Try Interval Training

Jeff Angel

Cardiovascular conditioning is a very important part of one’s training program. The number one reason for doing cardio is to keep your heart strong in order to efficiently pump oxygenated blood throughout your body. Cardio training also helps to reduce one’s body fat and body weight (see aerobic conditioning for more info).

Interval training is a great way to mix in high-intensity cardio bouts with low- intensity bouts. Research shows that interval training helps to boost one’s metabolism throughout the day, improve cardiac output, burn high amounts of calories in a short period of time, and reduce body fat and body weight.

The idea of interval training is to work harder in a shorter period of time (20-30 min.) to achieve higher levels of fitness, rather than exercising longer with the similar results. Interval training may not be for everyone, due to reaching a heart rate in the higher range of your target heart rate zone. Please be sure to use our Target Heart Rate Calculator by clicking on Aerobic Conditioning/Target Heart Rate to the right. This will give you your target heart rate zone. Interval training can be very beneficial, yet there is a higher risk of injury and the possibility of fatiguing quickly.

I recommend doing 2 days/wk of cardio interval training for 20-30 minutes each day and 4 days/wk of low to moderate intensity cardio for 40-60 minutes each day. Both types of cardio conditioning are beneficial, one is not better than the other. Staying physically active every day of the week is most important for keeping your heart strong and working efficiently.

The following is an example of 30 minutes of interval training on a treadmill. This example is for fit individuals accustomed to daily moderate cardiovascular conditioning. Interval training can be done with any type of cardio mode (i.e. elliptical, bike, swimming, walking outside, etc.) Always do a 5-10 minute low-intensity warm-up before any work-out. This example has a gradual cool down at the end.

Treadmill Interval Training involving Speed and Incline:

Speed (mph)                            Incline                                     Minutes

4.5                                             1%                                             3

6.0                                             0%                                             1

4.5                                             2%                                             3

6.0                                             0%                                             1

4.5                                             1%                                             3

6.0                                             0%                                             1

4.5                                             2%                                             3

6.0                                             0%                                             1

4.5                                             1%                                             3

6.0                                             0%                                             1

4.0                                             2%                                             3

5.5                                             0%                                             1

3.8                                             1%                                             3

3.4                                             0%                                             3

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