at a certain pace for a specified distance (or, less often, time) and jogging, walking, or resting for a set distance or time before the next speed burst. Distances can also vary; one example would be a “ladder” workout consisting of a 1600-meter, two 1200-meter, three 800-meter, and four 400-meter repetitions, each at an appropriate speed and with an appropriate amount of recovery.

“Walk-back sprinting” is another example of interval training for runners, in which one sprints a short distance (anywhere from 100 to 800 meters), then walks back to the starting point (the recovery period) to repeat the sprint a certain number of times. To add challenge to the workout, each of these sprints may start at a predetermined time interval, e.g. 200 meter sprint, walk back, and sprint again every 3 minutes. The time interval provides just enough recovery.

Interval training is a favorite of coaches because of its effectiveness in cardiovascular build-up and also its ability to make more well-rounded runners.