Interval Training

Interval Training

We know that high intensity interval training is effective in a number of ways. It increases human growth hormone output, it decreases body fat, it increases aerobic and anaerobic performance, and it creates a spike in metabolism that is longer lasting than that of endurance training. The beautiful thing about HIIT is that it’s just that. It’s based on intervals: certain periods of work contrasted with rest periods to break up each work cycle. You have to know that the interval time, rest time, and the number of repetitions have meaning. They aren’t just randomly put together. A beautiful symphony of work, rest, and recovery has to occur to get a certain stimulus. If that balance is not specific, then the point, the work, the potency, and the benefits can easily be lost. What I’m saying is… don’t try to randomly create interval training on your own at home. It can be dangerous. Seek to understand and know the science. There are 3 things you should know about interval training:

  • Duration: The duration of the interval needs to match up with a certain amount of volume and recovery. We know from research that it doesn’t work to just haphazardly throw different time domains out there with a guess at volume (example: 1 minute work and 30 seconds rest for 5 efforts). The specifics have to be part of the prescribed workout. Here is what we know are the best combinations of time to work, time to rest, and number of efforts associated with each.




  • Effort: It has to be 95% to 100% effort!  The only way these intervals work is at 95% to 100% of max heart rate. That means true max heart rate. Most of us have no idea what that really is, unless you have done a true stress test that has blood lactate and oxygen uptake associated with it, which are only done in a lab. So, this means that each interval should have a subjective response that looks and feels like… hands on legs, heart pounding, sweating, out of breath, and feeling very, very challenged!

  • Stimulus: The beauty is that you can do this anywhere, using anything: on a bike, on the running trail, in any gym, using body weight.

As we approach this week of training, many of us travel: heading to the cabin or out of town. Here is your week of training. Take the interval work, rest, and total efforts from above and apply any movement to it! Now, in the gym, we will have specific plans to touch on each one of these intervals.