Friday, June 5, 2009

Interval Training and You

In order to design a safe and efficient workout routine, it's crucial to have some experience under your belt. Picking a bunch of random exercises out of a hat can not only prevent your from reaching your fitness goals, it can also lead to over-used muscles and injury. Interval Training is one of my favorite styles of training. It provides the opportunity to strengthen your anaerobic muscles while still keeping your heart in a decent zone to burn fat. The workout session is very fast paced and direct, however the balance of "cool down" to High Intensity exercises maintains sanity. Interval Training sessions burn a lot more calories than old fashion strength training even though they require the same amount of time (45- 60 min).

OK, so the first order of business is figuring out which exercises you want to do... That's totally up to you! The beauty of designing your own workout is that you can pick any muscles you want to train. After picking your target muscles, you have to pick exercises that correspond to the muscles you want to train (ie: chest, triceps and shoulders- pick push ups, legs- pick squats). It's important to distinguish between your high intensity exercises (exercises that demand a big increase in your heart rate- squat thrusts, sprints, mountain climbers, etc) and your low intensity/cool down exercises (exercises that allow your heart rate to recover- crunches, slow step ups, alternating bicep curls, etc).

The sequence of the exercises is next. Assuming that all of your exercises are timed (not up to a certain amount of repetitions), we can start off with a total of 7 exercises (4 high intensity and 3 low intensity) with 60 seconds per exercise. If the goal is 5 circuits with a 45-90 second rest in between each one, this is what it should look like.

Low Intensity= LI
High Intensity= HI

circuit 1- LI, HI, LI, HI, LI- 45 sec rest
circuit 2- HI, LI, HI, LI, HI- 60 sec rest
circuit 3- HI, LI, HI, HI, LI- 60 sec rest
circuit 4- HI, HI, LI, HI, HI- 90 sec rest
Circuit 5- LI, HI, LI, HI, LI- You're Done!

You should be doing each exercise more than once (even up to 3-5 times), however don't do any of the same exercises within each circuit- ie: don't do 3 sets of squat jumps in Circuit 2, alternate with mountain climbers and sprints. You can leave the other sets of squat jumps for the third and fourth circuit.

Here is a list of some High Intensity exercises:
Squat Thrusts
Mountain Climbers
Squat Jumps
Side Shuffling
Plyo Box Jumps
Hill Runs
Jumping Jacks - Try them for speed!

Here is a list of some Low Intensity exercises:
Resistance Band Rows
Stomach Crunches
Bicep Curls/ Tricep Extensions
Step ups
Calve Raises

Refer to these previous blogs for some other exercises too

Now all you need is a stop watch and some effort.

If you have any questions about Interval Training or have a routine that's been effective, it would great to hear about it.

Thanks and Good Luck!

1 comment:

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