Examples of Interval Training

Karen Frazier
beach intervals

If you are seeking examples of interval training, then this article will discuss the benefits of training in this manner and provide specific examples.

What Is Interval Training?

Before providing specific examples of interval training, it is essential to define what this method of training entails.

Interval training is a type of exercise that combines set intervals of extremely high intensity activity (such as anaerobic activity) with periods of lower level activity such as walking or light jogging. Interval training is also known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Combining these short, fast bursts of high intensity activity with longer periods of low intensity sustained activity confers many benefits.

Benefits of Interval Training

Interval training combines aerobic and anaerobic exercise into a single workout. This provides a number of benefits to the body including:

  • Increased oxygen uptake
  • Better oxygen delivery to muscles
  • Cross-training in a single workout
  • Stronger cardiopulmonary fitness
  • Can help prevent repetitive stress injuries
  • Burns more calories
  • May cause more fat burning than regular cardiovascular exercise
  • Increased lean body mass

Various Examples of Interval Training

Almost any type of exercise can be made into interval training. In order to convert your regular cardiovascular workout into interval training, you simply need to incorporate short periods of extremely high intensity exercise with longer periods of lower intensity exercise. For example, if you are running on a treadmill, you can sprint for 60 seconds followed by three minutes of jogging. Repeating this cycle five to ten times can result in an excellent high-intensity interval training workout.

Other interval training examples follow.

Sports

Most sports naturally incorporate intervals. The periods of sprinting across a court or down a playing field combined with lighter periods of jogging or walking are a great interval workout.

Weight Training Circuits

Weight training circuits can be a terrific form of interval training. To perform weight training circuits, alternate periods of weightlifting where you can lift the weights eight to ten times to exhaustion with 60 to 90 seconds of cardiovascular activity like jogging or walking on a treadmill. Complete a full-body circuit for a complete interval training workout.

Fitness Equipment

As discussed earlier, any cardiovascular fitness equipment can be used for interval training by alternating short periods of extremely high intensity activity with longer periods of lighter activity.

Walking/Jogging

Walking and jogging can be turned into an interval training workout by sprinting for 60 seconds and then jogging or walking at a more comfortable pace for three minutes. Perform five to ten cycles for a complete workout.

Hiking and Trail Running

Hiking and trail running on hilly trails is another way to create a natural interval workout. The hills are the high intensity, while downhill and flat areas provide the natural recovery period.

Running Stairs

High school stadiums are a terrific place to get an interval workout. To interval train, run up the stairs as fast as you can and then run down the stairs and jog on the track for a lap for the lower intensity portion. Complete five to ten circuits.

Jumping Rope

Jumping rope can be used for interval training. Alternate three minute periods of light jumping with 60 second periods of high speed jumping.

Swimming

Swimming can also be adapted to interval training. To do this, swim a length of the pool at top speed, followed by a lap at a more leisurely pace.

Getting Started with Interval Training

If this sounds like a great way to work out to you, then getting started is easy. You can begin to incorporate interval training into your regular workout. Those new to interval training may want to start with shorter bursts of high intensity activity with a duration of 30 seconds or less and use longer periods of sustained lower intensity activity lasting three minutes or longer. As you get into shape, you can begin to lengthen your high intensity periods and shorten your low intensity periods. If you plan to incorporate weight circuits into interval training, it is always best to work with a personal trainer in order to learn proper form and avoid injury.

Tips

  • Always warm up and cool down before and after an interval workout.
  • Start with just a few intervals - maybe four or five cycles - and work your way up to doing more as your fitness level increases.
  • Always check with your personal health care provider prior to undertaking any new exercise program.
Examples of Interval Training